Narendra Kusnur's music musings …


OF late, one has been witnessing the release of many Hindi films with multiple music directors. And we’re not talking of movies with two or three composers but even, hold your breath, six or eight. In many cases, the musicians are unknown.

Check out some such examples.

‘Detective Byomkesh Bakshi’ has Madboy/ Mink, Sneha Khanwalkar, Blek, Peter Cat Recording Co, Joint Family, IJA and Mode AKA.

‘Khamoshiyan’ has Jeet Ganguli, Ankit Tiwari, Naved Jafar and Bobby-Imran.

‘Ek Paheli Leela’ has Dr Zeus, Amaal Malik, Tony Kakkar and Meet Bros Anjjan.

‘Dharam Sankat Mein’ has Meet Bros Anjjan, Shamir Tandon, Sachin Gupta and Jatinder Shah.

‘Hawaizaada’ has Mangesh Dhakde, Rochak Kohli, Ayushman Khuranna and Vishal Bharadwaj.

‘Roy’ has Ankit Tiwari, Amaal Malik and Meet Bros Anjaan.

To top it all, ‘Dilliwalli Zaalim Girlfriend’ has eight composers for eight songs – Yo Yo Honey Singh, Dr Zeus, Tiger Style, Indeep Bakshi, Jatinder Shah, Meet Bros Anjjan, Milind Gaba and Jassi Katyal.

Noticed something? Barring Vishal Bharadwaj, these films do not boast of any really established names. The list either contains those who have tasted success in the past couple of years only, or those who have been around for a while without making much inroads, or completely unknown names. And from the look of it, one may think Meet Bros Anjjan are the busiest musicians in the world today.

The question, of course, is whether one needs so many music directors for a single movie. One can understand cases where, in the past, films had two or three music directors (‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham’, ‘Chalte Chalte, ‘Fiza’ and ‘Aashiqui 2’), but is there any point having more? The only reason one would think of having eight men for eight songs may have nothing to do with the quality of the music, but probably be related to having an eye on the record book.

The trend has its pluses and minuses. One thing in its favour is that by having multiple composers, one can always give a chance to promote newer talent, instead of relying on the same few names. The other advantage is that having multiple music directors would lead to more variety.

Here, one can have people who specialise in diverse forms like heavy metal, techno, ambient, Sufiana and Indian folk, to name a few genres. Besides having their own style of composing, each composer will have his own set of favourite singers and musicians, as a result of which the overall soundtrack will have many contrasting sets of sounds.
From the business point of view, producers may opt for this fad because instead of paying a heft amount to one established name, they can negotiate with lesser known composers. In every film, they can get a couple of songs for a pittance, as the music director may be too new to demand a large sum.

The more traditional mind will, of course, prefer the older style of having a single composer, who fulfils the need of catering to various styles. Though the great composers of the past had their favourite styles or specific inclinations, they created music of different hues, based on the situations in the film.

Even today, audiences usually look for the work of single music directors in a film. People like AR Rahman, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, Vishal-Shekhar, Pritam and Vishal Bhardwaj, to name a few, come with their own set of expectations from the listening public. Whenever they work on a film, they maintain a certain coherence in the sound, and yet produce songs in different genres. Their names add value and weight to a film.

Yes, there have been exceptions like ‘Aashiqui 2’, where three music directors managed to have a consistent sound. But by and large, multiple music directors tend to go off on different tangents. In many instances, the result is a tasteless bhel puri.

If one looks at what’s really happening, the fact is that most such films haven’t produced any extraordinary music. There have been a couple of decent songs here and there, but what’s missing is consistency. The music directors work in completely different patterns, and at best, create songs that go with a particular situation, without having an impact outside the cinema hall.

Add to that the presence of plenty of wannabes, and the net result is nothing but large-scale mediocrity. Unless the music directors rise above the ordinary and create music that stands out, this fad may last only a few days before slowly fizzling out.

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