Sagar jaisi ankhon waali – Rishi Kapoor’s superhit song from Saagar; Mere Sapno Ki Raani Kab Aayegi Tu – one of Rajesh Khanna’s many superhit songs; I Am A Disco Dancer – Mithunda’s song and dance to stardom; Dekha Na from Bombay To Goa, Jahan Teri Yeh Nazar Hai from Kaalia and Pag Ghungru from Namak Halal – a few of Big B’s stepping stones to superstardom; Tujhe Dekha Toh Yeh Jaana Sanam from DDLJ, Suraj Hua Madham from K3G, Deewangi Deewangi from OSO to name a few of SRK’s musical hits; O O Jaane Jaana from Pyar Kiya Toh Darna Kya, Dhinka Chika from Ready and Didi Tera Devar Deewana from HAHK… Sorry, poora column khatam ho jayega sirf isi mein.
The point I am making is that these memorable songs are a just a handful of thousands more that made bad films into average films, average into good, and good into superhits; which have made stars into bigger stars because they were sung on screen by the stars only to be imitated by millions of fans — the dancing style, the singing style, the mannerisms. Whether you saw them in the film, heard them on radio or sang them in the bathroom — subconsciously you were that particular actor at that particular time. Now imagine… If all these songs were not lip-synced but played only in the background, would they have worked as much? Would those movies have worked as much? Would those stars have worked that much? NO!!! Toh ab kya ho gaya? SAMJHAATA HOON… SAMJHAATA HOON…
Most of the songs today in Hindi films are not lip-synced. If you don’t believe me, put on any music channel that shows Bollywood songs right now and do the count yourself. Eighty per cent of the playlist of new films consist only of background songs. That means the actors in those songs can become bigger stars. I said CAN. I repeat CAN… But not CONFIRMED bigger stars, because a hit song makes people copy an actor’s style. And if fans can’t copy an actor’s style – whether it’s singing or dancing, then that actor will always be an actor. Never a star.
Most of the new-age filmmakers are flinching away from the song-and-dance routine that actually gave Hindi cinema its distinct identity. Fair enough. Some filmmakers want music to be a part of their films, but not lip-synced as they feel it’s very silly and tacky. Both these sections of makers feel that the film is far more important than just the music of the film. Fair enough. Valid point. A Mercedes is far more important than a cheaper car. But what if you got the Merc with all the added accessories put in free of cost? Wouldn’t that enhance the value of the Merc in the first place?
So, in the same way, it’s very important to make a good film. But it’s equally important that a good film has good music. Because then, the business of the film doubles. But that’s also a Catch-22 situation because to get good (hit) music, you need good music composers and all of them are busy working on everything else besides composing music these days (judging reality shows, acting, singing, private album videos and attending every media event known to mankind).
In between all this, they also compose music.
Change is inevitable, not necessarily good or bad. Of course, change is important – especially if you are commuting in a BEST bus (bad joke). But change shouldn’t be such that makes you call your mother Papa and your dad Mummy. Worldwide, Indian cinema’s legacy is recognised not by the prolific films we make, the technical achievements that we’ve had or the 100 million dollar budgets (not)… We are known for our naach-gaana. Bollywood is synonymous with music globally. And music can NEVER work if it’s only heard and not sung. So here’s hoping that our stars continue to lip-sync and not their lips sink…