Saturday, July 31, 2010


Font size 31sJuly 2010 was the 30th anniversary day of the passing away of the legendary singer Mohammed Rafi. As my homage to this great singer,who continues to give us immense pleasure through his songs even after three decades of his passing away, I took out a few of his exclusive LP Albums and devoted a few hours for listening to them once again and to immerse myself in those soulful songs.Volumes have been written about him, his prowess as a singer,his qualities as a fine human being and the way he enthralled generations of music lovers. There is nothing more for me to add except saying thank you to him once again.

The first album I listened to is HMV's Homage to the Immortal voice of Mohd, Rafi.Dec,24,1924 - July 31, 1980.' with a nostalgic black and white photo of Rafi in front and, on the reverse side, a rare photo of Rafi with his family.The album contained twelve songs including the immortal ones like 'Yahan badla wafa ka'(Jugnu), 'Bapuki amar kahani','Man tarpat hari darshan'(Baiju Bawra),Ab kya misal hoon'(Aarti),O door ke musafir'(Uran Khatola), 'Yeh zindagi ke mele'(Mela) and,yes, 'Chaudwin ka Chaand', from the film with the same title, one of my top ten favourite songs. Rafi had immortalised this song by his warm, brilliant singing.The album is a true homage to Rafi.

Another album I did listen to was,'Ghazals from Films- Mohd.Rafi'.It has a few of the gems from Rafi, like 'Dil men chupake'(Deedar), Husna wale tera jawab'(Gharana-Ravi), 'Hum ko tumhare(Ek Musafir ek haseena- O.P.Nayyar),'Zindagi bhar nahim'(Barsat ke raat-Roshan) and the evergreen,'Tere pyare pyare (Sasural- Shankar Jaikishan),the last two being the number one songs in Binaca Geet Mala for the years 1960 and 1961 respectively.

The album,'An Evening with Mohd. Rafi',is another exclusive album containing some of his celebrated songs like,'Diljo na kah saka'(Bheegi Raat),'Khoya Khoya Chaand'(kala Bazar),'Kahan jaa raha hai'(Seema) and the most popular song of 1962 in Binaca Geetmala,viz., 'Ehsan tera hoga mujhpar'(Junglee). Besides these, there is,of course, the song.'Man re tu kahe na dheer dhare' penned by Sahir Ludhianvi and composed by Roshan for film,'Chitralekha'. In 2007, the OUTLOOK magazine had conducted an elaborate survey to select the best ever 20 songs of Hindi films. The survey was done by an expert panel of 30 eminently suitable persons on the basis of well defined terms. The song,'Man re' was adjudged the top of the 20 songs so selected!! Yes, it is Rafi at his soulful best.

Another album,'Top Film Hits from Mohd .Rafi', has in it songs from films like 'Mere Husoor', 'Tum sa nahin dekha',Dosti, Guide, Brahmachari, Laat Saheb,etc.The
cover shows the photo of Rafi proudly posing in front of the innumerable trophies and awards he had won.

The album, 'Forever Yours' is special as it is
presented by Rafi himself to his fans with a letter signed by him. Released by Polydor, it contained 8 songs of live recordings in stereophonic sound. The songs are, Suhani Raat, Tere Mere Sapne, Choudwin ka chand,O Duniya ke rekhwale,Ye Duniyaaa Mere kaamki Nahin, Baharo Phool Barsao(No.1. in Binaca Geet Mala for the year 1966), Madhuban me Raadhika and Kya hua tera wada. All these great songs in one LP makes it a valuable collectors' item. The back cover also shows several tributes from his collegues .The most poignant of them came from none other than Naushad thus: "He helped me to enhance my reputation by singing many of my songs in a manner only he could sing. Of the seven notes in music one is no more."

There was also an album of two LPs titled,'Mohd.Rafi.We Remember' contain
ing 24 popular songs, of different music directors, including 'Tasveer Banaata hoon'(Diwana-Naushad) and 'Wadiyan Mera Daaman (Abhilasha- R.D.Burman)An excellent photo of Rafi is a bonus.

Polydor in their tribute said:"Life is limited. Death eternal life.Rafi lives through his golden,immortal voice incomparable, unsurpassed, inimitable. The voice that stirred millions the world over, will continue to do so till the end of time".

P.S. Please click on the photos to zoom them to see clearly.

