Posts filed under ‘Hindi Film Music’

Lata Mangeshkar

This is the name that is synonymous with thousands of hit songs from Bollywood over the past several decades. A name that has worked with singers all the way from KL Saigal in the distant past to trend setters such as AR Rahman. A voice against which every single Bollywood voice would be compared. Simply put, you cannot talk about Bollywood music without a mention of Lata Mangeshkar.


An incredible career spanning several decades.

The Bhairavi in Saavro (Film Anuradha tuned brilliantly by Maestro Ravishankar) to valaiosai in 1988 to Khamoshiyaan in the 2000s required Lata Mangeshkar’s voice, one as a young 20 year old and another as a septugenarian. And the nightingale delivered.

One could go on and on about the songs she sang or the fabled legends of her arriving jet lagged from an international trip, walking into a studio in Bombay to record a flawless rendition of Satyam Shivam Sundaram to the accompaniment of a 100 piece orchestra that stood in reverence and watched her sing and leave.

What strikes me about her voice is the freshness that hits you every time you listen to O Sajna or Aayega or ‘Haai re woh‘ ‘man mohana – or the precision and purity of the rendition of songs such as ‘lag ja galeornaina barse or ‘mera saaya’ornanda nandanaorkarm ki gati‘, or the energy in Guide‘, or the spirit of devotion in this version of the Hanuman Chalisa or the sweetness in simple songs such as ‘yaadon ki baaraat or the transcendental serenity in this simple household Ganesha aarti jaideva (Marathi) or the deshbhakti in this scintillating rendition of  vandemataram or this stunning jayostute (penned by Svatantraveer Savarkar) or Narsinh Mehta’s vaishnao-janto (a hymn dear to Gandhiji).

The blessed singer had the ability to make songs sound deceptively simple, when in reality they actually needed a sensitive voice and a superior sense of musicianship that had probably been seasoned over several lives!

Probably the most impactful recording of hers that moves me every single time is this recording of two chapters of the Bhagwad Gita as tuned by her brother Hridayanath Mangeshkar. The beauty with which short passages of ragas are performed, render these precious recordings as the pramana – प्रमाण (the absolute source of reference) that define the ragas, yardsticks against which renditions by other artists would need to measure up to!

We are grateful to be surrounded by her recordings ; one can just search for her voice on Youtube and keep playing them for eternity and still not get tired.

Our gratitude to her ‘MasterClasses’ and  namaskarams to that voice eternal.

Kanniks Kannikeswaran

February 6, 2022 at 9:12 am Leave a comment

Acknowledging the gift of our musical landscape

On this day of rejuvenation in early spring, I am writing this note to express my acknowledgement and gratitude for everything we take for granted in music and the musical landscape that we are exposed to today.

We live in an era where there is so much available gratis. I am not speaking about just the recordings and the videoclips available on the internet.

I am talking about the very systems of music that we take for granted. The staff notation, advanced notating software, universally accepted conventions, the large repertoire of music that has evolved from the Gregorian chants to the large scores of John Williams.

For those of us of Indian origin – we are certainly grateful for the Bollywood melodies of yesteryears, songs that gave us great joy while we walked to school, and the songs that continue to delight our children, the voices that we remember in our sleep – the melodies that make us go back in time and feel young again.

For those initiated into Indian art music, arent we glad that ragas exist! What would this world be like without a mian ki malhar or a bhairav or a senjurutti or an ananda bhairavi? Our musical senses are conditioned by what we as a community have listened to. My father’s generation was thrilled to bits with the 78 RPM recordings of yesteryear masters. My generation listened to the radio and to tape recorded music in the days prior to the proliferation of sabhas.

Most humans have a taste for music; music elevates moods; brings comfort, memorializes occasions. Some of us humans have the ability to enunciate musical distinctions such as the raga, the swara and tala even as mere toddlers. Some of us have the ability to learn them later; some of us have the ability to set aside all these distinctions and just enjoy the feelings that music creates. The bottomline is that there exists a system (that parallels the order in nature) that has evolved over centuries in our collective cognition such that it is possible for some of us to latch on even as toddlers.  Particularly in the world of Karnatic music, there exists in the public domain a treasury of compositions dating back to pre Hyder times – a treasury whose tip has merely been scathed in today’s exploration of ragas. It is thanks to this system and the treasury of compositions that today’s concerts and festivals (that in turn shape today’s musical landscape) flourish.

Our children have a wider access to musical distinctions. Opportunities abound today for those that want to sing, play, perform, create, innovate. And these in turn will shape the musical landscape of tomorrow’s generation.

As we celebrate spring again this year, I chose to acknowledge the system of Indian Art music that exists with its fine musical distinctions and a vast repertoire of compositions that beckon us to learn and grow more each day. I acknowledge the masters that have nurtured and shaped the musical landscape that I was born into. I acknowledge the proverbial Sarasvati that sits majestically on every voice that rises in song and poetry. I am grateful for every voice that wants to sing and for every every ear that loves to listen.

Kanniks Kannikeswaran

March 27, 2016 at 1:43 pm Leave a comment

Salil Chowdhury

There is a certain magic about the music of Salil Chowdhury. Something was markedly different about his melodies and his orchestration. (more…)

February 10, 2008 at 4:30 am 2 comments