Sneak peek into world of Pancham

Passionate followers of Hindi film music and National-award winning authors Anirudha Bhattacharjee and Balaji Vittal interacted with music and literature lovers at the Bhubaneswar literary meet today. Known for their books RD Burman: The Man, The Music and Gaata Rahe Mera Dil: 50 Classic Hindi Film Songs, the duo shared their experiences during the research for the books and some anecdotes behind the 50 songs they listed in their last book.

By Namita Panda in Bhubaneshwar
  • Published 11.01.16
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Balaji Vittal (extreme left) and Anirudha Bhattacharjee (extreme right) at Tata Steel Bhubaneswar Literary Meet on Sunday. Picture by Sanjib Mukherjee

Bhubaneswar, Jan. 10: Passionate followers of Hindi film music and National-award winning authors Anirudha Bhattacharjee and Balaji Vittal interacted with music and literature lovers at the Bhubaneswar literary meet today.
Known for their books RD Burman: The Man, The Music and Gaata Rahe Mera Dil: 50 Classic Hindi Film Songs, the duo shared their experiences during the research for the books and some anecdotes behind the 50 songs they listed in their last book.

Based in Calcutta, Bhattacharjee is an alumnus of IIT Kharagpur and Jadavpur University. He is an amateur musician who loves films, quizzing and puzzles. Vittal is also an alumnus of Jadavpur University and frequently between Bangalore, where he works, and Hyderabad, where his family lives. Their book on R.D. Burman received the President’s National Award for Best Book on Cinema.

For their second book, the duo had selected 150 songs from which they chose 75, and finally 50. They then researched anecdotes and stories behind these immortal Hindi film songs. 

“The first song in the list is Babul mora naihar chhooth na jaaye, a 1932 number which has 15 covers over the years and is still fresh,” said Bhattacharjee.

The authors said that the famous song Beeti na beetaye raina was almost dropped from the film since Jeetendra did not like it much. But Amitabh Bachchan liked it and it was finally added. They also said that most Hindi film songs were based on Pahadi, Bhairavi, Yaman and Malkosh or Shivaranjani ragas.

Though both are professionals in the field of technology, they take out time to research extensively for their books. “It is tough to get information from people. There were film-makers who would be upset about a question and simply call off an interview or others who would not co-operate. But legends such as Asha Bhosle and Gulzar have been very helpful and humble,” said Vittal.

Bhattacharjee said that though A.R. Rahman is the best composer of this decade, he has become predictable now. 
“I like Shankar Ehsan Loy and Vishal Bharadwaj compositions. Overall, the music of the present time does not have a great shelf life. There is too much influence of Sufi and Rock music and lyrics are very abstract. The simple but meaningful lines written by the legendary lyricists made the songs of 50s and 60s memorable,” he said.
Gaata Rahe Mera Dil won the Mumbai Academy of the Moving Image award for best book on cinema last year.