Daler Mehndi is a man with a definite mission: nail the charts by unleashing million-selling albums. Loose-limbed warbler and lord of crowd-pleasers, his fame is widespread and popularity so huge there is no way you wouldn't have heard of the king crooner, who's rightfully credited with making bhangra beats as hot as baalti meat and curry round the globe.
Forceful, fearless, frank, flirtatious, and always fuelled up for something new, Mehndi's route map to musical monarchy is well trodden. Still, it's one thing knowing India's greatest performer is all that and a whole other thing to hear that appetite and experience, that longing, across all these years he's been ruling the charts. Sample this: with catchy hook lines, sing-a-long melodies and upbeat numbers so typical of the sultan of swing, the power-packed performer has dented the charts not once, but a record seven times! All at a time when too many "super groups" have more to do with the record company accountant than any genuine desire to create great music. What's more, he is a prolific writer who composes the lyrics of his peppy numbers!
Starting with the spectacular Bolo Ta Ra Ra Ra in 1995, which sold more than a million copies within a few months of its release, thus becoming the best-selling non-soundtrack album in the Indian music history, the messiah of masti ensured his stuff was never going to be run-of-the-mill. More than the huge record sales, the chart-scorching eponymous number ensured bhangra pop was the fastest growing music genre of the Nineties. It not only earned him Channel V's Best Male Pop Singer Award, subsequent efforts in the form of the hugely successful Dardi Rab Rab Kardi in 1996, followed by Ho Jayegi Balle Balle in 1997, too was honored with the same trophy.
In fact, Ho Jayegi Balle Balle stayed at the Channel V's number one slot for a continuous 38 weeks! No wonder the charismatic pasha of pop, who tasted success at the age of five when he started singing shabads along with his father, Hazoori Raagi (head priest) Ajmer Singh Chandanji of Takht Patna Sahib Gurudwara, is the most loved and followed Indipopper the world over. In fact, Mehndi must be the only Indian pop performer who has had eager fans getting into a musical frenzy in as diverse countries as the US, UK, Holland, Belgium, France, West Indies, Middle East, Kenya, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Pakistan and New Zealand.
His trademark live performances marked with irrepressible crowd enthusiasm have made his shows musical landmarks in themselves. No wonder his Malaysian concert has been dubbed even bigger than Michael Jackson’s has by the Malay media. Not a mean thing, considering an industry that forgets faster than it registers, Mehndi's continuous streak of success proves his name carries a lot of weight. Best of all, in his case, too much of a good thing is welcome.