Paragraphs on Indi-Pop!
Indi-pop is a relatively nascent style of music that combines diverse and eclectic musical influences—from raga to reggae and bass beats to bhangra. It has overcome musical frontiers across the world and developed a distinct niche for itself.
Pop music began gaining popularity in the Indian subcontinent with the success of the attractive musical duo, Nazia Hassan and her brother Zoheb Hassan, of Pakistan.
At that time, in the 1980s, there were very few singers popular as non-film singers in India, like Usha Uthup, Remo Fernandez, and Sharan Prabhakar. But Indi-pop came into its own in the early 1990s when it began to emerge as an alternative to film music. Alisha Chinai released her album, produced by Biddu again, and the song ‘Made in India’ in the album created waves. It was for the first time that a non-film Indian song album got unprecedented success. This began a new era in Indi-pop, with the emergence of playback singers releasing Indi-pop albums.
Alisha was quickly followed by many other ‘wannabe’ pop stars such as Suchitra Krishnamurthy, Shweta Shetty, Anaida and Mehnaz. Daler Mehndi made his foray into the scene and, for the first time ever, Indian listeners outside Punjab got to hear the energetic sounds of bhangra.
Even as Daler Mehandi was smashing records, a new concept had emerged in the scene—that of ‘remixing’. It involved taking up the Hindi songs and fusing them with new beats and rhythms, involving extra synthesiser beats, for instance, to render them in a ‘new’ manner. The catchy, fast-placed beats made them hits with DJs, who very often were the are-mix composers’. DJs Akbar Sami and Jayantha Pathak were the first in the line, with Jalwa, and were followed by Nasha, Aqueel and many more. Recently, Aqueel released two remix albums back to back and the song Yeh wada raha has become popular.
In the 1990s, Indi-pop saw the emergence of ‘bands’ that gave out many hits. It was Silk Route and the Colonial Cousins, and then the band. Euphoria with its hit Dhoom Pichuk. Channel [V] was the first to bring the concept of handpicked, tailor-made bands to India, and Viva was their first five- member, all-girl band.
In a short period of less than a decade the pop culture had spread its tentacles to a large section of the young population of India and by the end of the 1990s, India’s pop industry had acquired a share of 10 per cent in the Indian music market. The Indi-pop gained respectability with the entry of stalwarts like Amitabh Bachchan, Asha Bhonsle, Alka Yagnik and A.R. Rahman on to the scene.
The re-mixes and albums of the legendary singer Asha Bhonsle took her to dizzying heights. Her two re-mix albums are Rahul and I and Asha Once More were received well. A.R. Rehman created a sensation by composing the song ‘Vande Matram’ in a refreshingly new time.
With the music industry willing to experiment, Qawwali ustads too began making an appearance on the scene. Even classical singers were drawn to the Indi-pop scene. Pakistani singing sensation Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s album Sargam with Javed Akhtar’s lyrics, containing the song ‘Afreen Afreen’ became a mega hit.
Shubha Mudgal produced an album called Ab Ke Sawan, which became a sensation because of the depth, range and resonance of her voice. Shubha Mudgal, who had a wide repertoire including wedding songs (wedding songs of Uttar Pradesh), bhajans and thumris, was introduced as a classical artiste who sang Hindi pop for the first time.
Shankar Mahadevan is a talented Indi-pop singer who juggles with Karnatak music, Hindustani music, jazz and even fusion. His Breathless became a chartbuster towards the end of 1999. Towards the end of 1999, Magnasound released Savariya, an innovative album by a group called Three Brothers and a Violin. Pakistani-born Adnan Sami rose to the top of the Indian music charts in the middle of 2001 with his album Lift Kara De.
Since the 1990s, Indi-pop singers who have made their presence felt include Baba Sehgal, Shantanu Mukherjee aka Shaan, Sunali Rathod, Palash Sen, K.K, Sagarika, Colonial Cousins (Hariharan, Leslie Lewis), Lucky Ali, Sonu Nigam, and Hans Raj Hans.
Besides those listed above, popular Indi-pop singers include Zubeen Garg, Raghav Sachar, Rageshwari, Devika Chawla, the group Bombay Vikings, Sunidhi Chauhan, Falguni Pathak, Bombay Rockers, Anu Malik, Jazzy B, Malkit Singh, Jay Sean, Juggy D, Rishi Rich, Sheila Chandra, Bally Sagoo, Punjabi MC, Bhangra Knights, Mehnaz, and Sanober.