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Who sells the song?

February 24, 2010 6:38:11 PM IST
Enkayaar, Bollywood Trade News Network
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Now that the dust has settled down on the controversy between Aamir Khan and Javed Akhtar partially, as Aamir has agreed to withdraw his resignation, it indeed is an opportune time to view the issue in a dispassionate manner. The bone of contention in the matter is between the content provider and the content user, a writer is a content provider be it in the form of a story or a song, and a content user is the actor who either enacts the script by the writer or croons to the song written by the song writer.

The controversy has arisen in the recent past and it was not a major bone of contention. Does the genesis of controversy have something to do with the fact that the writers have acquired celebrity status and are vying for the eyeballs in the visual world, in particular after the advent of the reality shows that have mushroomed on the plethora of television channels in India.

In the present controversy, one issue that has not been put into the perspective is the role of radio as a channel vehicle for popularizing the songs during the present times. Mushrooming of music channels indeed has played a vital role in popularizing the song, but the role has been an eschewed one, if one were to place it in context.

In the past in all the radio programmes the anchors used to announce the name of the lyricists as well, when a particular song was aired. In the present times where FM radio channels rule the air, most often than not, the anchors leave out the name of the lyricists who have penned the songs. As a result the actor on whom the song has been picturised gets mileage through radio programmes, the songwriter is pushed to the periphery. Besides, if the hit songs of the past were to be referred to, it would be found that the films that had been a hit have been owing to the quality of lyrics. In fact lyrics have popularized songs, examples being DOSTI, AASHIQUI etc. all that became hits on account of their lilting music and heart touching lyrics. Besides, if an actor is indeed selling a song, then there should not be pre-release of the songs, but the song should be presented as a form of package in totality to the audience. It is the popularity of a song that brings the audience into the theatre and after viewing it in a cinema hall, the association with an actor starts building up and from here the actor takes it to a new pedestal through his persona. Therefore, the songwriter and actor in fact complement each other.

In the recent past as the quality of lyrics has gone down the hill, it is the charm of star and the picturisation of the song that has emerged as the catalytic factor in evolution of the business of cinema. However, it is ephemeral as the shelf life of such songs is very less, and the listener again reverts back to the songs where lyrics have essence, distilled wisdom and an element of novelty that touches the heart somewhere.

The way out of this crisis, whereby the lyricist may be given due deserts, may be the radio anchors need to do their homework and inform the name of the lyricist to the viewer. When it starts happening, the public would also start warming up to the persona of a lyricist and this controversy would die its natural death.

After all, it is the fight over claiming legitimacy on a creative action, be it the songwriter or the actor and there is the need to find some middle path.

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