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Home / Music / Favouritism then and now: ‘90s singers share their views about the debate in the music industry

Favouritism then and now: ‘90s singers share their views about the debate in the music industry

Was nepotism and favouritism, as singer Sonu Nigam alleged in the music industry today, also prevalent in the earlier times? We talk to musicians about it.

music Updated: Jul 04, 2020 19:09 IST
Juhi Chakraborty
Juhi Chakraborty
Hindustan Times
Singer Abhijeet Bhattacharya feels nepotism and favouritism wasn’t this prevalent in the 1990s.
Singer Abhijeet Bhattacharya feels nepotism and favouritism wasn’t this prevalent in the 1990s.

After singer Sonu Nigam sparked a debate around favouritism in the music industry, many came out and slammed the whole culture of power play and how new singers don’t get enough chances. This also makes one wonder whether things have been always were like since earlier decades, or is this a recent phenomenon.

“Yeh bahut zyaada ho raha hai. It wasn’t like this before in the ‘90s,” singer Abhijeet Bhattacharya tells us and adds, “Back then, it was even unthinkable. It did happen that one song went from one singer to another but it was authentically, not like this. Things were not so dirty. A film director and music composer used to decide which singer they want, not some company or actor.”

Further coming down heavily on this control by external factors, the singer adds, “Now, who is Salman Khan to decide who should sing a song? Who is Salman to take a singer’s song and sing it himself? This is a clear case of favouritism.”

 

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You might soon hear about Suicides in the Music Industry.

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Never been attached to any music label, singer Kavita Krishnamurti has been an independent singer, who would be called by composers to sing for the different projects.

Pointing out how all this is “new” to her, she says, “Nepotism never happened in my time. There were camps and preferences, but it never harmed anyone. A producer never interfered with music director. They could never have the courage to say a RD Burman, or Khayyam saab or O. P. Nayyar or Ravndra Jain ki aap iss singer ko le lijiye. They all made their own decisions. If one particular song didn’t work for a singer, they’d make another tune for them.”

The Tu Cheez Badi Hai Mast Mast singer goes on to add that the only criteria back then was “awaaz suit karni chahiye. The composers made songs for different voices like Alka (Yagnik), Anuradha (Paudwal) and me”.

  

The voice behind songs like Choli Ke Peeche Kya Hai and Chudiyan Khanak Gayeen, Ila Arun calls out the music bigwigs for playing a “manipulative game”. The 66-year-old says no good music composer can be successful now, no matter how hard they try, because there’s lobby and nepotism.

“The mafia is running the show. This is a deliberate attempt of killing of somebody’s future. There are good and talented singers now also, but earlier things were healthy and transparent. Now there are only 5 or 6 composers whose names are doing the rounds and that’s all because of the gunda culture,” she rues.

 

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My world @deepsnarayanjha @adityanarayanofficial

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Udit Narayan, meanwhile, refrains from commenting much on the debate, as he feels “people might think I’m not getting as much work and that is why I’m talking”, but the singer who has completed four decades in the film industry acknowledges that things have taken a turn for worse in the recent years.

“The time during ’90s was the golden era. The music and lyrics do miss something now. Today’s generation is also very talented but the problem is that people want to become a star overnight, and that’s why they seek for means to get instance success. That’s the reason behind so many remixes,” he opines.

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