New Delhi: Ghazal king Jagjit Singh says he keeps his distance from Bollywood because he feels Hindi filmmakers are money-minded and don`t appreciate the genre any more.
"Filmmakers have no taste for ghazals. A lot of youngsters like soft songs these days, but Bollywood has no interest in ghazals...the industry is only about making money. Sab paise ke peechhe bhaagte hain (Everyone runs after money)," said Singh.
The 70-year-old veteran, who has sung songs like "Badi nazuk hai", "Hoshwaalon ko khabar kya", "Kiska chehra" and "Tum itna jo muskua rahe ho" in movies, added: "I do not say that Bollywood has become commercialised in recent times. It has always been about money-making, but earlier the taste was different.
"Cinema was a part of literature...but today`s cinema has nothing to do with literature. That soul is lacking and it is only about entertainment nowadays."
Singh has been singing for over four decades and has a repertoire comprising 50 albums. He has sung in languages as diverse as Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Gujarati, Sindhi and Nepali, and continues to enthrall with his new songs, albums and concerts. But Bollywood is something he gives a miss now.
"See, I hardly ever had a connection with Bollywood. All through my career, I seldom sang for movies. I was always focussed on my individual career as a singer, and concentrated on my bhajans and albums...something that I still do," he said.
The singer, who was honoured with the Padma Bhushan, India`s third highest civilian award, in 2003, is currently staging a concert, Ghazal Symphony, across different cities in India. He will perform live with 30 musicians in Gurgaon April 24.
"I will sing around 20 ghazals - all of them being my old songs, but the musical arrangement will be a little different. There will be a lot of instruments like violin, flute, tabla and guitar that will be used; so it will add a whole new feel to my old numbers," he said.
Singh is keen to lure youngsters with this initiative.
"I hope ghazals will start appealing to the youngsters with this effort. My product is the same; only the packaging is going to be new in this concert," he said.
In his 70th year, he has planned to stage 70 concerts worldwide, but he sees no hope of taking Ghazal Symphony across the shores.
"I haven`t planned an international concert for Ghazal Symphony. It will be tough to take the local musicians there, and teaching the right notations and tunes to musicians abroad, and then rehearsing with them will be extremely time-
consuming. So that is not falling into my scheme of things," he said.
In the meantime, he is also working on one ghazal and bhajan album each.