Tail piece: A news item in Indian Express two years back is reproduced.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Portable Music, Mobile Music.

It is clear that the style and method of listening to music has changed completely during the last decade or so . Now for people, especially the young generation, music is portable music, mobile music, downloaded music, pocket music or ear-hole music or by whatever name you call it. iPods, MP3 players, mobile phones, USB flash drives, MM Cards, etc., are the coveted and widely used musical devices for them. Even at home more people now prefer to listen to these devices instead of listening to the big hi-fi music systems which they have in their drawing rooms.

The result of the change in style and approach to listening to music, caused, may be, by occupational pressures, is that the music systems etc. which were a rage since the late 90s, are being kept idle and may face the fate of Gramophones, valve radios and, more recently,Video Cassette Recorders. I also feel that the quality of sound produced by these portable devices is so poor and devoid of depth and Hi-Fi effect that listeners are being, undeservedly, deprived of sweet, sonorous music. Recent reports also suggest that using earplugs(ear phones) for listening to music even for short periods may adversely affect one's hearing.

Another reason cited by many for these systems falling into disuse is the perceived practical difficulty in attaching the devices to the music systems as their audio out put (outlets) sources (usually single) are not compatible with the audio input sources (usually double-L&R) of the music systems. The problem can be easily solved. There are simple suitable adapters available in the market by which the 'two pin' audio cords of the music system can be connected to the MP3 player or iPod or mobile phone. An adapter can be custom made also by attaching a stereo socket to two audio wires to the other ends of which two audio mono sockets suitable for the music system in use can be attached. The stereo socket can be attached to the portable device by common audio jack. There are adapters available for extending the length of the audio cords also.When these easy methods are available why should one sacrifice listening pleasure?

A hi-fi music system usually comes with a FM radio. It is easy to play music from a MP3 Player or iPod through the music system by a small wireless FM Stereo Transmitter which are available in different models at low prices.The transmitter attached to the MP3 player will transmit music which will be received by the FM radio of the music system and played through its speakers. The FM transmitters, also called FM Modulators, can be used in cars also through car radios.The price varies with the range(the distance up to which it can transmit) of the transmitter. A range of 10 or 15 metres should be sufficient for a normal house. Any available frequency from 88 to 108 can be selected to transmit and receive music. For persons, like me, having only a cassette player in their cars, there is the cassette adapter which can be attached to MP3 player or mobile phone and the cassette loaded as usual into the player to listen to the music from the MP3 player.

There are several useful accessories in the market with which we can improve the listening pleasure of iPods etc. Recently I got a small device(6"x4"x 2") called sound box.It has a radio and can play an USB flash drive, MM card and has line in facility to play MP3/iPod/Mobile phone and a CD Player. I could even play my gramophone through this!!The quality of sound is O.K with a sound output of 3x3 watts RMS.

Several cute, small portable speakers are available in the market known as iPod /MP3 docks. They come as a small composite unit of two speakers with built-in amplifier, connecting cord to attach the player and space for keeping the MP3 player . There are high end models costing several thousand Rupees and also ordinary ones costing around Rs.5oo/- I found these small ones very convenient and the sound quality quite good though not comparable to big music systems.But definitely they add to the listening value of ipod etc. which produce sharp/shrill sound from their built in speakers.

If one wants to enjoy music from a music system, without bothering others in a room, there is , of course, the wireless headphone consisting, mainly of a transmitter and a earphone receiver.This is similar to a FM transmitter in its function.

Yes, these are good, value for money devices to enhance the listening pleasure . But to me there is nothing to beat the age old gramophone.

Tail piece. Recently one of my loved ones brought me a T-shirt from U.S.A. There was a seller's free gift with the T-Shirt. A portable MP3 Speaker . It looked like a cricket ball when closed but when opened, though there is no resemblance, I was reminded of a familiar sight in my childhood days-a jack fruit cut into two.

P.S.Click on the photos to see them clearly.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


I am delighted to hear the songs of recently released Malayalam film, 'ORUNAAL VARUM', a Mohan Lal film, directed by T.K.Rajiv Kumar. The music score is by famous playback singer M.G.Sreekumar, comparatively new in the field of music direction in films. The songs are highly refreshing with beautiful lyrics by Murukan Kattakkada and soulful singing by Sreekumar, Chithra and young singers , Swetha, Nishad and Preethi Warrier. Even on hearing them for the first time the tunes make one sit up and listen as the harmonious blending of the traditional and the modern notes in the background are that much compelling.

