Turning a new leaf, with hope
Gurdas Maan...waiting for beautiful things.
YOU HAVE fallen in love with his voice. He is the man who made Punjabi music popular long before the likes of Daler Mehndi and Sukhwinder came on the scene. Now he is turning a new leaf. Switching sides, if only temporarily. Now he will be seen on the silver screen for the first time in Hindi cinema. With his wife as a producer and Tabu as his heroine, life is beautiful. Who is he? Well, Gurdas Maan. And the film is, well, "Zindagi Khoobsoorat Hai".
In Delhi this past week, Maan says he's an emotional man. An impresario, who loves not only giving his vocal chords a rendition of words which leaves the audience mesmerised but also emotes through his expressive eyes and jigs, which brought him fame throughout the world.Speaking from heart, he says, "I couldn't have dreamt in my wildest imagination that one day I would be speaking to journalists. I am basically a happy-go-lucky type of person from a Jat household, whose livelihood was through agriculture. My uncle implored me to sing whenever Ram Leela festivities were held. It was like a benediction."
It was a catharsis or groundswell of emotions when after rounding up a show a mentally challenged girl, pushing her decrepit wheelchair, met him backstage. "Without being able to express properly she conveyed a lot. This drew me to people who have to lead such lives," he says.
How a fully grown-up man is so sympathetic to a girl, who has been deprived of normal faculties is the storyline of the movie. " Sadashiv Amrapurkar is a don, whose daughter I adore so much that I bid adieu to everything to come close to her".
How did it feel to be pitted opposite Tabu? Says Maan, "She was chosen because the role demanded such a character. She's a multifaceted actress." Along with her there is Rajat Kapoor, who got rave reviews for his part in "Zubaida" and also Shahbaaz Khan of "Tipu Sultan" fame.
He confesses, "I know he-man roles aren't suitable for me. Remember, I'm primarily a stage playback singer so don't feel surprised that Sonu Nigam is singing for my character. Manna Dey sang for Kishore Kumar. On stage, at times, the sound system becomes loud and sometimes behaves normally. So I've to alter my pitch. I may have done umpteen Punjabi films but they are at least original unlike some Hindi movies lifted from their Southern counterparts. I have just sung for a Tamil film, titled, `Mama Mangla', where I retain my name and sing in the wedding."
Photo: R. V. Moorthy
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