Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Male Playback Singers For Female Characters?




Have you heard songs in  voice of a male playback singer, done for a female character? No, I am not talking about those versatile singers who can sing like female playback singers without any trouble. I am not. I am talking about something different. How do I know that these songs express feelings of women? Well, there are two very easy ways to know that:


 1. If the song is from a Bollywood movie or from an album which has videos for it-the video would show an actress with various expressions for many emotions as song proceeds. 

2. If you pay some attention to the lyrics, there would be some gender specific expressions which would help you easily ascertain that song is indeed an expression of a woman's feelings.


Let me take an example:

One of my all-time favourite songs 'Dil Hoom Hoom Kare...' in movie Rudali(1993) has two different videos but same lyrics. Now would you consider them as two different songs or one? The songs are filmed on actress Dimple Kapadia both of the times, the lyrics which were written by Gulzar remain same for the two songs; but the singers are different. The playback singer for the first one is Lata Mangeshkar, whereas the second song has voice of late Bhupen Hazarika.You may consider them two different versions of the same song for this discussion or as you please.


The question is: Why there is a male voice (Bhupen Hazarika's) for the second part? is that just because he was the music director for the album of the Rudali and wanted to create a different effect in the second version by using male voice, instead of using a female voice?

This question asks another question: This is not the only case of male voice being used for songs which have been filmed on female characters.


Look at a very recent song from movie Rajneeti. The lyrics 'Mora Piya Mose Bolat Nahi...' are by Sameer and playback singer for this song is Aadesh Shrivastava. The video, context and lyrics clearly tell you that this song expresses sentiments of a woman(played by Katrina Kaif) who is feeling alienated. Why a male voice over female?


If you just search for it, I am hopeful that you would find many examples fitting to this pattern/trend. Why this peculiar trend is there in Music industry of India/Bollywood?

Is this yet another example of Patriarchy which is unreasonable or it has some profound unfathomable reasons?

On the other hand, you will almost never find an example of a song where female playback singer would sing for a male character.


You would find some examples where playback singing for young actors (kids) is done by famous singers who are way too old than those kids, but that does not seem too absurd.


There is a strange tradition in Bollywood. I have not been very painstakingly meticulous in collecting examples for my observation. My note does not qualify as an exhaustive study on this matter, but I have noticed it often enough.  I solicit your feedback in this regard.