is a relatively nascent
style of music that is a combination of diverse and eclectic
musical influences, from raga to reggae and bass beats to
bhangra. This style of
singing has broken musical frontiers across the globe and
developed a distinct niche for itself, winning large
fan-followings the world over.
The culture of pop
songs in India took inspiration through the medium of Hindi
films. Bappi Lahiri
set the tone of fast-track dance numbers in Hindi films.
Nazia Hasan's famous song
Aap Jaisa Koi in the
film Qurbani formally launched the Indi Pop in the early
Laila (De De Pyaar De), Usha Utup (Ramba
Sharon Prabhakar and Remo Fernandes took the pop culture further
ahead. It was only
in the nineties that the Indi Pop began to emerge as an
alternative to film music when a large number of pop singers
emerged on the Indian music scene with a big bang.
Soon the Indi Pop scene was flooded with artists like
Daler Mehendi, Sukhbir, Kamaal Khan, Lucky Ali, Bally Sagoo,
Baba Sehgal, Raageshwari, Rajeshwari Sachdev, Shweta Shetty,
Anuradha Sriram, Mehnaz, Anaida, Suneetha Reddy, Suchitra,
Sagarika, Shaan, Phalguni Pathak, Bali Brahmbhatt, Anaamika,
Aaryans, Suneeta Rao, Hema Sardesai, Sonu Nigam, Akbar Samy,
Bombay Vikings and Shuba Mudgal.
Alisha's album Made
in India became a hot favourite in India and abroad with a
sale of over 24 lakh tapes. She is now producing another album called
Dil Ki Rani. Daler Mehndi stormed the Indian scene in 1995 with his
first album featuring the adrenaline-pumping
Bolo ta ra ra. He followed
his success with two more multi-platinum albums,
Dardi Rab Rab (1996) and Ho
Jayegi Balle Balle (1997). His latest album
Tunak Tunak Tun is a mix of
bhangra with a dash of rap and
reggae, the raw energy of dance and a touch of the classical.
Daler Mehndi was followed by Sukhbir (1995), who came out
with his album called New Style with his own brand of
bhangra, mixed with
rap, techno and dance rhythms.
Lucky Ali's two albums,
Sifar, and the song
O Sanam Mubobbat Ki Qasam,
stirred the hearts of millions. Anamika produced two albums,
Catwalk and Intezaar.
Raageshwari, the popular
Veejay of music channels became an instant hit with her song
Oye Shava. The debut album of Rajeshwary Sachdev
Hulle Hullare is based
on traditional Punjabi
Ila Arun came out with a typical ethnic-style album called
Ghagra, while Phalguni
Pathak produced an album called
Maine Payal Hai Chankai.
Bombay Vikings have become popular with their
entertaining album Kya
Surat Hai, with its English interspersed with Hindi lyrics.
Baba Sehgal and Baly Sagoo also gained instant fame with their
In a short period of
less than a decade the pop culture has spread its tentacles to a
large section of the young population of India and by the close
of nineties India's pop industry had acquired a share of 10% in
the Indian music market.
The Indi Pop gained respectability with the entry of
stalwarts like Amitabh Bachchan, Asha
Alka Yagnik and A.R.Rahman on to the scene. The re-mixes and
albums of the evergreen singing sensation Asha Bhonsle have
taken her to dizzying heights. Even as she faced stiff
competition from singers half her age, she walked away with the
largest number of awards at the V-Channel Awards for her
foot-tapping album Janam
Samjha Karo a couple of years ago. Asha has often been
described as India's foremost pop star and nick-named as "The
Grandma Madonna from India'' and "The
Rock-n- Roll Grandma''. Her other two re-mix albums are
Rahul and I and
Asha Once More.
A.R.Rehman created a sensation by composing the song
Vande Matram in a
refreshingly new tune.
With the music
industry willing to experiment with almost anyone, Qawwali
Ustads too began
making an appearance on the hyped-up video-audio circuit. Venus
signed on Qawwaal Altaf Raja who came up with a 10-lakh plus
album Tum to tehre pardesi.
Pakistani superstar Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's album
Sargam with Javed
Akhtar's lyrics, containing the song
Afreen Afreen became a
mega hit. Even a classical singer like Shuba Mudgal could not
evade the attraction of Indi pop.
Mudgal, who produced an album called
Ab Ke Sawan, has
become the latest sensation because of the depth, range and
resonance of her voice.
Shobha Mudgal, who has a wide repertoire including
wedding songs (Wedding
Songs of UP), bhajans (Deepawali)
and thumris, was introduced as a classical artiste who sings
Hindi pop for the first time.
Shankar Mahadevan is another talented Indipop singer who
juggles with Carnatic music, Hindustani music, jazz and even
Breathless became a
chartbuster towards the end of 1999. Shankar Mahadevan has also
given soundtracks for films like
Shool, Dillagi, Nayi
Padosan and Bhopal
Express. Towards the end of 1999, Magnasound had released
an innovative album by a group called
Three Brothers and a
Violin. The other recent releases include Kamal Khanâ€™s
Suno to Diwane Dil,
Anu Malikâ€™s Ho Raha Hai
Sama, Nirmal Pandeyâ€™s
Jazbe and Sonu Nigamâ€™s
Mausam. Pakistani-born Adnan Sami rose to the top of the
Indian music charts in the middle of 2001 with his album Lift
of Indipop is an interesting feature of the recent times.
