Indians have become intellectually bankrupt: Remo0

Indian audiences have become totally incapable of appreciating serious music, says pop star Remo Fernandes.

The 51-year-old musician said the trend against "anything that is serious" had taken root not just in music but also in cinema, literature and art.

"This whole country, which was once the cradle of deep, high-thinking philosophy and art and literature, seems to have gone intellectually bankrupt, and Bollywood seems to be the beginning and end of life as we know it," he said in an interview with The Herald newspaper here.

Incidentally, Remo himself made it big after starring in Bollywood films like "Jalwa".

He hinted that he was disappointed with the response to his recent albums titled "India Beyond" and "Symphonic Chants".

He said: "So now, as a private joke to myself, maybe I'll record a remix album of my personal Bollywood favourites.

"That'll be my way of saying 'Feed donkeys with grass, not asparagus'. And I'll probably write that caption on the inside cover of the album," he added.

The pop icon is known for his music in languages ranging from Portuguese to Hindi with a strong dose of English and Goa's native Konkani tongue.

He has had a flurry of foreign tours this year. He is just back from Kuwait, plans to visit the Caribbean in April-May, and possible concerts with his Microwave Papadums band include visits to the US in May, China in June and Britain in July.

"2004 seems to have brought in a few foreign shows, starting on a 'foreign' note! I'm collaborating with a British composer, William Hall Jr., on a new track titled 'Spectrum'," he said.

His trip to the Caribbean would be along with a film crew that would document the whole 'adventure' on film.

Speaking of his foreign tours, he said there was greater acceptance of non-Western artistes there.

"Today, that attitude has changed drastically, mainly because of world music. 'Unknown' countries today have a new generation who can pop and rock with the best from the West, while still keeping firm roots in their own cultures," he said.

Trained as an architect, Remo is among the most lasting of musical stars in Goa, a region that has immense musical talent, both Western and Indian.

But he rued the lack of appreciation for serious artistic work.

"Shobha De sells more than Arundhati Roy, David Dhawan's blockbusters are more watched than Satyajit Ray's masterpieces," he argued.

For years Remo struggled against the odds, staying on in Goa -- after a sojourn through Europe in his younger days -- and finally making it big time after struggling to sell his home-produced music.

In May 2003 Remo performed before some 10,000 fans during a free-of-cost four-and-a-half hour birthday concert he threw for his fans on completing 50.

He had then said: "I know some musicians who hide their age. So why am I so happy that I have turned 50? I don't know, I just feel great that I am 50.

"I still feel young and I don't even dye my hair! I guess it's just that I enjoy doing my music so much."

In the 1960s Remo started with a local group called Beat 4, shifting on to The Savages when he moved on to Mumbai.

Some three years back, Remo lost three earlier members of his band in a road accident.