Bhojpuri music is fast coming out of its cocoon. Earlier relished only in rural areas of North Indian states of Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh, this genre of music has now struck a chord with music lovers in metro cities too. According to a media survey, Delhi alone boasts of a number of Bhojpuri song listeners.
"Thanks to the increasing popularity of Bhojpuri films, the music too has found a new lease of life," says Prem Sagar, a city-based singer. He also informs that several music companies based in the capital, like Chanda Music, Jayanti Enterprises, Santosh Communications and Wave Music, are frequently releasing Bhojpuri albums. "They also reap huge dividends by marketing them throughout North India. Recently, four lakh copies of an album were sold," he adds. Supporting his claim, a Mumbai-based music analyst says that the listeners of Bhojpuri music have outnumbered those of Punjabi music.
Chandni Chowk, Lajpat Nagar and Paharganj are said to have many music stores that only sell Bhojpuri CDs and cassettes. These store owners also agree that the sales of Bhojpuri albums have soared. Says Sharad Kumar, a store keeper, "The sale of Bhojpuri music has gone up manifolds during the last couple of months. This was after the successful run of Bhojpuri films like Sasura Bada Paise Wala and Punditji Bataina Biyah Kab Hoi in the city theatres, whose music is still in demand." But at the same time, Sharad also admits that the listeners of Bhojpuri music largely include auto and cab drivers and other labour migrants from North India making a living in the capital.
Many leading Bhojpuri singers are Delhi-based. Star singer Manoj Tiwari (also a leading actor of Bhojpuri movies) recently released his album Hai Rama Gori Gori. Besides, other popular singers Guddu Rangeela and Prem Sagar also sing for Delhi-based music companies. The leading lady of Bhojpuri music Devi, whose albums Pardesi and Kudi Biharan have been smashing hits, is currently recording for her next album at Film City, Noida for T-Series.
According to Param Kishor, a new Bhojpuri singer, whose debut albums Kajrare and Holi Ke Tadak Bharak Tere Sang hit the market recently, singers are mostly hired by music companies on a contract basis. He says, "Leading singers like Devi and Vandana Vajpayee charge Rs 1.5 lakhs and Rs 30,000 for eight songs respectively, while the new singers get Rs 1,000 per song."
He is happy that the growing popularity of Bhojpuri music has provided both opportunities and employment to struggling singers.
Sensing the huge fan following, Bollywood singers have also jumped on the bandwagon. The current favourites seem to be more interested in Bhojpuri than Hindi music, while ace singer Asha Bhonsle sang for the film Nehiya Sanehiya recently.
The secret of the success of Bhojpuri music, according to critics, is the depiction of rural life and traditions in full colour with a raunchy mix. And that?s why titles like Jeans Dheeli Karo and Lehenge Mein Laden Ghusgawa fail to surprise anyone.