HFM REWIND – Music, Time & Happiness

“You should definitely join for the next webcast!’’ urged Suresh, calling specifically from Las Vegas to tell me this.

I smiled as I recalled previous interactions.  ‘’I sure will!’’

‘’I’m sure you will really enjoy it and have lots to say,’’ went on Suresh.

I was sure about the enjoyment part.  But…lots to say?

‘’Are you sure?’’ I said doubtfully.  ‘’You said Shankar is hosting it, right?  Well, he is pretty much an ocean with his encyclopaedic knowledge of Hindi Film Music.  I doubt if I will have anything much to say myself.’’

(For those who don’t know, Shankar is Suresh’s brother and I have often been taken by surprise by the siblings’ sheer depth of knowledge and especially Shankar who seems to have even the minutest of details on his fingertips.  Of course, that is what passion is all about.)

‘’Of course not!’’ Suresh was quick to respond.  ‘’Just be there – and you won’t be disappointed!’’

Suresh was right, of course.  I wasn’t disappointed – far from it.

I was delighted.

Before I proceed further, here is the link to the teaser for yesterday’s webcast:


‘’And that brings us to the end of today’s session on the Cloning Effect in Hindi Film Music…’’ wound up Archisman Mozumder who effectively co-hosted the webcast along with Shankar.

And I realized with a shock of pleasant surprise that 90 minutes had passed without me realizing it.  Wow!

Starting with an introduction to the selected theme, the hosts said they would be focusing this week on three pioneering HFM giants – Shankar-Jaikishan, OP Nayyar and RD Burman.  They would present how their work had been repeatedly “Cloned” during their times – underscoring the fact that each of the three was a truly a trendsetting archetypal thinker.

Presenting numerous examples, both popular and interspersed with a few not-so-well-known, Team REWIND HFM lucidly explained how other music directors took inspiration from these three.

The hosts in the beginning added the necessary disclaimer that while the subject may be ‘’cloning’’, on no account was this meant to be any disrespect to the directors who modelled some of their songs on the styles of Shankar-Jaikishan, OP Nayyar and RD Burman.

The webcast was packed with various nuggets of information.  The fact about Dattaram (intrinsically part of the Shankar-Jaikishan team) and how his style came to be known as the ‘’Datta Thekha’’ and how he incorporated this into one of the songs in the 1958 Raj Kapoor – Mala Sinha starrer Parvarish, was definitely a revelation.

Numerous other examples were demonstrated – how Madan Mohan, Roshan, Sardar Mallik, Sonik Omi, Khayyam (a *huge* surprise for me), Bappi Lahiri, Sapan Jagmohan (it was pointed out that Sapan Jagmohan was quite different from R.D.Burman’s assistant Sapan Chakravarty), Bhupen Hazarika, Hemant Bhosale (the redoubtable Asha’s son) and Jaidev have borrowed these styles.

Personally for me, the biggest surprise was the title song sung by Asha Bhosle in the film Yeh Nazdeekiyaan.  I was ready to swear it was R.D.Burman when my jaw dropped on being told that the music was by Pt. Raghunath Seth, a Hindustani Classical flautist of great repute.  I have heard Raghunath Seth’s concerts broadcasted by good old All India Radio as part of their much-awaited annual series of concerts – the Radio Sangeet Sammelan.  In my childhood, never would a Radio Sangeet Sammelan concert would be missed be it Hindustani and definitely Carnatic of course!  My father would be glued to the huge radio set all ready for the two concerts that would be broadcasted from 10:00 PM to Midnight.  On Sundays additional concerts would be from 10:00 AM to Noon.  The Radio Sangeet Sammelan fortnight during the latter half of November and the beginning of December was definitely an annual event much looked forward to.

Consequently I did initially have some difficulty in accepting that this seductive Asha number was done by Raghunath Seth!  Especially when I recall the slightly bold posters of Yeh Nazdeekiyaan featuring Marc Zuber and gorgeous Parveen Babi! 🙂  My cousin Neeraja would hum this song back then, all starry-eyed thanks to Marc Zuber’s appeal!

The webcast ended with the hosts Shankar and Archisman (affectionately he is naturally Archie to all!) introducing the rest of the Team REWIND HFM – comprising Suresh (Subramaniam Vaikuntam), K.V.Ramesh, his wife Sandhya, Subramanian Iyer and Balaji Ramachandran.

The punctually begun webcast was effectively and efficiently moderated by Shankar’s brother Suresh sitting across the world in Las Vegas.  Every effort was made to make the session smooth and as interactive as possible and happily the audience participated with great enthusiasm and gusto.  Everyone in the audience was given a chance to voice his or her feedback and some constructive suggestions were made and acknowledged.

Such a concept cannot be conceived without an overweening passion and to actually put it into action and execute it, calls for an extra high level of dedication quite different from the former.  Team REWIND HFM definitely needs to be encouraged, complimented and commended for this wonderful effort and knowing the sheer knowledge and depth of understanding and the devotion the team members have, it can be said with a great deal of satisfaction that there is a LOT to look forward to!

As Shankar and Archie said it yesterday, Hindi Film Music is truly an art form by itself.



About Mohan Santhanam

Carnatic vocalist, based in Chennai. Disciple of Late Shri T.R.Subramanyam (TRS).
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