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Music has become secondary; we didn’t have propaganda in our time – Beyond Bollywood

The iconic Bollywood singer laments at the declining quality of playback music in the film industry.

Kumar Sanu at the launch of Dil Bhi Rone Laga [2023] on 16 February, 2023 in Mumbai.

By Mayur Lookhar

Kumar Sanu was the voice of the 90s, crooning countless melodies. Every hero aspired to lip sync to his songs. After ruling the chartbusters for nearly a decade, Kumar Sanu had to pave way for new voices, with new composers like A.R. Rahman, Shankar-Ehsan-Loy not tapping much into his talent.

The millennium has seen its share of music, but the magic of the 90s could never be recreated. The last decade has seen Bollywood films shrinking in size, with most producers, filmmakers undermining the value of music in a Hindi film. Most films today have limited songs and it is largely restricted to digital consumptions. The average length [two minutes] of the songs, too, have come down drastically.  Though there are still few good lyricists, composers and an array of voices, but it wouldn’t be wrong to say that the overall quality of playback music has suffered.

We bumped into Kumar Sanu at the launch of his single Dil Bhi Rone Laga last night [16 February] where asked him on the probable reasons for the decline in Hindi film music?

“Earlier when films became super hits, the music played a vital role then. Back then, we recorded songs, released them and people came to theatres on the weight of those songs.  Audience discovered the story, direction during the screenings. This was the system then,” said Sanu.

Sanu didn’t hold back in saying that music is no longer the top priority. He says, “There is not much thought given to the story today. The other thing is music has become secondary. In our days, music was the priority. The revenue from music used to cover half of the film cost then. Music was the one that pulled the crowds to the theatres.  That was the power of music. Sadly, that power has now vanished.”

Sanu also took digs at producers, filmmakers for over hyping their films.

“Films are released, now they [producers, filmmakers] proudly claim that their film has earned Rs600-800 crore. The truth though is revealed during their next film, “Sanu says, “What we’re seeing today is only propaganda. We didn’t have such things in our time.  There is hardly any recall value of a song today. A film might last for just few weeks. A song will have recall value for just about six months.”

The acclaimed playback singer acknowledged that barring a few, there is dearth of good lyricists. He blamed the current system where lyricists at times are desperate for quick success.

“Some people want quick success, and so they produce anything. Lyrics used to be about poetry, but we don’t really have it much today,” moaned Sanu.

Though no film, but dans, especially 90s audiences will be thrilled to have Sanu back with an adorable nostalgic single.

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