Music: Is it for our good now?

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By Preksha Buttan

Music is said to be a universal language. It has been there since humans gathered the ability to appreciate sound and take note of elements of nature like rivers, wind, chirping birds and so on. There is hardly any person who does not like music. Almost everyone listens to it, gets affected by it and enjoys it in his/her own style.

With hundreds of years having passed, nature around us has changed. Humans and their lifestyle have gone through a huge evolution while technology has constantly endeavored to enhance our lives. With these, bollywood music has also come a long way.

Among the things that have changed and have affected music is technology. Today, a person who barely knows anything about music can create it using latest software and applications like ‘Reason’ or ‘Ableton Live’ and publish it on social media. Music created through software has taken the place of live band members. We are gradually losing the human touch.

Instruments are going through a make-over as well. Flute has come a long way from being a thin hollow bamboo stick with holes to plastic and metal ones with more dynamism, for instance.

While purely instrumental music never fails to touch the heart, it’s the beauty of the words which give the piece a more concrete meaning. Lyrics are the soul of music. According to Wikipedia, lyrics can be defined as: They are words that make up a song, usually consisting of verses and choruses. The meaning of music often lies in its lyrics. So, whatever the lyrics are like, the song will be reflected in the same way.

picture credit: indiannewslink.co.nz
picture credit: indiannewslink.co.nz

Along with all the changes that Bollywood music has seen over the years, lyrics are the most affected part, having undergone dramatic changes. Earlier, music had a softer touch and lyrics were more meaningful. Songs used to convey a message, whether it was religious or about love or friendship. Take a song from Bollywood movie Andaz sung by Kishore Kumar: “Zindagi ek safar hai suhana, yahan kal kya ho kisne jaana” (Life is a wonderful journey. Nobody knows what will happen tomorrow.) Lyrics should speak about the hidden nuances and the truths of life.

Nowadays, songs are rather empty with shallow lyrics which have no deep impression to offer other than some head-banging enjoyment to the younger generation. Consider a song of the film ‘Yariyaan’ for instance: “Aaj blue hai paani paani pani paani paani paani, aur din bhi sunny sunny sunny sunny sunny sunny” (The water is blue and the day is sunny today).

The elderly describe songs from their time as reasonable, inspiring and conveying a sense of philosophy of life that dwelt on from love, romance, friendship to words of wisdom. Songs such as these had a certain depth and a soothing nature which brought peace, or made us think. Complaining about latest trending songs, they say, the songs impart a wrong message about love, friendship and values to the youth, owing to which, they are moving away from Indian traditions.

picture credit: movies.suleka.com
picture credit: movies.suleka.com

Observe the lines from the song Abhi toh party shuru hui hai sung by Badshah and Aastha: “Thaka thaka jo feel kare wo jaake dou RedBull gatak le”, “Aur jisko dance nahi karna woh jaake apni bhains charaye”, “Hum hain bete hum, baaki saare paani kam; Humein rok ke dikhaaye jiski bum me hai dum” . Another example is the song Jaa chudail from ‘Delly Belly’ in which a girl is described in a very crude manner. For more, one can listen to Engine ki seeti from the movie ‘Khoobsurat’, Lip to lip from ‘Katti Batti’, G phad ke from ‘Happy Ending’ or Khoon choos le from ‘Go Goa Gone’. There is an endless list of such songs composed in last five to ten years.

In our fast-paced lifestyle where every appointment is a click away, where we have no time to take it easy and actually ‘feel’ a song, the younger generation chooses to pick songs with tempos as fast as their lives, shallow in meaning, but nevertheless upbeat.

Earlier, songs on friendship went like: “Yeh dosti hum nahin todenge, todenge dam magar tera saath na chodenge” (We will not break this friendship, I may break my pride but I will not leave your side); or “Tere jaisa yaar kaha, kaha aisa yaaraana; Yaad karegee duniya teraa meraa afsaana” (There is no friend like you, there is no friendship like this; world will remember our story). Now, however, this is what a song on friendship sounds like: “Mera yaar bada swanky; Hai karda hankey pankey; But daaru di ye tenkey; Not karda danga haaye”. So crude and vulgar are these lines that providing a translation for them would be a disappointment.

