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Geeta Dutt - the Enigma

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The morning had started, and I was tuning stations as usual, not watching the cats-eye on the valve radio which by the way would have been apt, but rather the LCD display of my trusty Logitech squeezebox internet radio. Finally I settled on the station I wanted and soon the magical voice wafted over the airwaves, that of Geeta Dutt a perennial favorite of mine. I must say, I have always been partial to her, and when I hear Geeta Dutt, the song and the voice takes me away, to another era, to another scene, as it should. The song was one of her last ones and perhaps the most sonorous…Meri jaan, mujhe jana kaho meri jaan….The scene, a rainy playful one between Sanjeev kumar & Tanuja in Anubhav – set in 1971, penned very interestingly by Gulzar and set to a lovely tune by Kanu roy. For a while I was lost in it, and then the pensive mood set in, with thoughts of Geeta Dutt, the queen of sultry melody who lived in this world for just 42 years…before the voice was lost..

There has be…

When melody was queen - making the song

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Part 2 – Making the song
For a person to listen to a song and finally say – ‘are wah! kya gaana tha… yaar, woh’, the song has to be nothing short of inspirational. From conception to production, from advertisement to music CD release is a long process, and somewhat haphazard when it relates to Bollywood. By the time the music director finally has his copy ready for mass CD or record punching in the pre-90’s era, he was huffing and puffing and would have lost a good deal of hair.
In the first article ‘From the original soundtrack’ we went through the historical development of the music scene. In this one we will study the steps taken to get a song ready. As we saw, a few film studios were established in Bombay during the 30’s and some names like New Theatres, Prabhat talkies and Bombay talkies were prominent. Many others followed, notably Imperial Film Company, Minerva Movietone, Ranjit Movietone, Sagar Movietone and Wadia Movietone. Of course Calcutta and Madras had their own studios,…

When Melody was Queen

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Part 1 – ‘From the original soundtrack’, the production process
As you grow older and the world changes, you slip into periods of nostalgia now and then, looking back at the road you have traveled. It is in those moments that you often remember music you loved, food you enjoyed and great reads, just to name a few. For me, music has always been an integral part and Hindi film music has been at the fore, starting from my high school days.
I still remember the old record player we had at Calicut where we could play ancient 78 rpm Hindi records and a few of MS Subalakshmi’s early hits like suprabatham, and that it was nothing fancy. The next was the Grundig (or was it Telefunken) spool players in some affluent houses. It looked so sophisticated, when the guy put on the spool tape, reeled it around and went on to play a number of songs, I also saw other spool tape players and recorders at the Calicut AIR where I used to be sent for some children’s program recordings. As I grew up, we start…