Where has that melody gone?

If there is one thing I regret- it is the fact that I was born in the eighties and not in the fifties, or the sixties. When I express this regret to my folks, I draw amused looks accompanied by several questions. I have no answers for them, except that I wished so because it was the golden period of music for Hindi cinema.

I am a south Indian, yet I was raised in an atmosphere that was a blend of Hindi and Tamil music, films and TV. I got the best from both the industries, thanks to DD. I haven’t missed out on Buniyaad, Nukkad, Chitrahaaar, or Oliyum Oliyum and Rail Sneham. Perhaps, that is why I am not a hard-core Tamilian.

I remember, vividly, sitting next to my dad listening to old Hindi numbers, after school and tuition. It usually began with Khemchand Prakash’s ‘aayega aanewala’ and ended with SD Burman’s Abhimaan numbers.

Aayega Aanewala was the first Hindi song I heard, much before even then hits like ‘Ek Do teen’, or ‘Dhak Dhak karne laga’. Honestly, I don’t think I missed out on those forgettable numbers that were being churned out way back in late eighties or early nineties.

My father often says, ‘that era was over in seventies.’ Those were days when good music = good box-office collections. If it were not for Shankar-Jaikishan, there was no way a non-actor like Rajinder Kumar would have become a success. Sasural, Aarzoo, Sooraj and Aap Aaye Bahaar Aaye were instant hits because of the music.

It was not a monopoly by a single music director. Music had different brands and each one’s work spoke for the composers. Naushad, Madan Mohan, Shankar-Jaikishan, Khayyam, Roshan, OP Nayyar, SD Burman and Laxmikant-Pyarelaal co-existed in harmony. Every music director had a lyricist to collaborate with. If it was Raja Mehdi Ali Khan for Madan Mohan, it was either Hasrat Jaipuri or Shailendra for Shankar-Jaikishan. Composing music was like a family affair then, where everyone came together for a recording session, including actors. Lata Mangeshkar was right when she said, “Today recording is just a work.That Apnapan is no longer there.”

My Real Player play list is full of music of the fifties to eighties, the latest song on it is from a 1983 film. Many of my friends think that I am ignorant about music composed nowadays and obstinate to listen to just the old numbers that I have grown listening to. You have to move on, they say. To me, good music is the one that has repeat value, apart from being highly melodious. I somehow don’t see the same magic in today’s numbers.

While many claim 3 Idiots had foot-tapping numbers, I don’t think a single song was worthy of being called a soul-stirrer.

After having spoken like a witness to that era, I still feel like an outsider. An outsider who only heard from her predecessors how wonderful the era that ended long before she was born, was. I won’t be able to tell generations that will come that I belonged to the golden era. However, I will still live in that era. What a paradox.

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7 Responses to “Where has that melody gone?”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Well i totally disagree with this post in ideal and in person…I feel every age has their contemporaries to offer and music can never be bound by any constraint, let that be X, Y, Z(that is to suggest geographic boundaries) or Time. if you say Rehman does not produce soul stirring numbers, I don’t agree…if you think Rahat Fateh ali khan’s voice has no significance, I don’t believe. As soulful the old days songs were, I just have a song of Ajab Prem ki ghazab kahani on my phone which is always echoing in my ears. If you have ever loved and lost in it, which is a very dubious distinction I am proud of…then just listen and try to understand what Kailash kher sings when he says…Kaise bataye Kyun tumko chaahe….As contemporary and as melodious the 70’s were, I guess music has always been soulful, its the perception which matters. Maybe leave your parents glasses and try looking into your friends eyes….believe me, you won’t find melody to be far enough.

    • the idea of the post was to celebrate an era… i had clearly mentioned it is my opinion …it is not tht i have shut my ears and eyes to music made nowadays…. i have found melody in rehman, too, but only that for me it doesn’t linger as long as a Naushad’s number or Roshan’s song does…
      and the fact is that, I will never take pride in saying i belong to a Rehman genration because the truth is tht though belonging to that age I am not entirely from it.. tht’s why i said it is a paradox… the point was not to look down upon any artist or director… and I have substantiated my views, too… no music director now can make a film a hit tht’s a feat tht only yesteryear’s composers cud achieve… u remember a yaadon ki baarat and Hum Kisi Se Kam Nahin for the music more than anything…and the movie became a hit coz of the music… a rajinder kumar or biswajeet became starts coz of the songs picturised on them. tell me Iam wrong in tht point.. music is very subjective…wht is cacophony or archaic to you is melody to me and vice versa.. all of us deserve tht benefit of doubt

      • Anonymous Says:

        C’mon the post clearly says, Where has that melody gone…what i wanted to say was that melody is always there. Offcourse, you are entitled to your opinions as its your blog after all but still i never said that songs of those era were archaic. I also loved those songs, after all who wouldn’t but still i feel songs are still the same and there are songs which touch you and if you say that its not that case, then OK. It’s your blog and your say after all. But yaa i try listening to just one song of 3 Idiots…Give me some sumshine…and yaa then also you belive songs were not good, then you are very steadfast with your opinions i would say.

  2. hmmm :)… i have also said i find it tantalising when my folks say move on… it is actually about my views vs. others… tht’s wht the post intends to.say..

    • i do not thnk it can ever be vs as far as music goes….
      and to all those who say move on..i guess u shud stay where you are..because its not often you find people with such a suave taste and an apetite for melody 🙂

  3. Janani, the post is good. Not many people can claim to know, and love, ‘that’ era while living in the current one. You should seriously think about writing features in this area for mainline publictions. This is your forte.

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