90s Music In India (MTV and the Indi pop tales)

Back in 1995-96 when MTV made its first inroads into India, music meant made in USA or England. I remember they used to play Classics by GnR, ABBA, Metallica and my favorite Eagles (quite contrary to ‘Munni Badnaam Hui’ and ‘Bhootni Ke’ kinda disgusting numbers they play now). Also how can I forget Michael Jackson’s hits, I still remember how I, just 5 years old at that time would rush in front of the TV leaving everything aside when ‘Billie Jean’ used to air on MTV and my sister would turn the volume up.

Recently one morning I was surfing the channels while on the breakfast table and suddenly to my surprise I bumped on the show ‘Re-Play’ on one of the channels and guess what, it was playing all the famous classic rock numbers from the 70s and 80s era. Def Leppard, Dire Straits, Led Zepplin, Travelling Wilburys etc. and there was this particular number which I got to see and hear again after 15 years!!! ‘Video Killed The Radio Star’ by Bugles, I vaguely remembered that I had seen this video back then but to my surprise the tune was still fresh in my head, probably lost somewhere in the sub conscious mind. The nostalgia associated was simply enthralling, brought back all those ‘musical’ memories from the 90s… Such awesome music we used to have then… Backstreet Boys, Boys 2 Men, Boyzone, Cher, Dr. Bombay, Haddaway, La Bouche, MLTR, Savage Garden, George Michaels and what not… Aaahhh… Those were ‘The Days’. Some numbers by La Bouche, Real McCoy, Scatman John, Ravala, Culture Beat, Inner Circle, George Benson, Whig Field, Cotton Eye Joe, Out There Brothers etc. (I know, you are shouting for me to stop, but can’t help) still remind me of those innocent days, that summer morning breeze, the early morning walks at the aerodrome and such numerous minute things… To be true, I am literally getting goose bumps as I am writing this…

The music of our times was simply great, refreshing and that was the real music, now look at the scene today, where’s the melody in today’s music? Akon’s blah blah, Rihanna’s cries, Linkin Park’s shouts can no where be compared to the music of those days. Back then 5-6 people used to create such awesome music and these days, all the work is done by a single person popularly known as DJ. Evidently there is no rhythm and melody in today’s numbers. (goose bumps gone). I am just 19 and still sounding like an old guy reminiscing his times. Yeah, this article I read some days back about signs that you are growing old had this point in it, probably my next post would be regarding it…

Even the indipop music scene in the 90s was amazing. I remember in the mid 90s the pop music scene was split in the middle, pop artists like Alisha and Gary Lawyer were still away from cultdom, it was around 1995-96 that indipop got its following. Then came a host of new groups which sprang up and produced that was listenable as well as uniquely Indian, not mere copies of western tunes. One of the group responsible for this plethora of Indipop music was ‘Indus Creed’ (originally called Rock Machine). The only Indian group that produced English music and it used to make me feel proud that we here in India also had something comparable to GnR and Nirvana. Other indipop artists/bands I can recall include Alisha Chinai (the ‘made in India’ girl), Raageshwari Loomba (her amazing video of ‘Duniya’ shot in Mauritius and the little kids), Shweta Shetty (The gal who had a guy like voice in her number ‘Deewane to deewane hai’), Lucky Ali (O Sanam shot in South African town of Johannesburg), Silk Route (Dooba dooba rehta hu song, purple flower still performs it), Anaida(‘Love Today’ , ‘Oova Oova’), Models(Shukriya), Hans Raj Hans, Stereo Nation, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan(Aafreen Aafreen), Kamaal Khan(O o jaane jana), Vikas Bhalla (that Aditi Gowatrikar video, how can I forget it, ‘Hai dhuan hai dhuan’) Shiamak Davar (Jaane Kisne n Mohabbat Kar Le), Daler Mahendi (his funny and cute videos still make me smile) Usha Uttap, Nazia Hassan (Boom Boom), Baba Sehgal, Suchitra(Dole Dole), Ila Arun, Urja(The group with all the major bollywood singers, they came out with their song ‘Parda hai Parda’ in 1995), Sonu Nigam (his number ‘Tu Kab Ye Jaanegi’ is still one of my favorites) Mehnaaz(Miss India Girl), Gary Lawyer (with his own kind of music that made one ponder on his words every single time one listened to his music, mine favorite being ‘Cigarette in my hand’) Aryans(Dekha hai teri aankhon ko), Jasmine Bharucha, Colonial Cousins(Something bout the way you smile), Remo Fernandez(O Meri Munni), Sunita Rao (Pari hu mai) Akasa and Sophiya Haque (yeah, that old Channel V VJ who got famous from her Kamasutra song) Bombay Vikings and there was this song by a Pakistani artist named ‘Hawa hawa ae hawa khushboo luta de’… the list never seems to end…

The music which one can call ‘Indipop’ was prevalent till 2002-03 till pop groups VIVA, Aasma and Band Of Boys came up with fresh music and made indipop countdown charts on radio listenable but 2003 onwards, Indipop just meant stupid remixes of old bollywood numbers by these self proclaimed DJs which really sucks (Instant Karma is an exception for me on this front) and even today indipop means remixes.

How will we, the people of 90s generation recall our music to those who were not lucky enough to have experienced our kind of music, “Once upon a time in India, we too had decent and innocent music unlike ‘Munni Badnaam Hui” kind of disgusting numbers you listen to these days. Also MTV was not all this crap and it used to play quality international and Indi pop music”…Anyways such music will never come back so we are just left with memories… good old memories…


14 responses to “90s Music In India (MTV and the Indi pop tales)

  1. hey, do you know Chris Martin (Coldplay’s vocalist)credits A-HA for inspiring him to form his own band and so he did. So atleast you should give them a try… In fact those other artists that I’ve mentioned are also playing some awesome music…

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