Musicians such as Satinder Sartaaj are indeed a rarity in a musical world where song-writing is a lost art, and who are known for the lyrical quality of their music.
Aotearoa was indeed fortunate to be treated to such quality last weekend when Mr Sartaaj mesmerised the almost-sold-out crowd to his popular hits including Hazaarey Wala Munda, Oss Punjabon, and Sai.
The Black Prince Tour kicked off from New Zealand with his two back to back shows—on Friday September 22 in Auckland and on Saturday, September 23 in Christchurch–
The Punjabi singer, poet, songwriter and now actor (he recently starred in the Hollywood flick The Black Prince based on the life story of the last king of Sikh empire Maharaja Duleep Singh) was in the country as part of his The Black Prince Tour, which will have total 26 shows worldwide.
Performing at Auckland’s Vodafone Events Centre, Mr Sartaaj said that he loves New Zealand for its natural beauty and that is why returns almost every year.
The family event went on for almost three hours, during which Mr Sartaaj combined his soul-stirring renditions with sparkles of Punjabi culture, especially appealing to the Punjabi diaspora.
His return to Christchurch was also well-received by the music lovers in the Garden City. Last year, Mr Sartaaj came to Christchurch and entertained the crowd for a sufiaana shaam as part of his mehfil-e-Sartaaj tour.
Satinder Sartaaj live in Auckland and Christchurch 2017 (Photo: Indian Weekender)
“His annual visits to the city have become one of the most awaited Punjabi events of our calendar. Next up will be the Harbhajan Mann show in October,” said Amrit Singh, one of the main organisers of the Christchurch leg of The Black Prince Tour, along with the Majha Group.
Satinder Sartaaj mesmerised the audience in Auckland and Christchurch (Photo: Indian Weekender)
Meanwhile, in between songs, Mr Sartaaj also shared with audiences his experience of first-time acting on the silver screen. Notably, he has gained widespread acclaim for playing the title role of the 'dark' and 'submissive' Maharaja Duleep Singh, as well as holding his own against the veteran actress Shabana Azmi, who played the role of Rani Jind Kaur – Maharaja's mother.
As history tells us, Maharaja Duleep Singh was the only child of Rani Jind Kaur, who was imprisoned and kept away from her son for over a decade after the first Anglo-Sikh war of 1845-46.
Duleep Singh (or the Black Prince as Queen Victoria affectionately dubbed him) meanwhile was raised in England, became a womaniser and converted to Christianity.
Eventually, the deeply conflicted last king of the Sikh empire reverted back to Sikhism, and mounted an audacious but ultimately unsuccessful bid to regain the throne back.
Released in July this year, the film opened to rave reviews, and with The Black Prince tour, Mr Sartaaj is hoping to jack up the box office collections as well.
Excerpts from the interview with The Indian Weekender
A day before his Auckland show, Mr Sartaaj visited The Indian Weekender studio for an interview, straight after landing in New Zealand. Here are a few excerpts.
Mr Sartaaj rose to fame overnight with his popular song Sai. While talking to us, he revealed the inspiration behind it.
Satinder Sartaaj in conversation with Swati Sharma of The Indian Weekender (Photo: Indian Weekender)
“The situation in which I wrote this song, was very funny you might think. But it is true. I was in the university hostel and cooking was a hard task. And on top of that I had made a rule for myself that I wouldn’t eat or cook unless I do my riyaaz (practice) for one hour in the morning.
“So I was basically in a very difficult situation and only God comes to your mind when you are in a problem. Hence I was actually requesting Sai (God) to help me out. But then when the song came out it became a prayer for people.”
Talking about the beginning of his career, he told The Indian Weekender that he had started doing shows years before his first album was released.
“I used to write and sing since I was in college. When we went to university, most of the friends got separated as they went on to progress in their professional career. They all were settled in good jobs. So whenever there was an event at their work/office, they would invite me to perform. And similarly, one day I got invited to Canada to perform.
“By that time I had not even thought of moving into commercial singing. I had [recorded] the song Sai, years before its release, but I was so busy in the live shows, I didn’t have any time to release it. But then finally, it came out and people have only given me their love and blessings since then. And I thank God every day for that.”
We saw a very different and interesting side of Mr Sartaaj during this conversation. Due to space constrain, we are unable to publish the entire interview. But you can watch it here: