Indian cinema has seen many transitions in Hindi film music. Right from the days of Manna Dey songs such as Aye Meri Zohara Jabeen (Waqt), Yaari Hai Imaan Mera (Zanjeer) and many more and today we are grooving to the songs like ‘Lungi Dance’. Erstwhile, when everybody got to know about Manna Dey’s death it threw everybody on a spin as to which songs out of his hundreds of songs should this singer’s most enduring legacy be. But sadly the most interesting question that public came across from the youngsters today that ‘Who is Manna Dey?’
Manna Dey, for all his life he didn’t require any introduction and when he became silent at the age of 94 years, the standard of Hindi film music has fallen so badly that we can’t blame our young generation for being unaware of this legendary singer.
Have we ever wondered why the songs from the former times were better than the songs that we listen to today?
Indian cinema today has become technically grander but Hindi film music still lacks the divergent identity that it used to have once. Also absence of vocal identity in present day singers may be one of the reasons too.
Years ago when Rafi Ji passed away somebody said that Shammi Kapoor has lost his voice. Rafi Ji has sung many songs for actors like Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand and many more but he came to be best known for Shammi Kapoor’s voice just as Kishore Kumar’s voice was devoted to Dev Anand, Rajesh Khanna and even Amitabh Bachhan, Mukesh’s was attached to Raj Kapoor.
Surprisingly, Manna Dey’s voice was never identified strappingly with any of the star due to the kind of uniqueness he has in his voice. Was this the reason that Hindi film music that Manna Dey is now fundamentally faceless and almost neutral?
Some of the biggest hits that Hindi film music has created in the last five years have discovered the arrival of the singers like Mohit Chauhan, Mika Singh, Honey Singh and many more who are the exodus from the traditional explanation to a playback singer. Many things detach them from the pantheon of magnitude that was once the essence of Hindi playback singing and also their inability to sing in tune is one of the reasons.
Today most of the singers lack the classical singing training and that is why they are unable to hit the right notes. Though it is amazing to see the kind of popularity they hold but the faithfulness they crave for is shocking.
The unhealthy synergetic relation between singers and Hindi film songs where playback singing helps increase ticket sales for their live shows and non-film success making them even more popular amongst the music directors has brought up a situation where anything and everything works in the present day scenario. Singers like Honey Singh get the unnecessary attention whereas singers like Sonu Nigam, Kavita Krishnamurthy have lost the charm amongst today’s generation.
Hindi playback singing couldn’t be worse and songs like ‘Lungi Dance’ and ‘Hookah Bar’ are the live examples. The field of Hindi film music has always been star struck and if it demotes the stature of a legendary singer like Manna Dey, then worst is yet to come.