Tuesday, December 15, 2009

रेडियो सीलोन के वे दिन............

There are many aficionados in remote corners of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh who become restless if their radio set does not catch the 7.30 a.m. slot on the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation. The inimitable ‘Purani Filmon Ke Geet’ has been a rich offering of rare Hindi film songs of the 1940s and 50s. A genius named Clifford Dodd, in 1949, understood the potential of Hindi broadcasts when a stubborn B V Keskar banned film sangeet on All India Radio. Dodd convinced the Ceylon government, as it was known at the time, of the urgency of grabbing the opportunity. He found another dedicated soul in Vijay Kishore Dubey, who had resigned from AIR in disgust. The combination gave birth to the Hindi service on Radio Ceylon. It proved so lethal that for the next 30 years, Radio Ceylon ruled the hearts of Hindi film music lovers. The pinnacle of popularity, undoubtedly, was ‘Binaca Geetmala’, immortalised by Amin Sayani speaking from a tiny cubicle in Mumbai’s Colaba.
The Hindi section of Radio Ceylon was a hit overnight. It started receiving a mountain of letters daily, with Dubey selecting most captivating songs. It became so popular that the Indian government soon had to launch its own commercial service, Vividh Bharati. Kumar Nawathe correctly said in a recent memoir that though the films of that era were quite ordinary, the power of music was such that crowds thronged cinema houses just to watch song sequences. Dubey’s successor, Gopal Sharma, started peppering his commentary with anecdotes and personal recollections of the stars and film-making and scaled new heights of popularity. Even today, there are people who long to hear his voice. It was Sharma who laid down the convention that the last song in the ‘Purani Filmon Ke Geet’ would be a K L Saigal song, a convention which continues. Over the years, though, the popularity of the Hindi service has been on the wane. The Sri Lankan government has curtailed its expenditure on the service for want of returns. The new generation in India is not all that interested. Padmini Pereira and Jyoti Parmar, both born Sri Lankan nationals, have been trying their best to keep the service afloat. Their endurance is strengthened by a band of listeners who will feel like they’ve lost a close relative if the service is stopped.
(द टाइम्स ऑफ इंडिया,दिल्ली, 15 दिसम्बर,2009 में दिलीप चावड़े का आलेख)

1 comment:

  1. Very good article.
    Even today if a Farmaish can be sent by e mail hundreds of thousands will still flock Radio Ceylon every day.

    Yesterday for one of our programs in Thane, we had invited Padmini Pereira and she came and threw a spell on the jam packed audience for 3 hours.


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