Listening to the great golden era songs enlivens one's mood and emotions; be it romantic song, sad, lively, comedy, et al. Being an avid listener of the era for almost 2 hours daily on popular retro FM channels, cocktailed with a few contemporary songs, for a very long time made me realize of the loss of emotions in the mediocre content that is now dished out more frequently than not.
Why just single out songs. For a movie (i.e. story telling on celluloid), the scenes that rollout in front of us are to narrate what a character(s), or its environment wants to communicate. If great dialogues, acting, expressions, etc. help in doing so, it is also the background music that enhances the mood. And the best instrument that (probably) could do it is a Violin. Music experts can correct my lack of knowledge, but I'm at least an audience. Even the most intense scenes, romantic or otherwise happen to seem soulless without the sound of this magical instrument. Go back in time and pick up an old Hindi movie. Could be GUIDE, MOTHER INDIA, MERA NAAM JOKER, ANAND, almost all. One does not need to get into the mood of the scene that one is watching. The emotion is well communicated by the Violin that plays in the background. Don't believe me? Ok, try picking up a Charlie Chaplin movie or for that matter a Tom & Jerry series. Both are (almost) silent, in the sense don't have dialogues, and still keep you glued because of the emotion that is ‘heard'.
So, would it be correct to say that the current lot of composers have left the musical instrument in a dismal state? Or is it that they are not capable enough to use it. Speaking to Bapi-Tutul on this, the music director reveals, “Violin indeed is an instrument to express emotion, but is scantily used now. Not many composers are even educated, experienced in music, many don't even know how to play a harmonium or write proper musical notes.” So, could this be one reason for the compromised content that we are consuming, week-after-week?
After learning western music from Rodrick Bismarck the duo who got a major break in RGVs BHOOT in 2003 feel that “the extensive use of computers, jukeboxes and ready music are the real culprit. In fact even the current crop of filmmakers, many lack knowledge in this field. The yesteryear greats like Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand, or for that matter Subhash Ghai had a great sense of music. The music scene seems to be decaying or dying a slow death.”
They further inform that “Earlier there used to be as many as thirty violin players at a time for a composition, now having even three is an ‘additional cost'. In fact Bapi-Tutul are composing for a Konkani film and creating music, as it should be even if it means shelling money from own pocket. “If something is required for great results, why not?” is their point of view.
So, coming back to where I started – good music. This morning I heard ‘Tadap Tadap Ke Is Dil' from HUM DIL DE CHUKE SANAM, which opens with a great violin piece, raising the feeling that kept me hooked to this (and more such) lilting song. I end up feeling that music lovers like us will have to rely on the past.
Though the debate on this could or could not be a very important one for the contemporaries, but for one, I'm missing it.