“If only the entry had been sent from India, I am 100% sure that the song Jai Ho from Slumdog Millionaire would not have been even considered for Grammy or the Oscars”, says ANANDJI of the music maestro duo KALYANJI ANANDJI to Jyothi Venkatesh in this interview taken just a few years ago.
It was only when my dear writer cum director cum producer friend Satyaprakash Mangtani informed me that today, the living legend music directgor Anandjibhai Shah, the partner and younger brother of the late Music meatro Kalyanjibhai Shah has turned 88.
Interestingly, the father of Kalyanji Shah and Anandji Shah was a Kutchi businessman who had migrated from Kutch to Bombay to start a kirana (provision store).
We at bollyy.com and Mayapuri wish him a happy 88th birthday and reproduce this interview in which Anandji asserts that the paradigms and the ambience have changed in the field of music and hence no wonder sound has overtaken melody these days. Anandji adds that the times have definitely changed over the years as far as the music scenario is concerned. Gone are those days when the producers used to inspire the music directors and help them in their creative inputs, unlike today when most of the producers interfere with their music directors, because in turn they are dictated by the music companies.
Excerpts from the interesting conversation with Anandjibhai Shah
What could be the reason for this drastic change?
Today, strangely enough the competition among the music directors is not about work but who will steal which tune first before the others.
Today the actors talk in English whenever they appear in a show though they are there in the first place to promote their films which are in Hindi.
Can you elucidate?
The tone in the film Nagin was Indian though we had used a synthesizer, though everything has changed drastically with time and today music directors try to use the synthesizer whether the composition is ethnic or for that matter Western.
To what extent has the camera also contributed to the huge change in music picturisations?
I would not hesitate to give the credit where it is due and give the credit to the camera for having played a very big role in the change that has been brought about in music in films.
Take for example the song Main Ban Ki Chidiya Ban Ban Ki, which was captured with a static camera.
Trends changed when the trolley and the zoom were used to picturise song sequences, which started becoming innovative with the changing techniques.
What do you have to say about the new concept of instant music?
With more and more facilities at their disposal, it is a tragedy that most of the music directors today have ceased to be innovative.
While the music directors of yore always went in for sanskriti, the music directors of today opt quite often for not sanskriti but vikriti.
If the songs do not click now and are forgotten after you listen to it initially the reason is that they are far too loud and it is more of noise and less of melody.
If only you hear the modern songs today in film after film, it looks like everyone today is just waiting to dance at any given opportunity.
Do you miss the presence of the music director and the singer together while recording today?
Yes. Today a singer comes and sings and the music director works in isolation on the song.
Music director Shameer Tandon recorded the Daata Sun Le song in the film Jail by sending the song by computer to Ashaji who was in Los Angeles. Ashaji then recorded the same there and sent it to him.
Is music being churned out as per the demand?
Today there is absolutely no question of demand and supply as the music directors are prone to tell you when you ask them why the quality of music has over the years deteriorated.
It is only a lame excuse and it is sad that the music directors today do not have confidence in what they can do.
That is the reason why I always tell journalists that it is sad but true that while the music directors of yore always went in for sanskriti, the music directors of today opt quite often for not sanskriti but vikruti.
Hasn’t Indian music come of age with A.R. Rahman bagging the Oscar as well as Grammy?
The song was not an entry from India though A.R. Rahman had composed it. If only the entry had been sent from India, I am one hundred per cent sure that the song Jai Ho from Slumdog Millionaire would not have been even considered for Grammy or for that matter the Oscars.
Do you see the change only in music or in every field today in films?
The change has come about not just in music directors today but also the fans who are no longer as loyal to their favorite actors like they used to be in the past.
Today’s young girls change their favorite heroes in three weeks and because the youngsters do not have time and it is indeed a very sad state of affairs that they feel that they need to be told about everything in just a nutshell.
Fusion seems to be the order of the day today!
Today fusion is the order of the day but I feel that fusion is only confusion, which is not at all surprising because in society today, the child silences his or her mother by calling her not maa but mom and actually ‘kill’ the father ahead of time by calling them dad and not pitaji, like in the good old days.
What, according to you, is the biggest change as far as music is concerned then and now?
The biggest change that has taken place as far as music is concerned is the fact that though we used to hear songs through radios then, these days we hear songs over TV.
Since at that time, only the radio was there, we could even relate to the romance of the lead pair.
Paradigms and the ambience have changed and hence sound has overtaken melody greatly these days.