Introduction To Indi-Pop Music In India
Indian pop music originated in late 1990s with arrival of bands such as Usha Utthup, Sharon Prabhakar, Baba Sehgal and others. This gradually led to India’s own dedicated music channels like MTv and the present Channel V.
I remember Alisha Chinoy’s “Bombay Girl”, which was amongst the first modern age Indi-pop albums. Its success led to birth of various other hindi and punjabi artists.
Many of today’s popular Indian musicians have their roots in western countries. Bally Sagoo, Malkit Singh, Apache Indian, all were artists in the UK, who gained popularity in India through their breakthrough styles.
There has also been a reverse trend where Indian artists have gained popularity in the west like featuring of the Indian song “Chamma Chamma” in Moulin Rouge. Popular US artists of Indian descent include Kim Thayil of Soundgarden, Tony Kanal of No doubt and many other, including Norah Jones, daughter of Indian Sitar Maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar.
Pakistan, which was a relatively late entrant in pop music has done very well, with talented, young groups of pop and rock music coming up via various media channels. One thing India hasn’t experienced is Hindi/Urdu Rock, which is hugely popular in Pakistan with Bands like Aaroh, Junoon, Aakash etc. Indians have had their share of desi rock, but it has always been in English – Bands like Parikrama and Indian Ocean have done very well.
Many Pakistani bands like “Atif Aslam”, “Roxen”, “Strings” have been picked up by Indian directors for movies like “Shootout at Lokhandwala”, “The Train”, “Zeher” and many others. This trend was largely started by the Indian director “Mahesh Bhatt” who introduced the Pakistani band “Jal” in the movie “Zeher”. The song “Woh Lamhe” was a superhit and this started a trend of hiring pakistani artists for Indian movies, latest being the movie “Ek Chalis ki Last Local”.
A relatively new trend in Indian music is the “Hindi-English” blend in songs from movies like “Bluffmaster”. A new pop group “Arjun Anant”, who have a mixed variety of music ranging from Bhangra to Indo-western music have done well in the UK and are soon launching their album in India – called Safar.