1:01 am - Thursday May 5, 2016

The Curious Case of Babbu Mann

Babbu MannArticle by RKahlon – It was the night of January in Punjab many years ago. We were basking in the glory of newly found youth afloat the air of the dream career. The concept of college festivals was new to us and we were completely thrilled at the idea of watching with only friends some famous singers perform for the college crowd which often goes raucous during such celebrations.

He was comparatively new. Or may be not too new for others who kept themselves updated with latest happenings of the Punjabi entertainment. It was a different case with me and many others. We were fresh from a grueling series of exams and listening to the popular Punjabi music around was quite a quaint concept. To me and many Hindi film and cricket stars fancying teenagers, he was noticeable because he resembled the latest cricket sensation of the time, Shoaib Akhtar.

The earliest image of him with some of us has to be that of a thin frame beneath a white transparent shirt drenched in the rain acting ‘cool’ with the model in the song, also made famous by Nasibo Lal (neendran nahin aondiyaan). It sounded routine. Not something which could guarantee him a firm place among the fans like today.

Then from somewhere we heard the next one – ‘pind paira lagda’. This time he was covered under a thick opaque black vest doing the ‘bhangra’. The song was catchy. It suited those times of the state. An immediate amusement with people like us. The blacks and whites have followed the man of his own rules, own ideas, own fans and own critics since then.

He was the first singer I ever saw performing live after entering my college life. That January night whose images are still vivid in my mind. He looked nothing like a Punjabi singer. We were used to see colored silk dresses of Gurdas Mann, Hans Raj Hans and Sardool Sikander those times at the big nights. Some sported intricately embroidered ‘sherwanis’. Pathani suit was a favorite too for the performances. This guy standing in front of us was wearing a branded green jacket and a pair of faded jeans. He was nothing like others. Quite an odd guy. Who else could jeer at one silent section of the crowd by yelling, “ਹਾਏ ਨੀ ਨਰਸੇ, ਨੀ ਮੇਰਾ ਦਿਲ ਤਰਸੇ”, inviting a thunderous roar from another section drowned in the night (men will be men, ha!!!. He knew how to entertain the ‘people who matter’. Even then. Even now. Who else could attempt this audacity in front of everyone and completely get away with it? He gained some black stars and some not-white that night.

Then we heard that the “young singing sensation Babbu Mann is suffering from some Leukemia”. Every heart prayed for the ‘pind paira lagda’ guy. Oh, was a rumour! Spread by some jealous soul. Ah well, anything is possible in Punjab. Some whiteness stopped shining around him. The guy was about to become a curious entity with more rumours and more controversies. More people to paint him an absolute white and quite a number to paint otherwise.

He is known for experimenting with his looks.
Babbu maan new look

Like a fanatic young cousin told me once, “you know he has written that song ‘ਮਿੱਤਰਾਂ ਦੀ ਛਤਰੀ ਤੋਂ ਉੜ ਗਈ’ for his girlfriend who left him and married some London based guy”. It could be entirely possible. We have had an Ataullah famous for the stories about his love and love songs. But then, Ataullah’s pain seeped from his voice. Isn’t it?
“So for whom did he sing ‘one night stand?”, was my genuine next question.
“ਲੈ ਹੁਣ ਇੱਦਾਂ ਦੇ ਗਾਣੇ ਗਾਉਣੇ ਪੈਂਦੇ ਆ ਲੋਕਾਂ ਲਈ”, the defensive cousin tried to convince me hard. Hard. Hard to believe that BM can do nothing wrong and his every action is just a need. A desperate need.
Well!!! Yeah… ਇੱਦਾਂ ਦੇ ਗਾਣੇ. Everyone sings. Yeah right!!!!
Doesn’t matter though. Every star has right to do everything to become more popular. There is nothing wrong in trying new arenas.
So, ਮਿੱਤਰਾਂ ਦੀ ਛਤਰੀ was sung for some obscure unknown girlfriend who ditched him and married some London based guy. Get it. Get the story.
He had to clarify the drug addiction allegations by leaving a permanent impression in the song “sardar” – ਮਾਨ ਨਸ਼ੇ ਨਹੀਂ ਕਰਦਾ….. something next in the line. But he stunned one and all with, “ਕਿਸੇ ਸਾਲੇ ਦੀ ਭੈਣ ਸੇੰਟੀ ਹੋ ਗਈ ਹੋਣੀ ਮੇਰੇ ਤੇ ਤੇ ਅਗਲੇ ਨੇ ਗੱਲ ਬਣਾਤੀ” – something like that. Quite gutsy, and interesting, eh!!! Again, to the roar of a crowd of Punjab youngsters ready to lay their lives for him. People who matter. The crowd in front of whom he promised that – ਪੰਜਾਬ ਦਾ ਪੈਸਾ ਪੰਜਾਬ ਵਿਚ ਹੀ ਰਹਿਣਾ ਚਾਹੀਦਾ. ਫਿਲਮਾਂ ਅਸੀਂ ਬਣਾਈਏ ਤੇ ਨਫ਼ਾ ਕੋਈ ਬਾਹਰਲਾ ਖੱਟ ਕੇ ਲੈ ਜਾਵੇ??? – can not write the exact word used for ‘baahrla’ due to some social chains. We are not BM after all.

