August 22, 2007
When it is okay to say that one likes road-side mobile eatery type Sairam Pani Puri center’s pani-puri/bhel-puri and that seems to get people nostalgic (rather than repulsive at the thought of uncleanliness, as mom warns us), then why doesn’t the same hold true with people’s music taste?
It is okay (and actually gets more interest/response from the listener) when you say that you thoroughly enjoyed bandi-side (hawker-made) Chilli bajji compared to the swanky Subway’s masala burger. So, sub-par (as society seems to perceive it, not me) taste in food is acceptable by many, but I would love to extend that to music as well.
Hardly a few share my eccentric taste in music, and in that collection, I tend to like item numbers a lot for their sheer energy, other than their visual richness(!). Item numbers from any language have a universal appeal, a unique rawness. I do not have to know what Yana Gupta is conveying when she vaguely asks Babuji to walk slowly, or what Shilpa Shetty means when she says that she wants to loot UP and Bihar (if anything is still left after Lalooji and Mayawati behen), but everybody seems to be ecstatic about something, and it feels great when I share that feeling by just listening to it.
When I tell somebody that I am not much into oldies-goldies (or as I fondly call, the gramophone era, a friend of mine has a few songs dating back to pre-independence days), but have an ear for Carnatic and fusion music (jugalbandhi type), with immense interest in Industrial, Celtic and Techno, people are shocked as if I am a Martian (which I am).
Old songs, especially cry-till-napkins-are-over type “dard bharey” songs with lyrics that have gehrayee (depth) sung by Mukesh might be liked by the majority, but why isn’t ‘I am not into old songs’ taken as okay or normal but treated as a disease?
If there are people who listen to rap and blues (again alien to people of my kind), then why not item songs? Some salient features of item songs (a.k.a. mass songs):
* Energy, energy and energy. They have fizz, catch people’s attention (trailers MUST have them), rev up the mood.
* 2 words: Hot females.
* If you observe carefully, item songs have better involvement from the technical department (camera work, shot angles, creative use of locations, etc.) compared to the trite Swiss Alps and Tulip gardens.
* Beware: Interesting twist ahead! Item songs involve a nice twist to the storyline, whereas a love/mushy/sad song adds nothing more to the existing mood (that was already conveyed by the dialogs). Added bonus when the twist happens *during* the item song.
* Front bench crowd, who “market” the movie (with their ruckus) feed on item songs. More the item songs, better the word-of-mouth publicity.
* Item songs have an intelligent way of conveying a subtle message, which can sometimes be surprisingly romantic.
* Dance floors, pubs and parties would have been non-existant w/o item numbers. Hence, it supports businesses.
* Closer to reality: “bachkey tu rehna re bachke tu rehna” from Company makes more sense than aasman se chaand sitarey thod le aaoonga.
Hence, before you generalise and detest people who love mass numbers, please spend a few minutes and be a little considerate towards us as we are sensitive people who love songs like “goli maar bhejey mein, tho bheja shor karta hai” (Satya). Hope you get the subtle warning.