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If I can just give to the world more than I take from it, I will be a very happy man. For there is no greater joy in life than to give. Motto : Live, Laugh and Love. You can follow me on Twitter too . My handle is @Raja_Sw.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

More than cricket - a passion for old songs

Many of my posts until now have been about cricket. It may give the impression that cricket is my all-consuming interest.

Well, not really.

Yes, cricket is one of my biggest passions. I can spend hours watching it, discussing it, reading about it, checking scores and statistics. And I do. I have spent many nights just following cricket scores on the internet. And not just weekend nights. Many a sleep-deprived messy work-day morning has my cricket passion to blame entirely for it.

But there is one other interest of mine that beats even cricket. It may not seem possible but yes, there is. It is my interest in old hindi songs and movies.

I have intentionally been very specific and said "old hindi songs". Instead of saying "old hindi music" - and appearing to know more about music than I do.

I have absolutely no claims to knowing anything about music. I have never learnt music, never played a musical instrument, never learnt singing.I will almost certainly fail to recognise an instrument nine out of ten times, a raag ninety-nine out of hundred times.

So I know nothing about music. What I do know is that one does not need to know about music to be able to enjoy it. There is something natural about music that seems to get into one's psyche. It cuts across age, sex, race, every type of barrier.

Of course, tastes are different. Thankfully. If everybody liked only one type of music, other types would not exist at all. Life would be so monotonous. The different tastes allow different types of music to get created. And to flourish.

I would also like to clarify another point. My interest in "old hindi songs" is not in any way a criticism of other songs. Of other languages or generations. It is just that I have been exposed much more to these songs and they have found a special place in my heart.

Maybe I should make an effort to listen to other types of songs. Maybe I will. I am sure there are plenty of new songs out there that are just as melodious as old ones. And plenty in other languages too. The few English songs I know, I actually like. I happen to hear Spanish songs every now and then. And find that, even without understanding a word of the lyrics, they are quite catchy. Understanding the lyrics would probably enhance an appreciation of the music.

Another clarification. When I say "old hindi songs", I am talking about songs of upto the 1970s or early 1980s. I feel that somewhere in the mid-80s, there was this gap. It was as if all the good music directors and lyricists had decided to take a sabbatical at the same time. They returned in 1989-90 (QSQT, Aashiqui et al) and once again songs took centrestage in Hindi films.

I have been very much out of touch with Hindi songs since that sabbatical. I know some songs of the 1990s. But this century has completely passed me by. I can count on my fingers the number of songs I know of the current decade. And I have absolutely no clue about the composer, singer, lyricist, film.

So I think it is best to stick with what I know. I will stick with "old hindi songs". Mostly film songs but the odd song that I recall may be a non-filmi song. Like a non-filmi ghazal.

In discussing songs here, my approach is going to be very simple. This is MY blog - and I can discuss whatever songs I like. Whether anybody has heard of them or not. Or finds them interesting or not.

No, that is not exactly the attitude I am going to adopt. Yes, I do want to personalise my song presentation with my comments about the songs, any experiences associated with the songs, maybe some background information about the songs.

But I do not want this to be all MY show. There is no greater joy than sharing. Sharing experiences, sharing interests. Educating one another.

THAT is going to be something I hope to achieve here. I will be presenting some songs - not necessarily the most popular ones. In fact, most likely they will not be the best-known songs around.

I can almost visualise my niece Nandu, and my nephew Chikki, smiling. I have forced my choice of songs on them a number of times. They jokingly refer to these songs as ATCs (all-time classics). The main qualification of such songs for them is that they would NEVER have heard the song before had it not been for me.

Well, N & C, you are my prime target audience for this blog. And others of your generation.
You like old songs, you know a number of old songs. But there are so many old songs out there (yes, ATCs :-) ) that you do not know about. Maybe the combination of the song, the lyrics, the music, the visuals - you may just find yourself enjoying the song.

Or maybe not. In any case, I would just request all you youngsters out there to have an open mind about old songs. One man's food is another's poison. To each his own, I always say. If you like the songs, fine. If you don't, that is just fine too. (I have even listened and tapped to "jhalak dikhla ja" to try to understand the taste of today's generation. :-). And believe me, I do like catchy songs like "oonchi hai building". :-)).

Since nowadays many songs are available on youtube, I plan to use this where possible. It is fantastic to be able to present the song in its entirety - song, music, lyrics and visuals.

That is how and why I plan to go about presenting my songs. This is an outlet for myself - to share my songs (well, not my songs but my choice of songs) with the world. Anybody who wants to join in and comment, is most welcome to do so.

Watch this space.


Nandini Vishwanath said...

Ha ha :) I have a warm feeling all over after reading this post. Raja Mama, you brought so many, many memories of the Antakshari nights and the film quizzes :)

Go ATC ;)

squarecut.atul said...

Well Raja, I too will look forward to your songs.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes you discover some unknown gems while listening to Vividh Bharati - one of them was "Suna Hai Jabse" from the movie "Ramu Dada". Do hear this song -it is too good