Bollywood music has seen many transitions over the years. Some have been drastic and for the good, while others have been, lets use a safe word and call it different! while different can usually be attributed to good, some of you might share a completely different view of these transitions.
Starting with RD Burman who revolutionised Bollywood music with incorporating in his song a strong influence of jazz, arab and oriental music. He was known for his experiments with musical sounds, like the cups and saucers used for the initial tinkling in ‘chura liya hai tumne jo dil ko’ or the blowing into beer bottles for the beginning part of ‘mehbooba mehbooba’. He till date is considered a legend of the film fraternity and his songs remain the hot favourites even today.
With his decline in the 1980s, came the Bengali Babu, Bappi Lahiri who was crowned the Disco King of India. His music for Mithun’s dance based movies became a rage and he became a synonynm of Indian Disco Culture with ever green and peppy songs like ‘ jimmy jimmy’, ‘Disco Dancer’ and ‘yaad aa raha hai tera pyaar’. His popularity refuses to cease after all these years. Though there are other factors related to his appearance responsible for his undying popularity, his music continues to be the prime one with recent hits like like ‘mumbai nagariya’, ‘oolala’ or my personal favourite ‘tune maari ghantiyan’.
In the 1990’s Bollywood got another game changer, A R Rahman. In 1992 he gave music for Mani Ratnam’s Roja and was an instant rage. He is one of the few composers who use the same symphony in the background score. He uses the key melody of a song and turns it into an orchestral piece. His style of music is very contemporary and his tunes have a haunting quality with many layers surrounding the core tune. Songs like ‘dil se’, ‘yeh haseen vadiyan’, ‘rehna tu’ from Delhi 6 and ‘tu bin bataye’ from Rang de basanti having an instantly soothing and pacifying effect, which I can associate only with his music.
I am skipping a lot of years in between, but I am just dying to come to this part. A really short lived yet extremely impact full musical surge was in the years 2005-2007 when wrong suddenly became right. Singers who had spent years of training to make sure that don’t sing with a nasal were sitting at home, while the music director, whom we all hated loving was on a roll giving one hit after the other. While Himesh Reshammiya is still a very useful card in a comedian’s bag and inspite of the fact that he was widely criticised, some of his songs are still clearly etched in our brains. His style of repeating a word in a song a 100 times( jhalak dikhlaja, aaja aaja aaja.., kitne armaan armaan armaan, tera pyaar pyaar pyaar) made for good club music, and we all, and yes I know you too, danced on his songs on several occasions.
In recent years, many have frowned upon the item songs that are today considered a quintessential part of our cinema. The lyrics have been criticised, the visuals have been labelled ostentatious and yet songs like ‘Munni Badnam’ and ‘Halkat Jawani’ get the loudest cheers when played in a party. The reason is not because we have a shortage of soulful and meaningful songs because we don’t. songs like ‘iktara’, kabira, ‘tum hi ho’, etc are a proof of that. Its just a new sub genre with songs that get stuck in our heads even when we don’t want them to and it runs parallel with the type of songs that we want to remember. This Desi experiment has however worked very well for Bollywood and has given a new meaning to music.
Talking about experimenting, it is really amusing how a man who willingly adds two ‘YOs’ before his name can be such a rage and so immensely popular. He seems to be the present of Bollywood, Have a song featured by Honey Singh and its bound to be a hit. People laud his talents for creating lyrics while sitting in a plane or in a car. It’s a different thing, that the songs he sings have lyrics like ‘ aaj blue hai pani aur din bhi hai sunny’ or ‘ achko machko dabeli’. But you still have people defending his music.
Music is what music makes you feel. either these musical transitions can be seen the way I see them or some one can have a completely different perspective about it, the only thing that matters is that we enjoy the phase we are in!