Punjabi songs in recent years has entered mainstream Indian culture, as well as in the UK and U.S. Its inclusion in Bollywood songs. The rise in popularity in Punjabi music in London and in the suburb of Southall, which has a sizeable South Asian population, can be attributed to the diaspora of immigrants from both to east and west Punjab to the United Kingdom in the 1970s. By the 1980s, Punjabi music, many types of which were now being referred to as “bhangra,” started to be played in discos.
In addition to the UK, Punjabi music has also gained popularity in the United States. This inclusion of Punjabi music in popular culture has continued and become more salient today, as exemplified by UK-based Panjabi MC’s “Mundian to Bach Ke,” became a Top 40 hit in the United States, being listened to widely by non-Punjabis. Furthermore, second generation Indian American youth in major American cities such as New York and New Jersey have adopted elements of Punjabi music into their nightlife. The music that is popular amongst this Indian American subculture incorporates both Western and Eastern influences. Urban sounds including hip hop, R&B, and reggae are mixed with more traditional Indian genres of bhangra and Hindi film music.
Punjabi music has also made its mark in mainstream Hindi cinema. It has typically been characterized as “an ethnocultural signifier of Panjabi celebration,” and more recently, “a national signifier of fun.