Saturday, January 29, 2011

"Those" Punjabi songs

In January, 2006 came a punjabi singer by the name of Gurinder Kaur Kainth and she became a sensation named Miss Pooja. Her stardom reached a stage where songs in the same genre came to be known as the "miss pooja type songs" even if she was not one of the singers. Off late I have had extensive access to such songs thanks to my dad's chauffeur who aparently has a new CD of her songs every 3 months I go home. 1500 songs in 4 years, how else can you justify that? Because of this exposure, I have had a new look at this genre of songs and my views have changed significantly, and in a positive way. Judge me if you want to, but wait till you read it all.

The so called miss pooja songs have done something which no other singer or genre of songs could do before that-Bringing to light the comtemporary issues faced by the people in Punjab. When I say people, I am not talking about people like you and me but people who are staying in the interior towns and villages of punjab.

Babbu Mann might have sung "Mittran Di Chattri" to exemplify the "married off to Canada" concept but the shayari and nicely written lyrics might make a lot of sense but it really doesnt hit the problem of girls being married off against their will. But when one of "those" punjabi songs come up with the lyrics , "maape kende vihah k kudi torni caneda vicho munda aayuga", it makes a point. Its simple, its straight and hits the issue on the head. If we actually look at the problem and its roots, its more apparent at the lower/mid strata of the society and people from that strata can easily relate to such "desi" lyrics.

Another category of songs which are famous/infamous have been songs related to conversations of lovers and the problems arising from that. There have been innumerable songs where the girl is trying to explain why she can't talk while at home as her mother can listen to the conversation. A lot of us might not have faced this problem but in a society where the concept of girlfriends/boyfriends or rather just guy and female friends is not accepted, it is a genuine problem. When such people hear such songs, they easily relate to them and enjoy these songs at the same time. There also have been some songs where wives complain about the excessive drinking nature of their husbands. It is a big problem and is being addressed through this medium.

Another issue these songs have been able to address is the problems faced by the farmers of punjab. There was an entire series of songs named Jhona in which the songs specifically talked about rice growing in Punjab and problems related to it. This issue is of utmost importance in a state which is one of the highest rice and wheat producing states in the country.

Chandigarh is arguably one of the most overused word in punjabi music. I guess only Bullet & Mobile can compete with it. I often joke with my friends that there is not any other city about which so many songs have been written. But, Whats the reason for that? In marketing terms, I would say ASPIRATION. Chandigarh is an aspirational location for youth living in different parts of punjab and this aspiration is being targetted through the songs which, to me, makes perfect sense. In similar songs, the abuse of power in Punjab has also been well depicted like in one of the songs the protaganist sings " chandigarhon phone aaju wadde saab da, fer marde saloot vekhin sare." This is a very mocking take at the power of "approach" in Punjab.

In all, I think Miss Pooja and other fellow singers have played a major role in bringing forward such issues and at the same time making sure that the common man understands the idea. There are ofcourse non-sensical songs that come along but where not? Or How else do you justify the success of "Munni Badnam Hui" & "Sheila ki Jawani."


MAVERICK said...

I highly appreciate and respect the outlook that you have undertaken towards this specific genre of music.My ears have not been treated much by this genre of music, but I support the concern they bring up.
I also believe it shows the depth and feelings attached between ones culture and its language or maybe music.
Quite an interesting subject you have undertaken.I liked it.
P.S. I surely like to question the fact though, Chandigarh and aspirations , do they really walk hand in hand.And I mean in general not to some specific people.

adarshs said...

thanks for your appreciation and questions raised far as chandigarh and aspirations is concerned, again we need to look at it from a common man's perspective who is living in a interior village of punjab...for him chandigarh is like neverland and he wants to go there...and writing songs on chandigarh is a way of virtually taking him on a tour of his fantasy...i hope i have answered your ques well...

MAVERICK said...

I agree with some parts of your answer.True as it is, a person often builds his art keeping his fantasy's as its subject. By art I mean anything, maybe music, painting anything at all, even poems for that matter.
Though the answer is incomplete in the sense that it generalizes the whole thing to the Punjabi people talk.So I would re-frame my question like
Delhi : Power
Bombay :Dreams
Kolkata : Communism
Can Chandigarh be related to aspirations of growth in the same sense ?

adarshs said...

i agree with what u r sayin...but, for a person living in interiors of punjab, chandigarh is as big as he can think of...delhi,mumbai etc ofcourse go a step further but a lot of people in the interiors don't think so far...