Friday, October 01, 2010

The Indipop revolution of the 90s

In the Big Bang Theory, one of Sheldon's dreams is to invent a time machine. Well it has already been invented. YouTube.

YouTube takes you back to the glorious days when 21 inch CRT television was the greatest thing and you had 25 different channels! Also there were no pesky DTH services, there was the cable-wallah dude who used to mis-report his numbers so that he could keep monthly charges low for consumers. God bless him!

You can see all the old ads, tv serials, songs, opening titles for all your favorite series as kids (Rant: There was a Pepsi Advertisement, Freedom to be Azaadi Dil Ki which I can't find anywhere! Please help!)

So basically randomly visiting different eras on YouTube I realized that one species of entertainers has disappeared from the scene, the Indian Popstars. The 90s were the golden days of Indipop. We had slew of "stars" from Baba Sehgal or Alisha Chinoy or Suchitra Krishnamoorthy or Raageshwari or Saagarika or Anaida or Mehnaaz or Altaaf Raja (god this is a long list!)

What differentiated these guys was that they didn't usually go for Playback singing and published their own albums. More so because they had their unique voices which weren't suitable for actresses (Alka Yagnik anyone?).

The videos that were made in those years were pretty slick and match up to the international videos of that time. I guess in those years, Pop was a niche product and hence these guys were not catering to the auto rickshaws but the cassette players in the cars and hence they were a class product.

What happened to these guys? Well here is my Hypothesis. Sonu Nigam happened. This dude who started with Gulshan Kumar belting out average (not bad though) imitations of Mohammed Rafi (in my opinion the greatest singer ever!) was rising in Bollywood. At the same time he had a hit TV show going on. In middle of all this, he came up with his blockbuster album Deewana. I think that's when pop started dying a slow death, though there were sporadic groups like Bombay Vikings or Euphoria (no they are not rock!) which came through. But the great days of Indipop were over.

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