RehmanThe Hindi film industry has for long been satirically described as “dancing around trees”. Indian cinema is probably the only one in the world where musical numbers sometimes play a more significant role than the story of the film for determining its box office success. In spite of all the criticism for unnecessary songs, no production house has had the courage of making a big budget movie without music. We have seen quite a few Hindi remakes of hollywood films. But even the good ones were not released without being spiced up with songs. Music does form an integral part of Indian cinema. In fact amidst the winds of Americanisation in entertainment, this is the only area where we have refused to change. This is the only area where we are confident that sooner or later the world will come around to appreciate cinema – the Indian Style.

Indian film industry is a kaleidoscope of diverse cultures of the country. For years together our movies have acquainted us with the uniqueness of various regional forms of art. From the famous Punjabi bhangra or Marathi tamasha to the lesser known tribal modes, Hindicinema has experimented with all. In a very subtle manner it has acted as a medium for mixing various cultural shades of India. The obvious reflection of this is in the adoption of heterogeneous customs in marriage ceremonies.

Composing music or providing playback for Hindi films is the highest goal for any aspiring soft music singer or composer. The same holds true for lyricist, choreographers and technicians. The rich melodies of the black and white era have set such high standards that it is a challenge to match them today. If we started making movies devoid of music, this biggest challenge would be lost. The country may lose out on some shining talent, while enthusiasm will be mellowed due to lack of opportunity.

No doubt there are those bizarre dream sequences, which transform poor ruralchhora-chhoris into fashionably clad couples in Switzerland. But mature film makers do carry a sense of location and time. Besides, songs have at times so successfully carried emotions, which words failed to express. The title song of Sarfarosh (zindagi maut na banjaye) did wonders for the action packed film based on arms smuggling. Bhagat Singh’s cry of “rang de basanti zhola” as he proceeds to the gallows may appear melodramatic, but notuntill you listen to the lyrics. No dialogue could have better expressed a mother-child relation as conveyed by the song “maa” in Taare Zamin Pe. There are innumerable examples like these. Probably this was also the reason behind Aamir Khan’s insistence of retaining all Lagaan songs in its run for the Oscars.

After a long wait, the world is finally taking notice. British director Danny Boyle’s English language film, based in the heart of Mumbai and rocking with Hindi tunes, is America’s hot favourite today. The global triumph of Slumdog Millionaire and A.R.Rehman’s compositions shows that song and dance sequences in movies are finally getting their due. An Indian dance on the stage of the world’s most prestigious Awards ceremony holds testimony to this fact. This is the biggest break for Indian film music to go all out and conquer.

…………….Jai Ho to the melodious tradition of Indian films !!!