“The people who are running the business do not want an alternative to flourish,” explained singer-composer Ankit Tiwari in recent interview. This might be just a general comment on the Indian music industry, maybe a small grievance, but it is not far from the truth. The independent music scene has waned speedily after 2003.
How many indie songs do you remember from the late 80s and 90s? Alisha Chenoy’s Made in India, Shaan’s Tanha Dil, and Silk Route’s Dooba Dooba were somewhat more famous than the songs of the movies that released during that phase. The age of remixes began as it was convenient and profitable.
Commercial music became a staple diet for the ears. There’s not much that strikes the mind after that period. The fall of the memorable indie music scene can be attested to the sluggish and amateurish melody-making skills of musicians who relied way too much on sampling and re-using old tunes.
It’s all about the melody, surmises Ankit Tiwari. “Melody has a much more shelf life. We do not remember the name of hero or the year of the film’s release but we keep humming the melody. Bollywood’s old Hindi songs are the best example of the melody sustaining amidst all the development of in the music sector.”
When you listen to a remixed oldie, say Khoya Khoya Chand (The Bartender Mix), you do think once about the original, Rafi sahab’s soulful voice on Shantanu Moitra’s music. This is the power a well-produced melody has.
It’s the melody that invokes feelings and stirs emotions. This is why the same melody can be used flexibly in a number of differed settings. Ankit Tiwari differentiates it with his own songs— Sun Raha Hai Tu. The song is all about a man weeping to god about his difficult journey. Later, it fits his love-interest’s situation when she is longing for the man.
The emotions matter. The current generation is active on social media. You’re familiar with fan-made videos with Sun Raha Hai Tu playing in the background. “Though our treatment to make a song is changing because of the influence of world music culture, the aesthetics of it should be ours and if that fails, the song will not touch the hearts”, explicates Ankit Tiwari.
The indie music scene is trying to revive. There are several artists like The F16s, Maati Baani, Parvaaz, Madboy/Mink, who are bringing about a new indie revolution. It might, not bring back the feels of the classic indipop songs but it will surely lead to new sensations.