Legendary Bollywood music composer – Mohammed Zaheer Khayyam Hashmi, popularly known as Khayyam Saab, needs no introduction. Our revered maestro par excellence became a household name with his timeless melodies which he scored for films like Footpath, Noorie, Kabhie Kabhie, Umrao Jaan, Bazaar and the list is endless. His all time musical hit Umrao Jaan brought recognition and glory not only to him but also to our legendary melody queen - Asha Bhonsle ji.
A veteran composer with a progressive outlook, Khayyam Saab himself is a great advocator of new talents. Even though voices are being raised by critics against introduction of too many musical reality shows these days, he has quite a different outlook of the situation. “These shows are very positive. So many people connected to music get a chance to earn livelihood from them. New talents and even some old ones get exposure through these shows,” says the pragmatic legend and then adds laughingly “And don’t forget the good looking ones; they may get a chance to act in films too. They already get the experience and training of acting on the shows.”
A person known for his clear-cut responses, he minces no words when talking about the remix culture prevalent in today’s market. “Remixes for me are like putting blotches over a masterpiece by painting and defacing it. Masterpiece is and will always remain a masterpiece. Original songs are creations and these remixes are imitations,” says the maestro. So what is the music fraternity doing with regards to these remixes? “The government clause says you cannot change the notes or even the lyrics while remixing. You can just make new versions with new singers for their encouragement. What they are doing is morally wrong,” clarifies Khayyam Saab. He is quite skeptical about the current new age songs and candidly voices his reservation. “Not that we don’t have any good composers these days, but they are in minority. Most are copying and after mix and match, they create the tunes,” opines Khayyam Saab and then adds “This new age music I feel is just a momentary craze, like a water bubble. Bubbles have a short life and same will be the fate of these songs. I strongly believe this genre of music won’t stay for long either”.
Khayyam Saab gets nostalgic when asked about his work. He still can’t forget Foot Path. “I can never forget that film. Ashaji sang her first cabaret song in the film. The film also saw the first usage of electronic instrument. It was a small one called Solo Box. Kalyanji and Anandji bhai in this very film for the first time brought the clarion. I used lot of electronic instruments like the keyboard and electronic rhythm box brought by Bipin Reshamiya but always made sure to blend them properly,” replies the maestro nostalgically.
This living legend is convinced that the music industry will once again get to see the same melodious times. Khayyam Saab's priceless composition from yester years - “Woh Subah Kabhi toh Ayegi” seemed like a perfect sign off reply to salute his optimistic thinking. Let us also believe that in the days to come we will again be treated to original melodies yet again!!
Reporter and Author: Barnali