In this era of unrelenting mass production of films and music albums, the degrading levels of Indian music is but visible. The overpowering releases of sleazy flicks like ‘Blue Eyes’, ‘Party All Night’, and ‘Bhag Bhag DK Bose’ have made many cringes and lack sensible and soul-freshening music. With the changing times, deteriorating levels of morals and ethics paved way for vulgarity and insensibility to creep in, in the otherwise renowned classical music heritage of ours. Music mirrors one’s society and holds equal relevance.
Dr Masaru Emoto, esteemed Japanese researcher, demonstrated in his famous water molecule and rice experiments how thinking process and style can alter the realities. A man is a product of his thoughts. This be true, zeroes-in on the reasons behind the rampant growth of the evils in our society. What can be expected of an audience which lies drenched in the showers of derogatory lyrics of ‘Lela Teri Le Legi’, ‘Ab Karunga Gandi Baat’ being just a few to name?
Astonishingly, the otherwise pro-active Censor Board which thwarts many film makers from projecting the truth does little to stop these songs. Intoxicated with Badnaam Munni and Sheela’s Jawani, officials too appear to have a soft corner for item songs.
People argue about the implications of this to society. Astonishing it is, is all I can say. Do we not imitate film stars? Do we not copy their style? Even a misfit demeanor endorsed by the King or the Bhai of Bollywood becomes a trend irresistible. Now, when everything they endorse becomes a trend; such vulgar songs surely have a mark on young minds. What will a child singing, “G*** me dum hai toh band karwa lo”, know of respecting elders?
Thankfully, people have not succumbed to this wave of vulgarity. Offended by vulgar songs, people have often taken to streets and warned strict actions against the film makers and the actors who dance on the provoking numbers. In 1994, present CFCB chief Pahlaj Nihalani’s film ‘Andaaz‘ featured Anil Kapoor and Juhi Chawal tapping feet at double-entendres like, ‘Khada hai’ and ‘Le lo, Le lo Mera’. What followed clarified that people and women particularly do not endorse such songs. That April, the BJP’s women’s wing storm troopers tore down posters of ‘Andaaz’ and gheraoed the Metro cinema where it was being screened. They threatened to blacken the faces of stars who enact vulgar numbers.
The trend seems to change with Nihalani chairing the Central Film Certification Board. A one-time purveyor of double-entendres and producer of choreographed erotica now wants to sanitise Indian films. After titillating the ‘future generation’ of his age, Nihalani is now concerned about what people watch in cinemas. But can the harm be undone?
The younger generation, which loves to party and enjoy every second of life, were obviously to be catered with more such energetic songs and thus, the change in the style of music was inevitable. But, such songs could have been produced upholding the musical and morality standards. Play ‘Disco Dancer’ and one’s feet shall still go tapping. Why did our composers give ‘Char Bottle Vodka” to youth?
There can be no excuse for conspiring a murder of one’s culture and projecting to the world its false maligned image. Thanks to the dearth of talented and creative lyricists coupled with the box-office fanatic directors, the graph of the music is sloping negatively and at a great pace. Gone are the days when artists would look for sensibility and aim to relieve the stress of their audience. With the nail-biting competition scaling new heights, the importance of refreshing and peaceful songs increases manifold. But many present day songs end up stressing one’s brain cells if lend an ear to. Though songs like ‘Zinda’, ‘Baar Baar Haan’ and ‘Kuch Kariye’ can be shortly inspiring but prolonged listening to these high-pitched songs stresses the auditory nerve and adds to the mental fatigue.
As the likes of Mohd Rafi, Kishor Kumar and Manna Dey left for their heavenly abodes, the music industry was orphaned. Evergreen old songs like, ‘Baharo Phool Barsao’, ‘Aane se uske Aaye Bahar’, ‘Kya Khoob lagti ho’ portrayed the beauty of women and thereby not demeaning them as songs like ‘Laundiya Pataunga’ did. This sensibility and the sheer brilliance of these songs makes them immortal. Rants may come and rants may go; but these songs will remain forever. Unable to create better songs, composers have started recomposing the same tracks that embraced the 80s.
Though, a few good songs have been produced lately as well, but they, too, lack that passion and touch their predecessors had. To resurrect the beauty of our music, all stakeholders need to work in unison. The society in general and the Censor Board in particular needs to ensure that immorality and vulgarity are chucked off the rolls which shall make the composers revert back to originality. Films like ‘Guzarish’ and ‘Barfi’ being praised by the audience proves that the audience being catered to is becoming intelligent. The producers and directors thus, must make sure that they change from mere ‘entertaining businessmen’ to ‘sensible citizens’. Better support system to promote classical music and its practitioners is also a must until this air of nincompoopery vanishes.