Page 11 - Seniors Today -Volume no1
P. 11

and composers like AR Rahman, Vishal                   and Hindi words.
        Bharadwaj, Anu Malik and Jatin-Lalit?                  What else would you say was remarkable
        (Firmly) Nahin. In my opinion, a singer                about the composers of yesteryear?
        should never be conscious of such things.              I’ll tell you another thing about Sajjad
        Irrespective of the generations they belong            saab’s music. He was very particular about
        to, all music composers try to do their best.          melody. Even if one instrument was slightly
        As a singer, I used to enjoy the challenging           off-key, he would be livid. Once during a
        compositions of the past. I admit the young            recording, he asked a famous singer to stop
        music directors of today are a little scared of        at the gandhar. The singer wanted to know
        me. But I’ve never ever misbehaved with any            what gandhar was. Sajjad saab was aghast.
        composer or told him that his tune is no good          Sometimes I wonder what he would have
        or that I’ll sing it in my own way.                    said about today’s singers. Like my brother,

        But they might find it difficult to tell you           Sajjad saab used to get angry over any trace of
        what they want!                                        imperfection.
        I don’t mean to praise myself. But to date, I’ve       Are any of the top composers of today
        always tried to grasp the nuances of a song            perfectionists?
        by sitting with the composer, like a student           I don’t know how many of them have a deep
        sits before a teacher. In the past, I would            knowledge of classical music. The earlier
        make suggestions while singing for Madan               composers were steeped in classical music.
        bhaiyya (Madan Mohan), Shankar-Jaikishan               Burman dada’s knowledge of folk music was
        and Laxmikant-Pyarelal. Even Burman                    tremendous. He also used to sing with great
        dada. Quite a few directors encouraged me to           feeling. Pancham was the master of rhythms.
        suggest an alaap here or a taan there. But I’ve        Pyarelal had learnt to play the violin from
        never forced my suggestions on any music               his father. Laxmikant too knew a bit about
        director.                                              classical music. Madan bhaiyya was exposed
        How would you describe your professional               to classical music in Lucknow. Sajjad saab
        interaction with your brother Hridayanath              would compose nothing but classical music.
        Mangeshkar?                                            He played the mandolin superbly.
        I don’t dare to suggest a word when I sing             As for my brother, he speaks his mind. He
        for him. But if I don’t understand something           doesn’t hesitate to praise a fellow artiste. I
        in his composition, I do badger him with a             remember once Madan bhaiyya had come
        hundred questions.                                     home for a meal. The music of his Jahan Ara

        At times, his tunes are quite complex,                 had just been released. My brother liked the
        aren’t they?                                           songs so much that he asked Madan bhaiyya
        For a singer, yes, they’re complex. But I feel         to autograph the record. If Hridayanath
        he’s been maligned in this matter. In the              doesn’t like any of my songs, he criticises me
        past, Sajjad Hussain composed what you call            immediately. I don’t mind that all. In fact, I’ve
        complex songs. And rumours were spread                 always valued frank opinions in my life.
        that he’s too exacting, temperamental and
        egoistic. Actually I loved Sajjad Hussain’s
        music because like Naushad saab and Madan
        bhaiyya, he insisted on poetic lyrics. These
        composers understood and appreciated Urdu.
        Those who had some difficulties with Urdu or
        Hindi would consult specialists. For instance
        Burman dada and Salil Chowdhary would
        make a thousand enquiries about the Urdu

                                                                  RD Burman’s first Hindi song was sung by Lata
                                                                                   SENIORS TODAY | Volume 1 | Issue 1
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