Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Romance Routed?



It is almost a ritual. After deadly doses of negativity emanating from news, I listen to a couple of old songs before calling it a day. Mellifluous voice of Rafi, and dulcet notes of Lata ensure that Arnab does not appear in my dreams, drenching me in cold sweat, asking me to resign from life.

So when ‘Aapki Ankhon Mein Kuch Mehke Hue Se Khwab’ was seducing me to sleep, it dawned that most songs today are bereft of romance. Where is the hero who engaged the heroine over charms of poetry? Poetry as a vehicle for romance is on its way out. Perhaps, it is in the nature of evolution that we do things differently. Lyrical admiration where eyes close, nostrils flare and chins quiver without the quintessential shaking of limbs, has lost meaning in a world where actions speaks louder than words. No wonder, poetic imagery of yesteryears has paved way for live action replacing the magic of words with the beat of music. What we have today is more of teasing, dancing and celebrating, minus poetry drenched in an overdose of emotions. Not surprising at all, because the pace of life reflects in the rendition of songs too.

Moreover, not many girls would appreciate meandering lazy poetry loaded with an emotional surplus admiring their beauty. Rather than smiling coyly and fluttering eyelashes, girls would perhaps cringe if their beau decided to close eyes and sing ‘Chaudhvi Ka Chand Ho’. In digital times, any ode to lustrous hair, soulful eyes, pretty smile or alluring walk would perhaps invite ridicule. Is it any surprise, therefore, that far away from the sophistry of ‘Kabhie Kabhie Mere Dil Mein’ we have ‘Sexy Dress Mein Bomb Lagdi Mainu’ which is funky. But crass. Above all, it is impossible to sing along.

Given that current songs are meant to play at dance parties and marriages from Haryana to Bihar, we have an assortment of colloquial words interspersed in the lyrics. Moreover, the party scene has changed drastically. The party songs of today are not about playing the piano and singing songs of self-pity, betrayal or admiration. A hilarious satirical video by AIB starring Irrfan Khan is spot on. It tells us how party songs objectify women by portraying random bikini clad girls in a mandatory pool sequence with the hero spraying booze on her, err, body parts.

Many are lamenting the rout of romance as the musical palette of Enriques’ ballads and Bryan Adam’s songs is fading against a flashy cocktail of meaningless lyrics. As Suhel Seth wrote recently, romance is not about falling in love with someone. It is about being in love with love itself. A leisurely walk in the park, handpicked flowers, a handwritten note and candle light dinners are passe, but romance is not dead. Because when it comes to Bollywood music, Arijit Singh’s ‘Tum Hi Ho’ and Mohit Chauhan’s ‘Tum Se Hi Din Hota Hai’ prove that a soulful rendition replete with effortless prose is always appreciated.

While it is perfectly unreasonable to expect present day songs to go back to old fashioned leisurely romance, there is relief in knowing that I can always melt into the gentle soulfulness of poetry. After angry, vindictive political discourse around dinner time, poetic imagery is a big relief.

26 comments:

  1. Alka I wish I too could play my favorite songs at the flick of my finger but ever since my Philips Powerhouse gave way I have been starved of my own collection.I tried to make playlists on youtube or download them on MS but it is not the same.Alas!

    And yes,like an oasis in a desert,i sometimes come across a nice wholesome song with good lyrics and melody too.

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  2. You know Alka, there is melody still alive. I listen to Barfi and Hasee toh Phasee songs on a loop. There are many Rahat songs that are so soulful. There are songs like Kabira, Ilahi etc. from YJHD that are beautifully penned. I guess, it is also to do with falling standards of spoken Hindi. Seriously even our kids can't fathom poetry. Besides, the party going generation is to be catered to.

    You and I will continue to listen to olden melodies. Though, I must tell you that my son has picked up a few old ditties. Perhaps, in part because I sing them so loudly. :)

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    1. We do have some gems, true. How sweet that you sing loudly.
      I should do that too. Great stress buster.

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  3. I still listen to bhoole bisre geet on radio and relate to melody at the end of the day, yes there are a few good songs here and there but we are getting stung by meaningless lyrics just because it has some catchy tunes, well written post Alka!

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  4. I can't stand what is sold in the name of pop music these days! Yes once in a while some good number by Mohit Chauhan or a handful of other singers come up but for the most part it is vulgarity, crudeness and just plain offensive stuff - both in lyrics and music arrangement (I wouldn't even call them compositions!) that is out there. But the best part is that it is all so forgettable! At least if at all any little bit of it gets into my ears, there is no interest whatsoever to listen to it again, which is such a relief :) I can safely go back to my Geeta Dutt, Rafi, Lata...from 50s, 60s and 70s. The downfall of Hindi film music started in the 80s I think.

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    1. OP Nayyar, RD Burman and some songs by Jatin Lalit are my all time favorites.
      After 80s there are sporadic good ones.

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  5. Though popular songs are in the category of Bomb lagdi mainu, there are many lyrically beautiful songs too as you yourself mentioned. It is like pick and choose.. not every song is good. add to that mera naam meri hai...you would like to listen to Arnab again.

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    1. Yes, just a handful are good when it comes to lyrics.

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  6. Poetry of a different kind, that had first raised it's head decades back has found it's way and stayed despite the mayhem. And I am not even acknowledging the 'sexy', 'bomb' types their existence. the beauty in everyday life details has found it's lyrical avatar and is what appeal to us for keeps. The heavy urdu laden poetry celebrating the almost Petrarchan love does not deliver for today's audience driven by harsh realities. Imagine singing paeans as in Chaudhvi ka Chand to a lass with straightened and streaked hair... Gulzar and Javed Akhtar are who keep the sanity intact in this tech and quikie world. So I am we have atleast those two...

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    1. Ha ha, Ilakshee. Amazing how Gulzar has kept pace with moving times.

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  7. And I can imagine the current gen reminiscing about those bygone days when they would express love and lust using emoticons and WhatsApp forwards.

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    1. Ha ha, not a very comforting thought at all.

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  8. They really don't make them like those classics these days. The fact is perhaps that they don't even try, because most people perhaps don't want them. Sigh! But then again, there are a handful of good songs too.

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  9. Oh just the perfect post to read in office while listening to some old Kishore songs :)

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  10. I simply adore and thrive on the songs from the Rafi-Kishore era. We seem to have hardly any music that can lay claim to being poetry these days, isn't it? No wonder that I can listen on loop to the songs of 'Anand' or 'Abhimaan' but can only stand one listen of a Honey Singh rap song! I remember wooing my husband with such songs and how even now, we listen to those songs on long drives. Sigh, good times.

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    1. Sigh!
      I don't mind the beat at all but the quality of lyrics has gone downhill.

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  11. I am caught in a time warp - luckily for me :) I listen ONLY to the oldies. Maybe I am missing on a few good ones of today but one has to dig through too much manure to get to them :)

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  12. The love for instant things ranging from coffee and noodles to music has resulted in the situation that it is difficult to remain connected on any music or video channel beyond thirty minutes:(

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  13. Couldn't agree more! Music is good these days but when you compare it with the golden hits of the yesteryears, somehow they don't measure up. Those days it was about the lyrics and the emotions and now it's more about the locations and the actors themselves. Yes, there are a few good ones here and there presently, but even I'd prefer the old romance songs when compared to what we have today.

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  14. I interviewed Javed Akhtar last time and he was telling how good poetry and lyrics are in a pit. Where are those gud ole days with rubbish being written. Sadly so!

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