Any Body Can Sing! Bollywood Comes A Full Circle

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A trend of playback by actors is on the rise. One may justly wonder whether this trend will kill or at least push back the playback industry. Will it?

In 1931, a revolution of a different kind swept through India. Adeshir Irani had directed the first talkie, ‘Alam Ara’. And the era of song and dance on screen had just only begun.

As the decades of the 40s and the 50s inched closer, resemblance to the formula Bollywood movie of today was more. Up until this point it was the very actors who sang
their own songs and this was the original way.

By the 1940s as technology developed, the concept of a playback voice came into being. This was the age of legendary singers like Mukesh, Mohammed Rafi and others who gave their voices to those superstars of the yesteryears.

It is amazing how Bollywood actors of today have come a full circle since then and a trend of playback by actors is on the rise.

The most remarkable examples that come to mind while talking of a singer-cum-actor are the legendary Kishor Kumar, Noor Jehan and Suraiyya.

Bollywood through the decades saw actors sporadically sing for their own films. The earliest examples in contemporary cinema would be Vyjayanthimala who sang beautifully  the hit Bol Raadha Bol from ‘Sangam’ and Amitabh Bachchan giving his voice for movies like ‘Lawaaris’, ‘Silsila’, ‘Mr. Natwarlal’ and the more modern-day ‘Baghban’, ‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham’, ‘Bhootnath’, ‘Buddha Hoga Tera Baap’ , ‘Delhi 6’ and ‘Babul’ and more. In addition to this, Amitabh Bachchan has created a niche for himself even in the music world and has many music albums to his credit.

While father Amitabh had already established himself as someone who could sing brilliantly, son Abhishek Bachchan sang a rap song for ‘Bluffmaster’.

The three Khans, Aamir, Salman and Shahrukh could not have been left behind in the race and Aamir sang Bam Bam Bole for his directorial debut ‘Taare Zameen Par’ while Salman Khan lent his voice to ‘Bodyguard’. Meanwhile, Shahrukh recited a poem in his recent film ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’.

Our Bollywood actresses are definitely of exceeding talent. In 2002, Madhuri Dixit, Chandramukhi, showcased a perfect amalgamation of her dancing and singing skills in ‘Devdas’ on Kaahe Chede.

Years before that, the gorgeous Sridevi crooned O Meri Chandni for her film ‘Chandni’. Juhi Chawla accompanied Amitabh Bachchan in ‘Bhootnath’ and Priyanka Chopra has released an international album that recognizes her as a singer of worth.

Priyanka Chopra is yet to give a musical Bollywood debut but has already sung playback for a Tamil movie she starred in.

This inclination of Bollywood actors towards playback continues to grow. The film ‘Rock On’ created a revolution in itself as Farhan Akhtar turned from direction to acting and also lent his raw fresh voice to the film. Along with Farhan, Abhay Deol and Hritik Roshan sang together Senorita from ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’, an undoubted hit.

More actors who sang for their films were Ayushmann Khurrana and most recently Akshay Kumar for ‘Special 26’. How can we possibly forget Tamil actor Dhanush, currently preparing for his Bollywood debut, sang ‘Kolaveri Di’ that went viral.

One may justly wonder whether this trend will kill or at least push back the playback industry. I would say the playback singers will remain untouched and unharmed! As much fan following there is to actors, it is to musicians and singers.

Interestingly, this crossing over is not just one way. We have loads of singers who have taken an entry in to the world of the silver screen. We have Himesh Reshammiya, Mika and Hard Kaur who have starred in Bollywood movies.

The hit Pakistani musician Ali Zaffar has made a mark in Bollywood both as an exceptional singer and as an actor with his films like ‘London, Paris, New York’ and ‘Mere Brother ki Dulhan’.

Lately even the great female playback singer, Asha Bhosle, has come up with her film ‘Mai’…

It was a joyous surprise when such an actor turned singer, Ayushmann Khurrana, won the Filmfare award for the best male playback for Paani Daa from the film ‘Vicky Donor’. He won the award after being nominated along with other singers who are professionally into music; democracy indeed!

This crisscross has rather led to an amalgamation of talent from various ends with a healthy pool of diverse talent. This reinforces that everybody has hidden potential; and Anybody Can….Sing!

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