New Delhi: Rajkummar Rao’s latest comedy drama Made In China kick-started its promotions late last month with the release of a dance number, Odhani. The Sachin-Jigar composition is the second song in recent times, after Jackky Bhagnani’s non-film pop number Choodiyaan, to bring in Gujarati beats to pep up a Hindi track. Last year, songs like Kamariya (Mitron) and Chogada (Loveyatri) had set the ball rolling for Gujarati-themed Bollywood dance numbers.
Like Punjabi music that slowly went beyond a restricted geographical territory to become a pan-India craze, now comprising nearly 10-12% of the consumption on music streaming apps, industry experts say languages like Gujarati are also on the way. Hungama Music app, owned by Hungama Digital Media Entertainment Pvt. Ltd has seen the consumption of Gujarati music grow nearly four times over the past year, with hits like Chogada, Dholida and Kamariya notching up 60 million, 25 million and 50 million streams respectively.
Har Nair, head of digital music (India) at ByteDance which owns social media video app Tik Tok, said creators on the platform are increasingly using music to reach out to a large audience, within which the languages that are doing interestingly well include Punjabi, Gujarati, Tamil and Telugu. In fact, the Navratri season saw a surge of Gujarati music creations with more than 10 million views for an independent Gujarati song called Cycle-O-Cycle.
“There are a lot of crossovers and mix of beats happening across Bollywood for the past few years and as communities and content in those languages start to mature, there are opportunities for the same composition to be recorded in another language," said Siddhartha Roy, chief operating officer of Hungama Digital Media citing the example of the Tamil beats that were incorporated in Ra.One’s Chamak Challo and Chennai Express’ One Two Three Four numbers respectively. Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat had Rajasthani folk tunes playing out in its songs while Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara had Spanish beats.
“From a composition perspective, Gujarati music has a certain kind of beat that is being accepted in various ways in films, there’s also a lot of non-film content that is being created which is where the larger exposure of Gujarati music is coming into play. When this has linkages to Bollywood, it obviously becomes mainstream," Roy said.
Music industry experts say new-age artistes like Darshan Raval, Shruti Pathak and indipop duo Preeti and Pinky are leading the non-film Gujarati music wave. However, unlike Punjabi, there is still some time before their music becomes truly mainstream.
“Punjabi is no longer just restricted to bhangra beats, which could have made it very regional. If you look at all the romantic and party songs, they are very mainstream in terms of the music and lyrics. With a language like Gujarati, a lot of the beats and music are similar to dandiya, so it becomes restrictive in terms of reach to just being played on festive occasions. There needs to be more experimentation in Gujarat in terms of the rhythm, tone and melody being more mainstream while retaining the quality of the lyrics," said Prashan Agarwal, chief executive officer at Gaana, the streaming service owned by Times Internet Ltd in whose language consumption rankings, Gujarati figures among the top ten.