“I don’t think they know just how much of a Besharam I really am” the gorgeous Hard Kaur told her PR people prior to our chat. Well we soon got to know!
The press in India have labelled her ‘sharam proof’ because apparently she has no shame. Then again, what does Hard Kaur have to be ashamed about? Definitely not her career.
She has performed at Glastonbury. She was the opening act for Justin Timberlake’s concert in England. She has, through sheer hard work and talent, made herself respected in the British hip hop scene.
This led to her being the most in demand British Asian artist around at the time. It was a collaboration with ‘The Sona Family’ that produced her biggest hit to date, ‘Ek Glassy’, which was an international smash hit. Next came her critically acclaimed 2007 debut album ‘Supawoman’ which led to calls from Bollywood producers.
A series of hit singles for some of Bollywood’s biggest films followed (Ugly Aur Pagli, Singh is Kinng, Kismat Konnection and many more), eventually leading to her appearing on India’s version of ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ (where she made it all the way to the semi-finals) and then anchoring an IPL show.
This is all a long way from her days of getting bullied for being a freshie in Birmingham, having moved to the country from Punjab in 1991. Nowadays Hard Kaur is too busy to even visit England, having been away for the last three years, thanks to filming commitments in India. She came back though and found time to have a nice long chat with Besharam.co.uk, telling us about her up-coming track with D12, her new film with Akshay Kumar and to explain just how much of a besharam she really is.
Hellooooooo Hard Kaur, you smell fantastic. How are you after your slightly tipsy looking appearance at the Brit Asia Music Awards?
I was glad to get it over and done. I stopped going out in India because of all the filming, I hadn’t gone out in like 6 – 7 months, so when I came here I was just like “yeeeaaah!” and got quite drunk.
So did we! It makes all the small-talk easier. So you have been away for along time, how does it feel to be back in Birmingham?
It feels great. I have missed Birmingham. I missed Soho Road and I missed all the rude boys in their cars blasting their music. If you blast music out your car in India people laugh at you.
We’ll remember that for the next time we’re out cruising in India. What do you make of events such as the Brit Asia Music Awards or the UK AMA’s?
At least we have two now. We should have more. If we don’t have these events no one is going to have that feeling of wanting to win an award and working hard for it. I don’t know about here but in India a lot of these awards ceremonies are fixed, so if it is done properly, with real voting, then I think it is great. I think we should have five more awards ceremonies.
We are planning to start the Besharam awards soon. Anyway, you are now a veteran of the British Asian scene. What do you make of the current generation?
I’m proud of the scene; I think it is doing well. But a lot of bhangra videos I have seen are really bad. I think it’s just a financing problem. The labels don’t really support the artist and that is not just here, that is in India too. Non-Bollywood acts can’t get deals anymore, there is no market left for anything else. Even MTV had to be removed in India, so they are starting another channel which is Bollywood instead.
How is the industry different from when you started out?
It isn’t! Everyone that had a chip on their shoulder before still has a chip on their shoulder now. Everybody who had an ego problem then still has an ego problem now. I am exactly the fucking same. I swear as much and nearly drink as much. Maybe I am a bit wiser and calmer. Over there they will say it to your face if you are a flop artist. Here, if anyone is good, we don’t give them special attention, we treat them exactly the same as someone who is shit. No one collaborates with each other; they are too bad for that. GET A LIFE!
So very true. You were never one afraid to collaborate and it was a collaboration with ‘The Sona Family’ that helped you reach stardom. How important for your career do you think ‘Ek Glassy’ was?
‘Ek Glassy’ was a good thing for the UK. My mum was like “do something for Indian people”. I was already on stage with people like Justin Timberlake and the Neptune’s, performing with Roots Manuva and Skinnyman. I did Glastonbury. But my mum was like do a fusion, something for the Indian people. I was like “No, I only do real hardcore hip hop” but my mum was like “No, you need to do something commercial”. So I did ‘Ek Glassy’. And everyone loved it.
Along with your popularity came a backlash. Many did not and maybe still do not, like the way you portray yourself, especially as an Indian girl carrying ‘Kaur’ in her name. What do you have to say about this?
After ‘Ek Glassy’ people went on like “that bitch drinks”. That song became a big hit and everyone had an opinion. Before, when I talked about good things, no one gave a shit. But when I show my cleavage, put on some make up and make a song about alcohol then everyone notices me. Haters. That is all it is. Not everyone is going to like me anyway so I wasn’t bothered about that but within the industry they tried to ruin my reputation. That was mainly male artists. Not naming anyone though.
