Role Of Bollywood Music In Evolution Of Indian Society

Movie songs are one of the unique features of Indian movies. Because of their popularity, Bollywood songs have the unique potential of repeatedly attracting the attention of their audience, sometimes for decades, and thereby affect their thoughts and preferences. In this manner, songs, with strong social messages or social values, impact the evolution of Indian society in a significant manner.
Role of Bollywood Music in Evolution of Indian Society
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While we all know and appreciate the role of music as one of the best entertainment available to the society, we hardly ever take note of the role it can play by affecting the subconscious preferences of the people, and thereby bring changes in the way society looks at things. Bollywood music fuses poetry and real life with music, in the process, becoming a medium of social messages, often subtle but still significant, particularly in the long run.

Potential of Music in Affecting Social Life

Music has a great advantage. It can attract attention of the music lover, an in the process,

get them involved in the ideas that it may be propagating. This is particularly true of Bollywood music, which is a fusion of poetry, music and the visuals. The music is what brings it audience, while the lyrics and the visuals provide it with substance that elevates it to a form of art that can be compared with literature and movies in terms of a reservoir of social documentation.

The role of literature in affecting societies, even the political discourse, and in shaping the culture of a society is well accepted. On one hand, it provides the philosophical background of our social norms and practices in a simple language, and on the other, it provides the criticism of those norms that is essential for preventing social decay, and ensuring its evolution with times. Such a role has not been documented for movies, although it is difficult to deny that movies affect our thoughts and have the potential to affect our culture.

Even though music is considered an essential part of the social culture, not much emphasis has been placed on its potential role as a catalyst of change in social evolution. It is also true that where music is pursued as an isolated art, its potential in affecting social change may not be very significant. However, when music is combined with other performing arts, and in particular, when it gets integrated with literature and philosophy, then it is a very different story.

Literature, particularly fiction, can strongly impact our thoughts, but then a piece of fiction is unlikely to be read again and again by the same reader. Even a movie, however popular it may have been, tends to become stale after some time. The one thing that does not easily become stale is music. Bollywood songs, particularly from yesteryears, have a life that outlasts movies and literature by enormous margin. Songs of fifties and sixties continue to be popular even today. With their popularity, Bollywood songs have the ability to attract the attention and thoughts of its audience on a repeated and regular basis.

How Bollywood Music can affect the People

Right from its inception in the thirties, Bollywood music has produced musical

gems that have been able to capture the intricacies of Indian society, emotions and values in a manner that glamorize even the very trivial every day customs and traditions in a way that makes them adorable. In a way, it is a kind of certification that those customs and traditions are the precious riches of the society. This is particularly true of the manner in which family bonds have been depicted in the Bollywood movies and music over the last seventy five years of its history.

Family is the bond that cements the Indian society and its civilization. Bollywood music is one of the best documentation of aspects of Indian family and its priorities and preferences. There are great songs on different aspects of family. Right from the lullabies of the mother for her infant child, to the songs that depict a father’s aspiration; from the bond between wife and husband to that which bonds a brother and a sister. There are also songs about grandmother, and uncles. Many of the values these songs depict were essentially middle class, but their glamorization has actually extended them throughout the society thereby bringing about a universalization of those values in the Indian society.

Inspiration for Change too

It is not that Bollywood music has merely cemented the status quo. In fact, its role in liberalizing the restrictions of caste and community, particularly, when it comes to marriage, is undeniably a great contribution. The traditional Indian society has been a divided one, with divisions based on caste and religion dominating many of its aspects. These barriers have never been challenged in the manner they have been challenged by Bollywood. The reason for this, of course, was the commercial viability of stories that projected the protagonists as rebellious, and made their devotion and loyalty to their love, in the face of social opposition that much more adorable and respectable.

Bollywood has also been in the forefront when challenging the vices of the society, and even criticizing the elite. Several popular Bollywood songs carrying sarcasm against such vices have significantly impacted public perception and facilitated the social recognition of these vices. Then there are songs that expose politicians, government officials and industrial bigwigs and openly express public anguish against them. These songs have played an important role as a means of non-political expression of people’s concerns about these problems.

In the process, the musical gems of Bollywood have highlighted the various challenges of the Indian society and contributed in its evolution.

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