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Punjabi pop sensation Daler Mehndi was born and raised in Benares, North India; he began singing at the age of five, and at 14 left home to study with his uncle, Raahat Ali Khan Saheb, honing not only his vocal skills but also learning the tabla, harmonium and tanpura. After years of intense training, Mehndi mounted his professional career, initially singing ghazaals inspired by the poetry of Qateel Shifai and Firaq Gorakhpuri. Gradually he turned away from classical music toward pop, however, and in 1995 became a superstar when his debut album Bolo Ta Ra Ra sold over half a million copies within four months of its release on its way to becoming the best-selling non-soundtrack album in Indian chart history. The record also earned Mehndi the honor of Channel V's Best Male Pop Singer Award, a title he also earned for 1996's Dard Di Rab Rab and 1997's Ho Jayegi Bale Bale; appearances in the films Mrityudata and Arjun Pundit further expanded his enormous popularity, and he began playing sell-out performances across the globe. Ho Jayegi Balle Balle followed in 1999. ~ Jason Ankeny