It is an unsaid truth that without music and its song ‘n’ dance routines Indian Cinema would not be as unique and colourful as it is. The recent years has seen Indian Music take on a new persona with introducing new music directors such as Shankar-Eshaan-Loy, Vishal-Shekar, Pritam, Himesh Reshammiya, and trying to revive the old persona with music directors such as Anu Malik, Jatin Lalit, and Nadeem-Shravan. Then there was the talent that went unnoticed such as Sandesh Sandaliya with Socha Na Tha and Chameli. We have had a huge range of songs classified as hits or chartbusters, whether it is the English tracks of Dhoom 1 and 2, the lyrically unique Woh Lamhe, Lahree Choote, the poetic and soulful Fanaa or just something full of sound and energy such as Aashiq Banaya Aapne, Dus, and Bunty aur Babli.
While it’s hard to say what exactly is the status of music in Indian Cinema today, there are some trends and patterns in place that are almost like a formula to make a particular album audible.
Not too long ago remixes were classified as yesteryear songs in new sound-pumping packages that came with a bunch of loosely clothed dancing girls. Today, it’s essentially gap fillers. When music directors only have 4-5 songs and need another 4 or 5 to reach the 700MB limitation of a compact disc, they try to make 1 or 2 remixes of their original songs. Initially it was a nifty technique. It was like hitting two birds with one stone, which was satisfying slow and fast-paced musical needs of the audience. Recently, the use of remixes has become so habitual, that music directors end up slaughtering their original creation by using so much music that the songs end up sounding like gibberish.
Firangi words and phrases might not sit right with the older generation but it does give a song a sense of youthfulness and as hard as it is to believe, a little reality. Think about the way you talk, (if you are an avid speaker of Hindi, Tamil etc) and how many English terms you throw in while you talk. The trick to creating a decent Hinglish song is not over-doing the English, have lyrics that make sense and refraining from imitating English pop numbers. An excellent example is Vishal-Shekhar’s Dus Bahane and one of the bad examples is Apna Sapna Money Money’s Paisa Paisa.
Bring Back the Desi-Flavour
It can be said without any doubt that everyone loved the music of Bunty aur Babli. One could simply feel the colour and ethnicity of India flowing from Dhadak Dhadak, Kajra Re and Nach Baliye. Indian Cinema clearly needs more of this kind of music. Fast-paced, lyrical and portrayal of everything that makes Indian music one of the most energetic tunes you would hear on earth.
Again and Again
Repetition is another thing that has severely wounded Indian music today with Himesh repeating his title lyrics 10 times and Pritam’s songs all sounding alike (Ever compared Gangaster’s Tuhi Meri Shab Hai and Who Lamhe’s Kya Mujhe Pyaar Hai?). Aashiq Banaya Apne and Aksar were fantastic albums with a unique tune, melody and voice but, later Himesh sounded as if he was using the songs that he could not fit into his first two hits. Pritam may have blown us away with Dhoom, but when the music of Chocolate and Fight Club seemed dangerously alike,(Mummy Ko Nahin Hai Pata and Joshile Jawan) one started to question his creativity. Even the ever enlightening Shankar-Eshaan-Loy created a musical sequel to Kal Ho Naa Ho with Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna and have 4 out of the 8 songs in their latest musical venture Jhoom Barabar Jhoom sounding exactly alike with just a few tempo tweaks, instrument change and different singers (JBJ, Jhoom, Jhoom Jam and Jhoom Barabar Jhoom). At this point in time, congratulations are in order for Vishal-Shekar who are the new music directors who have given the audience something new and different every time they have released an album. The sheer brilliance and uniqueness of their debut Jhankaar Beats up to the recent favourites like Bluffmaster and Dus is what makes them one of the most sought after music directors in Indian Cinema today.
A.R Rahman has been the superhero of music directors for what seems like time immemorial. Music lovers anticipate his tracks to hit the music stands. It is incredible how his music is a revelation every single time. With Jatin-Lalit splitting up after the melodious work of art in Fanaa and Nadeem Shravan vanishing from the face of earth, Anu Malik has become the lone-ranger in the struggle against the new kids on the block. While Pyare-Mohan and Deewane Hue Paagal did not work quite as well, one must remember the likes of Main Hoon Na and Jaan-e-mann. It seems that if Mr. Malik stops being afraid of the competition around him he just might find the hit he has been looking for.
Finally, music is a vital part of Indian Cinema. Lately creating music is becoming something that is just done out of habit. It looks as if Indian Cinema has forgotten that music is the very thing that defines it and sets it apart in the world of cinema. It’s time they remembered and gave music the importance it deserves.