ANANDJI VIRJI SHAH “It is sad that sound has overtaken melody these days”

Hailed as a music maestro with a difference, Anandji Virji Shah known better as Anandji of the famed Kalyanji Anandji duo has created a special niche in the world of Hindi film music over the years.

By Manishaa R

At the 13th Pune International Film Festival in Pune at the City Pride, Kothrud you were conferred with the prestigious Sachin Deb Burman
International Award for Creative Sound and Music How elated are you with the award?

I am not only elated but also very proud since Sachinda was a senior colleague of mine who I have always admired as a music composer. I was doubly happy that the same evening also saw, besides me, the world renowned filmmaker Krzysztof Zanussi being bestowed with the coveted award for enriching human life with Cinematic Excellence.  

In what way has the music scenario changed over the last 70 years?
I would say that the paradigms and the ambience have changed in the field of music and hence no wonder sound has overtaken melody these days. Times have definitely changed over the years as far as the music scenario is concerned. Gone are those days when the producers used to inspire the music directors and help them in their creative inputs, unlike today when most of the producers interfere with their music directors, because in turn they are dictated by the music companies.  

What could be the reason for this drastic change?
Today, strangely enough the competition among the music directors is not about work but who will steal which tune first before the others. In fact, I am often amused today that the actors talk not in Hindi but in English whenever they appear in a show though they are there in the first place to promote their films which are in Hindi.  

Can you elucidate?
If you remember, the tone in the film Nagin was Indian though we had used a synthesiser, though everything has changed drastically with time and today practically each and every music director here in our country tries to use the synthesiser whether the composition is ethnic or for that matter Western.  

What do you have to say about the new concept of instant music?
With more and more facilities at their disposal, it is a tragedy that most of the music directors today have ceased to be innovative. While the music
directors of yore always went in for sanskriti, the music directors of today opt quite often for not sanskriti but vikriti. If the songs do not click now and are forgotten after you listen to it initially the reason is that they are far too loud and it is more of noise and less of melody. If only you hear the modern songs today in film after film, it looks like every one today is just waiting to dance.  

Do you miss the presence of the music director and the singer while recording today?
Yes. Today a singer comes and sings and the music director works in isolation on the song. Music director Shameer Tandon recorded the Daata Sun Le song for the film Jail by sending the song by computer to Ashaji who was in Los Angeles who then recorded the same there and sent it to him.  

Is music being churned out as per the demand?
Today there is absolutely no question of demand and supply as the music directors are prone to tell you when you ask them why the quality of music has over the years deteriorated. It is only a lame excuse and it is sad that the music directors today do not have confidence in what they can do. While the music directors of yore always went in for sanskriti, the music directors of today opt quite often for not sanskriti but vikruti.  

Hasn’t Indian music come of age with A.R. Rahman bagging the Oscar as well as Grammy?
If only the entry had been sent from India, I am one hundred per cent sure that the song Jai Ho from Slumdog Millionaire would not have been even considered for Grammy or for that matter the Oscars.

Do you see the change only in music or in every field today in films?
While music directors of yore went in for sanskruti the music directors today quite often prefer to opt for vikruti The change has come about not in music directors today but also the fans who are no loner as loyal to their favorite actors like they used to be in the past. Today’s young girls change their favorite heroes in three weeks and because the youngsters do not have time, it is indeed a very sad state of affairs that they feel that they need to be told about everything in just a nutshell.

Fusion seems to be the order of the day today!
Today fusion is the order of the day but I feel that fusion is only confusion, which is not at all surprising because in society today, the child silences his or her mother by calling her not maa but mum and actually ‘kill’ the father ahead of time by calling them dad and not pitaji, like in the good old days.

What, according to you, is the biggest change as far as music is concerned then and now?
The biggest change that has taken place as far as music is concerned is the fact that though we sued to hear songs through radios then, these days we hear songs over TV. Since at that time, only the radio was there, we could even relate to the romance of the lead pair. Paradigms and the ambience have changed and hence sound has overtaken melody these days.

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