UTTAM SINGH - “Music has changed drastically”

The veteran music director who has put in as many as 50 years in the film industry laments that the nmusic scenario has changed drastically today.

By Jyothi Venkatesh
What do you feel when you look back at your achievement as a musician in films today?
I am of the opinion that one should not think at all of one’s achievement at all as it tends to stunt one’s growth. One should only think of working as karma is a part and parcel of one’s life and it alone will decide what to bestow one and what not to. Frankly speaking, I feel really blessed by the Almighty God up there as well as my fans to have been working all my life

What is the reason that you have composed music only for nine films in 50 years in the film industry?
I have always been very particular about quality as far as music that I compose is concerned. Even as an arranger, I have always been known for quality. In the 50 years that I have been in the industry, I have never compromsied even once in life as far as my work is concerned. I do not know the reason but more than my songs, my albums have clicked in a big way. If someone wants to hire me as his music director, he will and if someone does not want to, however I may try, he will not offer me the task of composing music for his film.

What ails film music today?
Music has changed drastically. Not only has it lost its depth but creativity is also completely finished. Today, the music director is dictated by even the financiers. Every song is a blatant copy of some other song. I am not at all surprised as Bombay film industry is being referred to as Bollywood just to be on par with Hollywood which makes foreign films.

How has your association with Ilayaraja him been over the years?
Ilayaraja is a genius and a good friend. He is like my elder brother and I would say he is the only complete music composer in India. Whenever he comes to Mumbai, I become his driver and go to the airport to pick him up and am his food controller and tell him what to eat and what not to. I have mixed around 7400 songs for him in various languages including Hindi, Tamil and Telugu. Right from Sadma for which I assisted him as a musician my journey of 30 years with him has been memorable and touchwood, it is still on.

You started your career not as a solo music director but with the late Jagdish as your partner. isn’t it?
I started working as a musician by working on a documentary made by Mohammed Safisaab, who was assistant to Naushadsaab way back in 1962. It was Manoj Kumar who is 100 % responsible for me having become a music director. Jagdish had composed the popular songs Sai Tere Hazaron Haath and Saibaba Bolo in the film Shirdi Ke Saibaba, which were arranged by me. Impressed by the songs, Manojsaab literally forced me and Jagdish to compose together for his film Painter Babu and ever since then I didn’t look back at all. Manojsaab has a fantastic ear for music
Which are your five personal favorites till date?
Music-wise, Waris, Dil To Pagal Hai, Gadar, Pinjar and Dushman are my favorite films.


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