In this digital age of music, young Amdavadis are discovering their love for vintage Bollywood numbers. PRIYA ADHYARU-MAJITHIA features some big music clubs in the city that have contributed to reviving the retro rage
Skies rain enchantment in the air, and nothing expresses the tremulous confusion of first love like pyaar hua ikraar hua from Shree 420. After all, har dil jo pyaar karega woh gaana gayega. If your sweetheart is pal pal dil ke paas, everything is Satyam Shivam Sundaram. Otherwise, dil to hai dil, dil ka aitbar kya kijai. Aaiye meherbaan, feel the chemistry of classic retro songs that has captivated Amdavadis in its musical current. It all began in the late 60’s with Visaraata Sur – the first baby step towards the resurgence of retro music in the city. Almost three decades later, there are over 21 retro clubs catering to the growing tribe of vintage music lovers.
“Singer-couple Ambarish Parikh, 80, and Indira Parikh, 75 began the retro trend in the city. They held musical evenings dedicated to golden oldies and named it Visaraata Sur,” says Milan Joshi, secretary of Gramophone – the city’s first formal music club founded in 1996.
KEEPING SONGS ALIVE
The Parikhs found an heir in businessman Sanjay Kantharia who is a passionate collector of over 1.7 lakh vintage songs. He is the common link, promoter and watchdog of retro clubs in the city. “Each club functions as an embassy of retro culture. They help us conserve old songs by keeping its temper, appeal and flavour alive,” says the 43-year-old.
“Old songs are born out of priceless emotions. Its creation took hours of painstaking work and human co- ordination. There would be huge orchestras, sometimes 100-strong, and songs were recorded in a single go. There was no dubbing. If anyone made a mistake, everyone started all over again. Today, digital synchronization has replaced the hard work. Vintage songs are gems of Indian celluloid’s golden era. It is our duty to pass on this heritage to the next generation,” says Kantharia.
Of the 21 clubs in the city, the prominent ones include Gramophone Club, Club Suravali, Club Sur Suravali, Shankar-Jaikishan Music Foundation, Club Shivranjani, Saathsangaath Music Club, Sadabahar Musical Group,Soorangan Club and Farmaish Club.
Claiming to be no-profit, no-loss units, these clubs charge about Rs 1,500 to Rs 2,000 per listener for 4 -5 programmes a year. Considering there are 8,000 to 10,000 club members, Amdavadis spend at least Rs 1 crore a year to listen to these classics. What also reflects the rising craze for retro songs among Amdavadis is the fact that each of these clubs receives hundreds of membership requests every year, which they turn down due to maintain their exclusivity. Each club has a special role in fuelling the retro rage to new heights.
To keep alive the work of legendary lyricists, music composers and singers To work as custodians of vintage songs
- STRENGTH TO STRENGTH 1,200 members
- SURAVALI CLUB 600 members
- SUR SURAVALI 800 members
- CLUB SHIVRANJANI 2,200 members
- GRAMOPHONE CLUB 700 members
- FARMAISH CLUB 500 members
- OPERA HOUSE CLUB 1,000 members
- SURANGAN CLUB over 2,000 members
- OTHER CLUBS MORE THAN 45,000 to 50,000
AMDAVADIS ARE VINTAGE MUSIC BUFFS
USP: SHOWCASE SONGS IN SOCIAL, HISTORICAL AND PERSONAL CONTEXTS
Abhi toh main jawaan hoon… Malika Pukhraj sings. The voice filled with youth and vitality blossoms through the gramophone. The time is early ’90s. The place is the house of industrialist Arvind Desai, a retro lover who often played vintage songs from the period between 1932 and 1965. He would enjoy them with a group of about 12 like-minded friends at informal gatherings.
By 1996, they made the assembly formal under the name: Gramophone. Their first programme was held in 1996 with 118 listeners. Today, their number has swollen to 2,200 members. The club has conducted over 90 retro shows in the city. Legendary artists including Anil Biswas, Mina Kapoor, Jagmohan, Samshad Begam and Asha Parekh have attended their shows. Secretary Milan Joshi, a lawyer by profession, says, “We play between 28 and 42 classics, but we do not do it only for entertainment. We also educate our listeners. We reveal the aesthetics of these jewels by putting them in the right social, historical and personal contexts. We share with our listeners the perspective and experiences of legendary personalities linked with the making of these songs.”
USP: PLAY GUJARATI SONGS OF THE SAME TEMPER; USE INSTRUMENTS RARELY USED IN SONGS TODAY This club was formed by retro fans Rakshit Agnihotri, 51, Bhupendra Saheb, 76, Sarvdaman Bhatt, 60, and Shardul Majamudar, 60, in 2003. “The idea was to celebrate the contribution of Gujaratis in creating these classics,” says Shardul. “We also try to highlight work of peripheral artists and music directors whose work live on though their names have been forgotten.”
