Ghazal is not dead: Hariharan on current music scenario
Although he is trained in Carnatic as well as Hindustani classical music, singer Hariharan made a mark in the ’90s with his pop-rock band, Colonial Cousins, alongside Leslie Lewis. The singer is also known for rendering some soulful and evergreen Bollywood compositions such as ‘Tu hi re’ (Bombay; 1995) and ‘Baahon ke darmiyan’ (Khamoshi: The Musical; 1996). However, the veteran singer, who recently performed at a concert in Phoenix Marketcity, Kurla (W), asserts that his forte is ghazals.
Here, he explains why he sings fewer Bollywood songs now, how the industry’s music has changed over the years, and more.
You have dabbled in multiple genres. But which one is your favourite?
If I had to name one genre as my forte, it would definitely be ghazals. It’s really close to my heart.
You delivered several hits in the ’90s and early 2000s. Eventually, you sort ofdetached yourself from Bollywood music. Why?
I wouldn’t say I got detached. The style of songs composed in Bollywood changed, and with it, the kinds of voices the composers demanded also changed.
You are part of many music-based reality TV shows. Do you think there’s a problem of plenty with so many such shows on air at once?
Reality TV shows are extremely popular with the audience. Hence, there are plenty. Looking at it positively, these shows provide wholesome entertainment to a family, and also educate people about music.
What do you think about the current state of Bollywood music?
The influence of EDM in Hindi film music is very interesting. It goes with our times — it’s peppy, youthful and groovy.
What kind of music did you grow up listening to?
Carnatic and Hindustani classical, as well as Bollywood music from the ’60s. I was also exposed to a lot of English pop music. I used to learn khayal gayaki from Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan. I got a chance to learn some of his ghazals, before I started my journey in the genre. In the ’70s, I listened to some of Mehdi Hassan’s songs, and got really inspired by his style.
How has the audience for ghazals changed over the years?
Thousands of people come to my concerts. There are a lot of ghazal lovers across the world. But I wish we could make it more contemporary, and modernise the sound with romantic lyrics, so it percolates among the youth as well.