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Daler Mehndi with Ash

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Patiala (UNI): Riding high on the success of his songs in India's Oscar nomination Rang De Basanti, Punjabi pop star Daler Mehndi today said he was planning an item number in a film with Amitabh Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai.''It is my small gift to the Big B on his birthday today,'' said the crooner who was here to appear in the local court to face the retrial of the case of human trafficking against him and his brother Shamsher Mehndi. Talking to mediapersons, he however, declined to elaborate upon the project, saying ''it will be unethical''. ''At present, the entire cast and crew of Rakeysh Mehra's Rang De... is caught up in this Oscars thing. We are just too happy that our film has been nominated for the Oscars,'' he said.The singer, who stormed the Punjabi music scene with an entirely different genre of music, claims he wants to bask in the success of Rang De... before launching any new album.

''At the time of Rang De Basanti all of us, Aamir Khan, Rakeysh Mehra, A R Rehman and myself needed hits and we struck bang on. The success has been tremendous and so great that for now I do not want to spoil it. I know the general trend is to release a album as soon as possible to make the most of this success but then I do not want to do that. Moreover, I have to give a greater work than Rang De...which can enthrall my audience. I have some music lined up, but launching an album is far from my thoughts now'', he said.''I am singing playback for some big banners and this is fine with me for now,'' he added.

Talking about the kissing controversy that his younger brother, singer Mika, was involved in recently with item girl Rakhi Sawant, Daler remarked, ''He is my younger brother and I wish the best for him but then at the same time everyone has his or her own way of leading life''. Regarding his new releases, Daler said that title 'Kafila' and 'Jhum Barabar Jhum' will be out soon. A title based on the Gurbani was also ready in which he had sung the 'Shabads' of Guru Gobind Singh, Guru Arjan Dev, Sheikh Farid and other saints. A DVD of Japji Sahib will also be released next month. The pop star also disclosed that he was in touch with the DGP of Maharashtra S S Pasricha, who was also president of the management committee of Gurdwara Sachkhand Nanded Sahib and working on some projects to be out on the eve of tri-centenary celebrations of installation of Guru Granth Sahib. He said that he was in touch with other Punjabi singers and there was possibility to give light and sound performance at Nanded in 2008.

When asked to comment on the criticism that he was ignoring his mother tongue Punjabi, which gave him popularity and instead concentrating on Hindi films and songs, Daler countered ''I am spreading Punjabi through our national media and imparting a Punjabi touch in Hindi songs to make the Punjabi folk music popular worldwide. I do not want to it to remain limited in one region,'' Daler said. He also criticised Team India bowler Harbahjan Singh for appearing with his hair flowing down his shoulders for an ad and said he should show due respect to his religion.When asked about he will be replacement of Navjot Singh Sidhu in Laughter Channel which was being aired from Star One, he said, ''Navjot is the strength of that channel and the credit of his success goes to him, he said, adding ''We stars should understand that we were the role model for Sikhs and should maintain the dignity and integrity of our religion''.Without ruling out the possibility of joining politics, the singer said he was having good relations with both Congress and the BJP but ''the time has not come to jump into it (political arena) though I have inclination to serve the people of country''.

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