A sketch of Babbu Maan on a student’s desk. His fans love him to extremes.
Mera Gham drawing

The king of fanboi-sm grabbed more eyeballs with – ਇਕ ਬਾਬਾ ਨਾਨਕ ਸੀ – but the reason of this fame he has to share with those two babas who over-reacted immensely at what was just another song. Had there not been a reaction, the action would have been dulled. Ah, there were these youtube wars between the followers of ‘babas’ and followers of ‘babbu’. Punjabis residing in villages, abroad, Canada, US, UK, Australia, New Zealand and Chile (a little known destination for Punjabis though), (and if there had been any in Antarctica, he too would have jumped to the defense of one) started uploading their own comments and view points as if you tube had struck a deal with them. “This is a video response to ABCDEFGH” was the new toy for newly gone tech-savvy Punjab. Full time entertainment for the silent watchers. A passionate issue for passionate followers of both the sides. Did Babbu apologize from Babas, I do not know. I never followed it. Just heard him again on some live platform talking some not so good words about them.

His films do best business inside Punjab despite being weakest technically. Amusing again. He could give his followers a taste of steamy scenes in Rabb ne Banaiyaan Jodiyaan but they would always be reminded of his ਪੰਥ ਦੀ ਸੇਵਾ (a term his fans seriously use) he did by making ‘Hawayein’. His latest film has a controversial name. Notwithstanding that, he has now set a new record. Not releasing the music of the film before the release if what we heard is right. A man of his own rules. Own actions and own results with every move stranger than the previous one.

The humble beginnings of Babbu Maan are known to everyone.
Babbu maan old photograph

While few people think not-white about him, no one can ignore the fact that he is a terrific live performer. He knows who he has to entertain and how he has to do that. May be it is just his inbuilt personality. Who knows?

Is he married or is he not? Everything about him is strangely ambiguous. Much to the pleasure of his fans, and curiosity of those who paint him not-white. May be many points about him have been missed, but how many words can describe a person who is a – curious case!!!

Love him or hate him, you just cannot ignore him in the present scenario.

The most famous sticker in Punjab… Babbu Maan
Babbu Maan sticker

P.S. – Fans, this is not his criticism, please read patiently and understand it in depth. And Punjabiportal has not written anything here. (The line has to be added. Much compulsory even if taking his name). Best wishes to him and you all for the forthcoming venture.

About the author

rkahlon rkahlon is the talented wielder of words who knows how to use the artistic expression in language. Although she loves to write and research on Punjabi Cinema, her knowledge of Hindi cinema cant be denied.


Filed in: General Article, Punjabi Music

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28 Responses to “The Curious Case of Babbu Mann”

  1. john khamanon
    February 3, 2015 at 2:25 pm #

    original messenger of god, one & only BABBU MAAN

  2. Ajay Sharma
    August 29, 2014 at 12:53 pm #

    can someone send me that sticker of Babbu Maan on the car please.
    koi veer ban k Babbu maan da car wala sticker send kreo plz.
    Email: ajaysp22@gmail.com

  3. jaskamal
    August 1, 2014 at 3:08 pm #

    Well being neither is fan nor hater but i was really curious to know why so many people love him madly. Couldn’t find those answers but the article is nice.(y)

  4. Rimpy Sandhu
    December 30, 2013 at 12:19 pm #

    Satsriakal Sir. . . M lyk ur voice so mch. . M tuhadi bht vaddi fan aan . . Hashar nd Mera gham both r my fav songs evr . . Actualy boln lyi tan bht kuj h tuhadi tarif bt i dnt have wrds , bs enna kehna ki u r fabulus . . Tuhada koi cmparisn ni :)

  5. Harpreet kaur Brar
    June 10, 2013 at 5:55 pm #

    I love u babbu maan ji ..
    Main tuhadi bhut waddi fan a..waheguru tuhanu trakian bakshe ,hamesha chardi kla ch rakhe …

  6. yuvraj singh saini
    January 27, 2013 at 6:01 pm #

    babbu maan ji nu acting wadia krni paini aa, te apne ganea waal zada zor dena paina chahida

  7. yuvraj singh saini
    January 27, 2013 at 5:59 pm #

    babbu mann paaji da main bhut vadda fan aa , par unha di acting main har wari dissapoint krdi ae, aaj kal de unha de geet vi pahle warge ni rahe, umeed krunga, ek wari fir babbu mann dhamaka kre apne gitta naal

  8. November 21, 2012 at 9:03 am #

    babbu maan is best

  9. rajinder
    November 7, 2012 at 4:11 pm #

    Mainu babbu mann te bhut faqar hai. I m ur big fan. Bas isi trah
    apni maa boli di sewa karde raho lokan di parwah na karo best of luck n waheguru
    may bless u 4evr.

