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Discernment. Online










'Recently I heard a programme of her Hindi bhajans and ghazals on TV. Lata, Asha, Geeta or Suman would have done them much better'

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Monopoly? What monopoly?

Lata and Asha are noble people and never tried to monopolise the Hindi film industry, says U V W Krish in response to the suggestion that Vani Jairam was eased out of Bombay

I read Ameen Merchant's response to my letter. I do not wish to get into a tussle of words; however, I must make myself clear.

Vani Jairam's Hindi songs are extremely accented, and more so her songs for Raghunath Seth. And that's evident if you have listened to O ri bansuri and Tan hai veena. And in Marathi, Bengali, it's even worse. Recently I heard a programme of her Hindi bhajans and ghazals on TV. Lata, Asha, Geeta or Suman would have done them much better. I wish she'd stop spoiling songs like Mai maine govind leenu molDeewaron se sar takrana, and Ye shaam chandan si mehki.

Listen to Vani's songs for Madan Mohan and O P Nayyar. She was not able to accept the fact that her accent and loudness caused her to lose. Vani was never in the same league as Lata and Asha. Listen to Lata's Rasik balama or Ye zindagi usiki hai, Asha's Bekasi hadse jab guzar jaaye or Chain se humko kabhi - and then to Vani's Hindi songs. Take her Karna fakiri phir kya dilgiri or Bala main bairagan hoongi from Meera. The difference is obvious. You may even compare Vani's Kal raat more kanha sapne mein aaye to Lata's Bada natkhat hai re or Asha's bhajans for Jaidev. If she had been so good, Madan Mohan and O P Nayyar would have continued with her. Another example: Vani's Hum ko man ki shakti dena (a children's prayer) versus Lata's Tumhi ho mata pita tumhi ho or Asha's Sab mein ek hi aatma from Sant Dhyaneshwar . Lack of expression and extreme loudness is a salient feature of Vani Jairam's voice.

Raghunath Seth's songs with Lata and Asha are far better because of their superior rendition. So it is ridiculous to believe that Vani is even close to the two queens.

The question of politics is childish and immature. Especially because several journalists (and eminent ones like Raju Bharatan) have cited several instances of the generosity of the two sisters. Else ask Suman Kalyanpur, Geeta Dutt, K S Chitra, P Susheela, S Janaki, Suresh Wadkar, Padmaja Phenani (remember she sang Vajpayee's poems -- ask her who gave her the first break), Sunidhi Chauhan, Naushad Ali, Madan Mohan's family, Salil Chowdhury's family. Is this a short list?

Also, I don't think anybody can bribe a whole industry. If Madan Mohan, Naushad, Laxmikant Pyarelal, Kalyanji Anandji, Jaidev, S D Burman, R D Burman, Kanu Roy, Salil Chowdhury, Ravi, Khayyam, even Vasant Desai, Ghulam Mohammed, Rajesh Roshan and Ravindra Jain all preferred Lata and Asha, they were all bribed? Ridiculous!

And O P Nayyar chose Vani after his split with Asha (he never worked with Lata), but yet he couldn't do much with her. He admits that he missed Asha's brilliance!

Vani's voice lacks bhaavam; she lacks the sweetness of Lata's heydays ('40s to early '80s), and the sheer brilliance of Asha. And I would love Vani-sycophants to answer one question before they compare Vani to Asha or Lata -- why did Vani not become the Nightingale of the South? Why did she lose to Chitra, Janaki and P Susheela?

Maybe the very fact that Ameen used a personal attack on me reveals something? Ask Vani how many Tamil songs she has sung in the past 10 years. Music directors prefer more expressive singers. Else watch her bhajan programmes. Try the Kabir bhajans Ho moko kahan to dhhoonde re bandhe or Naam rat laagi as examples of expressionless, stereotypical singing and bad accent.

Lata and Asha have defined playback singing in Indian film music. Even Susheela and Janaki admit it candidly. Seerkazhi Govindarajan and Pandit Jasraj, Shivkumar Sharma and Sajjad Hussain, M S Subbulakshmi and Lalgudi Jayaraman, among several others, have proclaimed that the divinity of Lata's voice is something no one has matched. Imagine M S Subbulakshmi herself saying that!

Also, I would love Mr Ameen Merchant (who sent me a nasty e-mail under a pseudonym -- anyway that's a separate issue) to stop using words like 'monopoly' against noble people. Or please convince me that the several references I have cited are wrong. Also I would love Mr Ameen Merchant (and whatever other names he/she uses) to stop parrotting the same phrases again and again.

Do not try to scare people with a long list of people with whom Vani has worked. Most of those, and several more, have worked with Lata and Asha and even called them the greatest singers in the North! That includes Raghunath Seth and Ravi Shankar and Kumar Gandharva. (By the way, Ravi Shankar turned to Vani Jairam ONLY because Lata refused to sing for Meera ).

And stop dragging people into character debates. There are better ways to waste your time.

U V W Krish


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