From Pind to Pan-India: The Undying Global Appeal of Punjabi Music

Pop Culture

From Pind to Pan-India: The Undying Global Appeal of Punjabi Music

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty


spent the better part of the month of May this year in Delhi. Apart from the scorching summer sun, I also experienced the makings of a Big Fat North Indian Wedding first hand. (Spoiler alert: It’s mostly opulent decor, indulgent food, and enough alcohol abuse to justify bringing back Prohibition.) I came back convinced that Mumbaikars will never quite be able to party as hard as North Indians. Zest for alcohol aside, the biggest advantage our friends up North have going for them is that their party-hard ways are usually chronicled by their homegrown brand of foot-stomping Punjabi music.  

Some of my most cherished Delhi memories had Punjabi songs playing in the background. Like my first gol gappa at the seedier end of Vasant Kunj’s Mahipalpur. The fiery tinge I felt in the back of my throat went hand in hand with Mankirt Aulakh’s peppy “Munda Badnam Ho Gaya” playing at a nearby Agarwal Sweets. Or how at 4am in Connaught Place’s Kitty Su, Parmish Varma’s “Gaal Ni Kadni” coupled with four LIITs made me gyrate maniacally on the dance floor. In fact, even the wedding ceremonies were rife with choreographed performances by the bride and groom’s aunts and uncles who seemed totally at ease shaking a leg on Badshah’s “Wakhra Swag” and Jassi Gill’s “Nakhre” among others.