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Declining taste struck jarring note

THERE WAS a time and not too long ago when one could easily get to hear pure classical and unadulterated film music. And light music served as a ropeway between the two.

india Updated: Dec 31, 2006 01:44 IST

THERE WAS a time and not too long ago when one could easily get to hear pure classical and unadulterated film music. And light music served as a ropeway between the two.

Then the remix thing happened which first robbed film music of it melody and then almost infected it. And during this phase of musical transition one just helplessly watched the virus doing the damage.

India being a nation of the young, will music eventually be what the young generation wants it to be? This question confronted the year right in its face.

Former Akashwani artiste Swatantra Kumar Oza rightly said in a poll that earlier training and practice came first and presentation later. Now, it is only the presentation that counts, the talent or the knowledge has become secondary.

Himmesh Reshmia, who held the City in thrall asked how was it that a handful of critics called his fan following of millions crazy? Grammy winner Vishwamohan Bhatt, who visited the City to perform at an Spic Macay concert showed signs of compromise and favoured experimentation with classical music in a bid to take it to the masses. Any which way he defends this experimentation, it simply means remix or fusion resorted to cater to the masses.

And Indore saw that happening all through the year with Sushmita Banerji dancing Kathak at Mandu festival alongside puppets singing ghazals and bhajans, Raj Shekhar Mansur a well-known figure in khayal gayaki singing at a shopping festival, an Indore girl trying to win a music contest in Mumbai not by the quality of voice but by quantity of SMS votes, and finally City teenaged crooners trying to carve a niche in the hall of fame by singing or dancing for days.

But music lovers of tomorrow will be grateful to authorities as Lata felicitation function organizing committee has proposed a Lata memorial music library in the City of Suman Chourasia and Omprakash Pandya who possess almost every disc that Lata has ever cut.

Dr Ved Pratap Vedik had a point when as a guest of honour at the Sanghi Smruti Samaroh he said that classical music allowed one to experience a heavenly bliss without parting with the body.  Does teen idol Sonu Nigam, who as part of his campaign to rock India arrived in Indore, also feel the same? He has conceded that he is scared of youngsters catching up with him and that the remix is okay so long as one gets the royalty. His inclination towards spirituality can be read in this context.

Still there was plenty of good dance and music that the year witnessed— Nritya-Pratibha festival, Amala Shankar and the Chandalika ballets and Sonal Mansingh, Ratikant Mohapatra and Kiran Sehgal presenting a visual treat. Birju Maharaj’s conversation with Ashok Vajpayee and stalwarts like Hariprasad and Rakesh Chourasia, Shivkumar Sharma, Gundecha brothers, Kaushiki Chakravarti, Sanjeev Abhyankar, Ronu Mazumdar, Sunanda Sharma, Jayateerth Mewundi and Vani Jayram kept the tradition of classical music events in Indore going. Kalpana Zokarkar travelled to the US and Kalapini Komkali to Russia and Switzerland and had an opportunity to perform before Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Shrota Biradary, Sangeet Kala Sandesh and Fusion observed anniversaries of popular playback singers. Priyani Vani, Hemangi Bhagat, Niti Kothari and little champ Divakar Sharma’s talent was recognised beyond the City as well. Songwriter Swanand Kirkire visited his hometown, but did not have a line to go on record.

Filmstar Biswajeet, composer Sonik and singer Anwer visited the City to pay tributes to Rafi and the much-awaited Rakhi Sawant had to cancel her City tour in the face of a controversy.

As Amala Shankar has remarked music is like fragrance, delicate yet unmistakable. If listeners develop other tastes, the fault certainly does not lie with its purist form.