Film-culture of Music in India

By Mythili Gubbi. From giving people company while shopping in big malls or at small roadside shops while playing on full volume through phone speakers; from playing in wedding celebrations to dance parties; from school assemblies to sound systems in cars and homes, we Indians love our music!


When you hear an English song, after the name of the song pops in your head, you probably think of the artist. But with Indian music, after knowing which song it is, you wonder which movie it’s from. It just goes to show the prevalent film-culture that Indian music belongs to.


Indian music is an umbrella term for music of various languages and genres. And while a big chunk of this music stems from films, not everything does. Independent music still exists and is proliferating – A vast proportion of Indian music consists of classical music, albums and singles (but most of them either are sung by playback singers, or the music video stars movie actors), folk songs and other non-film music. Sometimes, even these independent songs are adapted in unique ways and used in movies.


The Indian film industry is the largest in the world and produces around 1,600 movies a year. With an average of 5-6 songs in each movie, the film industry certainly accounts for a large amount of music. Movies in India are made of their songs, and most of the popular and well-known songs are usually from movies.


Most of the music videos of songs in movies become marketing tools for their films. Teasers of the songs come out before the movie releases, and people sometimes end up watching the movie because they like it’s soundtrack. People play these songs and perform to them at special occasions like weddings, parties, festivals, etc. Even some television shows use songs from movies.


One of the most popular types of film music is Bollywood music.


I love how Bollywood has become a familiar term in the United States too. When I was doing a story about a Bollywood dance show, I asked my professor whether I would have to explain that Bollywood is the Hindi film industry and he told me I didn’t have to because everyone knows what it is, or at least should know by now. And as I’m typing this, Google Docs isn’t giving the word Bollywood “the red carpet,” and that makes me happy.


I personally love Indian music of every kind. They are so diverse in their styles – you can dance to some, sing along with most, and tap your feet to them all. Music is also a great way to show culture. This is why I co-hosted an Indian music radio show on the Blaze this semester to share as much about India as I possibly can, through music. We hope to be back next semester!