This is the era that experiences the increasing dominance of loud and plagiarised music that are apologies for melody.
It is therefore heartening to write about programmes produced and presented by individuals and organisations paying tributes to the Golden Age of Hindi film music graced by great songwriters, composers and singers.
The Seventh edition of ‘Old is Gold,’ that went on stage at Dorothy Winstone Centre, Auckland Girls Grammar School belonged to a class that was reminiscent of the best in Hindi Cinema. Amit Sengupta, Director of Mohammed Rafi Academy of Music who produced and directed the three plus hours programme deserves credit for bringing together an army of local talents, paying tributes to such great singers as Mohammed Rafi, Hemant Kumar, Mukesh, Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Samshad Begum and many others.
A team of 29 singers, musicians and dancers participated in the programme, rendering songs and dance sequences that have enthralled millions of people around the world over the past six decades.
According to many, Hindi film songs, including the way they were picturised between 1950 and 1970 were melodious and meaningful.
“Old film songs touched people’s hearts, had a message and could be sung and heard anywhere without a tinge of embarrassment. Today’s songs are not only meaningless but also vulgar,” they said.
However, modern Hindi films also have their fan-following.
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“We agree that Old is Gold but new ones are in the heart of youngsters with rocking music. We have to move with the times. If today’s music is not popular, why would our music directors be paid millions of rupees, never heard of before? A R Rahman, who won Grammy and Oscar Awards belongs to today’s world of music,” they said.
It is not just Hindi film music that is subject to discussion. The state of music in other Indian languages, notably Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam have also been criticised for the ‘undue influence’ that they draw from music of other countries.
‘Old is Gold’ (VII) was a programme that rekindled memories of the past, bringing together people who had a good ear for good music. The timelessness of these songs were again proved and it was a delight to see younger members of our communities rendering the songs of yore with enthusiasm and confidence.
The first ten numbers bore testimony to the richness of talent that is inherent among the members of our communities.
They included ‘Shirdiwale Sai Baba’ (from Amar Akber Anthony) ‘Jane Oh Kaise Log The Jinke (Pyassa), ‘Jewan Se Bhari Teri Aankhe’ (Safae), ‘Na Jiya Lage Na’ (Anand), ‘Aap Ke Hasin Rukh Pe’ (Baharen Phir Bhi Aayegi), ‘Jalte Hai Jiske Liye’ (Sujata), ‘Aa Chalke Tujhe’ (Door Gagan Ke Chhaon Me), ‘Lag Ja Gale’ (Oh Kaun Thi), ‘Ek Pardesi Mera Dil Le Gaya’ (Phagun) and ‘Ye Zindegi Usiki Hai’ (Anarkali).
Among the singers who enthralled the audience were Akhila Puthigai (‘Udti Pawan Ki’ from Shagird), Amit Sengupta (‘Door Rahekar Na Karo Baat’ from Amaanat), Anonnya Gomez (‘In Aankhon Ke Masti Me’ from Umrao Jaan), Arpita Das (‘Lag Ja Gale’ from Woh Kaun Thi), Guncha Singh (‘Yeh Zindegi Usike Hai’ from Anarkali), Hema Annie (‘Rahe Na Rahe Hum’ from Mamta), Hubert D’Cruze (Jane Woh Kaise’’ from Pyassa),
Jasveer Singh (‘Jalte Hai Jiske Liye’ from Sujata), Rachit Bhatia (‘Roop Tera Mastana’ from Aradhana), Rakhi (‘Na Jao Saiyan’from Saheb Bibi Aur Gulam), Ritika Shah (‘Mohe Panghat Pe Nandlal’ from Mughal E Azam), Shikha Shethia (‘Saiyan Dil Me Ana Re’ from Bahar), Siddharth Krish (‘Lakhon Hai Nigahon Me’ from Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon), Srisha Iyer (‘Na Jiya Lage Na’ from Anand), Sucheta Banerjee (‘Bhawnra Bada Nadan Hai’ from Saheb Bibi Aur Gulam) and Vibha Tribedi (‘Mera Naam Chin Chin Choon’ from Howrah Bridge).
The most significant aspect of ‘Old is Gold’ (VII) was that it featured father-child partnership, not often heard in local concerts.
The father-son/daughter combination will hopefully take Old is Gold to greater heights. Among them are Rajesh Bhatia and son Rachit (singers), Dr Hubert D’Cruz (singer) and son Jeremi (Acoustic Drums), Joseph Alexander (Alex- Electronic Drums) and son Joscel (Acoustic Drums), Anthony Yempee (Lead Guitar) and daughter Diya (Rhythmic Guitar) and Jasveer Singh and daughter Guncha Kaur (singers).’
Three dance numbers, by Dance Director Ratna Venkat, Nirmita Ghose and Upasana Chowdhury were a special feature of the show.
The dance numbers, ‘Tu Hai Mera Prem Devta’ (Bharata Natyam-Kathak style), ‘Mohe Panghat Pe’ (Kuchipudi-Kathak) and ‘Dhoondo Dhoondo Re Sajna’ (Indian folk) added to the uniqueness of the show.
The event had its special moments too. Despite financial shortcomings orchestrated by lukewarm support of sponsors and less than enthusiastic ticket sales, Mr Sengupta was able to donate $3001 to Starship Foundation, setting a record for himself (he has thus far mobilised more than $28,000) for the charitable organisation through previous music programmes.
We have conveyed the views of the audience on a number of issues to Mr Sengupta, who has promised to address them in his next show.
Readers may respond to the abovementioned views to email@example.com
1. A part of the singers at Old is Gold (VII)
2. Amit Sengupta presenting a cheque for $3000 to Starship Foundation Chief Executive Brad Clark