Neha Bhasin, a middle aged Indian woman and a award winning singer. You are probably think, but I’ve never heard of her? Even I felt the same but she is the amazing voice behind the song Dhunki from Meri brother Ki Dhulhan and as well the Jag Ghoomega from the new movie starring Salman khan, Sultan. Upon listening to these she seems like any other female artist. However Neha has produced a collection of amazing covers of some traditional punjabi folk music which not only makes her unique but also a strong feminist.
The only way I can describe her renditions of the old time classic is creative genius. The punjabi folk music is mostly used during a wedding and Neha has taken these and given them an almost hipster twist. In her rendition of the popular ‘Nai Jana’, a song which traditionally refers to a woman who is upset with her husband and returned to maternal home. In each verse a reaction of her in laws is coming to collect her but she is unwilling to go. In her video Neha twists this to show her performing in a show. A producer asks her to come perform but as the song states she is unwilling until her love interests comes.
What I love about this is clever use of lyrics and applying this to a modern scenario. The fact Neha has taken such a traditional song and given it the ultimate modern kick is amazing. She is fully ready she is dressed in a revealling sequence dress which differs from the traditional punjabi less revealing salwar kameez. As well as this is she is supporting a more curvy figure with a tattoo and a show girl persona. With just this one song she has challenged so many stereotypes and pushed so many boundaries. I feel her covers give a sense that traditional values and modern lifestyle can be at harmony together.
This is a contrast to her cover of the popular recast song Madhaiya, which features her in a traditional sari watching home videos of a wedding bidding farewell to the bride. Her music and style shows modern indian women are different and versatile, they are bold and brave and not afraid to do what they like. Her videos and music is tied by the key element of simplicity which gives it that earthy feeling.
Check out the covers in the playlist below: