Should we feel sorry for Bollywood?
Was Woz right? We are not talking about India as a whole in this article, neither the actual film side of Bollywood, which is seen by many as imitators’ of other more innovative film and script writers across the globe (the exception being films based on India’s rich cultural history). The same regurgitated love stories and family feuds that appeased many a cinema goer in India in the past, have they actually caught up with Bollywood? That debate is for another day, but instead we look at Bollywood musically, is the once maker of singers careers now actually just the recycling yard of others genres hits!
The biggest Bollywood track in years still is “Truth Hurts” by Dr Dre & Eric B.
Let me describe what I mean in terms of biggest, a song that transcends its genre & impacts other markets, the song charted globally & delivered Hindi onto dance floors like never before,& those days have been not seen since, no Bollywood soundtrack single has charted globally, yet the imitations of this song were limitless.
In-fact, Bally Sagoo took Bollywood into more global charts than any film house!
Now, I’m not just going to highlight song after song that Bollywood have ripped off, if I was to do this, and then this particular article would start at A (Arabic Music) come the letter S (Salsa) I’d still be going strong.
Bollywood simply is struggling to grasp fully the needs of a new market place that has separated music from film. Pop, rap & Bhangra are genres of music that have pulled away from the lure of the soundtrack & created platforms for themselves, Bollywood has the weight, and money still, & instead of looking into understanding the listening habits of fans it does what Bollywood does best, it throws money at successful artists to deliver watered down versions of their own work into Bollywood movie soundtracks.
Guru Randhawa is now featuring more & more, the link between him & T-Series is a big driver yes, but there was a time that “Niche” music artists would never get a look in into Bollywood despite being on the same label, in fact music artists in reality were only spawned on the back of successful Bollywood soundtracks.
Punjabi’s as artists have suffered at the hands of Bollywood for years, the mocking of Sardars, always looking down on Punjabi individuals who are portrayed as gangsters or thick comedians is the Bollywood way.
So are we surprised that the single biggest Bhangra Track ever has been copied in such a crass manor? It’s Bollywood doing what Bollywood does best, riding the crest of someone else’s wave, and to be honest I’m surprised it’s took so long for this “imitation” to happen.
The greatest gripe about the latest copy is the song writing credit; This tweet explains it better than I could put it.
#Mundiyan tu bach ke Original lyrics by Channi Khanne'wala.What has this Giny Dhiwan done different to be credited apart from transit some words to hindi on this song. Its bad enough to see Bollywood ruin Panjabi classic songs but even worse to see them take credit away. #Baaghi2
— Balkar Laltonwala (@BALLYGG) March 1, 2018
In the west we have court cases when song arrangements sound similar yet bringing such a case against Bollywood would see years & years of paperwork & stalling that would see nothing happen.
Artists used to love being used by Bollywood, but they have discovered that they can be picked up & then thrown back out onto the floor like many a casting couch model. Bollywood has used many an artist for it’s short term gain and will continue to do so, but now the more musically savvy individuals look upon Bollywood’s musical attempts in despair, something that was immense and such a driver for everything musical in India, is now becoming as lacking in innovations as love stories coming from the Mumbai shores.
Bollywood has some of the most talented musicians in the world recording for its art houses, yet the need to ensure film soundtracks are current has seen these musicians be neglected for the quick win, something we expect to see from niche markets as that’s what artists do, they look at others for ideas, innovation and set about their work to hit a bigger audience.
Bollywood had that audience, but neglected it and took it for granted, and as result of this, India’s own music scene is now not reliant on the big screen, but instead Bollywood is looking at it, for a lifeline!