Home > Life > Music Channels and the Demise of Indipop

Music Channels and the Demise of Indipop

These days, whenever I get to see old songs on youtube, I get pretty nostalgic. Music, in a way defines a generation.  I was fed on constant angrezi and Indipop for a long time. But the same does not hold true about the next generation (i.e lets say someone 4-5 years younger to me 😛 including many of my young batchmates at IIM C who were not in their TV viewing days. A lot of the music would be common of course, but you know, age does make a difference).

My earliest association with music and videos would definitely be CHITRAHAAR and CHAYAGEET on Wednesdays and Thursdays respectively on DD National and also Rangoli on Sundays. The songs were typically older songs. Some of them I particularly remember are Dev Anand in ‘Hai apna dil toh awaara ‘ from Solva Saal (1958), Shammi Kapoor in ‘Jaane mera dil kise’ from Laat Saahab (1967) , Asha Parekh in ‘Aaja Aaja Main hoon Pyaar Tera’ from theesri Manzil (1966)  and Helen in ‘Piya tu Ab toh Aaja’ from Caravan(1971). Of course we had a Black and White TV back then and the term ‘Shyam Shvet’ was pretty intriguing.

Then during the early 1990s some events took place parallely which led to the birth and popularity of what we all call INDIPOP. FM radio was privatized and DD 2 rebranded itself as DD METRO and introduced a slew of music programmes and countdown shows. While I got hooked to western pop like ‘ICE ICE BABY’ by VANILLA ICE because of the radio, TV shows like MIRCH MASALA kept screening Baba Sehgal , Shweta Shetty, Piyush Soni, Alisha Chinai and the likes.  My favourite was ‘Dil Dhadke’ by Baba Sehgal. I remember Alsiha Chinai specifically for her Racy/Sexy videos which were way too controversial for that era. ‘De de dil de de Mujhko’  being her earliest the video of which was a launch vehicle for Gautam Kapoor. Similarly Pooja Bedi featured in the ‘Dil Dhadke video’.

Also at about the same time 1992-93, (my 4th std 5th std) the ‘cable TV’ came to India and along came the STAR network of which MTV Asia was a part. MTV was still considered a taboo in most of the homes and I remember in class, the two of us who used to watch MTV were looked down upon. The songs being broadcast used to be rock, pop, reggae … everything. I still remember watching ‘I would do anything for love’ by MEATLOAF. Bryan Adam’s ‘Everything I do’, UB40’s ‘Can’t help falling in love’, U2’s ‘Numb’ were other favorites. And how can I forget ‘You Remember the time’ by Michael Jackson. The video alone was enchanting. Apache Indian also used to be there. His songs would feature on FM too. There were others like Mr BIG, AEROSMITH (whose CRAZY was a hit in 1994), a fully clad Mariah Carrey in ‘Dream Lover’ too. Pet Shop Boys and East 17 were also interesting. There was Metallica’s UNFORGIVEN and some Guns n Roses song, listening to which we used to wonder why these guys were shouting at the top of their voice.

In 1994, MTV asia’s contract with STAR network expired. By that time, MTV had started airing Indian songs. There were few shows – one of them being OYE MTV dedicated to indipop.  STAR network came out with Channel V and BPL OYE was started in place of OYE MTV.

The period between 1994 and 1996 was the best for Indipop. Mehnaz, Alisha Chinai, Baba Sehgal, Sanjay Maroo and most importantly Anaida pumped out regular hits. Daler Mehendi had also entered the scene with his songs ‘ Dil Mera Naal’ and ‘Bolo Ta ra ra ra’. Anaida with her seductive voice and innovative videos combining Arabic style of dancing with some Arabic music was specially popular.

At about the same time, what I remember of the western pop is SCATMAN, NO MERCY’s Where do you go and PETER ANDRE’s Mysterious Girl.  Michael Jackson was still there of course charting out hits like ‘Blood on the Dance Floor’ and ‘ They don’t really care about us’.

By 1996, music channels started losing their importance to some extent. Starting from 1996, which was heralded as the year of cricket, number of cricket tournaments increased a lot, which meant lesser TRP for music channels.  In 1998, with the soccer world cup, a phenomenal change occurred in the world of music. First time, Latino Music had become popular with the advent of Ricky Martin. The Puerto Rican’s first album was not in English but in Spanish. ‘MARIA’ and ‘The cup of Life’ were my personal favorites. Riding on the Latino popularity, Jennifer Lopez also joined in and though technically her songs were not latino, they were popular. Britney Spears also entered the scene with ‘hit me baby one more time’. Stereo Nation had also entered the Indian music scenario and were dishing out Punjabi pop.

The Indipop was at its peak by this time. Times Music favoured good artistes and DJs. DJ Akbar Sami’s remix of Jalwa and Abbey’s ‘Aye Sanam’ were my personal favourites. There was lot of investment made into these songs in terms of music video. ‘Ho Gayi hai Mohabbat tumse’ sung by Aslam and featuring Shibani Kashyap was another great song.

What killed INDIPOP?

