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Interview : Gursharan Singh Kohli (GSK) Could Be The Next Trendsetter In The Punjabi Music Industry

By: Prakriti | January 1, 2018

Born in a Punjabi Sikh family, Gursharan Singh Kohli (GSK) is a passionate music video director. He had deep sense of attachment with fine arts and music since childhood. His passion made him do what he really wanted to and today he has worked with the finest national and international artists. This man from Delhi has spent most of his life in East Europe, precisely 26 years but he chose to come back to his nation and work in this industry.

Gursharan has directed TVC, music videos, worked as creative director, designed logos and has also worked in animation and VFX department. From award winning album Ganga by Rabbi Shergill to international artiste Vera Varlamova, he has worked with many.

He is multi-talented and that's why we were inquisitive to know more about him. What made him come back to India after travelling the world and experiencing European cinema for so many years? What is he up to these days?/p>

Here are a few excerpts from the interaction with Gursharan Singh Kohli, commercially known as GSK : 

Did you always have inclination towards Fine Arts and Music, or it was accidental while pursuing

Going back in time, during my childhood days Fine Arts and Music is what made me attend school. The subjects that were my favorite were painting and music. I was always an enthusiastic kid who loved participating in competitions. I learnt from my mistakes and never gave up. I won a few awards including the Children Book Trust Award,& Begum Zaidi award for painting and the icing on the cake was that for more than 10 years I used to get painting colors and canvas through these organizations free of cost.Each award motivated me and kept that fire burning in me which is probably why I blindly followed my passion.

When it comes to music, I used to play Jazz drums in my school band (St. Francis De Sales New Delhi) and also loved playing Tabla. I was quite young when I gave my first ever live performance,  I was in 4th standard and it was Classic Jazz. I was passionate about learning and during my college time I played guitar and drums. My taste was inclined towards contemporary and classics, from Chopin to Wagner, Bruce Springsteen to Sting, Edith Piaf and all other Russian, Polish, French and English artists.

Which international artists have influenced you?

European French New Wave and Yugoslavian Emir Kusturitsa, Fellini, Tarkovsky and many more contemporary Directors have really influenced me.

You have spent major time of your life in East Europe. During this period you have experienced European Cinema too. Does that experience still help you when you do your current projects?

When I work in any of my projects, my past experience helps me a lot. There is a lot that goes on at the back of my mind. Whatever I have learnt in all these years comes to my rescue whenever I am stuck at any point. Work and learning never goes waste. Also, World cinema is where I draw my inspiration from.

You have travelled the world but what made you come back to your own nation and work in your mother tongue Punjabi?

I came to India to live and spend time with my aging parents. Unfortunately,  I lost my father in 2013 and then decided to spend more time with my mom. This decision was an important one in my life and since then I chose to focus on India and the industry here.

Share with us your experience while working in the award winning album “Ganga” with ace musician Rabbi Shergill?

Ganga and Rabbi Shergill were a very unique experience of my life. The songs and the lyrics were so interesting and intriguing that I got involved in the scriptures which I was researching for the subjects. I happened to read amazing scriptures like Samundra Manthan and then I got to know about the significance of Rishikesh and Haridwar. Each and every frame had something to say. If you watch the video thoroughly, there are minute details which are a product of our research. Interestingly, now when you watch the video you will know that the turquoise color theme of the video was also a part of the script, depicting the colors of the holy Ganga.

The location itself was a character in the script (Rishikesh). The horse with a Blue Ribbon (scarf) symbolized Neel Kantha, the venom that was swallowed by lord Shiva as that came out of Samundra Manthan and  Kalki riding a horse symbolized the Kalyuga.

We worked on the smallest of detail and that's exactly I how I like working with any of my projects, ample research and the best product.

You have worked with Punjabi, national and international artists. What is the difference in their working styles?

After working with Indian and International artists, tI feel the major difference is felt when it comes to being more organized. Also the level of understanding the script and Director's vision is also a factor of difference between the three.

What do you want to say about the current trend in Punjabi film industry? You have done lot many projects, do you have any plan of coming to Punjabi movies ?

My personal thinking is that the Punjabi film industry is not a 100 % reflection of the Punjabi society. Punjab is not just comedy but much more than that .It has rich heritage and culture which needs to come in cinema. I am very optimistic that the scenario shall change and the industry shall grow. Maybe soon I shall also be a part of it.

What do you think about the current trend in Punjabi music videos?

Punjabi Music video industry is undergoing a drastic change. From the lush green farmlands to Bhangra and now the high end brands and cars, a lot has changed. This is a big leap in the industry. It is true that the state of Punjab's GDP can be compared to that of any Latin American country and the living standards are almost the same but now we have also seen the upward trend in the quality of the music videos with HD and 4K. Soon the low cost Punjabi videos shall not get any air play and hence, the bar and the quality would automatically be raised.

Tell us about your upcoming projects?

CurrentIy I am working on a film called NAFTA, which is the story of a 10 year old boy who is specially abled. It is a Hindi/English cross over cinema. Manzar a love story is one of my recent projects that got released on 16th Dec 2017.

 What kind of Punjabi film projects would you want to work on?

If I ever work on a Punjabi film project, it would be something about the Sikh History. The role of Sikhs/Punjabi soldiers in WW1 and WW2.

Who are the regional artists you would love to work with? Whose work in today’s time has impressed you?

I would love to work with Garry Sandhu. I find his work different and interesting. I appreciate his content selection. Also, working with the legend  Gurdas Maan Ji is a dream.

We wish to see this passionate, multi talented video director venturing into Punjabi industry soon. With his level of experience and exposure, we are sure that he'll be a trendsetter in the industry.

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