Review of the Book
LAXMIKANT-PYARELAL Music Forever.
By P P Ramchandran.
Mr. P P Ramchandran, popularly known as Mr. PPR. Mr. PPR deserves all praise for his achievement especially at 83 + age. His name should be included in gunnies book of records. He is married to books, has more than 2000 books in his personal library at home. He has reviewed over 1000 books, in 50 years.——————————————————————————————
I have pleasure in forwarding my review of the book “
“Laxmikant Pyarelal, Music Forever” by Ajay Poundarik.
Do read and respond.
Laxmikant Pyarelal —–Music Forever by Ajay Poundarik ; Published by Blue Rose Publisher ; Pages 695 ; Price Rs 1500/- ************************************************************************
Speaking in the House of Commons on 20th August 1940 in the heart of the Second World War the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill declared, “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few”, referring to the ongoing efforts of the Royal Air Force fighting the Battle of Britain.
Slightly amending the British Lion that roared we can say about Shri.Ajay Poundarik the author of the book under review — “ Never in the annals of Hindi film history was so much owed by so many to one individual”.
The book under review is “ Laxmikant—Pyarelal—Music Forever—An ‘L P’ Era ::1963—1998” .The book is a monumental work—the result of unremitting hard work—collecting, collating, arranging in a palatable form valuable information on the greatest musical duo of
Bollywood, who dominated the arena for over three and a half decades.
Laxmikant-Pyarelal is the name that needs no introduction in the field of Hindi Film Music or Hindustani Music. The name represents an archive of hit film music that was churned out non-stop right from 1963 till the end of the century. L–P— Laxmikant-Pyarelal duo was one of the few Hindi Film music directors refreshingly active for almost four decades.
L-P’s arrival in the Hindi Film Music world was during the year 1963 with the film “Parasmani”—a musical family drama partly black and white partly colour. It had no major star to boast of. The film was a Superhit with six super songs. This was followed by Dosti, Mr X in Bombay, Sant Gyaneswar and Sati-Savitri—all with outstanding songs sung even today.
This book vividly captures the magic generated by the characters that people the Hindi film world as also those behind the screen—the playback singers and music directors and directors of the golden era of the 1960s and 1970s. The genius of these towering personalities does not end with them- it provides a peep into a time that had a romance and artistic feel all of its own. With the author’s nostalgic lens the reader is led into a fascinating world of emotions, romance, melody and quite a different set of moral values that dominated in the world of Indian cinema.
To name a few items which the book highlights —Chetan Anand’s fine directorial ability, Raj Kapoor’s showmanship, Dilip Kumar’s perfection as the king of tragedy, Madhubala’s ethereal beauty and Dev Anand’s vibrancy.
The colossal contribution of Laxmikant—Pyarelal is evidenced by the fact that the Duo gave music to 503 Films creating 2845 Songs, utilising 160 Singers and engaging 72 songwriters.
When the official history of Bollywood movies comes to be written an important place will be given to a Barometer that gauged the
popularity of the songs and that was the weekly programme Binaca Geetmala. The show was broadcast in 1953 by Radio Ceylon and the host was Ameen Sayani who had a mesmerising voice that was sweet and singsong. The programme gave ranks to the most popular Bollywood film songs according to sales in select shops in select cities.
The program captured the entire nation—-as later Ramayana did. Wednesday—8 to 9 p m was dedicated to Ameen Sayani who offered a feast for one hour with selected popular songs.
The songs soon were selected on the basis of Listeners’ Preferences.At the end of every year lists were compiled based on points earned by songs through the year, by airing it on weekly countdown programmes. These songs were the top hits of the year and was called Binaca Geetmala Final Songs.
Binaca Geetmala used to broadcast annual (Varshik) programme giving the orders of the top ‘Final Songs” songs of the year, at the end of every year.
If we count the “Final Songs” of Binaca Geetmala, from 1953 to 1993 the “Final Songs” numbers comes to 1259, in 40 years. Out of this LP captured a whopping 245 songs followed by Shankar Jaikishan with 144 songs. Eleven songs of L P appeared on TOP.
Another parameter was the Filmfare Awards. Ever since L-P entered into the Hindi Film Music in 1963 they were nominated for the Best Music Director for almost each and every year . Altogether L-P got 7 Filmfare Trophies, including Four Times in a row—1977/1978/1979/1980. Films are Dosti, Milan, Jeene Ki Raah, Amar Akbar Anthony, Satyam Shivam Sundaram, Sargam and Karz. Laxmikant-Pyarelal composed over 2900 songs for nearly 503 films in a span of 35 years.
Pages 488 to 504 furnish a list of the Films for which the duo gave music from 1963 to1998. About 489 films.
Pages 505 to 695 gives a whopping list of 2844 songs.
