‘AP Dhillon: First of A Kind’ review: AP’s star power is undeniable, but singer keeps you guessing - Post
AP Dhillon

‘AP Dhillon: First of A Kind’ review: AP’s star power is undeniable, but singer keeps you guessing

AP Dhillon

AP Dhillon
| Photo Credit: Prime Video India/YouTube

There are some songs that you just can’t not bob your head to. There are some artists who almost exclusively make music like that. AP Dhillon is one of them. The 30 year-old singer, rapper and record producer emerged seemingly out of nowhere and blew up the world with his fusion tracks marked with high energy. AP Dhillon: First of A Kind, a four part docu-series, attempts to take a closer look into who Amritpal Singh Dhillon is.

AP Dhillon’s rise is, as the docuseries repeatedly emphasises, unprecedented. The series starts strong, with a look into his journey moving from semi-rural Punjab, to Canada in 2015. The story of a lonely desi boy in a big, Western city, trying to make something of himself is an immigrant story that the diaspora knows all too well. You see Dhillon speaking candidly about feeling like a “fish out of the ocean,” when he worked as a sales associate at Best Buy.

Shina Kahlon, Gminxr and Gurinder Gill, brown mundes with a passion for making music that represents their motherland in a fresh way, are constants for Dhillon, both professionally and personally. The friendship and camaraderie they share is palpable, and several scenes of them sharing their life experiences and boyish eagerness to “represent brown people” through their work is heartwarming. Watching this group pull together their limited resources (yes, they did start out in a garage) to create the viral sensation Brown Munde, a song made to represent brown people across the world, is exciting. It’s a moment when you feel (aided by the beats, of course) that yes, AP is really special.

But the next two episodes focus heavily on how Dhillon and his team put their North America tour together. There are moments when you see Dhillon open and vulnerable. He misses his grandmother, who he said raised him, but discloses little else. He mourns the passing of Sidhu Moose Wala, the Punjabi artist who was fatally shot last year. He tears up when he thinks about performing at Rogers Arena in Vancouver. He discusses the PTSD he endured following his India tour, during which he faced threats and was overwhelmed by crowds. It’s clear that the boy from Gurdaspur did not expect to be this big, this fast. This disbelief is what really pushes the narrative throughout the rest of the series. As his team prepares for his show at Rogers Arena, the emphasis remains on the fact that they are pulling this off as a handful of guys, with little to no experience. The focus shifts from learning and understanding who Dhillon is, to BTS of a concert.

In that regard, perhaps it would have served Dhillon better to have made a concert documentary. The reality is that, despite having undoubtedly created music that transcends borders and languages, Dhillon is only three years old in the field. Besides Brown Munde, his song lyrics centre around the ups (Wo Noor) and downs (Excuses) of love. His ability to infuse house and trap music with rustic Punjabi vocals is indeed new. But Dhillon is just one player in a booming Punjabi music scene. Badshah has long been making music independently and for Bollywood. Diljit Dosanjh became the first Punjabi singer to perform at the Coachella Music Festival this year.

ALSO READ:Punjabi music sans guns, violence and sexism: Welcome to the new age

The docu-series ends with Dhillon’s tremendous performance at Lollapalooza India, earlier this year. The festival itself saw over 60,000 attendees. The sheer scale of his popularity is captured best in those scenes, with roaring crowds, fireworks and excitement so palpable, it shines through the screen.

His star power is undeniable. But the series leaves you wanting to know more. Perhaps, that is something that will only come with time.

AP Dhillon: First of A Kind Documentary is streaming on Amazon Prime Video

AU Bureau
Author: AU Bureau

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