“Hume tumse pyaar kitna yeh hum nahi jaante; magar jee nahi sakte tumhaare bina” (I do not how much I love you but I cannot live without you) is a line from an eternal love song sung by Kishore Kumar. Today’s songs which go like– “mein kitna tanhaa tanhaa lonely lonely tere bin, O Baawariya!” (I am so alone, alone, lonely, lonely without you)– are fast gaining popularity. Words which are meant to reflect our deepest feelings of love are currently working at destroying all such feelings.

One major reason for this deterioration in the lyrics of Bollywood music is the effect of westernization. The youth is adopting a modern style and picks up things which make them look modern. Gone are the days when a person would fall in love and spend his/her days in bed signing along with Kishore da’s songs. They are more likely to do a Honey Singh and take out the girl for “Chaar bottle vodka”.

picture credit: tumblr.com
picture credit: tumblr.com

But then, any change is not completely good or bad. It would be completely wrong to say that today’s music is totally meaningless.  There are still many pieces which are heart touching. For example, Raabta from ‘Agent Vinod’“Kehte hain: Khuda ne iss jahaan mein sabhi ke liye kisi na kisi ko hai banaaya har kisi ke liye; tera milna hai uss rab ka ishaara maano mujhko banaya tere jaise hi kisi ke liye” (It is said that, God has made someone for everyone. Meeting you is like God is sending signs to me that you are the one made for me); Bande hai hum uske from ‘Dhoom 3’“Bande hai hum uske, humpe kiska zor, ummedon ke sooraj nikle chaaron ore” (We are his men, nobody other than him has control over us. Light of hope spreads all around), Give me some sunshine from ‘3 Idiots’– “Give me some sunshine, give me some rain, give me another chance, I wanna grow up once again”. These are just a few, but the list goes on.

But the sad truth is that it is the meaningless lyrics with their pumped up repetitive beats which are the most popular today. These songs are everywhere—be it at a marriage function, birthday party, nightclubs, on autorickshaws or even during pujas in certain areas. On a daily basis, you can see many people listening to them with the bass throbbing in their headphones, humming to them while going to work, or kids dancing to them at every little function.

Different kinds of music promote different feelings in the mind of the listeners. Since things can never remain the same, music will also change with time. Changing human notions, upcoming trends, small and big occurrences in the world will all modify our taste in music. Time will bring innumerable changes. Some will be more adaptive than the others. However, music will take its own course in the world and we can only hope to preserve what was once good while keeping our eyes open for the next big trend.

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Jaspal Singh: Bollywood’s Voice Lost in Transition

Jaspal Singh has by and large made a significant contribution in Bollywood through some of the most popular and melodious songs he sang

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Jaspal Singh
Jaspal Singh is an Indian singer who lent his voice to various Bollywood actors in the era 1970's and 1980's.

By Kashish Rai

The beauty of the Hindi film industry lies not only in it’s stories but also in the songs that get in tune with the mood of the narratives. These songs remain eternal in the minds of the audience for generations to come, but unfortunately the ones who give their melodious voice in these songs are not always remembered. Jaspal Singh is one of them.

Today we have brought in light one of those gem singers of bollywood~ Jaspal Singh, who has by and large made a significant contribution in Bollywood through some of the most popular and melodious songs he sang.

  • Who is Jaspal Singh?

 Jaspal Singh is an Indian singer who lent his voice to various Bollywood actors in the era 1970’s and 1980’s. He was born in Amritsar and during his school and college days, he realised his passion for singing. He used to participate in various music competitions throughout his school and college life. To further pursue his passion for singing he went to Mumbai where his sister used to stay.

Jaspal’s talent was first and foremost recognised by well known female singer Usha Khanna during the year 1968.

