Gurdas Maan was born in a Sikh Punjabi family in Gidderbaha Muktsar, Punjab (India) and was formally educated in Malout. After completing his education there, his parents enrolled him into a further education institute in Patiala. As a keen sports enthusiast Maan was fascinated by the National Institute of Sports in the city; this prompted him to join the N.I.S and gain a Masters Degree in Physical Education.
He took part in youth festivals organized by various universities and won several awards for his singing and acting, always supported by his friends. He competed in many athletic events and won medals including a bronze at the National Championship as well as achieving a black belt in judo.
In one of his stage plays he performed a song which he had written himself called Dil Da Mamla Hai. The play was seen by a producer for Doordarshan Kendra Jalandhar, the producer who thought the song to have potential approached Maan with a proposition for a TV performance of the song to which Maan agreed. When the song was aired on 31 December 1980 it gained national attention and Gurdas Maan became a national figure. The success of the song attracted the attention of HMV who wanted to record and release the song. It was with HMV that Maan eventually released his debut album with a year later in 1981. When Maan began his career as a solo performer in India, the music industry was dominated by duet artists and Maan reportedly declined many offers to become part of a duet as he wished to perform and become a successful solo artist. Since his debut Maan mostly performed as a solo artist.
During his early career he also wrote and directed TV programs such as POP Time for the DoorDarshan Network in Delhi.
 1990s and 2000s
Gurdas Maan is often credited with raising Punjabi folk music from a regional level mostly in the Punjab to gain international recognition. His album Apna Punjab won Best Album at the 1998 Asian Pop and Media Awards held in Birmingham. Maan also won Best Song for the title track and Best International Artist the same year. In addition to these awards, Maan more recently won three music awards of Best Lyrics (Kudiye), Best Song (Heer), as well as Best Singer of the Year at the ETC Channel Punjabi Music Awards on 6 March 2005.
Gurdas Maan is best known as an actor for his performances in two films: Waris Shah: Ishq da Waris (2006), which was nominated as India's selection for the Academy Awards, and Shaheed-E-Mohabbet (1999), the film which tells the real-life story of Boota Singh.
Gurdas also appeared in the hit film Shaheed Udham Singh (2000), in which he played the role of Bhagat Singh, a Sikh man with no prejudices based on religion, caste or creed. As a singer Gurdas Maan has worked with music directors such as Laxmikant Pyarelal, Bappi Lahiri, Anu Malik, Nadeem Sharvan, Amar Haidipur, Charanjeet Ahuja, and Jaswant Bhanyra .
He also starred alongside Juhi Chawla in the epic Des Hoyaa Pardes (2004), an emotional film illustrating the tragedies faced by the people of Punjab in the 1980s. He adopted the role of a son of a well-respected Jatt (farmer) Gurdev Singh Somal. He falls in love with a high ranking police officer's daughter. Before the wedding, the father is murdered by separatists. This tale soon twists in to the inevitable demise of Gurshaan (Gurdas Maan). This movie was based on actual events.
Aside from singing in Punjabi, he is fluent in Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, Haryanvi and Rajasthani. As an actor he has performed in Punjabi, Hindi and Tamil movies, but he is best known for his starring role in Waris Shah - Ishq Daa Waaris, a depiction of the Punjabi poet Waris Shah during the creation of his epic poem Heer Ranjha, again co-starring Juhi Chawla and Divya Dutta. He also made a special appearance in Veer-Zaara with Shahrukh Khan and Preity Zinta.
He has also appeared in Ucha Dar Babe Nanak Da (1982), Mamla Garbar Hai (1984), Long Da Lishkara (1986), Qurbani Jatt Di (1990), Pratigya (1990), Roohani Taaqat (1991), Saali Adhi Ghar Waali (1992), Wanted: Gurdas Mann Dead or Alive (1994), Kachehri (1994), and Zindagi Khoobsoorat Hai (2002).
My self kamal deep..