Singers lament lack of melody
Asha Bhosle has publicly expressed her disappoinment over the state of playback singing in Bollywood. However, she is not alone. Maestros like Jagjit Singh are also talking in the same tone.
This is despite the fact that most of the songs over which questions are being raised have hit the charts for many successive weeks and even won awards.
"Earlier music directors themselves had good knowledge of classical music and would spend months on a single composition. The lyricists were themselves poets of great repute. But the whole scene has changed," rues melody queen Asha Bhonsle.
"Music directors like RD Burman would all the time think of tunes and thought ahead of his time. Recently when I went to Los Angeles for recording, American technical directors were amused at the quality of Pancham's music... It is difficult to find such passionate music directors now," says Bhonsle.
"Playback singing has no relevance in Hindi films these days. You will hardly find any situational song in movies. There is no variety of emotions like sad, romantic or comedy," feels Ghazal king Jagjit Singh.
"Items songs are very much in demand and they have no relevance to the story line," he says.
"The role of a music director has been taken over by computers. Every node is pre-set on the computer... There is very little communication between him and the singer," says Narayan.
The singers also expressed disappointment at the new-age item numbers. "Item numbers have been there in old movies also and we hold nothing against them, but they should not be vulgar and must be linked to the storyline," says Singh adding "Kajra Re is also an item song, but it is very well written by Gulzar and also has a folk base."
Citing the example of Jhumka Gira Re and Parde Mein Rehne Do, Narayan says "even after years, we remeber these classical item numbers. You do not feel bad either seeing or listening to them."
Narayan says that directors like Yash Chopra, Gulzar and Sanjay Leela Bhansali, who have immense understanding of music, have managed to keep the melody alive but the irony is that they don't make much movies.
"The taste of current generation of music directors has changed over the years. Now they are hugely influenced by west. Neither they have knowledge of classical music nor are they bothered about our culture," says Singh.
Is it manipulation of some kind? They ask.
"Fusion, remix and pop is all temporary... Ultimately it is melody which will survive," say Singh and Narayan.