The UK millionaire with Bollywood dreams

From BBC - January 13, 2018

Jasbir Wouhra, a millionaire businessman in the United Kingdom, dreams of a different sort of success - he wants to be a Bollywood singer.

"I enjoy music very much," says 66-year-old Mr Wouhra. "I also play the accordion and the harmonium. And I sing a number of ragas [Indian classical compositions]."

Mr Wouhra and his four bothers moved to the UK in 1968 and in 1972, they set up East End Foods.

Back then, it was a small company that sold pulses and rice to Indians living in the UK. Now, it's one of the country's largest Asian food companies, employing about 400 people. In 2013, it had a turnover of 180m ($243m).

Throughout, Mr Wouhra kept his passion for singing alive. " I was recording on Saturdays or Sundays when I had a bit of time," he told the BBC.

"I have written dozens of songs. I have now released six albums and I am making my own singles."

Mr Wouhra said he started singing when he was a four-year-old boy in Delhi. "My mother used to sing," he recalled.

The brothers had initially planned to return to India once they earned enough money. But after their business became so successful, they continued living in the UK.

But Mr Wouhra continued to visit India often. He said he started to get serious about his singing career only in 1978 after he appeared on stage with some professional musicians. When they complimented his voice, he said, he got the confidence to chase his dream.

He kept meeting musicians from India so he could train with them and hone his skills as a singer.

Now he has a team in the western Indian city of Mumbai, the nerve centre of India's film and music industry.The team is responsible for recording the music and producing his albums.

He still travels to India where he records or performs with his team as well as other Indian singers and composers.


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