Our parents still swear by “Ude jab jab zulfein teri” by the veterans Mohammad Rafi and Asha Bhosle and the melodious number keeps us swaying till date. In another turnaround of sorts, Rafi made the entire nation break into a Shammi Kapoor zig in “Yahoo…chahe koi mujhe junglee kahe”. And who can forget Lata Mangeshkar’s “Ae mere watan ke logon” that continues to give you goosebumps every time you hear it?
Labelled as the ‘Golden Era’ of Bollywood music, the period from the 70s and early 80s produced many such gems that continue to haunt music lovers even today. The ghazals played an important part too, be it the iconic “Hothon se chhu lo tum”(Prem Geet, 1981) or the delicate yet hard-hitting “Chitthi aayi hai aayi hai”(Naam, 1986). Music was the soul of the movie and every movie lover breathed music with the veterans like Lataji, Asha Bhosle, Rafi, Kishore Kumar, R.D. Burman at the helm of the Bollywood music industry.
Then came the late 80s and the vibrant 90s that saw a new trend of peppy, catchy numbers and the entire nation went crazy dancing to “Ek do teen”(Tezaab,1988) and “Mere haathon mein naun naun chudiyan hain” was played at almost every sangeet in the country. This was an era of the likes of Kumar Sanu, Udit Narayan, Alka Yagnik, Kavita Krishnamurthy to name a few, who churned hits after hits and the audience had its ears full and wanted more.
So I do get nostalgic seeing the kids shaking their bodies on “Sheila ki jawani” (Tees Maar Khan, 2010) or “Munni badnam hui” (Dabangg, 2010) and the more recent “Munna badnam hua” ( Dabangg 3, 2019). But we also have our “Bekhayali” ( Kabir Singh, 2019), “Kaun tujhe” ( M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story, 2016) and “Sadda haq”(Rockstar, 2011).
As the music industry began to lose its shine, several remixes were produced to keep it afloat. So when the singing sensation Yo Yo Honey Singh sang the iconic “Hothon se chhu lo tum” in the form of a rap number, it was like a life coming full circle for the music industry.
The emergence of streaming platforms of late has given impetus to new talent in music, has generated a lot more new content and has led to more accessibility and transparency for consumers based on their choices. This is an era of YouTube videos, non-filmy music, which is taking up a meatier share of the music consumption. It shows that those working outside Bollywood are also finding their audiences, and that the run-off-the-mill Bollywood blockbusters have declined is also a reason for this phenomenon.
Of course, we are not complaining and we continue to root for the likes of Arijit Singh, Neha Kakkar, Guru Randhawa as we do for the Shreya Ghosals, Sunidhi Chauhans and A.R. Rahmans. We do love the “Suit Suit” and “Jinke liye” as much as the “Dil diyan gallan” and “Nazm nazm”. Gone are the days of the Chitrahaar and Superhit Muqabla when the music of a film almost decided its fate. As all this kept grinding inside my mind while entering inside the cab, the cabbie turned on the Radio Mirchi; ‘‘Pardesi pardesi jana nahin” was playing on it, and I decided to rest my case.