Singer Papon, known as much for popularising Assamese folk music as for tracks like Jiyein kyun, Moh moh ke dhaage, Bulleya and Kaun mera, rues that India lacks a music industry.
Asked if he feels singers are getting their due in Bollywood, Papon said,”Well, see, we don’t have a music industry… The saddest thing is that. In this country, we don’t have a music industry.”
“We have a film industry that employs people to make music, and that is the problem. It’s not singers or whoever… We need to have a music industry, and that’s where independent music can help. We have been always working towards that. The day that happens, the musicians will get their due in this country,” he added.
Papon, who will be seen as a coach in the season two of &TV’s singing reality show The Voice India Kids, hails from Assam and is the lead singer and founder of the folk-fusion band called Papon and The East India Company.
The singer, whose real name is Angaraag Mahanta, is happy that people are now “more aware” about the country’s northeast region.
“People are more aware. People love that side of the country, but just didn’t know that if it is accessible or not. I think that boundary or barrier is dissolving now,” he said.
Does he feel the film industry is recognising enough talent from the northeast?
“There are a lot of people in Bollywood. Now the industry has a lot of people from the northeast. Earlier, people did not come out from the region so much. In another two generations, we would have (more) people who would be working (in films). There’s a whole lot of young people who have entered the industry at various levels, and slowly it will grow.”
Papon’s first big song in the Hindi film industry was Jiyein kyun from the 2011 movie Dum Maro Dum. He says he never had Bollywood dreams.
“I never really dreamt of Bollywood or had a goal to go to Bollywood. It doesn’t seem like a journey. It was just happening to me while I was making music, so I got more reach because of Bollywood’s reach,” said the singer, who does not work towards “overnight hits”.
Talking about his association with The Voice India Kids, he said: “This show is really nice; they have a unique and very interesting format. We are not judges, but coaches in the show. We just coach the contestants and we try to share our experiences. The contestants choose us. We don’t choose them… It’s very cute and for the kids, it is very lovely.”