Getting away from the serious stuff, tell us about Bollywood. It was your music that first got you over there, how did you go about getting into acting?
When I went there I didn’t want to be some B-list celebrity. I don’t want to sit on the 5th row at awards shows; I want to sit on the front row. So many NRI’s in India go around and do nothing but party. I could have done that. But I was working hard here and I went over there to work hard too. I did ‘Dancing with the Stars’ in India first. Lately I was anchoring an IPL show. So then I wanted to do acting. A lot of roles had been coming my way but to be honest it was a lot of stupid shit, like being a heroin or whatever, and I didn’t want to do that, I wanted to do something interesting. When ‘Patiala House’ came I wanted it.
‘Patiala House’ is one of the most anticipated films in years. Tell us about it.
It is a story of a generation gap. It is about a family from Southall. We have a father who is like “you cant work with goreh” or “you cant be a singer”. But slowly we start doing things without him realizing it. So that’s why I was so interested in it, the storyline is close to home. It reminds me of my own past because everyone was so scared of my Granddad and we didn’t want him finding out certain things. People will laugh when they see me in it. I am wearing some ugly suits, looking so simple, playing Akshay’s sister. I look so traditional, with the centre parting and a long gooth.
We will definitely be watching that when it is out. What is life as one of Bollywood’s elite like?
I get the constant paparazzi attention. The press shout at me “Hard! Hard! Hardy!” They are outside my house constantly. They call me shame proof because I don’t care. I will tie my hair up, wear big shades, wearing torn up pyjamas and go out without makeup to buy a coffee while they are all taking pictures. But I don’t give a fuck, I am exactly who I am. I have to live my life, I won’t let anything stop me. I mean apparently you media need to know about my personal life and they think they have the right to invade your life but no you don’t. I don’t really let the media in unless it’s to talk about my work.
After all your various hit singles from Bollywood films what made you want to go back to real hip hop and collaborate with D12?
If I don’t get to do my hip hop I get really angry, seriously. I mean here I am acting, dancing and anchoring but what about my tunes? Labels are not pushing anyone out there. I mean they told me “we will sign you we will pay for your album and videos but do something a bit more commercial”. I was like what is the fucking point? This is my own shit, I have done the Bollywood shit, I want to do my own shit now. So I don’t care if people buy it, it is just to satisfy myself. I have to do it.
You know how it happened? My mum phones me eight months ago and says “I am really proud of you but you have to do a real hip hop track, something solid”. I was like wow my own mum is dissing me! First she used to say I didn’t make any money, now I am making money she is telling me I need to keep it real! “Just do one real hip hop tune” she was telling me.
How did the hook up with D12 come about?
The PR company that represents me, Revolution PR, also represent D12. So we asked them to check me out and they were like “it’s all good, we know she is big but send the track first”. Once they heard the track they were like “come to Detroit baby!”
What was it like recording with D12?
I hate it when some people do a collaboration where they just do a verse, take the money and go. I was like “you guys have to learn about what you’re going to do”. So what I did is I sat with them and we talked for hours, about India, Punjab, butter chicken, Rekha, Mazda, Amitabh Bachan, and it is all in the lyrics. When you hear the tune you will be proud.
We can’t wait for it. When is your next album out and what can we expect from it?
We are working on Indian time. In fact I think I may call it ‘Indian Timing’. No release date yet. It will have a bit of everything. I have a tune with Lembher Hussainpuri, because I love Lembher’s tone. Tigerstyle do the beats, Kammy K is doing a remix on it. D-boy will be on it. I am excited.
Time for some besharam questions now. What would you say the best feature of your body is?
It was my ass but that gets worse as you get older. Now it is my legs. They call me Tina Turner legs in India, I get to show them off a lot, I am famous for my legs.
Have you ever kissed a girl?
Just like mwah mwah, never actually kissed. Me like cock!
Thongs or French knickers?
Thongs can be too irritating up your arse, I’ll be even more besharam, I prefer to wear nothing.
If playboy offered you £100,000 to pose naked what would you say?
No. Too much shame. My mum would do me. We could do a nice one, with pearls and stuff. If Kareena Kapoor can do it then so can I. I will do a nice underwear one, just to show the grandkids one day “Look how beautiful your granny was once, look at the body I had”.
Finally, what is the most besharam thing you have ever done?
You never know, I could have farted during this interview, though I didn’t. I am just besharam all day long. I steal a lot of lighters. Do you have one I could borrow?