Art is dying, getting replaced by entertainment: Rabbi Shergill (IANS Interview)

New Delhi, June 2 (IANS) He feels that independent music has become a ‘little brother’ to ‘big brother’ film music in India, but indie singer Rabbi Shergill says he is more concerned about how the essence of ‘pure art’ is fading away and getting replaced by “entertainment”.

“Art is dying slowly, and getting replaced by entertainment. Right now, living requires so much money that people can’t really pursue pure art; so they end up diluting the art a little so that they make some money off it,” Shergill told IANS in an interview.

“Pure art is not being attempted anywhere… It is not so just in music but in many artistic forms. Art is dying in general. And if nothing else, it is in a state of decline,” added the artiste, who performed at The Gig Hop at Dublin Square, Phoenix Marketcity, Mumbai, last week.

Shergill rose to fame with “Bulla ki jaana”, the song which became a vestige for music interspersed with traditional lyrics, to stream to popularity. He earned the title of ‘urban balladeer’ thanks to his knack of blending rhythms and sounds of Indian culture to his songs.

As a flagbearer of independent music, what according to you can save art from getting wiped out from our culture?

“I don’t know… I am more concerned about the independent spirit of art to survive,” he said.

The Delhi-based singer, who completed 10 years in the music world in 2015 and has churned out hits like “Challa” from superstar Shah Rukh Khan-starrer “Jab Tak Hai Jaan”, “Tere Bin”, “Tu Mun Shudi” and “Jugni”, finds it “complex” to comment on the current position of independent music.

“It is a good time to be in independent music if you are just starting out… You have more places to perform, there is a greater likelihood of you earning an honest living as a musician, you can tour, you can improve your craft and moreover you can just be a musician.”

But the scene, he says, is not so encouraging for old-timers.

“It is a great time to be somebody who is just starting out but it is not such a great time if somebody who has been there for long”.

“Independent music at one point was as big as film music. Post 2007, it has become the little brother of the big brother, which is film music. And that is where it is being confined.

“We have a memory of playing the big boys and doing things on our terms… So, somewhere that can’t be done now given the state of affairs. That is obviously a little disappointing for people who have been there… Now I am just glad to be able to perform and play my music.”

A bevy of musicians have lauded the changing times with Bollywood opening up to independent music, but Shergill feels there is a “complete absence of independent music” post 2007.

He says: “If we get down to count popular independent hits since 2007, we will not be able to fill our fingers on our hands.”

Other than performing, Shergill is working on a new album, which, he says, will be “more meticulous than previous ones”.

And about plans to give music for Bollywood after “Raanjhanaa”?

Well, there may be “something” this year.

(Sugandha Rawal can be contacted at sugandha.r@ians.in)

–IANS

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