Indian Cinema has come a long way since the first silent film was made in 1913. The first Indian talkie film was Alam Ara which was released in 1931. Since then colour and music have been an integral part of Indian Films to the extent that it in the current scenario it is difficult to imagine a Bollywood film without song and dance.
The song and dance style of Indian film making derives from Ancient Sanskrit drama which emphasized on spectacle. Such dramas combined music dance and gestures to create a vibrant artistic unit. Bollywood also derived influences from the traditional folk theatre of India as well as Parsi theatre which blended realism and fantasy, music and dance.
Bollywood films and music have over the years derived a lot of influences from its Western counterpart – Hollywood. A number of films have been inspired by Hollywood and the music has been majorly influenced by western music.
Music Industry in India is dominated by Bollywood music from the first song that was played in the film. Long before Western music has found its way to Indian ears, the music of the film was the only mainstream music, the Indians were familiar with the non-classical music.
However with the British pop invasion came a massive change in the music preferences of Indians. A number of Beat groups sprung up all over the country which played pop music for the masses. Eventually with changing tastes and more western influences, the trends moved towards rock, metal, jazz and blues.
Initially because of the predominance of Bollywood music, such alternate genres were only promoted through college festivals and small gatherings. However as interest started to grow in this alternate culture more and more festivals sprang up to promote this music.
Pop music was popular in the 90’s with a number of Indian artists cutting albums after albums. However the genre could not survive on its own and eventually faded away with most of the artists seeking refuge in the vast Bollywood music scene.
Independent music in India is definitely coming of age in the current music scenario. These days more bands and artists are realizing the worth of composing original music as opposed to the age old practice of covering songs of other artists.
However it is not easy for these independent artists. Most record labels are only interested in genres that appeal to the larger audience which is Bollywood music. So these artists were forced to only rely on live shows to take their music to an audience.
In the last few years, there have been a lot of Independent labels and digital distribution platforms that have been started to promote independent music. These websites and labels allow musicians to take their music onto the physical media in order to attain an audience for their music.