Music Trend: Remix; Bhagwati Prasad
'Presenting old songs in a new package' is how one may attempt to define remix music - just like old wine in a new bottle. In recent years, remix culture has dominated the Indian music industry to an extent that it has become more popular than film songs and the singers. Because of the revealing videos that the songs accompany, a section of society calls it a 'vulgar' and unacceptable, and therefore is asking for a ban on such songs. However, the younger generation is increasing enjoying these songs. The history of Indian music reveals that the 'remix' is at least 20 years old. It may be divided into following 4 stages:
Stage One: begins around 1983 when old songs were given new voices. T-Series was the most prominent company which began remixing. The cassette covers of remix songs carried the photos of the main singers like Mohammad Rafi, Mukesh, Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhonsle, and others, and along with them, smaller photos of new singers like Kumar Shanu, Sonu Nigam, and others were printed. The cassette titles used to be - 'In Memory of Md. Rafi', 'In Memory of Kishore', 'Melodies of Mukesh', etc. Thus the new singers got a good publicity.
Second Stage: The songs were the same but they were given new dimensions. Disco beats were added to the songs which attracts the listener even today. These disco beats were popularised as "jhankar beats'came in vogue around 1987. No matter who the original singers were, mixing beats with the music became a fashion. This concept became so popular that even the film audio cassettes started including 'Jhankar Beats'.
Stage Three: It began around 1990. Use of western pop became very widespread. The names of the singers and the tunes became secondary and were replaced by the creators of new tunes. Cassettes began to be sold in their name. One of them was 'Bali Sagu'. It was a new experiment and became popular. It influenced the films after a few years.
All songs of films began to be remixed. For Instance, the remixed versions of songs from the films 'Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge', 'Taal', 'Pardes', etc, became very popular.
Stage Four: or the present phase can be called the Golden Age of remix culture. The songs have fast beats and lot of western music. From big and small parties, hotels to marriage barats, etc, special DJ's are organised for people to dance to their tunes. The bridegroom's side even demands for a DJ along with other things. Keeping these demands in view, the music companies have begun remixing beats with english expressions which helplessly forces people to shake a leg or two. But in the present stage the credit of 'hit' remixes goes to their video.
The songs are known more by the models acting in them rather than by their singers or music composers. The remix video age has, on the one hand, given a new life to Indian music industry, and on the other hand, has invited the accusations of the Indian culture having been 'distorted' and 'vulgar'.
Now-a-days the music channels are full of remix videos. If we try to understand the processes of making video, then we will be able to understand the reasons for their popularity. Actually, most of the people who are working in the remix video industry were earlier in the field of advertising. Therefore they very well know what appeals to the different tastes of the different customers. They understand the range of images which can exactly stay with the audiences for a long time. Thus, they began making use of their own creativity and imagination to the best of their ability. The remix video has gripped the minds of the people - especially the young. Popular Videos have those images/ scenes which the targetted audience can identify with and also eagerly wish to see.
For Instance, the scenes like the lowering of jeans in the 'Kaanta Lagaa...', wet bodies of the girls, beer bars, pubs, restaurant, bear-bar, etc. Actually, three or four female models are selected, locations and lyrics are fixed and the videos are made. Then these remix videos are aired on almost all TV channels and their market is created.
'Kaanta Lagaa...'!, how deep?
The remixed song - 'Kaanta Lagaa... released last year (2003) by T-Series has taken today's remix music to new heights. The song's popularity has has not just seen the restlessmess in the minds/hearts and of its targetted audience, but another section of the society has also objected to it; and therefore the Information and Broadcasting Ministry notified five music channels to prohibit airing it. Yet, there has been no reduction in the popularity of this cassette. Not only this; its words and tunes have been used for other seasonal songs. For example, its tune and wordings were used to inspire the Kanwariyas in August: 'Kaanta Lagaa...' became 'Ghonta Lagaa...'! Then, during Janmashtami, it became 'Taala Khulaa...' In October 2003 was released a bhajan 'Mela Lagaa...' which topped the Navaratra market. Then there was comedy song 'Chaanta Lagaa...', equally enjoyed by its listeners. The new year and Holi are yet to come. We are likely to see new versions of this cassette. The 'Kaanta' is so deep that it has caused a boom in this type of video albums. A new tradition has been laid down in the music industry, opening new channels for garnering bigger profits.