On her visit to Nagpurfor the grand concert at the Ramdeobaba College of Engineering and Management, Hard Kaur opened her mind to Nagpur Today. Taran Kaur Dhillon, whom we popularly know as Hard Kaur, is the first female Indian rapper. She is known for her Hip Hop and Rap music influences on popular bollywood tracks like ‘Move your Body’ from ‘Johnny Gaddar’ and ‘Talli’ from ‘Ugly aur Pagli’. Sharing her views and few experiences about life, this iconic personality came across as a very humble and warm person. Not to forget her sportive, bold, and gutsy side, she is truly captivating, as she holds a tremendous fan following by the excellence she does. This is what she said during a personal interview to us,
NagpurToday : Tell us everything about yourself.
Hard Kaur : Starting from when I was little, we shifted to UK so we could have a better education. Over there we couldn’t fit- in obviously, with the Indians, because Indians there dint really have a good viewpoint about the Indians who came to UK afresh. I was a fresher, and the people out there dint really gel up with me initially, one of the main reason was that I was not very good with the English language. So basically all the bullying and teasing just made me realize that I need to do something for myself, and also kind of gave me a voice.
I for the first time saw MTV when I was around 13 years old and I had absolutely no idea about what exactly is it!
When I started 20 years ago, there wasn’t any Indian in this genre, so it was all the more harder for me to make for myself. But I wanted to be the best in what I had now planned for myself, so I spent almost two years hibernating in my room and just spent time in writing and writing only. So like I said one does not become a rapper on wearing a cap with that typical swagger. And now if I’m asked to stand next to any other rapper in America to compete, I can give them a battle. I mastered my art-form before I made sure that I’ll release an album. Therefore it took me ten years to release my first album, on the other hand although I used to see that people just make their videos in a day or two and release! I dint want to be one of them, I needed to actually know my art-form well. So I learnt as much as I could, went to clubs, traveled a lot , got to perform with big names like Justin Timberlake in Vegas as well.
But talking about my start in India, it was a stuggle as I was unware about whether the people here would like this kind of music or not. So for the people out here, as suggested by my mom ,I composed some pieces of music that my fellow Indians would love and this is how I ended up writing the song ‘Ek Glassy’. Previously, thoughts like, whether this song will be accepted by the crowd here or not and will there be any issues created regarding anything about this song, came into my mind, but as this album released, it was a hit!
So at the end of the day I love what I do. When I came toIndia I dint know my song would be such a hit. When I discovered that, I thought lets educate the people here more about this sphere of music. So I tried and brought about hip hop for Indians through bollywood music. InIndia I dint have to struggle much, I am lucky to be a part of music industry here. Thereafter I returned back to my country, which was really a good thing to happen. And today, when I see hip hop music being categorized in various art-forms here, it feels good to know that people are now aware of it, and in fact are even enjoying it.
Nagpur Today : In this male dominated hip hop genre, how did you manage to succeed? What’s the secret behind it?
Hard Kaur : It wasn’t easy at all. I had to face a lot of criticism and clashes. The key factor is that you just need to be really strong. If you are not strong, people don’t let you live, they pull you down. This inspiration and strength, I get from my mom as I’ve seen my mom struggle, commencing with a small business, bringing up her children and making our livelihoods. . She is the real ‘Hard Kaur’!!
Nagpur Today : Why did you take up this name?
Hard Kaur : (sigh)Life is HARD, that’s why! I was a ‘soft’ Kaur, I used to obey and follow everything, that people asked me to, which was not of worth I later realized. This world has made me ‘Hard’ Kaur. And I’m thankful to people who were an obstacle for me and created problems for me, which is where I developed my urge to succeed from.
Nagpur Today : You write, you compose, so can it be said that it has always been in your genes?
Hard Kaur : The rhythm, yes, is in my genes. Although, dancing, which I had always liked had been criticized by my elders. They dint see it as a talent, I possessed, at that time, it was considered bad. But I’m glad that now things have changed for right reasons; parents encourage their children to explore the fields like acting, dancing, singing, cricket, composing, rapping, etc.
Nagpur Today : You’ve seen and understand music here in India, as well as outside India. What is the difference between the two?
Hard Kaur : People show-off more outsideIndia, whereas here, people are reserved. But at least, the people outside say what they feel on the faces, here it is not so. Here, a person will always be nice to you on your face even if one have opposite views about that person, which I do not prefer.
Nagpur Today : Tell us about the adorable Bobo (Pet dog) , and how are you feeling with Bobo on your arm now?
Hard Kaur : I’ve recently got this Bobo tattoo done on my arms. I’ve always loved dogs, because they’re the only one who love you genuinely I feel. Bobo is my security system. (teasing). I would suggest don’t put an alarm; just keep a dog by your side (teasing again).
Nagpur Today : Which are your fondest musical memories?
Hard Kaur : Listening to my mom’s music collections undoubtedly. My mom used to listen to all types of tragedy music of that time from Gulam Ali to Jagjeet Singh, all of them, when I was a kid. The love for such old Indian music is in every Indian’s blood I feel. I know each and every Jagjeet Singh Gazals. But, at times I feel that this world doesn’t know such music well, in spite of this music being so advance. I mean, inUK I used to feel that I know the western culture well, but used to wonder that why don’t people out there know about Indian culture much? Reason being , racism between us is a big problem.
Nagpur Today : Now apart from bollywood and the projects you’ve undertaken, which are the spheres that you’ll be exploring now and taking over?
Hard Kaur : I think the highlight of my career in India was ‘Jhalak Dikhlaga’. People actually started connecting with me after Jhalak happened to me, people got to see what I’m like. And I’m so blessed that people loved me. But what I’m doing now, get ready for it (teasing). I’m into music direction now. I’ve given my music already for two- three movie projects. My upcoming music direction will be visible in an Atul Agnihotri movie. So I’m a Music Director now!
Nagpur Today : How are your interests in acting?
Hard Kaur : I dint really enjoy acting much. ‘Patiala House’ was a great learning experience; I got to work with so many stars-Dimpleji, Rishiji, Akshay Kumar. But working on a film for a year, needs a lot of patience, which is too much for me I feel. In the same time span I can compose a lot of music (laughing). Bottom line being, music is number one for me. Everyone loves music, it connects everyone.
Nagpur Today : How much do you like food?
Hard Kaur : I love food, especially Indian food. Actually, my family members used to visit India, but I always had to stay back to look after the business. So after a long time when I visited India, I tend to eat a lot obviously. My favorites are Punjabi and Rajesthani food.
Nagpur Today : Talking about your personal life, what are your future plans for it?
Hard Kaur : Yes, I get a call every week from home. Mom asks me, do I not feel like tying a knot? And I always say, I’m too bold, mere warga panga len wala koi mileya nai! (Laughing). I feel you can stay happy either ways, whether you are single or married.
Nagpur Today : In what ways is Hard Kaur still a girl next door?
Hard Kaur : I’ll say I’m someone like a ‘Gangster Housewife’! You’ll hardly find anyone who keeps his surroundings as clean and hygienic as I do. I cook! And that too really good, except Indian food (wink). I’m a woman who’ll kick away a burglar from my house, even if I’m alone in there, will protect the house.