Daler Mehndi! He has a very specific sound to him, which can be extremely powerful when used in a limited fashion. Probably why he never quite broke through in Hindi film, he’s really only good for one song per soundtrack.
In the mid-90s, Daler Mehndi surprised everyone by having a best selling album that was NOT film music! No one even knew that was possible before him. He’s a Punjabi folk singer who started kind of mixing in new beats and strong sounds to his Punjabi folk training and people loooooooved it. Film people didn’t quite know what to do with him though. There’s loads of Punjabi singers, but most of them don’t have such a distinctive sound. Daler Mehndi is always going to sound like Daler Mehndi, so you want to use him very very carefully.
Looking at his filmography, a lot of his film work was for smaller movies, some other songs from larger films simply aren’t that memorable. But there are also a lot that are a really big deal. Here are some of my favorites. Listen to these, and you will understand why he is such a big deal, and why he is used so rarely.
“Rang De Basanti”