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Still searching

Rabbi Shergill wants to represent India through music, not commercial movies

`Self impressions' is how he defines music. Money is an executive power for him. Films are not his calling, and he has no problems with remixes. Some call him a pop singer while others feel a touch of Sufism in his voice, but Rabbi Shergill's idea for himself is still evolving. "I still have not found what I am looking for. I think I have spread a wide net, but I am yet to catch the fish," says Rabbi, who prefers to be called an urban Sikh rather than a Sufi singer, as many listeners call him.

"Sufism or sufi are not convenient words for me. Sufi saints are the ones who go to dargahs every Friday. I am a Sikh and I believe that being a Sikh is inclusive of being a sufi. I started Sikhism before starting Sufism and I have read more of Guru Granth Sahib and other religious texts than books on Sufism and music," he clarifies.

No movies

Rabbi might have shot to fame five years back, when he was offered plum movie assignments, including Mahesh Bhatt's Paap, but he refused them all, and his stand has not changed yet. "I want to represent India through my singing, and today's movies, somewhere, lack India. Most of them come from Mumbai, and Mumbai is not India. But I must admit that movies were never on my mind, neither when I started singing, nor now," says he.

At a time when hundreds of music albums come and go and favourites are changed in the blink of an eye, Rabbi's number "Bulla Ki Jaana" is still topping the charts. The reason, the singer believes, is the spiritual nature of Indians and the lack of original music in the industry. "In countries like the U.S., people spend thousands of dollars to find material comforts. Indians spend huge amounts to go inside, devoting energy to attain higher spiritual levels. People here relate to my songs because they are in-depth and give reasons to think. Also, original music is not happening nowadays and that worked to my advantage, as listeners found it fresh and original," maintains Rabbi, who aims to take his equipment to remote areas by plane one day. On remixes, Rabbi turns diplomatic. "I am widening the market for them and they are widening the market for me," he says.

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