  • Jaspal’s Early Life Struggle

Jaspal Singh was provided a chance to sing at a professional level, however he did not get the recognition which he deserved in his life. He struggled to make a career in singing and would often visit Amritsar, Delhi and Mumbai time and again.

Jaspal was always an ardent fan of Mohammed Rafi and grew up listening to his songs and singing Rafi’s songs whenever he got the opportunity. As he was attracted to only film songs he did not undergo any training in classical music.

Due to peer pressure, he started practicing law and started living in Mumbai. In spite of the hardships he was facing, he never gave up and then, a well known Music Composer, Ravindra Jain gave him the big break for a song in the movie called ‘Geet Gata Chal’ of 1975. After this song, he became a prominent name. His voice was unique and was unlike any other and he sang for some hit bollywood movies like ‘Nadiya ke paar’, ‘Ankhiyon ke jharokhon se’,’Sawan ko aane do’, etc.

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  • Jaspal’s Singing Career in Bollywood Industry

In 1975 as the opening credits of the newly released film “Geet Gaata Chal” rolled out and the cinema hall resonated with the fresh, melodious, energetic and high-pitched vocals of Jaspal Singh singing the title song- ‘Geet gaata chal o saathi gungunata chal…’

Every viewer was mesmerized by this totally new, original, youthful and brilliant voice which was both pleasing and heart-warming. This was the magic his voice had.

For the audience who did not see the film at that time, hearing the song was enough to transport them to the villages and immediately entreating up images of the person dancing amidst the lush green fields, flowing rivers, chirping birds and pleasant winds. Such was the effect the song had on the listeners of that time that it became one of the most iconic songs of the decade.

The film “Nadiya Ke Paar”  produced by Tarachand Bharjatya under his banner “Rajshri Productions” was to be the launch vehicle for introducing child artists Sachin and Sarika as adult stars in a romantic story. As the existing singers of the time were all associated with different popular heroes, the new male singer Jaspal Singh was chosen to do a  playback for Sachin. Not only did the film became a big hit, all the songs of the film also became super-hits and music lovers wholeheartedly accepted Jaspal Singh as the new sensational voice.

Nadiya Ke Paar
A still from the movie “Nadiya Ke Paar”. Pinterest

According to an interview, Ravindra Jain was apprehensive about giving Jaspal the title song which according to him was his best composition for the film but associate producer Rajkumar Bharjatya was in favour of taking the risk. Whatever the concerns may have been, still the fact remains that finally Jaspal Singh did get the green signal to record all the songs and the rest as they say is history.

Jaspal Singh was very thrilled to get such a golden opportunity. Those days it was not very easy for a new singer to make inroads into the industry especially without any father figure to launch him!

Luckily for him the film established him in a big way. He proved his versatility in the film by singing fun songs, romantic song and even ‘bhajans’.

Though, popular perception is that Geet Gaata Chal was Jaspal Singh’s debut film, technically he had made his debut earlier in 1968 in the film Bandish. It was music director Usha Khanna who decided to give him a break. She gave him a solo number which was picturized on a comedian in the film. As the film did not create any ripples, the song also did not get much attention and Jaspal Singh’s debut song went virtually unnoticed.

After this he also sang a duet with Mahendra Kapoor for the film Anjaan Hai Koi, 1969, but again that song also did not receive any great response. Once again Usha Khanna was the music director and the song was picturized on character artistes. In the coming years, he started singing for many other films in Bollywood.

  • How did Jaspal “Lost in Transition?”

Slowly it was becoming evident that as Jaspal Singh’s voice had become the voice of actor Sachin, he was not going to be used for any of the top actors of that period. Also keeping in consideration the type of films he was singing for, he did not get an opportunity to sing a variety of songs in his career. Eventually, actor Sachin’s career also did not take off in a very big way as a hero and in the absence of any top music director willing to try his voice, Jaspal’s career went towards a downward trend.

