The Tribune - Spectrum

, May 5, 2002

A singer who is here to stay
Chitleen. K. Sethi

Jasbir Jassi
Jasbir Jassi

MEETING Jasbir Jassi is like meeting in person, passion-for-music, itself. Itís like shaking hands with the inner turmoil of an artist who is craving to perfect all that he does. The painless effort with which Jasbir Jassi converses, the calm and poised exterior that he presents, belies the tireless and constant work that his mind, while making music, is engaged in.

As he talks to you, his searing eyes hold your unparalleled attention. And yet, half-baked ideas about a tune escape his mind, in the middle of half-formed sentences and his eyes shift to look at....nothing and seconds later he has the tune registered and stored and he is back with you, full attention and with that penetrating gaze.

Jasbir Jassi can easily be one of the very few intelligent singers one comes across. As one struggles to find Punjabi words for habit-ridden English usage, he promptly informs that he can understand English, just cannot speak it. Which proves true as he answers questions even before they are formed with so much honesty that it continues to shock till the last answer.


But then honesty is as dear to him as his music. Just in case you start thinking that here is a celebrity who does not lie, he tells the truth, "Sach taan thoda ghat hi boldaan haan" Simple, honest to the core and totally unpretentious, Jassi talks about his future with enthusiasm without a hint of a shadow of the ups and downs of the industry.

"How does all that matter? I am a singer and I love to sing. I love all the attention I get from my fans and it encourages me to do better. And unlike many singers who think they ought to make the best of their time for as long as it lasts I know that I am here for good and there is nothing else which will take the place of Jassi the singer", he says.

But where do the acting classes come in? "Acting, I have learnt for over two years before I became established as a singer or in fact it overlapped the success when Kudi Gujarat di happened. Acting is something I am very interested in." Have there been any offers to work in films? "Yes, there have been some offers but I think for the time being I want to concentrate on music and singing."

Jassi has just signed a contract for albums with T-series and is looking forward to singing some more foot- tapping numbers. "Although the songs which have become the most popular have been foot tapping with catchy tunes but there are many more songs which I have felt very satisfied singing. Aavo nee sayion mil devo nee vadhai.... This song is one of my personal favourites."

Out of those which have hit real bigtime high as far as records go, Jassi finds that starting from Kudi Gujarat di, to Kudi kudi to Channo da, all of them have done well. Talking about the days when Channo da and some other songs Jassi had sung drew negative attention from the then culture minister, Jassi has a straight answer. "Channo is not a vulgar song at all. The kind of lyrics which are written in rural Punjab are like this and if someone has a problem with the video, then I think the video is alright. If these ministers really want to eradicate vulgarity from the state, they should start by building bathrooms and toilets for the village poor who are relieving themselves on rail track sides in full view of everyone."

But donít you think that Kudi Gujarat di video has bits which would make even the broad-minded squirm in distaste? "Yes I agree that video was vulgar but then that was my first song and I as a newcomer could hardly interfere in the filming process. Though I did tell the director that this lady is wearing too little clothes and when my folks back in the village see it they will be embarrassed. Then they would show me, in the camera, that they would not be focusing on her lack of clothes at all and I would get convinced. Only when I saw the final video did I realise that it was not what I would have wanted had I things my way. But now I am clear about what I want and donít want in my songs and their picturisation."

Having sharpened his acting skills considerably, Jassi who is a striking 6 footer with looks to match says that he acted the best in the Kudi kudi video. "I was expecting the Aa lai gal vich pala video to be better filmed than Kudi kudi... but somehow it was not the way it should have been. There was a communication gap somewhere and although we worked really hard on it, we were not able to bring out the story of the song while picturising it. I am glad that the song caught on so well that the video was accepted instantly."

Now working hard on his next album, Jassi promises that the best is yet to begin. "But I am in no hurry, singing is all that I have to do for the rest of my life."

In a frantic world of one hit wonders and a music industry going completely nuts over any Punjabi who can sing, it is refreshing to find someone who is not in a hurry to ride the bhangra wave for as long as it lasts and is here to stay.

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