Singing is not an art, it’s an emotion that expresses one’s happiness, pain, tranquility, nostalgia, and what not! Born on January 4, 1957 in Giddarbaha, Muktsar, Punjab, Gurdas Maan is a Punjabi singer, lyricist, choreographer and actor. Gurdas Maan is a name enchanted by every soul who loves Punjabi music. He is not just an artiste or a singer but also, a living legend. His enigmatic persona, unique singing and dancing style have made his fans go crazy in not just Punjab but also, the world over. When he sings, it seems as if he has reached a parallel universe.
In his earlier phase of career, in the 1980s, he performed a song on stage, called, ‘Dil Da Mamla Hai’.- a song that became so popular that even a today’s youth remembers its lyrics by heart. Th amazing part was that Maan also wrote the lyrics of this song. This song was used in a play and luckily, was also, seen and appreciated by a producer of Doordarshan Kendra, Jalandhar. The producer approached Maan with a proposition for a TV performance of the song to which Maan agreed. When the song was aired on December 31, 1980, it gained national attention and ‘Gurdas Maan’ became a national figure! The overwhelming success of the song attracted the attention of HMV that wanted to record and release the song. It was with HMV that Maan, eventually released his debut album - a year later in 1981. This was just the beginning!
Since then he has gone on to record over 27 albums and has written over 200 songs.
The legend just climbed up after then - raising Punjabi folk music from a regional level to an international platform. ‘Apna Punjab’, for instance, won the Best Song and the Best Album award and Maan, himself won the Best International Artist title, at the Asian Pop and Media Awards held in Birmingham in 1998. This song was originally written by Makhan Brar of Toronto. As Maan was performing in concert in Toronto, Brar reportedly handed the song to Maan, where he performed it on the spot and the result was spectacular and appreciated by the audience. In addition to these awards, Maan more recently, won three music awards of Best Lyricist (Kudiye), Best Song (Heer), as well as Best Singer of the Year at the ETC Channel Punjabi.
Maan also received an Honorary Degree of Doctorate of Music in recognition of his considerable contribution to popular music. It was awarded by the University of Wolverhampton, England which was well deserved, indeed.
Other than singing, Maan has been remarkable in the Punjabi film industry. Best known as an actor for his undoubtedly, remarkable performances in two films: Waris Shah: Ishq da Waris (2006), a depiction of the Punjabi poet Waris Shah during the creation of his epic poem which was nominated as India's selection for the Academy Awards, and Shaheed-E-Mohabbet (1999), the film which tells the real-life story of Boota Singh .
Maan also appeared in the hit film Shaheed Udham Singh (2000), in which he played the role of Bhagat Singh. He also made a special appearance in Veer-Zaara with Shahrukh Khan and Preity Zinta.
Talking about his music each song – be it- “Apna Punjab” to ‘Ki Khateya Main Teri Heer Banke ‘or chhalla ,or ‘kuriya de kismat ‘- each song pierces the heart and shows his love for the music and makes us fall in love with music more . His way of depicting life incidents is beautiful and unique. For example, when he met with an accident, Maan's driver was killed. Maan later admitted that his driver asked him to wear his seat-belt, minutes before the accident. Maan believes that if it wasn't for his driver's advice, he would have been dead as well. Later he wrote and sung a song 'Baithi sade naal savari utter gayi' dedicated to his driver, who was also his good friend.
To conclude I must say that if you don’t know ‘Sir’ Gurdas Maan, then you actually don’t know where Punjabi cultural singing originated from. We can’t put him in the category of a singer only because he is a ‘living legend’ and his contribution to the world of music is priceless. All I have for him, is RESPECT RESPECT AND RESPECT !