New Delhi, Sep 29, Punjabi pop singer Harbhajan Mann believes Bollywood and piracy are the reasons behind Punjabi pop music taking a backseat. He says he is not interested in singing for the Hindi film industry as he is happy with his individual identity.
“Six-seven years ago Punjabi music was popular at the national level, people used to love to listen to it. But now due to piracy, the sales of the albums have decreased,” Mann, who came to 92.7 Big FM’s studio here to promote his new album ‘Wari Wari’, told IANS.
“Moreover, Punjabi being a regional language, big companies hesitate to invest money, which is the reason it has taken a backseat.”
“I think to some extent Bollywood is also responsible for the fading popularity of the genre. The film industry has hijacked Punjabi music. There are so many films that have Punjabi songs. And if you have actors like Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif dancing to Punjabi beats, who would see our songs,” he added.
Mann, who spent his childhood in Vancouver, Canada, started singing in 1980-81. He used to perform for the South Asian community while still in school.
He cut his first album “Chithiye Ni Chithiye” in 1992, but it was his 1999 album “Oye Hoye” that made him a name to reckon with in India.
The singer insists that the industry is suffering because they are facing a stiff competition from Bollywood.
“If we look at Hollywood, their songs have a different place, while films are separate. The problem in India is that everything is being merged into Bollywood. I know it’s a hard fight, but I am optimistic that things will get better soon,” he said.
Asked if he plans to do playback singing in Bollywood, he said, “I have no interest in singing for Bollywood. I have an individual identity for myself and I am happy with that.
“As a solo singer I have created an identity for myself and have been maintaining it. By god’s grace everything is going great. I can’t go in front of people and beg for work,” he added.
Mann is not just a good singer but also a well-known actor in the Punjabi film industry. He has starred in and produced seven movies, namely “Ji Aayan Nu”, “Asa Nu Mann Watna Da”, “Dil Apna Punjabi”, “Mitti Wajaan Mardi”, “Mera Pind, My Home”, “Jag Jeondiyan De Mele” and his most recent movie “Heer Ranjha”.
“I have always tried to do new things and find new ways to move forward in life. At the time when pop music was not that popular, I decided to venture into acting and started producing films. I keep all the options open. It is necessary for survival,” he added.
Meanwhile, Mann is gearing up for his US tour that starts in October. And after that he will start shooting for another Punjabi film in November.