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Throwback to an earlier era

I woke up with this song in my head. Amazing because I hadn’t seen the movie till I was past 50 ,that too on a computer screen thanks to the internet. The singer/actor was, in all the first superstar of Indian Cinema. The composer was a very learned singer/actor himself who (to my mind) sacrificed his own singing /acting careers to not act as a competition of sorts to Kundanlal Saigal. Pankaj Mullick, the composer was no mean actor/singer himself. The song dates back to an era when live sound sets were the norm and playback singing was just emerging. The accompanying musicians were few and often visible in the film clips. Due to the constraints of technology, the singers would frequently be seen to be almost rooted to a spot that was closest to the microphone (just out of sight of the frame). The filming would happen till the director/music director/sound recordist was satisfied with the effect.

Listen to this immortal song by Saigal sahab from the movie Dushman. The lyrics are by Aarzoo Lakhnawi. The composition is by Pankaj Mullick. https://youtu.be/_bMOLTZuOJU

Saigal sahab looks immobile and the tabalchi very much visible. The sound recording is scratchy with hisses and other extraneous sounds – a combination of the technology of the times and the difficulty in preservation over nearly 90 years.

The microphone is planted in plain sight and the organ player sits in the background, unable to stop himself from nodding and swaying to the singing. This was magical singing, truly and amazing (but typical) that it is remembered even by a generation that wasn’t around when the movies were made. This is a better version (technology to the aid) https://youtu.be/TEh4CvW2nBw

Stay safe, folks, stay happy and healthy. See you later in the morning on my AIR FM Gold live program

By abchandorkar

Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, Pune, India

2 replies on “Throwback to an earlier era”

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