Friday, September 21, 2007

A Musical Journey

Till the age of about 15, I had no preferences in music. If somebody had to ask, What kind of music do you like?, I wouldn't have had an answer. Music, then, was everything that played on the radio and on Chitrahaar, the weekly programme on Doordarshan. Of course, as a boy, one preferred 'new' over the 'old'. The singer or the composer did not matter. I don't know if you are even familiar with the name Vijay Benedict, but there was a time when I liked him, because he had sung the title song for the Mithun Chakraborthy-starrer Disco Dancer. "I am a disco dancer, zindagi mera gaana..."

The song that activated 'love' in me was Gunche lage hain kehne. I was nine years old then, in class four, and every time I heard the song, it would make me pine for a classmate of mine, Sweety. The song is from a movie called Taraana. Sung by Shailendra Singh and composed by Ram Laxman.

In class five, the famous Rocky song, Kya yehi pyaar hai, made me fantasise about another classmate, Vandana. The fantasy would be meeting her in the school field during one of those rare evenings when the setting sun illuminates the sky with deep orange, so deep that you can barely see anything beyond the outline of people's faces. Just me and her. Sex was not even remotely on the horizon then, so the ultimate gratification lay in having her full attention. How desperately I wanted to be Sanjay Dutt. Whoever thought of R.D. and Kishore Kumar! That was 1980.

Soon after, I became an R.D. fan, thanks to Satte Pe Satta, which was released in 1982. The song, Pyar hamen kis mod pe le aaya, made him my God, and he has stayed on the altar ever since. But Kishore Kumar remained just another singer. I liked him, but that's about it.

In 1986, I was appearing for my board exams. I had always found it difficult to study without a source of music being at hand, and now I didn't have to rely on the old Murphy transistor or the Bush tape-recorder (a small slab with just one speaker): my father had just returned from a project in Germany (West Germany, then), and he had got a red, gorgeous Sony two-in-one.

From 4 to 7, my mornings would belong to text-books. At 8.30 am, Ameen Sayani would take over. The famous host of Binaca Geetmala, the programme that kept millions of Indians glued to their radio sets in the 1970's, would, in his inimitable voice, advertise the new releases. The advertisement would be followed by a song from the movie. I would listen to the programme (I forget its name), from 8.30 to 9.30, while doing last-minute revisions, filling ink in the pen, and getting dressed in the school uniform. At 9.30, I would be off for the examination hall, on my bicycle.

One Kishore Kumar song had caught by attention, and I looked forward to it every morning. It was from a newly-released Rajesh Khanna film called Adhikaar, and it went like, Main dil tu dhadkan, tujhse mera jeevan, kaanch ke jaisa toot jaoonga, toota jo yeh bandhan... (I am the heart, you are its beats. I will break like glass if our bond breaks). I taped the song on a blank cassette so that I didn't have to rely on the radio programme, and soon, I was madly in love with his voice. I went back to his other songs, and I didn't have to look hard because in 1987, he died and the market was flooded with his cassettes. I went to the altar, shifted R.D's image a bit and placed an invisible statue of Kishore Kumar there as well. My musical journey had begun. I knew what I was looking for.

The next 20 years were spent on a mission -- a mission that continues even today: to know everything about the two, to collect all their songs, to convert people into worshipping them. Along the way, Main dil tu dhadkan was forgotten, till I found it again, thanks to internet. Nothing gives me more pleasure than sharing music. Not even sex, believe me.

So here it is, dear reader, the song that started it all. As the Vividh Bharati announcer would say: "Aawaz hai Kishore Kumar ki. Swarbaddh kiya hai Bappi Lahiri ne. Aur film ka naam hai Adhikaar."

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Paresh Palicha said...

Dada, Dada, my vintage BG is back. I don't know which God to Thank - yeah KK & Pancham combo ofcourse. :).

I was virtually weeping reading this, getting nostalgic remembering old classmates (girls I was smitten by & the songs dedicated to them).

I think the name of that Ameen Sayani 's programme is Chitralok. It still comes on Vividh Bharathi from 8:15 AM to 9:15 AM (my timekeeper) with new RJs. These Days I wait for Bolna Halke Halke from Jhoom Baraabar Jhoom.

And, whatever happened to the previous post My Story?

Bishwanath Ghosh said...

Thanks Paresh, for being there. :)

Anonymous said...


Good to see you back with what connects you to the tens and hundreds of us, if not thousands yet ;-)

Vijay Benedict - of course I remember him, especially for the songs he had sung for the movie called dance dance. It was a rage those days.

And for Gunche lage hain...need I say more than...abhi abhi ek hawa ka jhonka yaad teri le aaya...:-)

wildflower said...

Music is part of our lives...
We love that kind of vintage Music & thanks to you i am crazy about Raat Banu Main... :)


Anonymous said...

Am not too much of an RD enthusiast but i do like some of his songs esp the ones u recmnd..

K K is (not was) a miracle man..

But, what i like most about Bappi Lahiri is his HHiiiindih!! (and uskaa jaisa music ko copi kaarna kisiiiko bhi nehi aata haaai!! :)

Anonymous said...

I cannot think of an (old)film without relating it to, the class I was studying in at that time.

Vijay Benedict.... :-) I think our whole generation wd relate to ur this post.
good post ..Enjoyed.

Anonymous said...

As Vindy said, our whole geneation elate tp you post, BG.
Thanks. :)

Anonymous said...

hmm, that is one of my all-time favourites too.

i come here often. you have a very nice way of putting across everyday things.

Anonymous said...

yea, this is you :)

dharmabum said...

oh this is such a beautiful post, bg. so much like you - your ease with words, the beauty of the way you can convey emotions...super!

i'd gladly be converted, if i am not already. maybe i'll come and copy some of those songs from you someday? and we'll sing, over a drink...songs of kishoreda

in2mind said...

A Pleasant post.

My knowledge of hindi music is not much - I dont even understand the meaning of the songs,but like you had written, listening to the 80's hindi oldies when starting for the day is such a nice feeling in the morning.

Before the CAS system came to Chennai,used to get that kind of music in star plus (some time between 6:30- 8:30 AM).Miss it now.

Any good place on the net to get such songs?Streaming is ok..

Gayathri Varma said...

The combination of RD Burman and Kishore Kumar is mindblowing. One of my all time favourites is the song "Mere naina sawan bhadon" from Mehbooba in the beautiful Raag Shivranjani. Amazing that someone with no grounding in classical music could sing the song the way he has. I've heard many people from all walks of life and across generations (professional musicians and others) sing this song.....but no one, absolutely no other human has rendered it the way Kishoreda has. In the song, the pain in Kishore Kumar's voice, apart from all else is so palpable....and who can imitate pain? it has to come totally from deep within the soul....

Anonymous said...

I live far away outside India. Dimple Kapadia's movie w/ Rajesh Khanna was released when I left home. It is interesting how we date things with such memories related to music and cinema. My highschool teacher once said that if all the class room lessons were to be on some film, students (they called them pupils back then) will easily memorize them for an exam.
Perhaps the times we live in should have been numbered either as "before RD Burman's debut" or "after RD Burman's..".

dharmabum said...

ok, i get it. i can't come. and i won't get any songs :)

Unknown said...

Bishwanath Ghosh Bro. even I am a 70s person and I know very well how I miss those days ...brings tears to my eyes when I hear those songs...and the way you have described I felt like I went back to my days..when I was kid in school so carefree and only enjoy life as it was then. It will never be the same again even if man would earn in millions but still the beauty of that generation cannot be re-created