A new remixed identity
A NEW TUNE: Neeraj in New Delhi. Photo: S. Subramanium.
IT HAS been half-a-decade since this Viking raided the Indian music terrain with a strange blend of music, which even he can't classify. It all started with "Kya Soorat Hai" where he rehashed the popular old song "Zaroorat Hai" with some zippy Hindi-English lyrics retaining the tune but lifting the mood with western instruments in tune with the young tastes.
"Woh Chali" and "Hawa Mein Udta Jaye" established his style and since then Neeraj Sridhar decked up with a funky hair cut and multiple rings has been rehashing, remixing with a smattering of real in between pleasing the party hoppers and teasing the purists with an amazing frequency. "I have worked on songs which I adored during my childhood days. These are melodies created by legends. However, that was a different era. My work helps in promoting these melodies. And even in copying you need some kind of originality to be successful," says the man who has graduated from a baggage loader with a Scandinavian Airlines in Sweden.
Neeraj criticises the overdose of the remix. "Remix is a worldwide phenomenon. But in India any Mohan or Sohan with a racketeering music company to support is into the remix business with lurid music videos to support.
The moment a good remix comes in the market all other companies come out with their version." He blames audience's lack of understanding of music behind the success of pirated compositions. "I work for a select audience and my work sells there," he consoles himself.
The reason he is not there in the video of his latest remix "Chod Do Aanchal" is Neeraj vows for aesthetics in his music videos. "Once the company gives the video to a director then you can't say much. None of my previous videos were vulgar and they did well. Next time, I will ask for a clause in the contract so that such obscenity doesn't go . I have no problem with girls or revealing outfits but there has to be a degree of aesthetics."
In the Capital to promote his latest song "Aa Rahan Hoon Main", why doesn't Neeraj try do something original more often, something his counterparts across the border are doing with acclaim? He moans, "I have done original songs in my album but since videos are not made on them they do not get the desired attention. In the West, radio stations promote such stuff but here they also play songs whose music videos are on air. And music companies, on their part, play safe by making videos of only remix songs. It is a vicious circle. "
Though he concurs that part of the problem is Bollywood's overwhelming presence, which doesn't allow the private music industry to bloom in India, he himself has switched to playback singing with a Salman Khan-starrer.
"That I can play instruments, compose songs, sing doesn't matter here. You have to prove yourself in Bollywood. Salman appreciated my voice and Himesh Reshamiya offered me a fresh composition. But my own work will always remain my first passion."
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