It was probably the most enchanting and nostalgic evening that I must have spent in the last 5 - 6 years. The occassion was "Sur Singaar" an evening of a trip down the memory lane of the golden era of hindi film music viz, 1950s and 1960s. It couldn't have been better for me as some of my most favourite numbers belong to this era, the era of singers like Rafi, Kishore, Manna Dey, Mukesh, Lata , Asha and composres like S D Burman, Shanker Jaikishen, Naushad, Roshan Madan Mohan et al.
The evening began with an instrumental peice played on Hawaian guitar. The numbers were "Man re tu..... " from Chitralekha, followed by a a 3 peice duet of O P Nayyar - Zara hole hole, Balma khuli hawa mai and Deewana hua badal. Then the evening took off as it were with one hit after the other. There was one singer in particular Mr Anil Vajpayee, mechanical engineer by profession, who brought alive the memories of Rafisab. I think he just made a wrong decision to enter a tinkerer's profession ! Probab;ly he's right in his own way - he DID tinker with our souls by his flawless and excellant rendering.
What these songs reiterated was that there's just no comparison with the past masters. Where can you bring the magic of Mere mehboob tujhe meri..., Zindagi bhar nahin bhoolegi woh barsaat...., Tumne mujhe dekha ho kar meherbaan, Parde main rehane do etc? I think the credit must go to the composers who fused folk melodies, Indian classical and western music harmoniously to leave an indelible mark on history. Also the singers were thoroughly trained in clasical music (except the maverick genius - Kishore!), who could understand the mood of the scene and sing accroding to the actor / actress. Thus you have Rafi bringing out different quality of voice for Shammi, Shashi, Dileep kumar, Rajendr kumar, or a KK for Rajesh Khanna, Sanjeev kumar or Amitabh! Now we have the same Reshammiya for himself or everyone else, or Kumar Sanu, Babul supriyo, Sonu Nigam for everyone ! No difference at all sir !Even Rehman's orchestration appears same now days. These days you can spot any composer by listening once to his orchestration. All Himesh songs sound same, all Rehman songs the same. Where's the variety? Gone with the past masters I will say !!!