For many years, melody has been mostly absent from music. Film songs as well as non-film songs in the country have moved far away from meaningful lyrics and sweet music that touches the heart. A couple of years ago, a well-known singer of the 1990s said in a television interview that the music of today could not be called music in the true sense of the word. What he said was that there were no longer any music directors and music was being arranged. Technique was far more important than lyrics or melody.
The news anchor asked him why he was no longer being called to sing songs as his voice was as wonderful as it had been in the 90s when he was called the voice of Sharukh Khan. His reply sounded so genuine. He said that those kind of songs were no longer being made. He would never sing what were being passed off as songs these days. His disillusionment was real and I could understand it well as he had reined supreme when melody was queen and lyrics and tunes were such that they are remembered till today and enjoyed by music lovers the world over. I cannot imagine him singing the songs that we have in our films today. It would not be fair on him.
At the conclusion of the interview, this amazing singer made a kind of prediction that found an echo in my heart .He said that very soon, there would be a revival of melody like there was around the year 1990 when the music of Ashiqui took the entire country by storm.
He said it was inevitable. His words were like music to my ears. Could this happen, I wondered. I wanted to believe him as this ‘musicless music’ which one has been getting to hear is absolutely unbearable at times. It cannot possibly go on forever. There has to be a return of sensibility and beauty that has been missing from our film music for very long now. Another thing which I heard about our music recently was something mentioned by the great poet and lyricist Javed Akhtar in one of the shows on TV that he anchors. He said that movies no longer had any sad songs like they used to earlier feature. He said that today’s world believed that being emotional was being weak and thus sad songs were considered out of sync with the upbeat world we now inhabit. I feel that explains all the jazzy, item songs that become popular for a little while and then just get wiped away from memory forever.
However, there has to come a time when things change completely and go back to the eternal emotions and sensibilities of human beings. And seeing how things are going, I think this revival has already begun. In the recently concluded Indian Idol show on TV, old melodies were often sung by the contestants. The medley of the 1960s soulful songs they presented at the grand finale stole everyone’s hearts.
More and more old songs are being sung again by new singers and released, Without true, deep emotions, music becomes cosmetic and it has become like that in this era where creativity and originality have taken a back seat. The hauntingly beautiful music of the 60s and 90s is as fresh today as it then was. Perhaps more. As it is needed more by listeners in this music-deprived world. It is being valued far more now. Youngsters of today also love that music and it is played by all radio stations day and night, taking us back to that harmonious time.
The hope given by that singer on the show was enough to make me dream of the revival he was talking about. He said that within a few days, signs of this revival would be evident and his fans would hear him sing again in his silken voice. There is no reason why the films of today cannot have the same kind of music which films of the 90s had. Modern themes or a new style of film making need not compromise on good lyrics and sweet music. Such music adds greatly to the impact of the film. The audience should be given the chance to hear good music. Only after that should it be said that they do not want that kind of music. If they are served melody-less sounds, do they really have any choice?
And I am happy to see that this need for melodious songs is being felt acutely. The turning point is very near. Melody shall be queen soon.