Changing Patterns of Film-Film Music Relationship In Bollywood.

Convenient coincidences and glycerine tears, happy endings, songs and energetic dances are some of the elements that make the Bollywood industry as unique as it is from the world cinema. According to Dissanyake, the term melodrama, derived from the Greek word song, means a romantic and sentimental play that contains songs and music deemed appropriate for enhancing the situations presented on stage. “The dominance of music in Indian everyday cultural life has ensured its dominance in Indian cinema, from its inception to its present” –day incarnations.

The birth of Bollywood cinema dates back to the 1913 when D.G.Phalke-a painter, photographer made his first movie Raja Harishchandra inspired from an episode of Mahabharatha. He made several movies during his life time. With the introduction of sound in movies the typical Indian musical developed and the film industry began producing over hundred films every year. This early Bollywood cinema is an inherited tradition that dates back to over two thousand years to Sanskrit theatre and more recently to that of the urban theatrical traditions of the nineteenth century such as the Parsi theatre, Marathi theatre and Bengali jataras; where utterance of slokas and dialogues in the form of songs were more commonly used. Probably this scenario has brought in the music and song elements in Bollywood cinema developing the unique genre of filmy music. Music directors, lyricists and play back singers attained equal importance to protagonists and directors of the films.

Since the very beginning of sound film in India in 1931, virtually all commercial films have had a musical format, nowadays including six or seven songs per film.

Songs as a crucial element of Film text: The use of sound helped to enhance the narrative that might lose its charm without a sound track. Though music has a prominent role to play in world cinema its

significance in Bollywood is very high as Music is considered to be the ‘heart’ of the Bollywood cinema and it is almost impossible to imagine a bollywood movie without songs and dances apart from the background score which keeps us hooked to the story line. Though music has always been considered an integral part of the bollywood films there has been a considerable change in the use of songs over the years and the songs are transformed from a catalysing factor to the narration to providing a dramatic relief to the audience.

The arrival of the trend of item songs further changed the role of music in films and became a steady stream of revenue generator from the music industry which is being considered the life-support of Bollywood ever since sound arrived in films with Alam Ara (1931). Over the years, Bollywood film song has been nurtured & garnered until evolution is achieved. After all, our directors have also realized the connection between good music & box office success.

Two main categories: An Average Bollywood cinema is 150-180 minutes long and with an average of 5-8 songs in each film. These songs based on their placement in the plot structure can be classified into two categories one is the directors’ songs. These songs contain some plot or story line within and help in continuity of story line. e.g.: ‘Jane nahin’ song from the film 3 idiots. These songs are also helpful in establishing a character of a protagonist, lead role or a plot area E.g. ‘Choti si aasa’ song in the film Roja, this song established the character of female lead role in the film. Second category is of mood setting songs. The main aim of these songs is either to continue the mood of the audience or to make the script elements lighter between two strong emotional scenes. These songs includes duets, imagination of comedians etc. these songs are shot in exotic locations, with designed costumes and heavy lighting some times and are often followed by some heavy scenes of strong emotion or violence. Songs also came handy in developing new narrative techniques especially in cases films adopted from novels and other non-fiction books like Husain s. Zaidi’s Black Friday. Long descriptions of the plot location, establishing the characters of lead roles of

(antagonists sometimes) were effective transformed into visuals and songs. Songs are also as transitional techniques to replace a chain of events and narrations. Immediate shit in story location, or story time are being effectively narrated through director’s songs. E.g.: In the film ‘Narasima’ in which Rajani kanth played a lead role, one particular song narrates his story from youth to old age and the plot continues after the song.

Music - over the years in Bollywood:
The Talkie Era: The year 1931 has significant importance in the Bollywood film history and in the study of songs and music in bollywood as this was the beginning of the “talkie era” and also naturally became the starting point for movie composers and singers. Musical tastes round the country were still dominated by the Indian motif - one-dimensional melody that drew almost entirely on classical and folk structures. Playback technology was available, but there was no implementation handy for scalable reuse. Out in Bengal, New Theatres tried their first playback experiment as early as 1933. It did not go unnoticed.

Coming of the Songs in Movies: Early Bollywood film songs were known to be extremely simple. Often, just a harmonium and a tabla would accompany the actors. And the lyrics too were almost those of a nursery rhyme. By 1935, pre-recorded singing by Nitin Bose, Mukul Bose and music director R. C. Boral hit the scenes. Here, the song was first recorded by one artist and then played back and pictured by another artist. This trend began with the film Dhoop Chaon. This revolutionary method threw the doors open for Bollywood film playback singing. As most of the music directors had a classical music background, the instruments were mainly Indian musical instruments. Music in these films had a large influence of the Bengali music or the Rabindra Sangeeth.

The period after independence is referred to as the golden age of Bollywood as it was in this period that many films with challenging contents were produced unlike the kind of films made earlier which was purely entertainment based. The music industry which was flourishing received a new boom with the evolution of cassette technology in the 70’s.with the increase in revenue from the music industry the role of songs and music

gained a new magnitude. There was also a tremendous growth in the influence of western music and dance.

The background score of the films have also undergone a drastic change. During the earlier days the background score was a combination of various musical instruments like shehnai, diegetic sounds and some prolonged note to mark climax. But now, musicians across the country are investing more and more thoughts towards creating that striking background score that will render a sequence memorable in the screenplay of the movie.

The changing scenario of songs: The 90s were filled with, as it’s popularly known, ‘song sequences’, where the hero & heroine would instantly be transported to an exquisite locale & sometime manage to arrange a properly choreographed background troupe as well. But since then, our directors have understood the significance of time & plot …and spent more tho ught in integrating the songs in the plot, rather than halting the plot with them. Songs displaying emotions, establishing the characters, speaking of the character’s mind are strewn all over Bollywood now. Going a little away from this sensible music inclusion theory, we are also holding back to the latkas & jhatkas of masala films with the presence of item numbers. They are hot, and they make a movie work but have no connection to the progress of the plot,As bizarre as it may sound, it’s a fact. While we are discussing the shifts of audience tastes in popular music, we can’t surely over rule the western influence on them either. The increasing use of ‘Hinglish’ songs in movie, or one or two English words here and there surely gives it a ‘cooler status’ .Not only English, the use of Sufi, Urdu, Punjabi, French, Latin and Spanish have gradually found their space in the Bollywood soundtracks.

Reference:  Film's musical moments By Ian Conrich, Estella Tincknell;pg 206  Bollywood film songs and the cinema By Anna Morcom; pg1  Bollywood melodies: a history of the Bollywood film song; Ganesh Anantharaman; Penguin Books  Bollywood film song: music beyond boundaries: Ashok Da. Ranade  Behind the curtain: Making music in Mumbai's film studios - Gregory D. Booth