| 19 Jun 2024
Bands turn to Bollywood

Rock and pop bands and solo artistes in the country, thus far content with albums and live performances, are increasingly taking up film music projects.

Indian Ocean, who stepped tentatively into Bollywood with composing the score for Anurag Kashyap's 2006 film Black Friday, have composed the soundtrack for the recently released Handmade Films' film Hulla, and have another film project, Bhoomi, in the pipeline.

The Kailasa trio, Paresh, Naresh and Kailash Kher, is working on two special songs in Nikhil Advani's Chandni Chowk to China and singer Shibani Kashyap, one of the few women composers in Bollywood, has earlier composed hits like Saajna aabhi Jaa for Waisa Bhi Hota Hai part 2 and Zindaa hoon main for Zinda. Then of course, there's Rabbi Shergill who worked on Delhi Heights after the stupendous success of his single Bulla ki Jana. Besides these, there are a host of across-the-border-bands who have worked on numerous Bollywood projects till date. Does that mean that listeners can now bob their heads to fresh tracks by a fresh pool of talent that doesn't follow any 'formula' but sticks to their originality and uniqueness?

Says singer and industry observer Luke Kenny, "Old school producers are out now. If there's some international producer who has heard musicians like Rabbi or Indian Ocean before, he'll definitely want these artistes to do the music. Besides that, independent artistes have a unique sound, which is different from the typical 'Bollywood' sound, producers approach these artists for the unique sound that they offer."

Doing music for Bollywood means getting noticed and obviously making more money. Says Chandresh Kudwa,"I feel one of the main reasons for bands or solo artistes taking up Bollywood projects is money. If the band is really making money out of touring or selling albums, why would they take up a Bollywood project?" questions the Dream Out Loud's guitarist. "I don't feel that Bollywood will be of much help to rock bands or solo artistes, the trend has just started and it's going to take a long time before it becomes mainstream. After all, what scope will a movie like 'Singh is Kinng' offer to a rock band – we need to make intelligent films," he adds.

Randolf Corriea of Shair + Func, who has worked on a soundtrack for the movie Saas Bahu aur Sensex and also produced a track for the recent flick Drona says "Bollywood has to evolve, because the present generation of listeners are intelligent, they know what a good quality sound is – one cannot fool them."
However, in spite of solo artistes capable of churning out hits, producers seem skeptical and often opt for the 'music director- lyricist' combo. Randolf adds, "Some producers are caught up, they want to try the new artistes but at the same time they are also skeptical. However, I feel it should be the 'music' which should be considered above everything – in most cases, the governing factor is the market trend."

Rock bands and solo musicians also suggest that very few people are making films that will give ample scope to solo artistes or composers. Most movies contain the same melodrama in different quantities – for example, a scene featuring a love song will have clich?©d words like Soniye, Jaanam or even more filmy Deewana, Pyaar … the list of such overused words is infinite. The bands and solo artistes which take up film projects come with their unique sound and certainly offer much more than mindless lyrics weaved in electronic loops.

Even while it's a good opportunity for artistes getting into Bollywood to make money; older musicians in the industry worry that solo artiste could modify or tweak themselves to suit Bollywood tastes.

Instead, it should be the other way around – the artiste should keep doing his stuff and let Bollywood take notice of it. Artistes like Indian Ocean, Rabbi Shergill and Kailasa have just done that!