It all started when Hariharan and Lezzlie Lewis began a
new experimentation in fusion
music with their album called
Colonial Cousins in
1994. Their music
was created by the mÃ©lange of Hariharan's classical vocal and
Lewis's western touch and was targeted primarily at the
non-resident Indians in North America. The tremendous success of
their first album prompted them to go in for another, more
westernized, album called
The Way We Do It.
By the end of 1999, Indipop began its inroads into the
western world. The
success of musical scores of the Hindi film
Taal in United
Kingdom, where it entered the top 20 of the audio charts,
encouraged several people to explore and experiment with Indian
music. The music wizard, A.R.Rehman, produced an album called
Ekam Satyam with
Michael Jackson and is working on another album
Bombay Dreams, which
is a musical jugalbandi
with Andrew Lloyd Weber.
This growing popularity of Indipop in the West can be
gauged from the fact that even Stanley Kubrick incorporated
Indian notes in Eyes Wide
The Film music,
having felt the heat of Indipop, itself tried to bring in catchy
raunchy song numbers like
Tu Cheez Badi Hai Mast
Mast, etc to give a boost to the films.
Other pop numbers like
Amma Dekh Tera Munda Bigda Jai,
O O Jaane Jana and
Chal Chainyan Chinyan
have caught the imagination of the viewers.
Aamir Khan's debut song
Aati Kya Khandala in the film Ghulam became a rage. The song savvy
Daler Mehndi's number
Thade Naal Rahoge to Aish Karoge along with Amitabh Bachchan
in Mrityudaata turned out to
be the biggest attraction of the film. Daler has
done another catchy song Ankh ladti hai to ladne de for
the film Khauf, which he sang with Asha Bhosle.
While the only way
to promote music in the past was through radio, now it has
become a fashion to launch every new song with a music video.
Industry whiz Ken Ghosh, who has made more than 75 videos,
including Alisha's Made in
India and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's
Afreen says, "music
video is a glimpse of what the album is going to be. If you like
the song you may buy the album." The trend is for music to be
seen, heard and then bought.
The growing popularity of music channels like MTV, V,
Music Asia and Sony Music have virtually brought the Indian pop
music to the door steps of millions of Indians.
There are now
several music companies like Magnasound, BMG Crscendo, HMV,
Venus, Plus, Tips and Sony Music that are supporting the Indipop
artistes in a big way. The money at stake is unimaginably high.
Today's pop singers are signing deals for Rs 1 crore and above.
Alisha had reportedly signed a deal for Rs 1 crore with EMI,
about the same that A.R. Rahman signed with Sony. However,
Magnasound created a record or sorts when it announced in June
1999 that it was paying Daler Mehendi Rs 2.75 crore for two
years for two albums and videos, the biggest ever single deal
for a singer in India's music history, including the film music.
According to estimates, a company spends roughly about Rs 10 to
15 lakh to promote an artiste.
The Indian Music
industry is growing at an annual rate of 20% and has an annual
turnover of Rs 1,500 crores.
Of the industry's turnover, 70% comes from film music,
15-20% from pop, 3% from classical-devotional music and 4% from
international music. Most music companies feel that this huge
market is still not fully tapped. International giants like Sony
Music (which has set up a 100% subsidiary) and BMG (which has a
tie-up with Indian major Crescendo) have set up shops in India
and are exploring every avenue to grab a share of the market.
While the rise of
pop and re-mix culture in Indian music was mercurial, it soon
disillusioned and fatigued the listeners with the mushrooming of
Indipop singers and production of mediocre and substandard music
albums. The listeners today have become more skeptical,
discerning and a tough-to-please lot. Even bestsellers like
Colonial Cousins, Lucky Ali, Alisha Chinai and Daler Mehendi are
finding it difficult to keep up the momentum. Even Amitabh's
maiden venture into the pop world with the song
Eir Bir Fateh was
Indipop's freshness wearing off, repeat formulae are not working
(Daler Mehendi's Tunak
Tunak), drastic makeovers are not moving (The
Way We Do It), nor are exotic videos shot in foreign locales
(Ho Raha Hai Sama).
The market has become overcrowded leading to a glut in the
demand even for big names. Both the artistes and the music
companies are now calling for introspection and more
professionalism in the making and marketing of Indipop albums.
Leading music companies like Magnasound and BMG-Crescendo are
now becoming choosy and are even trying the spacing out of
artistes as a marketing strategy.
It should be understood that the Indian pop is largely
TV-driven and the concept of pop stars has not hit the Indian
psyche as yet. There is a growing feeling that Indipop as a
genre of music is not yet commercially viable in India, as it
revolves heavily on individual artistes. A music album has more
chances of succeeding if the hype is created in the visual and
print media in a manner that it successfully projects the singer
as an icon. Yet, the mood is upbeat and the expectations are
high and the fact remains that the Indipop is here to stay.