The song ,'Paadan ninakkoru', sung as a duet by Chithra and sreekumar and also as a solo by Chithra, is the best of the lot for its lyrical charm, simplicity of tuning, melody and the nuances of singing. The song, Maaavin chottile', sung separatively by Swetha and Sreekumar, will take one nostalgically and emotionally back to his/her childhood days. This song is an excellent example for lyrics, composing and involved rendering combining to make a song heartwarming and enjoyable.The song, 'Pranaya nilavu' by Nishad and Preethi Warrier is also outstanding.

Yes, this album offers a delightfully different listening pleasure. Congratulations to M.G.Sreekumar and his team.

Monday, July 5, 2010


While writing about 'Disco Dancer', I was reminded of another highly popular pop singer. Nazia Hassan, who again, like Vijay with the song, 'I am a disco dancer', was catapulted into the world of pop and play back singing, to capture the hearts of millions of music lovers of India and Pakistan, with her first song, 'Aap jaisa koi meri zindagi mein aaye', from film ,'Qurbani'. Out of the six songs of the film, five were composed by music directors Kalyanji Aanandji and the song ,'Aap jaisa koi', was written and composed by Biddu, who later teamed with Nazia to produce a few highly popular albums millions of copies of which were sold in India, Pakistan and other Asian counties. Nazia Hassan, with her exceptional beauty, the girl next door image and sweet husky voice well suited for pop and melodies, became the darling of the masses with this one song. In fact the biggest single factor along with the glamour of heroine Zeenat Aman, for making the film,'Qurbani', a super hit, was the song ,'Aap Jaisa'.

Nazia Hassan went on to sing for several films like Star, Dilwala, Ilsam, Saaya etc. But the songs did not catch the attention of listeners. But when she released her Album, 'DISCO DEEWANE', in the year 1982, it became an instant hit and millions of copies were sold. The songs were composed by Biddu and the lyrics of some of the songs were by Nazia and her highly talented younger brother Soheb. Three duets in the album were sung by Nazia and Soheb. The title song, 'Disco Deewane', was the best of the lot.

Nazia went on to release a few more outstanding albums like,'Star-boom boom', Young Tarang,Camera Camera etc. Music lovers were expecting much more from her. But suffering from a dreaded disease and a difficult marriage, her life was cut short at the young age of thirty-five in the year 2000.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

I am a Disco Dancer - The singer Vijay and the song.

There is one L.P. Record in my collection which contains, a few outstanding songs in the Disco Music category.The record is of the 1982 film DISCO DANCER starring Mithun Chakroborthy, Kim, Rajesh Khanna and Kalpana Iyer. The film was directed by B. Subhash and the enchanting music score was by Music Director Bappi Lahiri.

The music and songs of the film were big hits at that time when disco dancing and disco music were gaining a lot of popularity. It was the film which catapulted actor Mithun Chakroborthy. an average success since his award winning film 'Mrigya', as a hit dancing star, a guaranteed success for a long time. The songs of the film hit the top in popularity charts and were on the lips of a generation of young music lovers. The song 'Jimmy Jimmy
Jimmy Aaja' sung by the famous pop star and singer, Parvathy khan, was hugely popular among disco music lovers. The song,Garon ki na kalon ki', by Suresh was also a noted melody.

But what made the album such a celebrated hit was the song, 'I am a disco dancer' by Vijay, till then not known much as a playback singer. This was a trend setter making disco music a rage among the young generation. The singer Vijay and the song gained cult status and there was no stage program without this song being sung in those days.This single song made Vijay famous and he went on to sing for about forty Hindi films. But at the height of success and popularity life took a tragic turn for him with the death of his brother and he vanished from the scene of playback singing. After years of trials and tribulations he reemerged as a Gospel singer, Vijay Benedict, and along with his family and kids, is now conducting numerous stage programs of Gospel music rendering solace and peace to millions.

The record of film, ' Disco Dancer', is preserved by me in memory of the song,and its singer Vijay.

Tail piece:- A successful Malayalam play back singer who followed a similar path to sing only
devoional songs Jolly Abraham.