Popular Punjabi singer and actor Surinder Shinda, 70, belonged to an era when singers had offices close to bus stands so that patrons desirous of booking them for programmes could easily approach them.
He belonged to those golden days of Punjabi singing when singers epitomised true Punjabi culture in their voice and their persona. With a booking diary which was invariably full, there were times when he would have as many as 56 shows in a month. In his passing away, an era has ended.
Known for hit songs “Putt Jattan De”, “Jatt Jeona Morh” and “Truck Balliya”, Shinda was recognised for his exceptional contribution to folk and classical music. Hailed as living legend, Shinda, whose real name was Surinder Pal Dhammi, belonged to Chhoti Ayali village in Ludhiana. His death leaves behind a huge void as well as a rich legacy.
Known for the distinctive Kali singing style, he collaborated with Punjabi singer Kuldeep Manak and others as well as imparted training to several artists of the Punjabi music industry. One name that is closely associated with him is of legendary Amar Singh Chamkila, whom he mentored in the phenomenal singer’s initial years of musical odyssey.
Among Shinda’s evergreen hits are “Badla le layi jeoneya”, “Kehar Singh di maut” and “Balbiro Bhabhi”. Though he did not consider himself “a born actor”, he made his presence felt in several Punjabi films like “Putt Jattan De”, “Ucha Dar Babe Nanak Da” and “Badla Jatti Da” among others. Honoured with the lifetime achievement award at the 2013 Brit Asia TV Music Awards, he gave playback to actors like Guggu Gill.
Shinda was married to late lyricist Hardev Dilgir’s cousin, who used to write lyrics for him and Manak. The singer recently also produced albums for young artists.
Survived by his son Maninder Shinda, who is also a musician, Shinda lives in his musical legacy that is not confined to his son alone. As one recalls his belief: what you create with dedication from mind and soul while remembering the Almighty will always be a hit. There is no doubt, his evergreen songs will forever be a hit!