Sunday, January 15, 2012


There are certain enduring memories about Doordarshan of the 80s and the early 90s from the time TV telecast began in the state. Of course, the telecast was in black and white to begin with till colour sets came in the local markets mainly through KELTRON. While there were strong criticism in those days about the quality of the programs dished out by Doordarshan, the fact remains that they shine in comparison with the plethora of nauseating stuff of the countless present day channels. Yes, those were the days when news readers like Sasikumar, Geethanjali Iyer, Tejeswar Singh, Rini Simon, Komal G.B.Singh, Sarla Zariwala, Sadhana Srivastava, Neethi Ravindran, Rakesh Tandon and so on had acquired celebrity status . Unlike the present day newscasters, they never converted news into news analysis.People used to eagerly wait for Pronoy Roy’s World this Week. Even lengthy serials like Hum Log, Nukad and Bunyad had achieved outstanding popularity. Punkaj Kapur’s detective serial Karmchand and the mystery serial in which actor Rajit Kapur played a la Sherlock Holmes by name Byomkesh Bakshi ( A Bengali detective character of S. Bandhyopadhay) are still in memory.Who can forget that wonderful program, on the rich Indian cultural heritage, SURABHI, presented by Sidharth Kak and Renuka Sahane and also, later, a similar program TANA BANA presented by Sasikumar? Great emphasis was given to Indian classical music and dance. Well , they were the heydays of Dordarshan. As far as music was concerned , apart from CHITRAHAAR based on film songs, there used to be Hindustani Classical concerts of great Indian musicians. We got ample opportunity to listen to stalwarts like Bhimsen joshi, Kumar Gandharv, Pt.Ravi Shankar,Bismilla Khan, Hariprasad Chaurasia, M.S. Subbalakshmi, Balamuralikrisha, Parveen Sultana, Begum Akhtar and so on to mention a few.There used to be Kavi Sammelans, Mushairas etc. in the traditional style with a lot of ‘Wahs’ and ‘Sabashs’ from the audience eventhough, for some of us, lack of familiarity with the language was a hindering factor.For lovers of ghazals great singers like Mehdi Hassan, Ghulam Ali, Begum Akthar, Chandan Das , Talat Aziz, Punkaj Udhas and so on were on frequently on the screen. Well, while on the subject of ghazals, one singer we all used to admire a lot for her charm, poise, husky/sexy voice, confident style of singing and stage presence was the young and adorable Penaaz Masani. She had a distinct style of her own, acknowledged by experts as authentic ghazal singing, and listeners used to wonder as to how this young lady could sing ghazals with such effortless ease with imaginative interpretation of each kalam and gliding through delicate nuances and variations.She was inspired by her father who himself was a disciple of of Ustad Fayas Khansaheb. She had her early training under Ustad Amanat Hussein Khan and was also groomed by that redoubtable composer Jaidev and the great singer composer Madhurani. In fact we started taking interest in ghazals only with the experience of listening to the likes of Penaaz Masani, Talat Azeez, Punkaj Udhas, Jagjit Singh and so on before beginning to understand and appreciate the work of stalwarts like Mehdi Hassan, Ghulam Ali, Begum Akthar and others. Some of the beautiful [Image]ghazals of Penaaz Masaani coming to mind are ‘Dil mein rakhlo’, the traditional ‘Dil-e-naadaan tujhe hua kya hai’, ‘ Halka kabhi padega’ and the haunting ‘Ankhon ke maikade mein’. Her talent and style are evident in all of them. Her voice with a faint nasal quality captivated the listeners. It was with her album ‘Aap ki Basm Mein’ that she came into the world of gramophone records followed by ‘ A Team Come True’ with Talat Aziz and both the LPs were huge hits.There is another album “DILRUBA”containing six ghazals including ‘Halka kabhi padega’.There is also the Sayeed Rahi ghazal ‘Aankh jab band hua karte hain’. The remaining four ghazals including ‘Faisla bahaar kya kahoon’ and ‘Meri zindagi hai zalim tere gham se ashikara’, are composed by the great composer Madhurani. In 1984 Music India had organised ghazal programs titled KHAZANA in the four major cities and Hyderabad giving an opportunity to ghazal lovers to listen to their favourite singers including Penaz Masani. Music India had released albums based on these programs containing live recordings and there is one on Penaaz Masaani also titled ‘ Music India’s Khazana- Penaaz Masani live at....’ . Jaidev’s composition, ‘Tumko hum dil mein basa lenge’ and Madhurani’s ‘ Mere dil ko aazmane ka’ bring out the best in Penaaz. As the blurb goes, Penaaz had become the Dilruba of every ghazal lover with these albums.

With the eclipse of Doordarshan in the wake of the emergence of a large number of private channels motivated mainly by commercial gains ghazals have lost their space in the visual media.We could seldom ,nowadays , watch or hear a ghazal program on the channels.While it was the ‘ Indi pop’ and remixes in the late 90s and early years of this century that dominated music channels and gave a staggering blow to Ghazals and classical music on the channels it is now the reality shows that is occupying the space.The same fate has befallen Classical dances also. These trends make us yearn for the good old Doordarshan with all its well discussed demerits.May be Penaaz Masani’s not very successful entry into the field of pop music with albums like LAKEEREIN, was, perhaps the result of this trend.
Tail piece:-Are there 'Remixes' today? No, they have become the originals!

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