Revered lyricist and poet Javed Akhtar on Friday said the standards of modern day Bollywood music have dropped and that is a reflection of contemporary society. Asked about the quality of present day music, Akhtar said: “The standards have dropped. But you should see things in right perspective. Film music or film dialogues or films itself are not produced in a void. They are part of a society and whatever is happening in the society will reflect here also.”
Explaining the phenomenon, the veteran poet said: “What has happened tragically is that in the last 30-40 years, our society has progressed materially, industrially and technically. We have gone up and today the urban middle-class is doing well for itself. That’s wonderful. “But in this chase of catching the gravy train we left certain things at the platform. Like music, like poetry, like literature and fine arts were very low on the priority list.
“In our schools and homes we have not exposed our children to classical music, to Indian art, Indian folk music, Indian folklore, Indian poetry, and now when a child grows up totally devoid and unexposed, then how do you expect that one day he will suddenly develop great aesthetics.” He said when people coming from such social strata write scripts or direct films or compose songs, the products are all “grammatically wrong”.
“Then the song is released, even the public have no problem as they don’t know. That is how our vocabulary is shrinking, our grammar has gone haywire.” Renowned music composer and singer Shankar Mahadevan, although in a much more mellowed manner, echoed Akhtar.
“There are compositions which will stand the test of time like my ‘Kal Ho Naa Ho’, ‘Mitya’, or ‘Sapno se Bhare Naina’. That will stay for some time, that’s what we feel. Eventually, it’s quality and depth that will stay. From a music pandit to a small child everybody should be able to appreciate your music. That is the kind of composition that will stay for a long time.”
Later at the media interaction, Akhtar said the most of the music made today is for the discos and make no room for good lyrics. Among the present lyricists, he rated Irshad Kamil and Swanand Kirkire very highly.