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The songs in the quiz are ordered along a gradient: the first few songs are just barely duets, while the last few have a substantial (but still unequal) presence of the "other" singer involved
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The queen I loved: Abhay's tribute to Begum Akhtar



Heard these skewed duets?

Match your wits with avid listeners of Hindi film music. Here's an unusual, fun-filled and witty quiz put together by Abhay and Radha

Regular readers of The Music Magazine will remember Abhay Phadnis for the deeply personal tribute he wrote to Begum Akhtar. With wife K R Radha, he has now put together a quiz for a very knowledgeable and lively Internet newsgroup. The couple live in Chennai, but most members of the newsgroup live abroad, mostly in the US. As you will see from the questions, Abhay and Radha combine an intimate knowledge of the lyrics with a finely honed musical judgment. All this is presented with wit, and the quiz gives you the teasing experience of a well-crafted crossword puzzle.

Thanks, Abhay and Radha.

Part I: Introduction and Rules

[Please refer to Part II for the clues.]


Golden Rule of Quizzes on the Net

Send them to us by email
Deadline for entries: Sunday 03 March 2002


What's the Skewets Quiz about?

R(MIM)-JHIM GEETON KI is a quiz that has been running on the music newsgroup (RMIM) for quite a few years now. This is the 62nd quiz in the series. [For a generic introduction to the RJGK quizzes, please refer to Sami's site This has details of the first 32 quizzes; the details of later quizzes were at a site which does not seem to be accessible anymore. Anyone know where else they are archived?]

When we booked the RJGK, there were several themes in mind and we had done some halfway work on some of them. Then, some weeks ago, we happened to hear a song on the radio that was announced as a duet. We had always thought of that song as a solo, but discovered that there was indeed a second singer who sang just a couple of lines in the song. We tried to see how many such "unequal duets" we could think of, and came up with more than 10 off the top of our heads! That's when this RJGK was born.

This may or may not be borne out by statistics, but our idea of the typical Hindi film duet has always been one where both singers get a fair share. In a "normal" duet, the two singers share the sthaayii, get one verse each, and share one verse (normally the final one). Typical examples would be "chhupaa lo yuu.N dil me.n pyaar meraa" (Mamta) or "laagii chhuuTe naa ab to sanam" (Kaali Topi Lal Rumal). An extreme example is the Babul duet, "milate hii aa.Nkhe.n dil hu_aa diwaanaa kisiikaa", where Talat Mahmood appears to be teaching Shamshad Begum the song -- she faithfully repeats each and every line after him!

This will be perhaps the easiest RJGK ever, for the simple reason that the songs included in it have come from our joint memories and are almost all fairly popular and well-known. (Well, there WAS some help from a very fertile source: Abhay's sister, Manjiri Dhamankar -- bless her Vividh Bharati-tuned soul!) The process of hunting for enough "skewed" duets to make up a quiz was great fun. We ended up with over 45, and had to do some ruthless pruning to get the quiz down to a manageable size. The criteria for choosing the songs were simple:

- The song should be a duet - i.e., there should be two distinct voices in it (a chorus does not count).

- Just spoken words by another singer don't count; the other singer should "sing".

- Humming and going "" and "" count as singing.

- One of the singers should clearly have a lesser share of the duet than the other singer.

- Both singers should be listed on the commercially available version of the song.

- If not so listed, the "other" singer should at least be well-known in his/her own right.

We did run into problems with defining duets -- there are some cases where duets in films become solos on LPs/cassettes/CDs. We followed a simple rule here: if the song is a duet in either the film or a commercially available recording, it was eligible for inclusion.

The songs in the quiz are ordered along a gradient: the first few songs are just barely duets, while the last few have a substantial (but still unequal) presence of the "other" singer involved. The gradient is approximate; we have not done a mapping against number of lines to decide, say, which should be #9 and which #10.

Addendum: We decided to refer to the singer with the lesser share as the "other singer" (abbreviated to "OS" throughout the quiz). We chose not to use words like "lesser" because they could be construed as qualitative judgements, whereas we are concerned here only with quantitative measures. (And also because the "lesser" singer quantitatively is very often the "greater" singer qualitatively!)

Rules and Scoring

[Regular RJGKers: please read the scoring pattern - it's a little different for this quiz!]

RJGK quizzes have had a standardised format for quite some time now. The point of the quiz is to identify songs using the clues given in the quiz. The clues consist of lines from the song in question -- typically a complete verse from the song, though individual quizzers choose variations depending on the topic of their quiz and their guess as to the difficulty level of the clue. There is also a "sub-clue": this typically consists of one or more of the following:

- Extra information about the song

- Some information about the film

- Hints to help identify the singer(s)/MD(s)/lyrist(s)

- Comments about the song/film/singer(s)/MD(s)/lyrist(s)

You have to use the clue and the sub-clue to identify the song the mukhaDaa of the song (the first few words) is enough. If you guess it correctly, it nets you one point. The persons who identify the highest number of songs are the winners!

Identifying the song gets you points on what we shall call the "Song Identification", or "SI", scale. In the context of this specific quiz, however, we also have an optional race to be run: if you can identify the singers AND say what the "other singer" does in the song, you get a point on a separately scored scale (let's call this the "Singer Details", or "SD", scale). SI scores and SD scores will be computed separately. The quiz has 30 questions, so one can score a maximum of 30 on the SI scale and a maximum of 30 on the SD scale. PLEASE NOTE that giving SD answers is NOT mandatory to enter the quiz: just identifying the song is enough, and will get you full points on the SI scale!

Let's take an example:

<<< 00. ham nashe me.n hai.n sambhaalo hame.n tum nii.nd aatii hai jagaa lo hame.n tum >>> Your answer can just be:

00. chalo diladaar chalo, chaa.Nd ke paar chalo

For providing this answer, you get one point on the SI scale. But you could also add:

Singers: Lata Mangeshkar, Mohammed Rafi

Rafi sings the first line of the sthaayii each time; the rest of the song is in Lata's voice.

For this addition, you would get one point on the SD scale.

More is welcome (complete sthaayii, name(s) of the film, the singer(s), the MD(s), the lyrist(s), etc.), but it does not -- alas! -- get you any extra points. And don't just stop at SI, SD, or other details: what we really look forward to are your comments! The comments could be witty, scathing, complimentary, informative, catty -- whatever! The comments make it a fun exercise all around.

And that's a good note on which to end this introduction: that the whole point of these quizzes is to have fun! The quizmasters have fun setting the quiz, the participants have fun solving the quiz and commenting on what they find in it. So jump into the fray, folks. Let us have the pleasure of having a mailbox bursting at the seams!

Send your answers to us by email. Last date: Sunday 03 March 2002. Please remember: the answers come to us by email; do NOT post answers on the Net!!]

One last point: if (when? :-)) you notice any errors, please e-mail us rather than posting corrections on the net. We shall make the corrections and repost the quiz giving full credit to the sleuths who tracked down the errors.

The clues appear in Part II. On your marks, get set... GO!

Warm regards,
Radha and Abhay

Go to the questions

Published on 20  February 2002

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