Tabla, sarangi, harmonium fade from Bollywood (June 21 is World Music day)

Mumbai, June 19 (Calcutta Tube) Several traditional musical instruments like the sarangi, tabla and even the harmonium — once a must for Bollywood composers — are hardly being used by the film industry now, thanks to new sound techniques.

On World Music Day, Monday, IANS spoke to the likes of Sukhwinder singh, Ila Arun and Kailash Kher who talked about their favourite musical instruments.

Ila Arun: I would like to save the harmonium because it will keep classical music and our tradition alive. It is one of the earliest instruments to be used in classical and folk music. It is rooted in our culture and I would like to do something to encourage its use.

Kailash Kher: For me, it’s not whether I want to save a musical instrument. I along with my band Kailasa have saved many instruments by using them in our albums. We have a musician in our band, who can play 24 instruments and all are acoustic. They are not easily available now because they are not used that often. Instruments like the oudh, dilruba, rabaab, mandolin, raavanhatha, iktaara and the kartaal – we have made an effort to encourage people to use them.

Mika: All traditional Indian instruments are precious to a true musician and I specially like the sarangi. There are very few people who still play it. The tone of this instrument is unmatched and the authentic feel of a live sarangi can never be matched by the digital synthetic sound.

Salim Merchant: I would like to encourage the sarangi because I feel it’s the closest instrument to singing. It can create emotions through its gayaki that can really touch people.

Raghav Sachchar: I want to support the tabla. I think it is the best instrument that Indian music has to offer. The amount of things that can be done on a tabla are great. It is also a very difficult instrument and takes years and years of practice to master it. The sound generated from just two drums is far greater than any other instrument in the world.

Anup Jalota: The sarangi is my choice. It creates magical sounds; still it is disappearing from the music world.

There are some like Sukhwinder Singh and Sajid Khan of Sajid-Wajid duo who want to bring back the magic of traditional European instruments on the silver screen like the accordion and the mouth organ.

Sukhwinder: I feel one instrument that I would like to save is the accordion because it is something that produces a very natural sound and is very romantic.

Sajid: I would really want to save the mouth organ. In Indian cinema, mouth organ has added great character and depth, thus giving the hero a unique dimension. It is one of the most melodious instruments as well. It has a very gypsy feel to it which justifies the song and dance tradition of Indian Cinema. If given a chance, I would like to bring that back to Indian Cinema.

(Ruchika Kher can be contacted at

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