Monday, January 13, 2014

A Journey Down Melody Lane by Raju Bharatan

The Hindi film music industry is more than 80 years old.
It has given us numerous evergreen melodies.
The author, Raju Bharatan is a veteran film journalist and historian who was a regular witness to the  conceptualization, evolution and release of several of these melodies. 

In this book he shares his personal experiences with the singers, music composers, lyricists, film directors and producers.
Some of the notable ones he discusses at length are Naushad,  Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhonsle, Mohammed Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Geeta Dutt, C. Ramachandra, Shankar-Jaikishan, Kalyanji -Anandji, Laxmikant-Pyarelal, Vasant Desai, Talat Mehmood, R.D. Burman, Manna Dey, Hemant Kumar, A. R. Rahman, Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand and Yash Chopra.

The book also talks about the ego clashes and politics behind the music making scenes which brings out the fact that the much revered musical geniuses were after all human beings with frailties of their own.

There are lots of  trivia interspersed in the book. 
Just to mention a few:
  •  Lata Mangeshkar was addicted to Wrigley’s chewing gum, loved wearing jeans, but never wore it outside her hotel room during concerts in America. 
  • Rafi was the original choice for the popular songs from the movie Aradhana, instead of Kishore Kumar;
  • The famous "Aye Mere Watan ke logon" song  was to be sung by both Lata Mangeshkar and her sister Asha Bhosle. But the lyricist Pradeep had not forgotten to inform the latter.
Almost all the melodious songs are based on classical ragas. The author provides the names of the underlying raga for most of the songs he mentions in this book. I like this approach because this information is helpful in recognizing a raga when it is being played in its pure form.

I bought  this book expecting it  to be an authoritative history of  Hindi film songs , which it is not.
Otherwise it is quite an informative and entertaining read for Hindi film music buffs.


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