‘One can be a popular star even if he is Haryanvi’, says ‘Mere Rashke Qamar’ director Sumit Bhardwaj

New Delhi: Sumit Bhardwaj — the man behind the creation of Angreji Beat, Gabru, Mere Rashke Qamar, SWAT, Tequila Shot, Soorma and many other famous music videos — has recently released a Haryanvi number‘Paache paache’ he has crooned.

Talking about his career so far, the music video director, who has been pretty media shy for years, opens up about his inspiration, why he started singing Haryanvi songs, and his favourite projects in an interview with DB Post.

‘The journey so far has been quite good’

“I’m very thankful to God for whatever I think I’ve been able to achieve till date. Every music video director has a dream of working with the biggest names in the industry, and I have been able to do that. I’ve been able to work with almost all the big names in the music industry from India, and also some UK based-singers. I had also worked with African singer Sunny Neji, so the journey so far has been quite good,” says the director-turned singer.

‘My ratio of good videos vs bad videos was strangely odd’

Talking about how he took to directing music videos, Bhardwaj mentions who he drew his inspiration from, “I started working in 2000, and became a DOP (director of photography) in 2003. From that time, I was very inspired by the works of Ashok Mehta ji, the senior most DOP in India. He has done some marvelous works in films. I also love American music video director Colin Tilley’s works.”

“By 2008, I had already shot more than 2,000 videos as a DOP, but then my ratio of good videos vs bad videos was strangely odd. Out of the 2,000 videos I had worked for, my favourites were just 10-12. So I though I’d direct my own stuff, because as a DOP I cannot change the concept, but when I’m directing I can control everything as per my ideas,” adds Sumit.

Breaking the stereotype

Most famous Punjabi music videos boast of fancy locations, and feature branded clothes and cars, but Sumit broke the stereotype with ‘Angreji Beat’. “From Day 1, I got to pursue some new ideas into the videos I got to direct. I presented Gippy Grewal and Yo Yo Honey Singh for the first time in desi look in ‘Angreji Beat’. Before that, they were always seen in fancy locations driving expensive cars… No one had ever thought of seeing these stars riding a Chetak scooter!

Talking about maintaining the creative flow with numerous music videos that he has created, Sumit says, “When I started, I used to do 12-15 music videos a month — that was between 2008-2011. Then we reduced it to six videos a month, and now I have brought it down to one or two music videos a month. Just to feel fresh and regenerate some fresh ideas, I need some time off. Whenever I reach a peak point in terms of quantity, I reduce my work. Now, I have also started singing in Hariyanvi.”

Singing in Haryanvi

“While my mother is from Punjab, my father is from Haryana. My family members came up with the idea that I should do something in Haryanvi. They said, ‘you’ve done quite a lot of good projects for Punjab, why don’t you do something for Haryana?’. So I thought of going ahead with the idea, and four to five years back we launched three of my songs in Hariyanvi,” recalls Sumit.

“I wasn’t interested in singing then, I just wanted to produce and direct the songs. However, we didn’t find any suitable artiste or musicians, so one of my friends suggested that since it’s my passion, thought, and money, I should give singing a try. So, we gave it a try and the first song ‘Gaadi’ got over one million views. It was a big success for us,” says Sumit, who now as a singer goes by the name ‘SB – The Haryanvi’.

“After those three songs I left singing. I wanted to give a message that being a Haryanvi also one can be a popular star, and I proved that because on the ninth day I was doing shows with Sunny Deol, Dharmendra ji, Sharry Mann,
Garry Sandhu, Jassi Gill, and Neha Kakkar. But then I got back to direction, as singing was never really my passion,” explains the music video director who is currently shooting for a song titled ‘Nayan Nashile’ with Arshi Khan in Delhi.

“Even after a break of three years, people kept contacting me for more songs, and now I have decided to do one song each year,” Sumit explains the reason behind his comeback as a singer.

‘I get lots of ideas, I just have to pick the right one’

When asked how he plans to make his innumerable music videos different from one another to break the monotony, he says with a smile, “In that case, I’d say I’m blessed. Whenever I listen to an audio I get lots of ideas; I just have to pick the right one. It’s not hard for me to think of ideas, they come to me easily. After I’ve decided the concept of the video I share it with the concerned persons — artiste’s team, the record label, and my team, and then we come up with a final product.”

Talking about his favourite project from his recent videos, Sumit says, “I have recently worked with Mika Singh for ‘Sama hai suhana suhana’. It is a remake of an old song. People have never treated remake songs like new music videos, they do them in a very generic way. We gave the remake song an official video-like treatment, and we got about 10 million views on that song.

Bhardwaj, who has also shot a video for the Meet Brothers and Bohemia in Mumbai, says it was great working with them. Bohemia had recently shared a photo with the Meet Brothers announcing their new collaboration on his Instagram account.

“I’m planning to move to Bollywood now, and I’d definitely want to work with SRK, Salman, and of course Ranveer Singh. But I’ll never leave music videos – it’s my passion, my food. I want to direct films, and commercial ad films, but no serials, documentaries or short films,” Bhardwaj shared his future plans.