Pankaj Udhas Lamented Ghazals Diminishing From Hindi Films & ‘Hollywood’ Music Taking Over

The Hindi music industry has undergone a remarkable transformation over the decades. In the bygone era, ghazals adorned with profound lyrics dominated the scene, epitomizing a poetic and soulful expression. Artists like Jagjit Singh and Ghulam Ali crafted timeless melodies, weaving intricate narratives.

However, today’s music industry is predominantly shaped by energetic party anthems and beats, where the lyrical depth often takes a back seat to groovy tunes. While contemporary artists can be called innovative, many artists and music enthusiasts lament the shift from profound poetry to more commercially driven tracks. One such person was ghazal singer Pankaj Udhas, who recently passed away at 72 after battling prolonged illness.

Indian Express quoted him talking about music directors and filmmakers who used to be well-versed in Hindi and Urdu, like Guru Dutt, who used to include profound songs in his films.

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“In those days, we had filmmakers and music directors, who were well-versed in Urdu and Hindi. For instance, Guru Dutt was one filmmaker who groomed classical poets. Just listen to his songs in films like Kaagaz Ke Phool. Filmmakers like him used ghazals whenever the film demanded an emotion-charged sequence. Music director Madan Mohan, for example, created immortal ghazals,” he said.

He went on to add how those songs are remembered even today.

“I can list at least 20 ghazals sung by Rafi saab (Mohammed Rafi) and Lata ji for various composers. Listen to ‘Aap Ki Nazron Nay Samjha…’, it is a proper ghazal. The producer, who perhaps for commercial reasons, wanted Madan Mohan to make it more racy. But Madan Mohan explained that romance is not all about the pace of the song, rather, it is about the nuances of the composition and the lyrics. And when the film was released, this song was most popular. And it still is.”

However, Pankaj Udhas had lamented how nowadays, filmmakers and music directors think in terms of Hollywood, which is a setback for ghazals.

“We don’t have the mind to think in Hindi. They think in terms of Hollywood. This is certainly a setback for ghazals. Cinema is still a powerful medium and it has always supported ghazals. That avenue is more or less closed.”

Do you think that the music of yesteryears was much better than what we have today?

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