Independent music returning in a big way: Salim Merchant

Independent music, long overshadowed by Bollywood, is witnessing a resurgence with many non-film albums making a mark on the music scene today thanks largely to music channels, says composer Salim Merchant.

Friday, April 06, 2012 | 12:14:39 PM IST (+05:30 GMT)
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salim merchant

Independent music, long overshadowed by Bollywood, is witnessing a resurgence with many non-film albums making a mark on the music scene today thanks largely to music channels, says composer Salim Merchant.

"I think independent music is coming back in a big way in India and it's only because of the influx of music channels. Also, there are webserts (concerts on internet where singers can make their own track and upload it) and websites like giving chance to different music. Today people are giving importance to non-film music," Salim Merchant, of Salim-Sulaiman composer duo, told IANS in an interview.

Earlier, non-film songs like "Yaad piya ki aane lagi" by Falguni Pathak, "Aaja nachle" by Bali Sagoo and "Ankhon mein tera hi chehra" by Aryans dominated the music scene but later faded away.

The flavour of music in Hindi films too has changed, feels Merchant. Composers are making fusion compositions which are being appreciated, he says.

"A lot of changes are seen in Bollywood in terms of songs. People are liking the fusion of Sufi and rock, and this is where the need of independent musicians comes.

"There is a lot of artists who are not from film background, but they are contributing to Bollywood. Bands like Indian Ocean and Euphoria are getting into movies. Also, Raghu Dixit did a fantastic job in 'Mujhse Fraaandship Karoge'; so did Ram Sampath for 'Delhi Belly'," added the musician.

As Bollywood is changing formats, there should be more focus on background scores, feels Merchant, adding: "Producing a good background score is an art. We should treat them equivalent to songs."

Salim and Sulaiman together composed songs like "Mar Jaava" ("Fashion"), "Aaja nachle" from ("Aaja Nachle"; "Tarkeebein" ("Band Baaja Baraat") and "Shukran Allah" from ("Kurbaan").

Right now the duo are working on "three hugely anticipated movies". Madhur Bhandarkar's "Heroine", Prakash Jha's "Chakravyuh" and Amrit Sagar's "Rabba Mein Kya Karoon".

" 'Heroine' is a story about the ups and downs of Bollywood actresses; so the music will have lot of drama and pain. Also it's been reported that Lataji (Lata Mangeskhar) is singing for the movie, but that is not true," said Merchant, who is one of the judges on singing reality show "Indian Idol 6".

The composer, who has been part of the last two seasons of the singing reality show, denies that participants lose ground when a show ends.

He said that season five winner Sriramchandra Mynampati is busy doing concerts.

"And he (Sriramchandra) doesn't have the time to compose music for films. Not that he is jobless. Many of us think if we see reality show winners do mainstream work, they are out of business. But that is not true. Many get money through concerts and make their own music too. We should not always expect them to join Bollywood," he said.

"The industry already has talented singers like Shaan and KK and newer ones like Mohit Chauhan and Benny Dayal. Whenever there is a need for fresh voice, the winners will get an opportunity," he added.

Not only in "Indian Idol", Salim was also seen as a guest judge on the "X Factor India" with partner Sulaiman. He will now jam up with Karsh Kale in Coke studio.

-Nivedita Sharma

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