The King of Broadcasting
Ameen Sayani will always be known amongst lovers of hindi film music as the King of Broadcasting.
Any Radio listener in the sub continent is familiar with one name that has become synonymous with hindi film music and broadcasting of the highest calibre. Yes I am talking about Ameen Sayani who shot into fame with his presentation of the Binanca Geet Mala show on Radio Ceylon in the fifties. Broadcasting in India has produced some very big names but Ameen Sayani is one person who is not only a top broadcaster but is a repository of the history of film music since the fifties onwards. He has in his collection, interviews with some of the greatest names of hindi cinema—Mohammad Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar, Shankar Jaikishen, S.D.Burman, O.P.Nayyar, Naushad, Sahir and so on. As a music lover I have always found him to be the best. Even his presentations on FM 93.5 (Red) were outstanding and perhaps a lesson for many upcoming Radio jockeys on how to present a programme.
During my early childhood, I remember that every Wednesday at 8 p.m, Binaca Geetmala was the programme everyone looked forward to. At the end of the year, people would actually wait to know which were the top ten songs of that particular year. And if one goes by the songs which became super hits at the time when melody was the king in the fifties and sixties, it was clear that Shankar Jaikshen were the most popular composers. There were times when nine out of ten top songs were composed by this talented duo. Ameen Sayani of course became an icon presenting this particular Radio programme.
We all know that Sayani does not need any certificate of excellence from anyone. But the immediate provocation for writing this blog is that he was in Delhi last week on the invitation of Sangeet Smriti, an organisation run by Shikha Biswas Vohra, daughter of legendary composer Anil Biswas. My friend, Sundeep Pahwa had sent me an invitation for the function, “Geetmala Ki PayadaanPar’’ held at the Kamani auditorium but as ill luck would have it, I could not go as something unavoidable cropped up at the same time. It was my loss and I can only regret my absence.
However, Sundeep filled me up with the details of the exciting musical show where Manek Chand, well known film music writer introduced Ameen Sayani. Manek Chand is related to L.K.Advani who himself is a movie buff and it was no surprise that Advaniji and his wife, Kamla both attended the full three hour function. There were other celebrities too like Salma Sultan, DD newsreader of yesteryears and Dr Narottam Puri, the famous cricket commentator besides Tourism minister Kumari Selja.
The musical evening started with songs from 1954 to 1964 and many talented and upcoming singers enthralled the audience by rendering some of the most popular and evergreen songs of that era. Shrikant Narayan, said to be a clone of great Rafi, Gaurav Bangia and Dr Supriya Verma became instant hits. Needless to say, Ameen Sayani was the soul of the programme.
I am sure more such programmes will be organized in this city in the future. For many years, my friend, Amarjit Singh Kohli used to regularly hold programmes in memory of Rafi( his death anniversary is coming up on July 31) , Mukesh and Kishore Kumar. Sonu Nigam was one of the many participants in his programmes before he was discovered and made it to Mumbai as a top class singer. I can only but acknowledge the contribution of people like Ameen Sayani for taking popular music to the masses. I will always remain his fan and maybe someday I shall be able to attend a programme compered by this master.