‘Bollywood pays no importance to music’

Pankaj Udhas laments hollowness of new songs as he releases single to revive ghazals


Ians July 13, 2015
Pankaj holds that lack of revenues in the music world is a concern, but there’s hope due to online platforms. PHOTO: FILE

NEW DELHI: Ghazal singer Pankaj Udhas, who has launched his single Khwaabon Ki Kahaani, feels Bollywood doesn’t pay due importance to music, which seems to have brought its standard down.

“Bollywood pays no importance to music. The importance of music has become practically zero in the industry,” he said. “The songs in movies are only there to promote the film. They aren’t an integral part of the movie or the script,” he added.

“Earlier, we got to listen to some good music and poetry because the songs had been woven into the script and used to be relevant to the script,” stated Pankaj. He lamented that songs in films these days aren’t relevant to the storyline. “They’ve brought the standard of music to the pedestrian level and there’s nothing we can do about it.”

Udhas has hit film songs, such as Chithi Aayi Hai and Jiye Toh Jiye Kaise, to his credit. His latest single Khwaabon ki Kahaani was launched on hungama.com, a digital entertainment storefront, in hopes of reaching out to a larger audience and as an attempt to revive ghazals.

He holds that lack of revenues in the music world is hampering the quality, but there’s hope due to the online platform. “Most audio labels have absolutely no revenues out of the music they produce, unless it’s produced by Bollywood, as Bollywood has the money to spend. Owing to lack of revenue, there’s no new stuff coming out,” he noted. “The only hope is a digital platform, such as Hungama, which can take your music across the world. So, I hope that we’ll bounce back through digital sources,” Udhas said.

Of his new single, the 64-year-old said he liked the ghazal since he first heard it from lyricist Aalok Shrivastav, and recorded it within a week. “What’s exciting for me is that this is my first ghazal single. I’ve done albums all my life. It was during the recording of a television serial title track I was composing that Aalok narrated a ghazal he had written. And I really liked it.”

“I told him let’s record it. Within a week’s time, we recorded the ghazal and decided to make it a single. We tied up with Hungama so that we have a worldwide digital presence. We also shot a video for the song so we can connect with the younger listeners and reach a larger audience,” he added. 

Published in The Express Tribune, July 14th, 2015.

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COMMENTS (3)

SB | 6 years ago | Reply Why expect Bollywood to do a favor to music and singers? Bollywood is pure business. Investors want to make profit by making films. And they will produce what sells. That's how any business work. And why a singer would depend solely on Bollywood to market his/her talent? If you are talented and believe in your music, then do it on your own. Don't seek help from the film industry. It's not a charity!
Jasmin | 6 years ago | Reply Pankaj Udhas is the most under-rated gazal singers of India. He came with a big bang in the 80's but lasted only few years as his songs were just like "raat gai baat gai" as most of his audiences were sitdown listners with glasses on hand. He tried to rejuvenate the old music into modern stlye but completely lost the rythem as Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan ruled that era. Today he does'nt fits; as songs in Bollywood are sidelined and only used to add glamour and obsenity. But he is very correct that the Indian melody is dying and the new generation is not interested to its revival.
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