Rajshree Production
He is thankful to the Bharjatyas of Rajshri Productions and music director Ravindra Jain who placed so much faith in him and gave him a break in the industry. Pinterest

But today, he has no complaints whatsoever with his career. He feels that whatever he accomplished was due to divine blessing and his good fortune. He is thankful to the Bharjatyas of Rajshri Productions and music director Ravindra Jain who placed so much faith in him and gave him a break in the industry. His stint in Bollywood got him many stage shows all over India and abroad as well which gave him an opportunity to outshine him.

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Indeed this winsome vocalist’s career was short-lived but whatever he sang was melodious and from the heart. Today not many people may pause to recall this underrated singer but for those who grew up in the seventies, his songs remain etched in their memories and listening to them still gives them inexplicable pleasure.

 

 

 

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Bollywood Celebs Concerned About Stranded Migrant Workers

Celebrities concerned about plight of migrant labourers

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lockdown Migrant labourers
In Jharkhand COVID-19 tally reached 174 consisting of mostly Migrant labourers. Pixabay

Bollywood celebrities continue to express concern about the trying conditions of migrant workers stranded in different amid the COVID-19 lockdown.

Taking to Twitter on Monday, Shraddha Kapoor urged: “A request to whoever comes across the migrants who have been allowed to walk home on humanitarian grounds in Maharashtra, please give them food and water along the way.”

Criticising Indian Railways’ decision to avail online booking for select train services that have started, Pooja Bhatt posted a sarcastic message. “So migrant workers log onto their smartphones and book tickets online? Great move #IndianRailways,” she tweeted.

Shraddha_Kapoor
Actress Shraddha Kapoor tweeted, “A request to whoever comes across the migrants who have been allowed to walk home on humanitarian grounds in Maharashtra, please give them food and water along the way.” Wikimedia Commons

Actor Chandan Roy Sanyal wrote: “This migrant issue is getting out of hand. its been so long they are all helter skelter – people are just walking on the highway everywhere. Few trains, most of them dont have money and now online booking. Crazy.”

Shekhar Kapur tweeted: “Which one of us did not know that the Indian economy is built on migrant workers? That household help was migrant workers? That 5000 kids everyday die of malnutrition in India? And all this since Independence? Or is it just convenient ignorance?”

Read More: Top Singers Unite for ‘World Prayer’

The decision by state governments of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat to suspend labour laws, in a bid to restart economic activity, was also criticised by many.

“Not only migrants workers are left to fend for themselves, now the govt is disempowering them of their rights to minimum wage / safety / living conditions . The govt cares only for the Rich,” wrote filmmaker Onir.

Bollywood actor Sonu Sood, who has organised buses to transport stranded migrant labourers, tweeted: “Time to help the migrants.” (IANS)

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Top Singers Unite for ‘World Prayer’

Shaan, Sonu Kakkar, Iulia Vantur among singers come together for 'World Prayer'

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Shaan_Live
Singer Shaan among others is a part of the "World Prayer". Wikimedia Commons

Singers Shaan, Sonu Kakkar, Iulia Vantur, Rituraj Mohanty, Abhiman Chatterjee and Mrinal Casewa have come together for composer Sachin Gupta’s “World Prayer: A Song in 7.83HZ Earth Frequency”.

The purpose of the song is to make sure that people don’t lose hope during these trying times.

Iulia_Vantur_snapped_at_the_Star_Plus_Dhakkad_event_05
Lulia Vantur is also a part of composer Sachin Gupta’s “World Prayer: A Song in 7.83HZ Earth Frequency”. Wikimedia Commons

“Music can help us find solace in times of crisis, also keep us entertained during self-quarantine. It’s a beautiful prayer, medicine for the soul,” said Shaan, about the song that has lyrics by Sachin Gupta, Nadeem Akhtar, Sachin Paul and Iulia.

Read More: Low Magnitude Earthquakes Are Usual in Delhi: Scientists

“The song will instill energy in everyone to fight corona. We want to contribute through music and inspire people to do so. I hope people have faith and stay optimistic. This song is simply an expression to this sentiment,” said Kumar Taurani of Tips Music, the label that has released the song. (IANS)