This club has highlighted forgotten classics like Nakshab Jarchvi’s melodies Mai shayar ghumnaam and Aayega aanewala. The unique exercise of playing retro songs soon after Gujarati songs of the same temper has been a highlight of this club. “We play corresponding melodies like Dilip Dholakia’s Tari ankh no afini with retro song Teri ankhon ke siva duniya mein rakha kya hai. We also research the works of Gujarati music composers, including Ramesh Shashtri (Hava mein udta jaaye tera lal dupatta malmal ka), Jayant Joshi (Matlabi duniya) and Avinash Vyas, to bring them to our audience,” says Shardul. The club also tries to use an orchestra – minimum of 30 and maximum of 45 instruments – on stage to support the recorded retro melody. “We want to play up the use of shehnai, sitar, flute, sarod, santoor, dholak, pakhwaj, sarangi and veena in retro music. These instruments have gradually vanished from modern Hindi movie songs,” he adds.
USP: EMPLOYS LIVE MUSICIANS, AUDIO VISUAL TECHNIQUES TO ADD NEW PERSPECTIVE TO RETRO
Daxesh Trivedi, a passionate retro lover who is also known as the voice of Manna Dey, formed this club in 2008. His aim was to add drama to the pure aesthetics of retro songs. Daxesh says, “Unlike most clubs that played songs from 1930s to 1960s, we extended the definition of retro classics to include the period from 1940 to 1985.” Leaving mainstream singers Rafi, Mukesh and Kishore Kumar aside, this club focuses on peripheral artists including Hemant Kumar, Manna Dey, Talat Mehmood. “We brought songs of Uma Devi (Tun Tun), Kanan Devi, Rajkumari, Amirbai Karnataki and Zohrabai Ambalawali back to Amdavadi listeners. Their rare songs were sung by Mrudula Desai, a 54-yearold versatile singer from Mumbai. “We have conducted more than 28 programmes which elicited ripples of nostalgia without fail,” says Daxesh who has been singing since he was 15.
Swar Suravali Club
USP: MUSICAL EVENINGS HAVE A THEME
Niraj Pathak, who has been singing Kishore Kumar songs since he was 5, formed music club Swar Suravali in 2010. “My aim is to pull young and new listeners towards the beauty and grandeur of retro music culture,” says the 42-yearold. The club has done retro programmes with a fresh focus. Pathak and his group hold musical evenings where vintage songs are played according to themes like monsoon or Valentine’s. “I focus on popular retro numbers like Aaj kal tere mere pyar ke charche (Bhramhachaari), Aajhu naa aaye balma (Sanj aur Savera), and Naa tum hame jaano naa ham tumhe jaane (Baat Ek Raat Ki). Poignant emotions of such retro numbers have universal appeal that draw the young to explore retro treasure,” says Nirraj.
Shankar Jaikishan Foundation
USP: CELEBRATE THE WORKS OF MUSIC DIRECTOR DUO SHANKAR-JAIKISHAN
An ardent desire to pay homage to the work of Gujarati music director Jaikishan and his Hyderabadi associate Shankar led civil infrastructure businessmen Snehal Patel, 62, and Chirag Patel, 60, to form this foundation in 2012. “Our goal is to celebrate the works of music directors Shankar Jaikishan and bring the classics of their era (1948 to 1971) back into vogue,” says Snehal. “They have given us most memorable music and their melodies Awara hoon and Mera juta hai Japani from Awara is appreciated globally. We have highlighted their songs rendered by legendary singers Subir Sen, Talat Mehmood, Hemant Kumar, Bhupendra and Mahendra Kapur in our retro musical evenings. “We have planned a series of 25 programmes in which none of the songs will be repeated,” he adds.
USP: NEW RETRO-REMIX
Priyanka Basu — who sings Geeta Dutt and Asha Bhosle numbers –formed this club in 2011 with a view to expand the definition of retro to include the new retro-remix into the austere vocabulary. The goal was to to pull the new hip-hap crowd to this classic genre. “We are one of the newest entrants to the old set of retro clubs in the town,” says the 35-year-old. “But our perspective is fresh, challenging and different. As the retro culture is spreading fast, we want to ride on this ongoing rage and penetrate the youngest of retro listeners. We introduce new angles and themes to the retro evenings.” The club recently did a Brass section retro evening and focused on songs of R D Burman in which he introduced saxophone, trumpet and other brass section instruments into mainstream retro songs.
The two-page write up appeared in Ahmedabad Mirror on Sept 15, 2003