Back in the Groove

If you were to create the perfect global pop star, the result would be nothing like Daler Mehndi. There's his lookblack beard, bejeweled turban and belly surfing over his waistband. There's his halting English, his insistence on singing in Punjabi and his tongue-tangling name, pronounced "Dlurr Maindy." Then there are his '80s-style videos, pulsing with primitive arcade-game effects and joyful dancers in jumpsuits. And yet in the late '90s, fresh from a stint driving a cab in Berkeley, California, Mehndi became Asia's biggest-ever pop export.

Taking the rhythms of the Punjab and combining them with jubilant pop hooks,...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!