Papon on the current trend in the music industry: “Views are like vegetables, organic and inorganic”

Playback singer and music composer Papon recently dedicated his composition Kahani Koyi to veteran poet and lyricist Gulzar on his 88th birthday. The lyrics of the moving song were written by Gulzar. In his recent chat with News18Showsha for his latest song, Papon revealed that the song has been in the works for 2 years and he’s been waiting for a major music brand to release it. However, none of the brands agreed to release the song. The 46-year-old singer also spoke about current music industry trends and organic and inorganic opinions.

How did Kahani Koi come about?

I have known Gulzar Saab for some time now. I think it’s a dream and a blessing that I got close to him. Working with him was like staying under the shade of a big old tree. At some point, I told him that I wanted to compose a song, and that it would be possible for him to write for me. Then we did some songs – this song was done later. And after finishing Kahani Koyi, he was so excited and said to release this song first. I accepted and I also shot a video for the song, and I prepared but I had to wait almost 2 years because I thought I was going to release it big.

I released the song on his birthday. Since he was inspired by the monsoon, he joked that 2 monsoons have come and gone, when are you going to release it? I’ve been ready for 6-7 months and really tried to release it with a music label, but none of the big brands are ready for this kind of music now. I didn’t want to make a small version of it that’s why we waited. But when he said that it had been a long time since we had done this song and now we had to release it, there were only four days left for his birthday. So I planned to present it to Gulzaar Saab as a birthday present and not wait for a music label. I will try to make it as big as possible via media, friends and all the sources I have. That’s why the delay and I wanted to give him this song as a birthday present.

Why do you think the music labels weren’t ready to release the song?

It’s an amazing song, and it has the beautiful poetry of Gulzar Saab which is like gold. What kind of music is coming out right now, who has numbers through Instagram Reels, and what fans are following are under consideration. The song is talked about a lot even before its release, which makes it a success. Maybe they see success in terms of numbers.

I think companies, music labels see if an artist is selling, so they say let’s take this kind of music just because they have to run a big company and so many salaries to pay. They go into something else then, there is no accountability to the art and no quality. Every music label produces the same kind of story. No label releases interesting stuff. And they go to the fast numbers.

Of course, art and music are not fast food. Now, like vegetables, we have organic and inorganic views. I mention it the first time because enough is enough. We need to talk about it and inform. And if we have the power, we must be responsible.


What is your connection to Gulzar Saab and your experience working with him?

It’s an experience and I’m still living a dream. It is difficult for me to define it. Tum chale jaoge toh sochenge humne kya khoya kya paya wali baat hai (When you’re gone, I’ll think about what I left and what I gained). From the beginning of the process until the end, when he’s in, he’ll be completely in, that’s also how I am. When we did Kahani Koyi, he was so into the song that I was so nervous about what it would sound like. The tempo of the song, the video, he watched everything and he was constantly there throughout the process, and at the end he said, “Now I feel like it’s good.” It was lovely and more than any award or recognition.

KK’s passing shocked everyone. He was performing for the last time at a crowded concert. Do you think that if the arrangement would have been better, such incidents could be avoided?

We can or should have better circumstances in medical terms, not only for us (singers) but also for the public. For older women, maybe someone is a disabled person, it should be taken into account. That is why we are not yet one of the most advanced nations in the world. We have a long way to go. I’ve seen international concerts where children with disabilities have sections dedicated to them, so things are very well thought out and organized. But in a country like India, how far can you sensitize and educate people? It’s so difficult for us to get there, and it’s a big task that we have in hand. Part of the population knows this, but others should be educated and made aware of many things now.

Speaking of organization, there may be better situations, although I’ve heard of a lot of heart attacks these days, and that’s unfortunate. It is already very painful to lose such a talented person. He was so healthy and had an incredible talent for the country. One of our best singers, it’s premature and unfortunate that we lost him.

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