By Piyush Singh:
Even A. R. Rahman would not affirm that the scores of Slumdog Millionaire, which bought him a galore of fame & glitz in the form of a BAFTA Award, a Golden Globe, and mighty two Academy Awards, are his Magnum Opus. But the fact that the compositions were featured in a big-branded Hollywood movie provided the much-needed platform; and of course, the movie winning the Academy Awards, helped too. A fable that started with soothing melodies crafted around gaudy lyrics is now as capricious as the stock market; maligned by myriad item-numbers.
Apparently, if someone says that the symphony of Hindi Film Industry starts from Ritwit Ghatak, crests with Rahul Dev Burman and ebbs with Allah Rakha Rahman, could not be blamed. Unlike ‘Hollywood’, as a matter of fact, music is an intrinsic part of Indian Film industry. But now, with the Diasporas in play, the Indian music happens to be in no-man’s-land. The industry is moving away from Indian authentic to western style fusions to appeal the youth; and thus bringing mortification to a true Indian-music lover. Indian classical music has earned remarkable reverence around the world. Subsequently, when it come the contemporary ‘Bollywood’ music, which allegedly lacks novelty and originality is losing its luster. Every film director demands a kind of music that can appeal the multitudes without fail. So, it would not be criminal to say that ‘Bollywood music’ has been plagued by cheap commercialization. James Hetfield, a world famous lead singer of heavy/thrash Metal-band Metallica, alleged the Indian contemporary music to be totally plagiarized. He said,“ India does not deserve Metallica music”, and said that most of the tunes sold in the country are “stolen”.
To the dorsal of this parable called “Maligning of Indian Music”, you would find a very interesting insight. When I say that the music has been commercialized, I mean that it has been made more “digestible” to the multitudes. Now that, fundamentally, has something to do with the understanding of music. I do not infer that the Indian populace is musically illiterate; rather, the point beacons the decadence of Indian society. With tons of foreign investment in the form of IT, consultancy, off-shored jobs, manufacturing growth et al, the Indian bourgeois is awed. It has discarded the grace of music, art, theatre et al, in totality; and are rather happy hanging out at cafÃ©s, multiplexes and listening to “easy music”. No wonder, some people (including the music composers) take the leverage.
As a matter of fact, Bollywood music happens to be the face of Indian music. I wish we had more the likes of Burman & Rehman, for they can be the savior. Someone very novel, ingenious and a true virtuoso, is utterly needed. What if music be taken more seriously at primary levels? What if we give more credit to performing arts, literature, history and importantly, music? The decadence of Bollywood music is a sheer manifestation of our unconscionable influence to Western disposition. I say, that the ultimate of Indian music lies here, in our authentic work. Fusion is good with food, clothes, architecture; but with culture (of which music is an intrinsic part) it would be called “adulterated”.
Image source: http://www.nusiie.org/wp/