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Melody makers of the subcontinent

November 28, 2013

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SINCE the release of the first Indian sound film Alam Ara in Majestic Cinema of Bombay on March 14, 1931, songs and music have been an integral and indispensable part of the movies produced in both India and Pakistan.

Although the pattern and style of the songs has changed over the last more than 80 years, people still throng the cinema houses if the movie has a good musical score.

Till the 1990s it was an established practice to have at least eight songs in a film with a mixture of sad, happy and romantic songs.

Those music composers were in great demand who would give the highest number of hits.

There are a number of films like Dilip Kumar’s Daag or Bharat Bhushan’s Baiju Bawra which had a weak story but did roaring business at the box office, only because of their superhit songs.

This phenomenon has been comprehensively captured in a recent book, Melody Makers of the Subcontinent by Dr Amjad Parvez.

It discusses musical talents and work of 45 leading composers of the subcontinent, some of whom mesmerised the public with their amazing melodies during the golden era of film music from the 1950s to 1980s.

The immortal songs made by composers such as Anil Biswas, Naushad Ali, S.D. Burman, Madan Mohan, Salil Chaudhry, Khayyam, Jaidev, Khwaja Khursheed Anwar, Rashid Attre, Master Inayat Hussain, Master Abdullah and many more still continue to haunt and bring happiness to millions of people with their melodious tunes.

Books written on film songs and their composers are keenly read by people who have either themselves got the flare for singing or are avid listeners of golden era songs rendered by the legendary K.L. Saigal, Mohammed Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Mukesh, Talat Mehmood, Hemant Kumar, Manna Dey, Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Mehdi Hassan, Madam Noor Jehan, and others.

Film songs composed in the subcontinent are unique as the success of a music director is judged from the fact that his tunes do not part with the melody.

The song may have been made for any situation depicting celebration, romance, tragedy, disappointment or war, the arrangement of its notes should be set in an expressive order and be harmonious.

Since such melodies touch the heart and soul of a person, it is the prime reason for the high popularity of these film songs in this part of the world.

PARVEZ RAHIM
Karachi