Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Preeti Sagar is one singer who displayed outstanding talent and potential in her early career which enabled her to win the Filmfare award for the best female playback singer in 1976 for her song 'mere gaon' in film Manthan.She had also won a special award of Filmfare for her song 'my heart is beating' in the film Julie in 1975. But it was a big irony that she could not clinch a firm footing in Hindi film music world in spite of her proven singing ability and a voice of her own. Instead she turned her attention to singing children's songs and nursery rhymes and became an icon in the field with several albums in English, Hindi and Bengali.

Children's songs, lullabies, rhymes and stories for children are now available in plenty on CD's and DVDs and children have ample choice and variety for selecting them. But in the 70s and early 80s releases of gramophone records containing nursery rhymes and song for children were infrequent. Besides, people were not very much used to buying them for their children as they depended on print media for the purpose. It was during this period that Preeti Sagar came out with her albums of nursery rhymes and children's songs which became hugely successful and popular.

My interest in buying gramophone records was then focussed mainly on film songs as it was a question of allocating scarce monetary resources among competing choices. Still I do have two famous records of Preeti Sagar in my collection. One is 'Nursery Rhymes sung by Preeti Sagar'.This LP. record contained 35 rhymes beginning with 'Jack and Jill ' and ending with 'Twinkle twinkle little star' in between all the other age old popular rhymes which we had once sung , which our children had sung and which our grand children continue to sing. They include Humpty Dumpty, Ba Ba Black Sheep, Ring a ring a roses, Chubby cheeks, etc.,and Mary had a little lamb. (the first recorded song of Edison on the phonograph invented by him). The songs are sung in Preeti's pleasing and lively style. The music arranged by the great instrumentalist Enoch Daniels gave added value to the album.

The other is an EP record containing two songs , the title song and a love song. The song 'Spring is coming ' is penned by the famous Bengali poet Harindranath Chatopadhayay and composed by the renowned music director Vanraj Bhatia who had won the national award as the music director of film Tamaas in 1988. He had also scored music for almost all movies of Shyam Benegal like Mandhan, Bhoomika, 36 Chowrangee Street, Mandi, Junoon etc., besides other trend setting films like Ankur and Nishaant. For this song he used western music as well as Indian music with great effect. 'Spring is coming ', beautifully sung by Preeti was such a big hit among us that I had, often, to play it repeatedly on my gramophone at the insistence of my then 5 year old daughter. History seemed to have repeated recently when my daughter, on her annual visit to us, had to play it again and again for her daughter (i.e., my grand daughter aged 4 years) filling all of us with nostalgia. My grand daughter's singing 'Spring is coming ' was inevitable whenever our families and friends met.

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