Here is an attempt to document some of the facts of modern day Indian cinema music which is a major subset of the ‘pop’ular  music in India.

In the historical context, Indian music has  its beginnings in sama-veda. And there have been influences from Persia in the case of Hindustani and this has had subsequent effects on Carnatic music as well. Also the colonial era has changed it from its temple and darbar(royal chamber) roots to concerts, let alone the content itself, which classical music has made it a part of. But what has been a major influence is the popular music of the west.

Lets look at it using the rasas (emotion)- way. For more, read

Sringara rasa has predominately been the focus of popular music. I think it is more to do with supply-demand, and definitely it is one rasa which is economically viable.

Hasya needs talent. period.

Bhibatsya and Rowdra– Well disgust and anger is now a function of loudness and music which has no melody. In fact the music angers and disgusts more. And the Scandinavian nations, the other Western countries (death, trash… metal) are really angry about something, what are we angry about?

Shanta– Tranquil. Again a missing emotion from pop music.

Veera– Yes, we could see this in some of the older music. Now that nationalism is pretty much dead, and so is this rasa in our music.

Bhaya- Sudden raise in octaves does not scare anyone, only startles them. Would recommend to these pop-scare ones Bernard Herrmann

Karuna– OK, this is used a relief. Again it is used in the face. No subtleties involved.

Adbhuta– Not available.  Even if it is, it is a fallout of the Sringara rasa.

The other 2 rasas, recently added Bhakti has no place in pop music and Vatsalya again is used as a relief from the main agenda.

Indian popular music is low on lyrical content as well. 400 regional language words should do the trick. Music is flicked from the West, throw in a few Indian instruments and we have the showcase-able Indian music. Add a few reality shows to this and the music has hit a new low.