Music, Modernity, and Publicness in India
Indian music is a vast ocean, yet all our attention seems to be focussed on the one small pond that is Bollywood Music. It is time that changed.
I”ve always been amazed by the popularity of non-film songs by Punjabi artistes that are a part of all festivities. Songs like “Taarey gin” are great examples of non-film songs that became a rage across India and have lasted the test of time. These were later appropriated by Bollywood, which shows you that it doesn”t take Bollywood”s marketing clout to make a superhit song.
For the last two decades, Bollywood has been devaluing the Hindi film song, abusing its creators and pandering to short term returns. This has led to its logical end: Bollywood is now merely regurgitating music from its past.
It has lost all creative steam and cultural credibility. It is not the incubator for the next, Gulzar, Majrooh or even Amitabh Bhattacharya, or Madan Mohan, Vishal Bharadwaj or the next Shankar Mahadevan. Instead, it is a demoralising grinder of talent.
So where will the next AR Rahman, Amit Trivedi, Ram Sampath, Shaan or even Divine emerge from? The answer is, from the same place that Lucky Ali and KK or even I, Sona Mohapatra, emerged from. The Indie scene.
As a culture, we need to turn our gaze back to the source of creativity and not the hollow images fed to us by a rabidly toxic celebrity culture. We have to encourage artists and creators to collaborate and create timeless melodies and lyrics that inspire us for generations to come. Every generation has its own unique voice and perspective. We must create the space for those diverse voices to be heard. Music streaming can make that happen provided they are willing to fight the reductive bully that is the Bollywood music mafia.
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