SURJIT BINDRAKHIA Biography - Other artists & entretainers


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Internationally renowned Punjabi folk singer Surjeet Bindrakhia (43) died in his sleep at his residence in Punjab early yesterday morning (16/11/03). The singer was suffering from a health problem for almost an year now and was said to have died of a heart attack. According to his family members, Bindrakhia had been hospitalised more than two times in the last one year and had again remained admitted to a local nursing home for 10 days this month as well.


According to persons present at his house this morning, Bindrakhia had slept early last night and had got up at 3 am to have a glass of water after which he took a stroll in his garden and went back to sleep.


But when his wife tried to wake him up in the morning at about 7 am, he was dead. A family doctor was called who confirmed the news.


Bindrakhia had shifted from his village in Ropar to Mohali three years ago and lived in Phase VII with his wife Preet, son Gitaj (11) and daughter Meenaj (9). His widowed mother Gurbachan Kaur used to visit them from the village on and off. Both the children were studying in YPS School, Mohali. His wife is a housewife.


‘’The family used to keep to themselves but we did come to know that he was ill due to the frequent visits to the hospital,'’ recalls Mrs Bhutter, a neighbour.


His domestic help Khatteem said that only last night he had met some persons from Ludhiana for the booking of a show. Due to ill health, Bindrakhia had not been performing on stage for some time now and his last stage show was during his visit to the USA.


As the news of his untimely death spread, friends and fans collected at his residence in the morning but many of his well wishers could not catch a glimpse of him as the family had decided to shift his body immediately to his native village Bindrakh for cremation.


Immensely popular in the rural belt of Punjab, Bindrakhia’s voice was considered to be one of the most powerful voices among traditional singers in Punjab. He had cut 32 solo audio cassettes during his decade-long career. Surjit had been known in the Punjab for many years, but his big break in the expatriate market came with Dupatta Tera Sat Rang Da a track that can only be called explosive. Since then there had been various remixes of his older songs and some blockbuster new releases, including ‘Tu Ni Boldi’ and ‘Jatt Di Pasand’ Bindrakhia was a traditional bhangra singer, and since most of his work had been produced in India, it may at first have appeared unpolished. Certainly the music is more “rustic” than that found on many bhangra bands from the UK, but that did not reduce its impact. There are more sustained dhol beats in Bindrakhia’s work than you would find elsewhere and the style is traditional.


A note must be made of the high tone Bindrakhia sometimes uses, which sounded like a screech. You can find others trying such vocal pryotechnics, but few can pulled it off as Bindrakhia did. His singing style worked with the beat, so you would find him pausing along with the dhol and raising and shifting into different keys as the dhol does. All of this gave Bindrakhia the air of a child gone a little mad with his voice. Stated to be one of the most popular singers in Punjab, Surjit Bindrakhiya was considered to be the vital link between traditional Punjabi folk music and modern Punjabi pop.


The high-pitched melodious voice of Punjab fell silent forever with the cremation of Surjeet Bindrakhia today (17/11/03). Bindrakhia was cremated at his native village amidst a small gathering of his family members, friends and villagers. Son Gitaj lit the pyre of his father at 1.45 pm.


Shamsher Sandhu, a close friend and writer of the most of the famous songs sung by Bindrakhia was too shocked to give his reaction.


He revealed that synchronising with his death, Bindrakhia recorded his last song “Main tirkae ghare da pani kal tak nahin rehna” (I am like water in a seeping pot that will not survive till tomorrow).


Dr Gurmejar Singh, his nephew, said the singer was absolutely normal in the morning at his residence at SAS Nagar. It was his wife who noticed that he was not responding to repeated calls. According to his family doctor, who declared him dead, sudden heart attack seemed to be the likely cause of the death.


His father, Sucha Singh, was a famous wrestler of the village. Under his influence, Bindrakhia took to wrestling and kabbadi. He also won intercollege bouts at the university level.


Singers and artistes including Gurdas Mann, Babbu Mann, film producer Iqbal Dhillon, Sardool Sikandar, Gurpreet Guggi, Sukhi Brar, Surinder Bagga and Karnail Sibia also reached the village to console the bereaved family.


He is survived by his wife Preet Kamal, two children Gitaj and Minaj and mother Gurcharan Kaur.