While the industry is rife with speculations that Shahid Kapur’s high-on-life singing sensation Tommy Singh in Udta Punjab is ‘inspired’ from Yo Yo Honey Singh’s life, the musician-rapper smiles and says, “I don’t know about that, but I wish Diljit Dosanjh the best for the film.” In town for a concert and a quick promotion of his debut film as an action hero in Zorawar, that releases on May 6, Singh was as usual surrounded by an entourage of a fiercely protective team, keeping prying eyes and piercing questions at bay. It was one of his first interviews with the city’s media post the 18-month self-imposed sabbatical, and one was expecting Singh to walk in a changed man, especially after he came out to the world with the diagnosis of being bi-polar. But when Singh’s polished manager continued with a polite persistence of “please, let’s just stick to the film and leave the rest of the questions for another time,” we realised nothing’s really changed. Except that Singh was a couple of kilos heavier and a little reserved, letting his managers take control.
“I was never out of the game, I was working, writing and composing songs. In fact, Dheere Dheere, which just won an award, was composed during my break,” says Singh.
Okay, so, what about the film? “It’s the story of a fauji, and not just any fauji, but a special ops person who has gone undercover. It’s a new kind of character for Punjabi cinema, and is a very serious and dramatic film with lots of action,” says Singh adding how they’ve kept the Punjabi language simple and city-like in it to reach across to a wideraudience nationally and internationally.
Being pitched as one of the most expensive films in Punjabi cinema, Zorawar has been shot in South Africa, London and Punjab and stars Parul Gulati, Gurbani Judge, Pawan Malhotra, Mukul Dev and Achint Kaur. Produced by PTC Motion Pictures, Rajiee M Shinde and Rabindra Narayan, it has been directed by Vinnil Markan, and also has Singh as music composer and singer for it.
“I have three songs – a gangster number, love song and my favourite, Superman,” says the singer-rapper who claims to have done all stunts on his own without a body double.
Acting, he says, was tough and he’d think twice before signing any new film. In the meantime, it is music for him and he is looking forward to releasing a new track called ‘Rise and Shine’ that talks a lot of ‘zinda-dilli’.
“Well, that is one of the things I learnt in my two years, to be optimistic in spite of whatever happens,” he finally comes through, but is quick to add that nothing really changed in the almost two years he was missing in action. That the illness or its challenges made his perspective change towards life or his music and lyrics is negative. “I am still the same,” he asserts.