The music-movie thing

As much as you may hate Him, I mean Himesh, I like him. Why? When you listen to his songs, you think Reshamiya the musician and nothing else.


Who comes to your mind first as soon as I hum “Woh ladki hai kahaan“. No Shaan, No Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, No Kavita I bet. Saif Ali Khan, I am sure yes.

Chura liya lai“? Zeenat Aman.”Phoolon ke rang se“? Dev Anand. Right?

Give it a thought now. Think about those great songs you love. If you didn’t associate them with movies at all, would you still like them? For most good ones, your answer should and will be yes. In fact, for some very good ones, you may have no movie associations at all.

More the aids to help recall a product, better it is for selling it. Agreed. So it helps to market all that music if there is another medium to aid its recall.

But why this deep an association? Why do all these good songs have to be marketed with our mostly stupid movies (stupid as in musical sense and context). Why is it that a team of musicians as powerful as Shankar-Ehsan-Loy and a singer as versatile as Sonu Nigam have to ride on Aamir Khan’s stardom and Bollywood’s money muscle to market a gem of a song like Tanhayee? Do you think all those wonderful songs of QSQT needed a movie platform for marketing? Don’t you think you would have liked songs of Kashmr Ki Kali even if you never heard of Shammi Kapoor or Sharmila Tagore? Okay, I hope you got the point, because I don’t want to run up a paper-mill of examples. There are just so many.

We Indians love our popular music. It fills practically every minute of our day. It is the foundation for most popular indoor game of our country. Perhaps goes to tell you that there is a big market for music, and music alone to fill our time. But even then, we don’t see A R Rahman teaming up with Hariharan for a pure music album. They prefer movies instead. Even after moderate success with solo albums, you see Sonu Nigam going full blast on his movie career. Adnan Sami starts great with a stunner pop album, but prefers making music for films over personal pop albums now.

Indipop has not flourished because there aren’t good artists around – I have heard that argument before. Your pioneer Baba Sehgal was good only for his first album – the one where he copied a few tunes from the west. The likes of Anaida, Sharon, Peeyush, Vikas Bhalla weren’t as good. Less said about Rageshwari and Suchitra the better. Blah blah. Dumb arguments are these and so says Me.

Indipop doesn’t get or retain talent because the Indian movie industry (Bollywood, Tollywood or whatever) drains them away. Indipop is on stretchers because Indian media companies possess this huge oversight that music needs the marketing platform of movies.

Indipop is awaiting investments folks. There is a market for it, there is money to be made. There are artists to be created, and there are stars to be made.

VCs, anyone? I am willing to run with your money :)


5 Responses

  1. Nice post. Today evening I was discussing with my friends about this guy Himesh Reshamiya when there was an orchestra playing in the background in a wedding function.. I personally don’t choose to hear his music & my friend told me that he will start singing something different what he has told on one of those interviews! I am not sure if I still want to hear him.
    Well, Indipop needs some avenue otherwise they will miserably fail to make money.. Now that radios, Film theatre, TV’s support the movie songs(in all their programs from Top 10 to their live programs) the Indipop fails… I liked few of these which was made in early 2k, when those red teddy key bunches were sold in huge, I have forgotten that tune but remember those actors which Abbas ali was one.
    I love phalguni, she has a better voice…

    Footnote – Churaliya fame or Indrajit in ramanand sagar fame Vijay arora is no more.. I read it in one of the dailies, I wish somebody atleast blogs on this person.. I remember couple of those.

  2. Good post with obvious answers.

    a) Who has the distribution channel, publicity budgets for most of these singers? Answer is none.

    b) Who would be able to risk and reap the rewards if there is any? – Piracy is the killer stuff for these people.

    c) Many a times the movies run to full houses just for the music so it makes sence for movie producers to piggy back these singers.

    d) where did we forget the lyricist – the soul of these songs all these days?

    Himesh has angrily said that he will not sing in animal killing voice ;-) In fact at end of interview he goes on to say that he WILL sing it again if audiences like it.

  3. I don’t know – I am happy that our film makers and musicians have worked out this symbiotic relationship providing us wonderful entertainment over the decades. Everybody wins with this arrangement. Movies are more watchable because of the songs. Songs are more memorable because of the picturisation. What’s the downside? Sure, musicians may not have complete freedom to exercise their creativity and have to work within the constraints of movies. But looking at the variety of music that has been created, I am not sure how big a constraint it is. Besides, this is a combination that has proven itself in the market place. There was a time in the 80s when Hollywood movies and US pop music used to be big in Indian cities. But over the past decade or so that trend has been decidedly reversed. While Indian movies and music has soared in popularity, there are hardly any takers for one-dimensional hollywood movies and soulless US pop music these days.

  4. First time i am hearing that someone likes Phalguni. Veena you have a great choice. By the way Phalguni is girl or boy?

  5. Veena, FM radio can help free popular Indian music of its dependency on Films.

    M O H A N, good point, I forgot mentioning the lyricists.

    Mohan, that is a good line of argument. Films have helped arguably helped this music grow. But I am saying there is a big enough market now for it to stand on its own. We could get better quality music with better lyrics if that happens. And it will be able to support a lot many stars – there is so much talent that has nowhere to go simply because films can only take in the select few. How does the film industry discover talent, I will like to know that. I am guessing it’d be by way of connections (some start or director’s friend or cousin).

    NRI Falguni Pathak is a female. Had a few hits to her name, good voice, folkish sounding tunes with not so great musical arrangements. Wonder what she is upto now.

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