Today's music has no content: Pankaj Udhas (Interview)

Chandigarh, Nov 23 Pankaj Udhas, one of India's most popular ghazal singers, feels the music industry is going through one of its worst phases as it lacks quality content and is all about marketing and packaging.

Monday, November 23, 2009 | 9:55:31 AM IST (+05:30 GMT)
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Chandigarh, Nov 23 (IANS) Pankaj Udhas, one of India's most popular ghazal singers, feels the music industry is going through one of its worst phases as it lacks quality content and is all about marketing and packaging.

'Today, a new genre of music has emerged, which is beyond any definition. It is just about packaging and marketing and unfortunately there is no content in it,' Mumbai-based Udhas, who was here for a concert, told IANS in an interview.

'They are doing a huge compromise in terms of creativity and it is adversely affecting our ghazals, folk and devotional music.

'The music of our movies has also undergone a drastic change. The music of the 60s, 70s and even 80s was good and we still remember them. But present compositions don't have anything special. I hope that this phase will be over soon.'

A Padma Shri awardee, Udhas hit the jackpot with 'Chitthi aayee hai' in the movie 'Naam' in 1986. He also sang hit non-film ghazals like 'Aap jinke kareeb hote hain', 'Aur aahista kijiye baatein', 'Chandi jaisa rang hai tera', 'Deewaron se milkar', 'Dekh ke tumko kya hota hai' and 'Ghungroo toot gaye'.

Udhas, 58, fears that movies will soon become songless.

'Cinema is the biggest source of music, but I have a strong feeling that in the next two-three years no music will be left in our movies. Then we will have to depend upon individual performers.

'There is no dearth of talents in India and they have got a great platform in the form of talent hunt reality shows. The participants of these shows are not only famous in India but also in countries like the US and UK. They have entered the bedrooms of people living there,' he said.

But the singer also feels that music reality shows have their drawbacks.

'The sad part is that once the show ends, these participants have nowhere to go. There is no surety of their future and they just end up doing live concerts and that too for a year or two.

'We do not need films to nourish new singers because one can easily make his or her mark without them. We made a space for ourselves not through films but with our talent. So nobody can stop true talent,' he said.

Udhas, who has two daughters, says he doesn't force his children to sing.

'I have two daughters and they are free to choose any career. I have never forced my daughters to adopt singing. My elder daughter Nayab is doing select work for TV channels, while younger daughter Rewa is more interested in painting than singing.'

The ghazal maestro, who lost his father to cancer, is also organising a show titled 'Khazana - a festival of Ghazals and Mushaira' to raise funds for cancer and thalassemia patients.

About his preference in music, Udhas said: 'I grew up hearing Begum Akhtar and she had a great influence on my singing. I also admire Mehdi Hassan. Ghazals will always be my first preference. If I get a chance, I would like to sing in the Punjabi language.'

Udhas was here Saturday to perform at a live concert. 'I have many friends living in this state and I love to come here,' he said.

(Alkesh Sharma can be contacted at [email protected])

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