Sunday, December 10, 2017

Where is My Music?

Everybody has a taste in music. Some like English pop, some are Bollywood fans and some worship everything what Honey Singh and Baadshah serves them. Nothing personal here fellas, but yes, rap sucks.

Although I try to keep hearing latest Bollywood songs; I don’t like them much. I am not a music buff as such and do not use headphones as often as it is a norm these days. But when in mood (which is primarily when I am little high); I like to hum/listen to old songs; preferably from the days of Kumar Sanu. The 80s and 90s have given us kind of music that we do not hear these days. And once again, it was a privilege of being a kid who grew up in 1990s.

I remember those days. The TV we had at home had 20 channels and somehow, the cable service provider had designed an algorithm which repeated 3 channels in 20. How did he do that, I do not know till date. Luckily, he showed Channel [V]. And that introduced me to the music I moved on to like and adore.

Apart from the Sunday morning Rangoli and Chitrahaar which played old Hindi songs in the major part of the show; Channel V played new Bollywood songs and the independent pop music- both original and remixes. And this pop music of 1990s was amazing.

The one song that reminds me of the beauty of the remixes of those times is Dil Kya Kare by Instant Karma. Remixed by Instant Karma band and beautifully sung by Shaan, a singer ignored these days, the song transports you to some kind of heaven altogether. And it is not just the music I am talking about. If you care to watch the video of this song, that is one beautiful storyline. Maybe it is my romance with the music of that era or this particularly song is really awesome; I hear this song on loop whenever I get time. You can watch the video here. Whatever time I get, I try to hear those classics. There are not many for the simple reason- creating classics isn’t easy.

And it is not just one song, The Punjabi bhangra songs by Baba Sehgal, Mika, Daler Mehndi, Jassi and others had pleasant tunes. Those were the songs that actually soothed the body or forces to stand and shake legs. The mandatory Hinglish rap these days by hip hoppers just take the fun out of the songs.

And then today, I switch on TV to see old songs being massacred by the ‘young fresh composers’. The process is simple- pick an old hit hindi song, add modern beats, throw a meaningless, out of tune rap in between and viola- you have a 5 minute track that hurts both eyes and ears. The murder of the original Punjabi pop Kala Chashma, done by the music composers of the movie Baar Baar Dekho stings me. Youtube says it has 300 million+ views. I really wonder how many were like me who saw the video only once how the fabulous original has been re-created. Sadly, it has been ruined. The numbers will add up on Youtube website but that won’t tell you the pathetic quality of it.

Amit Trivedi, one of the few composers in today’s time whom I like to hear, recently said that music composers these days are afraid of experimenting. And that is why they use tried, tested and approved songs for their movies with today’s flavour. I think he hit the nail in the head. There have been so many disasters- Humma Humma(OK Jaanu), Laila(Raees), Aise Na Mujhe Tum Dekho(Wajah Tum Ho), Tamma Tamma Loge(Badrinath ki Dulhaniya). Judwaa 2 has two of them. Pick a movie and there is a good chance that you will find one. These guys have even made a mess of Jaanu Meri Jaan song of old Shaan. Terrible.

Every trend loses its charm and changes and I often wish for these remixes to die. And we can have Kumar Sanu, Udit Narayan, Sonu Nigam, KK again to sing for us more often. And Bollywood can again create timeless classics.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Let Us Get Our Act together



I am a 1990s kid. And 1990s was a good time for the adults of my age.

We were between 12-15 years of age, in school. The days used to start with getting up early, running to school, homework and cricket in evening and back to bed. Occasional scolding by mothers and regular discipline by fathers- life was good. There was a routine. There was a plan. And hence there were lesser troubles and lesser hectic schedules.

And there were lesser rumours.

You get the idea, don’t you? Don’t you think there is lot of negativity around these days? Rumours, false gossips are spreading way too fast. News is written and told without even checking the facts, fed to the gullible who does not think for a second before forwarding to ten other people. And if there is something which is being shared by masses, there is an agenda behind it. The reason can be communal, patriotic or political. But you can be assured; there is a reason behind the good message. “PM Modi declared best Prime Minister by UNESCO.” Seriously guys? Before Modi, did you ever hear of this kind of award? Use your head at least. Don’t sacrifice it in the name of patriotism.

So, who should we blame for the mess that we are witnessing? Certainly, the facilitator is the culprit (that is what we have been reading). Whatsapp, Facebook and Twitter should be banned. We were normal people. Things were going fine before social media and instant messaging came into our lives and, I dare say, made an instant fool of us. Government should close them down so that we can carry on with pre social media era. We don’t want changes. We cannot accept changes.

This argument has its own pros and cons. As much as Facebook and Twitter has helped people in connecting with each other and bridged down distances and made information sharing easier; they have not done their bit when it comes to stopping hoax news and fake facts (cool. I invented a new oxymoron). The reactions and assurances from them have been slow and without criticising them too much about this, I can safely sum it up that they could have done better.

But this is not about what the technology should have done. This is about what we humans could do and should have done.

If I dare use the word ‘mess’ for what is happening around, I believe the users of the social media, we, need to take more responsibility. Why do we need to share every now and then the viral speeches of the ‘dharm gurus? Or the conflict between two communities on where they should have a temple and a mosque? Or the picture of a bald baby and her mother asking for donation from the world community?  

I can only see one reason for this- you believe what you share and want your friends and followers to start believing the same. Now, the first part is Ok. Your personal beliefs are your own and you have full right to exercise them. The second thing- making people see things which are, mildly put, provocating is not right. You have beliefs, religious views, opinions- good. But others are not wrong. I am a Hindu and I am proud of it. That does not mean that I hate Muslims, despise Christians or pity Jainis (although I do pity Jainis. Nobody should be barred from eating chicken and having booze).

Or you are trying to tell people that you are a good human being. That is fantastic. May the goodness lives in you for eternity. But then, why does one need Facebook or Whatsapp for that? It will be very nice of you if you can share your goodness with the people whom you interact with. They will feel gratitude towards you and thank you 10 times. The guy on Facebook will not care about you. He does not even know when was the last time he met you.

Unfortunately, the social media has given lot of unwanted authority to average Raju who is normally busy in office and personal life. And the more unfortunate thing is that from the darkest corner of his room, Raju share/forwards news/rumours without giving second thought. He does not even second check them. One like and his face lit up. 2 friends shared- Raju thinks he is right. It is a different thing that in the office or public meeting; Raju refrains from airing the same thoughts. Why? Because then he will be judged. People will talk about him and Raju cannot let them know that he thinks this way. Hell, he cannot even make arguments to support his views. But in the evening, he will let people know through his social media account. There will be no counter argument there. He will not reply to messages for which he does not have answer. He can remain anonymous in his own way (ironic for social media users).

I am not running away from the reality. And I acknowledge that the mutual harmony is not in the best of state at the moment. But I am sure I can very well do with less negative news or apparently, no news. This is one reason why I have stopped my subscription to a normal Indian daily and moved on to business newspapers. And I admire people who have the guts to buy Mid Day and find news in that bunch between the advertisements. If Olympics ever planned to have treasure hunt in the games; they should go and represent India.

Let us not forget that the underlying characteristics for a harmonious and peaceful society is only one thing- the human beings. We may go and establish colonies on Mars; what matters is how we behave. If everyone starts making himself accountable to his actions, there won’t be much conflict to happen.

Let’s make that happen. Let us get our act together.

Where is My Music?

Everybody has a taste in music. Some like English pop, some are Bollywood fans and some worship everything what Honey Singh and Baadshah s...