Namrata Kohli in conversation with Daler Mehndi

Metaverse next trillion-dollar opportunity for entertainers: Daler Mehndi

The Pasha of Pop, who recently made India’s first Metaverse real estate purchase, talks about his investment, his musical inclinations and future plans in a Q&A

Namrata Kohli | New Delhi

Variously described as ‘Pasha of Pop’, ‘Sardar of Swing’ and ‘The King of Bhangra-Pop’, Daler Mehndi recently acquired a new moniker–India’s first Metaverse man–after he bought a piece of property called Balle Balle Land (BBL). The asset is officially the first metaverse real estate purchase in India. Mehndi plans to host Bollywood films and music, and concerts by various artists across genres like Pop, Hip Hop, Rap, Sufi and Regional music. He was recently in New Delhi to perform on occasion of Baisakhi. Namrata Kohli caught up with him at Pacific D21 Mall, Dwarka to know more about his metaverse investment, his personal preferences in music and future plans:

You are the first Indian to buy real estate space in Metaverse. What prompted you to purchase this land?

I learnt about this when a few people approached me to do something in Metaverse. This included Gamitronics and then there was a team from the US, another one from Canada and yet another from Hong Kong. These four teams approached me and asked me to do a ‘metaverse thing’. Then I performed on January 26 and saw that all sites crashed on Amazon within 15 minutes. There were 20 million people across the world who had logged in to make this a big hit. I really liked that and realised that this is what the future demands me to do. It’s a new technique and a new way to entertain the audience. We smelt the opportunity first – in fact if you leave aside the US, we are the first to venture into this space.

Is Metaverse the next trillion-dollar opportunity for entertainers?

Yes, it is. I firmly believe the future is virtual…the future generation definitely wants this. In 2023, the demand will become even stronger. First, we made bhangra popular globally and now we have to do something interesting in Metaverse.

What is it that gets the best out of you as a performer, offline or online?

Metaverse is totally different. Here you have to go virtual and perform. A live show is a different ball game altogether.

What kind of concerts will you be hosting at BBL?

We will be hosting a lot of artists, be it Punjabi, Bollywood, Sufi or Rock. It’s a wish from my heart to even introduce devotional music at BBL and I am hoping we shall be able to do so in a year and a half.

You are best known for Punjabi pop but when we hear you live in your concerts, you sing everything from Sufi to Bollywood to Punjabi folk to devotional to ghazals. What is your favourite genre of music?

I love to listen to my own songs. Somehow or the other, I don’t find that josh or happiness in anybody else’s songs. If you see any other names, they are all big names in the music industry today and they sing so well, but mostly you will find sadness in their songs.

I feel very motivated by my own songs, be it Dangal Dangal Hua, Rang De Basanti. During Covid times, we recorded Ghar Layenge Gold, Jagga Jiteya Uri in 2019, which won all awards and then Le Chhalaang in 2020 from the movie Chhalaang. I feel there is a lot of passion in my own songs which is missing in most others.

People listen to Daler Mehndi when they want to feel joy. But whom does Daler Mehndi listen to? Who is your favourite singer?

I love all those legends who are famous for their ghazals as well as classical music–be it Chote Ghulam Ali, Mehdi Hassan Sahib, Bade Ghulam Ali Khan Sahib.

Today Punjab is known mainly for bhangra and chicken tikka…the lyrics are moving from bad to worse and there are constant references to alcohol in each song. What is your take on lyrics going for a toss?

In my work you will never find aggression- “aisa kar de aur waisa kar de”… these lyrics have become commonplace in Punjabi pop today. What can I say except that it is the wish of the people who want to sing these songs. And it is the wish of the audience to hear such kind of songs. As for me, I want to spread happiness and positivity through my songs.

Source: Business Standard

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