Manpriya Singh in Chandigarh
Mainu lehenga le de mehenga jeya marjanya… there’s a nice ring to the song, it’s apparently a huge hit. But — agree or disagree — the lyrics, for some, are patriarchal, regressive... However, popular Punjabi music is a world where women dream of Lamborghini rides, while men croon over her high heels, suit that suits her, a fair girl who’ll look good in a black SUV, as heard in the songs by super popular Yo Yo Honey Singh, Guru Randhawa and Amrit Mann, respectively. As for violence, Sidhu Moose Wala has crafted out of his music a successful career and loyal fans. Bohemia’s first hit was, incidentally, titled Kali Dunali.
After Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh ordered a ban on Punjabi movie Shooter, based on the life of gangster Sukha Kahlwan, and a case was registered against producer KV Singh Dhillon for allegedly promoting violence and gang culture, the spotlight is once again back on the parallel popular culture — Punjabi music.
It brags about violence, gangster culture, alcoholism... Chak Lo Revolver by Babbu Maan is a wedding staple even two decades after release; shootings are, by the way, still not unheard of. Only once in a while comes a Lagdi Lahore Di, which garnered a record-breaking 855 plus million views. Singer Guru Randhawa immediately credits the success to its great vibes. “It’s a song class apart, beautifully done and nicely composed. It clicked with every age group and that’s why it was a success. I think what really clicks with the millennials are beats and high energy.”