4th May, this date could be vital for the direction of current Punjabi music and videos.
That is the date for the first meeting of the Cultural affairs and tourism minister Navjot Singh Sidhu’s newly created Punjab Culture Commission. The aim of the culture commission “to rein in erring singers and lyricists.”
Renowned Punjabi poet Dr Surjit Patar, who has been named chairman of the commission, has stated
“We are not in favour of creating a censor board. An advisory board will be more acceptable to start with”
“The board will work towards encouraging those singing meaningful lyrics. We intend to generate a counter narrative of sorts to what is happening.”
During the first meeting the board will take up complaints against what is seen as vulgar and objectionable songs being played at public places. Patar said people routinely complained against bawdy numbers being played in public and private buses. Bazaars and restaurants will also fall into this remit.
The two topics to be discussed on May 4th are “vulgarity” (sexual content of songs) and also the Punjabi music worlds seemingly love affair with shelling out songs which glorify gangsters, guns and violence. These songs are hugely popular on social media and young singers looking for immediate success are falling prey to the glamour and fan following
“What is being produced for social media goes almost unchecked. Not just the singer or the lyricist but the producer is also equally responsible,” said Patar.
“They want quick returns and encourage singers to sing what they feel sells fast,” Patar added.
How the commission will stop videos from being available online is something that has not been confirmed, but what has been muted is a ban on artists performing such tracks whilst in Punjab, and if they continue to do so, a recommendation could be made to stop bookings for act’s who continue to ignore the recommendations of the new board.
Reports are now filtering through from artists, and we can also confirm these, after conversations with leading TV Channels, that singers and video makers are being contacted and warned about the content of songs if they wish to see them played on TV, it will be interesting to see if this will be noticeable on TV stations over the next few weeks. The TV stations will confirm to the commission that they have informed singer and labels of the planned changes.
2012 was the last time such a commission was formed, back then the public never really got behind the cause and it flat lined. This new commission formed by Navjot Singh Sidhu seems to be more serious than ever before. The one thing it has that the original 2012 commission never had is public support, how wide spread that support is we will find out soon enough, but one thing is for certain, this commission will not be stopping anytime soon. Sidhu wants to be seen as the torch bearer for decency in Punjabi music, he has a legacy in cricket, and wants this to be his legacy to Punjab.
What comes out of the first meeting may have some serious implications for case that is being heard on May 17th in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the case is a PIL wishing to curb vulgar lyrics in Punjabi songs and playing of loud and raunchy numbers at marriages and other celebrations.