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
mol, Deewaron 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
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
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
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
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