Wearing a black trench-coat over a trendy T-shirt and a pair of jeans; sporting a trademark combo of a baseball cap, a stubble and a forlorn look Himesh Reshammiya holds the mike upside down and belts yet another of his box-office hit song. The frenzied crowd is dancing, swaying, chanting and braying for more.
This has been a familiar sight all over the world over last few months. A packed Dubai concert earlier, a busy US- Canada live show-tour now and a planned UK- jig later- Reshammiya’s diary seems to be full and overflowing. Once he had bragged about being India’s first rock-star and I am definitely endorsing his statement now. A title of one of the countless albums flaunting his image and flooding the markets proudly proclaims- ‘Himesh Rocks’ and one has to accept it as the ground reality!
With such mass hysteria and so many chartbuster hit songs in such a short time, Reshammiya has seemingly broken every box-office record in Indian popular music and yet, his success has not only brought him bouquets but also brickbats. A large section of audience and many critics have been quick to brand the ‘Himesh phenomenon’ as ‘a fluke’ and an example of deteriorating public taste. But is it really so? Is it so easy to trash such a sustained success-streak? At least, I don’t think so.
He is no fluke
Let me confess one thing at the outset. Even though I find him a talented composer, I am no big fan of Reshammiya – The singer. In fact, when he received all those awards including the prestigious Filmfare award for Aashiq Banaya Aap Ne, I had literally cringed in despair, lamenting the declining standards of those glittering trophies. But over last three months, Reshammiya has made me re-think my position. It doesn’t matter if I or a host of others don’t think Reshammiya to be a good singer; it is abundantly clear by now that at least a million people if not more think otherwise! As a sworn fan and follower of popular music, I definitely respect the ‘popularity’ and ‘public appeal’ parts of music and for me, Reshammiya has earned his right to be called a musical phenomenon.
If it was just Aashiq Banaya Aap Ne, we could have called him a one-time wonder, a fluke. But what about a string of successful albums that followed? Aap Ka Suroor – his private, non-film album was a rage and by singing an average of 4-5 numbers in each film-soundtrack like