The overkill of REMIX and REMIX videos is one reason I feel the Indipop died down. The DJs started minting money by remixing anything and everything. In a way, Remix had begun perhaps earlier than Indipop. The first one was Bally Sagoo who remixed ‘Choli ke Peechey kya hai’ back in 1992-93. The remix trend really picked up by early 2000s. Bin tere Sanam, Kya khoob Lagti ho etc. With Mehgna Naidu’s ‘Kaliyon ka Chaman’ started a trend of sexy remix videos with scantily clad models which went on from ‘Yeh Vaada’ ‘Chadhti Jawaani’, ‘Kaanta Laga’ etc. Parallely, a trend started in Bollywood where a single ‘Udit Narayan’ or ‘Alka Yagnik’ or ‘Kumar Sanu’ stopped being popular. Thus the Shaans, Sonu Nigams and KKs could sing a lot in Bollywood and did not have to depend anymore on Indipop. The Bollywood music directors also had become quite shrewd, I must say. The movie’s album itself had so many permutations and combinations of the songs in different versions that no further remix was possible. Already directors like Vishal Shekhar and Shankar Ehsaan Loy fused such complex beats into the song that it could not be remixed anymore. Can anyone imagine how a remix version of’Koi Kahe kehta rahe’ from Dil Chahta Hai would sound?

The remix business had almost stopped and the Indipop was done and dusted. What was left was the usual Bollywood chartbusters. But you could not play them all day long. And I don’t know why they stopped playing ANGREZI songs altogether. Coming back to western music, frankly speaking I have almost lost touch with the songs. The decade began with Enrique Iglesius donning the mantle of Ricky Martin as the promoter of Latin Music. I remember a bit of Eminem, a bit of J Lo, Black Eyed Peas, Darude, Fat Boy Slim etc. Juggy D and Rishi Rich kept the Punjabi Pop Alive for some time. There was also STRINGS, FUZON and JAL from across the border. As of now, I have completely lost touch. Now all I hear is some Lady Gaga and some guy called Akon but I have not listened to them even once. And strangely enough, I don’t bother to switch on to channels like VH1 which do show angrezi songs.

So what happened to the Indian music channels? They have now positioned themselves very differently. No more are they a music channel – with shows ranging from Roadies to Axe your Ex to Splitsvila, they are a Youth channel. As a result, I prefer 9XM these days where there are no boring VJs and you can listen to non stop Bollywood songs.

I will end my post here with YOUTUBE links to some of my favourite songs. Check them out. Some of them might already be your favourites, do listen to the others too and do enjoy.

Alisha Chinai’s De de de de dil de de Mujko

Aslam featuring Shivani Ho gayi hai Mohabbat Tumse

Abbey’s Aye Sanam

U2’s Numb

UB40’s Can’t help fallin in love with you

Ricky Martin’s Maria

Ricky Martin’s Cup of life

No Mercy’s Where do you go

Petre Andre’s Mysterious girl

J Lo’s If you had my love

Britney Spear’s Hit me baby one more time

Anaida’s oova oova

Alisha Chinai’s Made in India

Sonu Nigam’s Tu kab yeh jaanegi

Aerosmith’s Crazy

Meatloaf’s I would do anyhthing for love

DJ Akbar Sami’s Dekho dekho yeh hai jalwa

Sanjay Maroo’s Tu hi tu

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  1. RPM
    December 10, 2010 at 5:45 am

    You should have expanded on Baba Sehgal’s Heroics 🙂 thats wat Rap was for us at one time 🙂

    • December 10, 2010 at 11:18 am

      completely agree. He defined RAP for us. and btw, Thanda Thanda Paani is same as Ice Ice baby

  2. Nehal
    December 11, 2010 at 1:40 am

    acha likha hain… brought back old memories of growing up listening to these songs 🙂

  3. Sanjay
    December 20, 2010 at 9:28 am

    aah..nostalgia…
    totally agree and concur with most of ur points..except for the star plus early mtv days(we didnt get cable until much later)..
    as for the popularity of remixes, i think it was brought on by the increasing popularity of night life among the youth of the generation preceding ours..the DJs were as it is remixing songs for a good party, and probably one of them, or one of the music companies realised that this could be minted! add some sexy,scantily clad girls in the videos and you have a potent combo..
    btw, am really amazed as to how each and every song you mentioned is one i was thinking of too! guess we truly were fed the same musical input..perhaps our entire generation!
    i too have lost touch with the music of the new guys… no idea who taylor swift or kanye west is…except for their controversy of course 😛
    u shud listen to lady gaga’s just dance and poker face though..i started listening just a couple of weeks back and they are among my fav current tracks..

  4. sachin
    July 1, 2012 at 12:51 am

    In 1998 Summers The Remix Of Dil Kya Kare From Dance Masti WAS EXCELLENT I Used To Watch It During My Summer Vacations.GOD Where Are Those Days ?

  5. Ramchandra Hegde
    April 16, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    I too miss those days, I loved all English MTV when Star TV channels started.

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