Melody gets cut to boost sales
Songs used to be an integral part of Bollywood films, but not any more.
Ram Gopal Varma decided to do away with songs in Bhoot. "It seemed like the right thing to do in that particular instance," said Varma.
"Again in Darna Manaa Hai I felt that the songs were not required, because they would have interrupted the flow of the story," informed Varma, the producer of DMH.
"I feel that my films Shool and Jungle suffered because of songs. I've nothing against music. My biggest hit before Bhoot was Rangeela - a film based on songs and music. Now my next release, Main Madhuri Dixit Banna Chahti Hoon is a musical film with elaborately choreographed songs."
As Varma swings to his own groove, the film industry seems to be caught in a dilemma: Is music gradually becoming redundant?
After the success of Bhoot, several filmmakers were enthused to do away with songs. But the audience rejected Guddu Dhanoa's song-less supernatural thriller Hawaa and Nagesh Kukunoor's 3 Deewarein.
Prakash Jha who started his career with hard-hitting realistic films turned to music in his last two films Dil Kya Kare and Rahul.
But in latest film Gangajal, he hasn't given emphasis on music and songs.
Says Jha: "Gangajal has just one song, a nautanki number. I feel a time has come for filmmakers to exercise their will over the narrative.
"Thanks to audience's changing tastes, it's no longer imperative for the filmmakers to have songs intruding into the storyline. Since Gangajal tackles a serious social issue, not having songs was a blessing."
Even a music-oriented director like Mehul Kumar is now making Jaago, a song-less film based on the gruesome incident of a minor girl's gang-rape on a local train in Mumbai.
Songs and music have always played a flamboyant part in Mehul Kumar's earlier melodramas. Today, with films being liberated from the compulsions of music, even hardcore mainstreamers like Guddu Dhanoa and Mehul Kumar have donned a realistic song-less garb.
The trend, however, may be short-lived, with a cluster of musicals doing well at the box-office.
In December, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, whose mammoth musicals Khamoshi: The Musical, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam and Devdas revolutionised mainstream Hindi cinema, will make his first non-musical film titled Black. Featuring Amitabh Bachchan and Rani Mukherjee, the film will have only background music.
"But at the same time I'm working on a full-fledged musical, Bajirao Mastani, where music would be integral to the drama," opines Bhansali. The presence or non-presence of songs and music should be dictated entirely by the requirements of the theme," said Bhansali.