Sometime back I had posted in this space about the most popular Indian radio program of the 20th century,viz., Binaca Geetmala, aired by Radio Ceylon. (Refer Binaca Geetmala, Radio Program No.1.). I had mentioned that HMV had come out with CDs and cassettes of the entire Binaca Geetmala program in the 70s. Unfortunately I was not able to collect them. Instead I had two LP records released to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of the program. http://jaysworldofmusic.blogspot.com/2008/10/binaca-geetmala-radio-show-no1.html
But there is good news for lovers of old Hindi film music in general and those old timers like some of us in particular, who have nostalgic association and longing for old film songs, old radio programs etc. During the last one year Saregama India Ltd.has released 5 sets of 5 audio Cds each( total 25 volumes), each CD covering one volume, titled " Geetmala ki Chhaon Mein". The Cds are based on Binaca Geetmala programs from its early beginnings upto the year 1966 with beautiful commentary,as in the original program,, by none other than Sri Ameen Sayani himself, the greatest Indian RJ ever, who compered the original Binaca Geetmala Program on Radio Ceylon. Volumes subsequent to the year 1966 are also expected to be released by Saregama in due course.
The five sets of CDs. have been beautifully designed, attractively packed in thick file board for durable use, printed with details of songs in each CD/Volume, with photo of the ever smiling Ameen Sayani and the nostalgic radio set which once used to be the only musical device in most households. Each volume has been sweetly/invitingly named like, e.g.,'Yaadgar Geet 1957','Treasured songs of 1960','The musical journey begins', 'Hits and Misses of 1955' etc
Words fail to describe the richness of the content of the CDs. Each audio CD contains around 15 hit songs of the period along with flashes of several other equally beautiful songs all of them, though sweet and loved, had escaped one's memory due to lapse of time and non availability except , perhaps, on the internet.Listening to the CDs, these wonderful songs strike you as fresh and sweet as ever taking you nostalgically back to those golden era of Hindi film music.Just as in the Binaca Geetmala programs each song is presented by Ameen Sayani with interesting anecdotes, incidents, tit bits, and about the sacrifices the creators of the songs had made to make them what they are.Live excerpts from Ameen Sayani's candid interviews with the great singers, music directors, lyricists,producers, directors, stars and responses from listeners from all walks of life are also included. Listeners are once again getting a chance to be mesmerised by the sweet, evergreen voice of Ameen Sayani. It is great that his voice has not lost its original timbre which we were all happily familiar with.On listening, the Cds gave me almost the same pleasure as that I got while listening to the Binaca Geetmala of old. Apart from the intrinsic value of the music on these Cds, they give us a glimpse of the history of Hindi film music and the trends and developments in the industry during the period.Yes, the Cds are golden vintage wine!!
I have been able to collect all the five volumes released over a period. Right now all of them are available in leading music shops in the country. A must buy set of albums for the connoisseurs. My grief, as usual, is that the albums are not on LP records !!
P.S.:The CDs are best for listening at night . I stack them in my Five CD Panasonic music system, lie back and listen with memories flooding the mind, till sleep overtakes!!
Update as on the 31st August 2011.
'Sa re ga ma' has since released the 6th set of Geetmala ki Chhaon Mein', comprising, as usual, five volumes in five CDs (volumes 26 to 30). The songs, bits and flashes cover a period of 3 years, 1967,68 and 69. The CDs offer great nostalgic value and some of the songs, not heard nowadays, but had made lasting imprint in one's heart are there. A must buy packet!!