Diljit Dosanjh is a man on a mission. We caught up with the multi-faceted star who's proven he's in a league of his own.
Walking to set with a close-knit entourage and a warm, unassuming smile, Dosanjhanwala immediately takes control of the fashion room, bringing out custom-made collars, straight from the costume department of BBC’s hit show Peaky Blinders (no kidding!), and a shoe collection that would rival and probably beat Imelda Marcos’ (for the unacquainted, she’s the former First Lady of The Philippines and infamous proud owner of over a thousand pairs of footwear). He means business.
It’s little surprise that he regularly receives the latest designer digs from international houses of fashion around the world before anyone else in India—a fact that comes up during our pre-shoot chat as he tells us about his latest acquistions with genuine passion. If that isn’t proof of his newly-acquired status as a trendsetter, what is?
Humming along to the tunes of Frank Sinatra and Miles Davis (a musical intervention he seemed to appreciate), he talks about his affinity to streetwear as opposed to being suited up on a regular basis. “I’m enjoying the shoot today because the collection you guys have got together is great, and I like suits for formal occasions. I’m actually more comfortable in loose clothing that lets me breathe. I do follow a number of stylish men but I feel there’s no one else like me. I wear a turban and my fashion decisions are based on what would look good on me. I’m open to trying all kinds of styles at least once.”
Currently a big fan of the French design collective, Vetements, Dosanjh never followed the street style movement when it initially blew up, but realised over time that his personal style was in the same space. “You can give it any name you like, but at the end of the day, it’s about what you like wearing and what you feel good in,” he explains. Insider info: he’s maxed out his credit cards shopping on several occasions and says, “my most expensive and extensive fashion shopping binges have been at Gucci.”
Here’s a small town guy with big dreams and a strong drive to perform, who loves and knows his fashion inside out. But that wasn’t always the case. Talking about developing a sense of individuality when it comes to his personal style, he confesses: “Coming from Punjab, I wasn’t really into brands or high-end fashion. It was quite basic and we weren’t into showing off. We were never taught to and that isn’t my background either. But because I’m in the business that I’m in, I’ve had to make that effort and I’ve learned a lot over time. I try to keep things as simple as possible and I usually style myself.”
One of the busiest stars in the entertainment business right now, the “Do You Know” crooner is constantly on the move, flight-hopping several days a week for appearances, film schedules and brand endorsements. A mini rundown of his weekly schedule has us in a tizzy. What’s the secret to all this energy? “I drink a lot of milk,” he laughs. “I like working. A lot. I’ll burn out if I get bored or work forcefully, and luckily that isn’t the case right now. I’m very happy making music and movies for the moment. Investing in production and direction will have to wait.”
Speaking of work, Dosanjh has a slew of much-anticipated projects releasing over the next few months starting with Sajjan Singh Rangroot this month, hockey biopic Soorma with Taapsee Pannu and, Arjun Patiala with Kriti Sanon later this year.
With a digital following that is as crazy as it is expansive (clocking in at over 13 million at the time of printing), one can constantly spot youngsters copping Dosanjh’s signature style when it comes to music and fashion; he truly is a star of the masses, especially among young Punjabis, globally.
It’s refreshing to know our man of style manages his own social media accounts and responds to messages and comments personally. “My fans are like my family. They are very important and we are connected every single day via pictures and video messages. It’s not just when I have a song or film to promote, but more of an organic ongoing relationship.”
His latest album, Con.Fi.Den.Tial, featuring an ode to his forever crush Kylie Jenner called “High End,” has become an instant chart topper in India, Canada, New Zealand and the UK. His music covers a wide range of genres while focusing on the increasingly popular pop and street R&B segments.
Making the Punjabi music scene a culturally cool phenomenon once again, it seems Dosanjh is hellbent on international superstardom and he’s well on his way up that slippery slope, one fashionable slider at a time.
PHOTOGRAPHS: MUNEESH TARSEM
STYLING: NIKITA JAISINGHANI
LOCATION: WESTIN MUMBAI GARDEN CITY