  10. January 27, 2012 at 4:03 pm #

    paji tusi jo bhi ho mara leya mast ho ek bom gann fozia da liya paka gayo pls…………………

  11. Asma
    January 19, 2012 at 5:53 am #

    I see that many failed to notice the wit and sarcasm in your post. :D Curiouscase indeed

  12. jagdeep
    December 9, 2011 at 8:23 am #

    lolz, that sketch was made by me :P ..:D :)

  13. xp0z3d
    November 30, 2011 at 2:23 am #

    I commend him for being better than all other singers who come out with safe songs. But truthfully this new album of his has disappointed me. He needs to bring better lyrics and not try too hard , it shows.

    But still he is miles better than most of Punjabi singers who have no identity.

  14. Punjabstani
    November 29, 2011 at 1:12 am #

    I think only babbu mann has the courage of singing a song like Jat Marjuga ( hero hitlar……) and make it interesting or could be tolerated! ( I did not mean that it is a a good song)

  15. Punjabstani
    November 29, 2011 at 12:52 am #

    Very well written to give a scoop of this talented punjabi singer’s life style. I go back and forth about how I feel about babbu mann as a person and his opinions about socials issues. There is one thing for sure that he is very experimental in his writing, music and now movies. Never got a chance to watch his live performance ( neither do have a will)
    Like him or not but he has sung so many good songs so far that could make us dance or let our emotions flow at any stage.

  16. pendujatt
    November 28, 2011 at 5:22 pm #

    saari energy ithe hi la ditti..”Ik baba Nanak c” wale gaane de silent watchers baare v likh dena..jinna ne apne saadh de mare te..babbu maan de gaane ute aal pataal de mashoor fancy babyan dia fot an pa ditia…te babbu maan te baabe lada dite! es kaar gujari piche os sant de chele c jina ne punjab ch 3 din tains,cars te dukana saadia Te apne BABBU bhaji aka BM aive ragde gaye..par ik gal..ohde Gaane nu chadaaye mil gyae..te jehna hor “savadara” di dukan band c ..oh v chal paye…akhabara v vad vikia! kar karake sab da sar gya..! bas sivaye Ranjit singh dhandriawale de..! ohne ni Diljit dosangh waang nianpuna kita!
    chalo ji.koi na..apne babbu bhaji great aa..sab kuch ape krde..gaane, music, film writing, director,actor, producer,..kaim aa 22..par lagda es vaar audiencev aap hi banana pave!

  17. rkahlon
    November 24, 2011 at 11:41 am #

    The comments of the people having those eyes for their apple continue to amuse me. Thanks all.

  18. varinder
    November 24, 2011 at 8:21 am #

    Great writer babbu mann

  19. ma_boli_punjabi
    November 22, 2011 at 6:37 pm #

    Babbu Mann is one person who polarises opinion like no other singer. People who love him, do so madly and unconditionally while the haters have equally strong feelings. In the haters/criticizer category, there are two kind of people. One who hate his songs, the way he presents himself as a gunda while the second group hates him because of his fans. The article belongs to the former category. But the below comment by “kaur” represents the latter. and I would never understand this concept of judging a person because of the kind of fan following he has.

    PS: “hate” may be a strong word above but I couldn’t find a better word to convey the feelings.

    • kaur
      November 22, 2011 at 7:14 pm #

      Oh, just for fun just for fun. As I said random thoughts I came over, hehe.

    • Pind Bhundri
      November 23, 2011 at 2:22 am #

      ma_boli_punjabi 22 sab toh takra fan lagda babbu maan da. ehna na sochyaa kar babbu 22 vaare. apni v zindagi sudhaarla.

  20. kaur
    November 22, 2011 at 5:46 pm #

    Haha random thought:

    1) Haha, inna shukar ah sabh teth english ch likhiya, ah BM de so-called fan sochde reh jaan ge ki keha haha!!

    2) Kade notice kitta Amrinde, Harbhajan… Inni female fan following a, and BM … ahemm.. nothing just saying lol!

  21. bricktop
    November 22, 2011 at 6:01 am #

    It really is getting hard to defend this guy. Thats what everyone is saying these days :D

  22. November 22, 2011 at 3:05 am #

    I really enjoyed reading this article before even publishing it. More than the content, i enjoyed its literary merits.

    You have very wisely balanced the black and the white in your article about BM. To me, he is in the gray area… undecided.

    • November 23, 2011 at 4:54 am #

      true true…that’s how most of us human beings are.

  23. inder
    November 21, 2011 at 1:41 pm #

    vadhiya article kahlon sahab…

  24. Raman $herGiLL
    November 21, 2011 at 8:56 am #

    Banda baala hii att aa

  25. sukh
    November 21, 2011 at 8:46 am #

    luv u babbu mann….luv u babbu mann….luv u..

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