Saturday, August 17, 2002

His musical masti knows no bounds
Sunil Minocha

Ashok MastieASHOK SACHDEVA is his real name, but the enthusiasm and vigour with which he performs has lent him the name "Ashok Mastie."

"I don't stop to have a look at myself while performing. When on stage, I am totally engrossed in my signing. And I guess that is the reason for my popularity," says this tall, good-looking singer, who has performed in Canada, USA, Sharjah, Australia, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, England and many other countries.

Mastie easily switches from Punjabi folk music to Indi-Pop to Hindi film songs to suit the mood and demand of his audiences. Event managers vouch for his spirited and electrifying performances and the way he builds up a rapport with his fans. This charming artiste says it is easy for him to sing as well as perform because he has been associated with theatre.

Ashok spent his childhood in Gidderbaha in Faridkot district, before moving to Chandigarh and then to Delhi, where he has been living for the past 10 years. "That is where I did theatre and learnt music", he says.


"I have learnt Hindustani classical music for four years. In fact, I still practise it for four to five hours daily."

In 1980 when fear of violence and terrorism had gripped Punjab, Ashok Mastie joined the New Theatre Movement. He went from one village to another, performing plays for a social cause. "People appreciated my stage performances and my friends suggested that I should try my luck as a singer. I received training from Vijay Sachdeva in Punjab and Charanjit Ahuja in Delhi."

Mastie's debut album Munde Vikau Ne, released in 1992 by Times Music, was a roaring hit. As many as 75,000 copies of this album were sold. His second music album Yeh hai Masti, released in 1998, was also well received with 1,25,000 copies getting sold. One of the songs in the album, Punjabia Di Ho Gai Wah Bhai Wah, became immensely popular. The third album Masti Hi Masti, released in 2000, was also a major hit.

Ashok Mastie's fourth and the latest album, Yaari Jaan Ton Pyari, was released on May 29 this year. Lalit Sen has scored the music. More than one lakh copies of the album have already been sold. The lyrics of some of the finest lyricists of Punjab - Devinder Khannewala, Sanjeev Anand, Nirmal Deol and Palli Singh - figure in this album.

Songs like Yaari Jaan Ton Pyari, Mehndi and Dil Da Ki lay bare the melodious and rich voice of Mastie. He has given a new colour to the music for dandiya, with the number Mundri in the album. Three videos of this album are already being shown by TV channels across the country. The three songs which have been picturised as video numbers are Yaari, also the title number, Do Ghutt Pee Len De and Mehndi. Mehndi is a moving number by Shiv Batalvi.

Mastie gave scintillating performances during his Pakistan tour in 1998, under the invitation of the then Prime Minister. Later, in 2001, he was invited by Lashkara channel to perform in Australia and England. Till now, Mastie has participated in eight shows in Canada.

Laado, the first Haryanvi feature film made in association with NFDC and shot on 35 mm cinemascope, has a song sung by and picturised on Ashok Mastie. This film, directed by Ashwani Chaudhary, was awarded the National Award in 1999.

Ashok Mastie says he does not target his music at any one community or any select age group. He believes in creating offerings that can be enjoyed and relished by every member of the family.