Being an outsider, I never ‘belonged’ in Bollywood: Palash Sen
He smiles that he barely touched Bollywood and got out as he never belonged belonged there. “The reasons were many. When you are an outsider, who is educated and a non-conformist, it can be very tough. Of course, movies like Filhaal, Mumbai Cutting and Aisa Yeh Jahaan were excellent experiences which challenged me greatly as an actor and a musician.”
Palash Sen, the founder of one of India’s most successful rock/pop bands ‘Euphoria’ tells IANS that as a director, he is working on a script of a full length feature film. “Of course, I would love to act if someone has the heart and the vision to use me.”
Even as ‘Euphoria’ has crossed 20 years of its existence, the musician smiles that the journey has been nothing short of “euphoric” — with loads of memories — some sweet, others bitter.
“But I have always moved forward with hope. Some people came, and some left. But our love for music remained unchanged. We are here to spread happiness through our work and that will never change.”
Admitting that post the year 2006-2007, the independent music scene in the country took a dip with a complete take over by the film people, Palash laments, “With their money might, they single-handedly took away all the airtime and avenues available for independent musicians. Yes, the digital revolution may have ensured the ease of making music, but reaching the right audience still remains a task. The labels are part of the game, and are still releasing music which is just a leftover of film music.”
Talk to him about how many singles by newcomers sound and look like clones, reeking of mediocrity, and the musician insists that the wrong kind of examples are being set for people with some really questionable trends being hyped.
“I have a feeling that a person with money is only promoting music that he understands. Upcoming musicians looking for acceptance fall prey to the dictatorship of labels and film producers and lose their way. Good talent stays hidden, and the average gets celebrated. And let’s not forget, mediocrity doesn’t intimidate anyone.”
Considering the fact that India has always had a very strong DIY Indie scene, where musicians don’t just sing, but hunt for backers, keep the PR machinery buzzing and are are forever on a lookout for live gigs, Palash adds that the attitude has always been — ‘If they don’t back us, we don’t care’.
“We’ll continue to do what we love and chase our dreams. Being an independent musician is never about the commercials, it’s about belief. And there are enough believers in this country.
I don’t think any film singer or composer can sell a song on the basis of purely his or her talent.. without depending on the huge set up of a film, backing of a label or the face value of a film star. If he can make a success out of that, only then his music is actually successful.”
Part of Soundscapes, a new initiative by HCL Concerts, presented on a digital platform that aims to offer an musical experience, keeping the Indian flavour intact, the singer,while stating that it will help the independent music scene in the country and connect audience and artists with each other, does admits that the magic of live is unparalled.
“I cannot imagine a greater high than seeing an audience in front of me and reacting to our music. There are no labels, production houses, or so called music pundits who can take that away. A bond between an artist and his live audience is unbreakable. This is what I live for. I am not a playback singer but a ‘play front’ performer.”
Speaking out for a long time on the need to have a music industry, Palash stresses that it is high time that the government steps in and helps establish an independent entity for musicians. “We have a film industry, of which music is just a part. In these times, it is important that our community be supported like others too.”
With the recently released single ‘I Like It’, on a short format video platform Likee, which has already garnered 380 million views in three weeks of its release, Palash is not letting the pandemic blues get to him.
“We have another single planned for release early next month, along with a couple of brand backed campaigns. Apart from this, a lot of digital concerts to help spread positivity,” he concludes.