What is astounding is that the author gives in this list the following details—Film / Year / Singers /Lyricists/ Number of films and the numbers of the songs.
The book covers every permutation and combination of L-P and singers, lyricists, film producers, even musical instruments—and offers these year wise. Binaca Geetmala awards, Filmfare Awards, etc are also furnished. Quite often songs are analysed in detail.
Nuggets of information are passed on gently.
There was a time when there was a rift between Laxmikant and Pyarelal and both of them almost decided to separate. Lata Mangeshkar, Naushad and Subash Ghai took the initiative and resolved the rift. Till date no one knows the cause of the rift.
An interesting story is connected with the song “My name is Anthony Gonsalves” from the film “Amar Akbar Anthony”. The original name of the character played by Amitabh was Anthony Fernandez. L-P wanted to give a tribute to Pyarelal’s violin guru—whose name was Anthony Gonsalves. They requested Manmohan Desai to change the character’s name to Anthony Gonsalves and he readily agreed and the song is a tribute to a violin teacher from Goa.
The reader is made to understand the great role of Laxmikant-Pyarelal in the world of Hindi Film Music.
The book of over 700 pages containing 92 different articles is a veritable feast.
The author Ajay Poundarik is an Engineer who has undertaken projects in Nigeria, Afghanistan and India.
One wishes the author had given brief biographies of both Laxmikant and Pyarelal. Also that he had employed a good proof reader.
The Review Of Book ::
LAXMIKANT-PYARELAL, Music Forever.
By Mr Manek Premchand, Music Historian
A Labour of Love The author has been in love with music since his childhood, but absolutely in love with the tunes of Laxmikant-Pyarelal, right since 1963, when the composing duo arrived with a bang in Parasmani. They soon became his heroes, as he says in the chapter Research, Book Writing and Acknowledgment.
Reading the book itself—694 pages of content with hard-binding—is itself a huge task, so one can imagine how much more it must have taken for the author to put it together in the first place. As a writer myself, I can see what he has not talked about: the hundreds of pages of drafts, the sleepless nights, the obsession to carry on, deliver something of value. Thus, the book is clearly a labour of love.
Yes, a lot of thought has gone into this effort, and the book is beautifully arranged from start to end. There is a listing, for example, on actors who lip-synched L-P’s songs (which are mentioned), with the author covering the major ones like Amitabh and Dharmendra of course, but not sparing even minor actors like Javed Jaffry, Laxmi Chhaya or Kimi Katkar.
There’s excellent information on the use of musical instruments too. He tells us for instance, that in the qawwali Parda hai parda (Amar Akbar Anthony, 1977), the maestros used plenty of the mandolin, shehnai/naadaswaram, and synchronised these with the tabla/dholak. Did you know too that Main shair to naheen (Bobby, 1973), involved the use of the Iranian santoor, guitar, accordion and viola? Not just that, Poundarik sometimes even tells us who played the musical instruments in specific songs. As an example, from the same Bobby, the song Hum-tum ik kamre mein band hon featured the Iranian santoor played by Shivkumar Sharma and the accordion by Sumit Mitra.
The author has looked at the all-important harmonium, and listed out songs that featured the instrument on the screen too, not only in the songs composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal, but by a range of musicians, right from Anil Biswas (Shukriya aye pyaar tera shukriya/Aaram, 1951) to Sonik-Omi (Raaz ki baat keh doon to/Dharma, 1975). That’s beautiful trivia, but there’s more of it sprinkled throughout the book. Did you know for instance that Sanjeev Kumar began his career as a police officer in Hum Hindustani (1960)? Or that actor Sanjay Khan started up in films around the same time as Laxmikant-Pyarelal? The author then weaves these actors with the music of these maestros.
There’s an exciting chapter on L-P’s creation of tunes based on Hindustani classical raags. You think of Roshan tumhi se duniya and Suno sajna papihe ne (both raag mishr Pahadi) or you read about their marvellous work in raag mishr Kalavati: Agar dilbar ki ruswaayi humen manzoor ho jaaye, as well as Kabhi to miloge jeevan saathi. These and many more are what you find as precious gems in this wonderfully elaborate book.
In fact, the author has done exhaustive commendable work in a beautiful array of chapter headings, none more vital than the filmography and discography, listed at the end of the book. The author informs us through lists that Laxmikant-Pyarelal’s music was featured in over 500 films, including 14 regional ones, and they ended up composing 2844 songs. Whew!
Among the book’s many merits though, there’s one downside in it: there are plenty of typos scattered through the book. These are in film titles, the songs, and most importantly in the read itself. This jars somewhat, taking away a bit from the remarkable read about the amazing music-composing team. Even so, it is a good book, especially for purposes of reference .Manek Premchand Music Historian