By Nishant Agarwal
The song and dance routine has been at the core of bollywood films since time immemorial. There are quite a few examples of films that rode high on success only because of their immensely popular music. It’s difficult to recall a Hindi movie from the 80’s or 90’s which did not feature a dream song sequence depicting the flowering romance between actors or a heart-break. In fact the song and dance numbers have given bollywood a unique identity worldwide. Our marriages and parties would be totally lifeless, had it not been for bollywood.
Having songs in films is not an issue; the problem actually arises when these songs and dances are used in so much excess that they don’t allow room for the story to breathe on its own. Sometimes the film maker too is left helpless and has to succumb to this trend. The mass entertainers especially are a testament to the fact.
However with the advent of new age filmmakers, the whole interpretation of using songs in Hindi films is changing. What we see now is that the directors are using songs not as mandatory fillers but as a tool to carry the narrative forward. Films like Aamir, Dev D, Udaan, Lootera are excellent examples where the songs complement the screenplay and add to the cinema watching experience instead of disturbing the viewers.
Off late there has also been a rise in content driven films in Bollywood. A few amongst such films do not even feel the need for songs. Their OST includes only the background score; a trend more prevalent in the West. But for bollywood to accept this change; it will take more than a few decades. There will always be a section of people who would always want to dance in the theatre on that popular item number or there will always be couples who would imagine themselves whenever the dream sequence plays. In other words “You can take bollywood out of song and dance but you cannot take the song and dance out of bollywood”.