Vipen Kumar aka DJ VIPs

In The Bhangra Boss: The Story of DJ VIPs, Ravi Sagoo celebrates the 50-year history of bhangra music in Scotland from the early days of the pioneers Bombay Talkie, led by Sanjay Majhu and Charan Gill who laid the foundation for a Scottish scene, which became the focal point of the British scene in the 2000s, largely thanks to the influence of Edinburgh-based label VIP Records, led by the charismatic DJ VIPs.

DJ and label boss DJ VIPs, real name Vipen Kumar, started his own journey in India before moving to the capital as a young man, where he turned his love of bhangra music into a full-time career, first as a wedding DJ, then as a club DJ and then as a promoter of international bhangra acts, while in 2005 he released his album Party Time on his own record label VIP Records.

Originally supporting local Scottish bhangra talent, VIP Records label has now garnered international recognition and now has a fan base that has attracted more than a billion streams with releases from Bhangra stars like Diljit Dosanjh, Rahim Paredesi and Tru-Skool.

In the documentary, Kumar’s family and his DJ team, including Kunal, Pushkal and Shiv, as well as producers Tigerstyle and Truskool, remember the king of Scottish bhangra as the man who put Scotland at the center of the British bhangra scene and at the same time reflected it how he started the bhangra industry from his base in Edinburgh.

They also recall the beloved character’s stories and memories, and show how his legacy lives on after his death in 2019 today with his hugely successful record label and DJ Troop.

Kumar died in January 2019 after being responsible for starting the careers of some of the UK’s top Asian artists such as JK, Raxstar, Ezu and many more. Later that year, his life was commemorated with a posthumous Special Tribute Award at the first ever Asian Community Awards in Edinburgh.

Join Sagoo to follow the history of bhangra as it evolved from the temples and mela festivals to the controversial Asian daytime bhangras, clubs and the new generation of producers mixing authentic Indian singing with modern influenced beats Squads Manjot Sumal, DJ Sonia, the VIP DJs and Gtown Desi’s DJ Bobby B.

An energetic folk dance tradition from pujab in India, Bhangra is now a global modern dance and fitness phenomenon and featured from America’s Got Talent to the London Olympics. However, the first records of bhangra as a dance appear towards the end of the 19th century. The current style and shape of bhangra was developed in the 1940s and has continued to evolve ever since. It was originally a folk dance that was celebrated during harvest time and was danced to dhol, a big drum, and boliyan, short sentences of text covering topics such as love, patriotism, strength, and celebration.

The Bhangra Boss – The Story of DJ Vips, Monday 26 July, BBC Scotland, 10:30 p.m.

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