वेंकटाद्रि ब्रह्मान्डम हैदराबाद में रहते हैं और वर्चुअल-दुनिया के हमारे मित्र हैं।
रेडियो और संगीत से उनका जुड़ाव ही इस मित्रता का सूत्र है। वो विविध-भारती और रेडियो सीलोन के पक्के श्रोता हैं। वेंकट एक चलते-फिरते एनसाइक्लोपीडिया हैं।
उनके पास पुराने गीतों का एक ज़बर्दस्त संग्रह है, जिसे वो अपने पास महदूद करके नहीं रखते। बल्कि खुले मन से सबके साथ शेयर करते हैं। फेसबुक पर पुराने गानों की उनकी पोस्टें बेहद लोकप्रिय हैं।
वेकंट आंध्रप्रदेश के तेनाली में पैदा हुए। तेनाली और हैदराबाद में पढ़े। आंध्र यूनिवर्सिटी विशाखापट्टनम से उन्होंने मेकेनिकल इंजीनियरिंग की पढ़ाई की और XLRI जमशेदपुर से MBA किया। कई मशहूर कॉरपोरेट कंपनियों में शीर्ष पदों पर काम कर चुके वेंकट बेहद सादा और सरल व्यक्ति हैं। रिटायर होने के बाद वे पुराने संगीत और ख़ासतौर पर मोहम्मद रफ़ी के गीतों के साथ अपना वक्त बिताते हैं। रफ़ी के बड़े भक्तों में वेंकट जी का नाम सबसे ऊपर आएगा। वेंकट ने बताया कि उनकी बेटी और उनकी पत्नी भी पुरानी फिल्मों के संगीत की शौकीन हैं।
ये संक्षिप्त-आलेख वेंकट जी ने हमारे अनुरोध पर लिखा है। चूंकि वेंकट हिंदी में नहीं लिखते इसलिए उनके लिखे को मूल रूप में आप तक पहुंचाया जा रहा है। इसके साथ ही रेडियोनामा पर अंग्रेज़ी पोस्टों का सिलसिला भी शुरू हो रहा है। वेंकट के इस आलेख पर अपनी राय ज़रूर दीजिएगा। अगर आप भी अपनी यादें या रेडियो के किसी मुद्दे पर लिखना चाहते हैं तो संपर्क कीजिएगा।
I am a man of mid-fifties. I am from a place called Tenali in Guntur District of Andhra Pradesh!! Ours is a traditional Brahmin family and all our family members are keen connoisseurs of fine art such as music, literature, etc.
In late fifities and the whole of sixties and seventies, there used to be a happiness in shortage!!! Especially in entertainment media!!! In stark contrast, today, there is utter chaos and agony in the plethora of mushrooming entertainment media!!!
For me, the late fifties, the whole of sixties and seventies were the Platinum Era of music and also the Golden Era of the Radio!! If I recall hard, I remember it is the year 1959 that induced me to Radio. I was just about 5 years then!! My father and elder brother used to switch on Radio and keep it switched on continuously!! But, it was I who used to get to hear it mostly, sometimes from near and sometimes from far, while playing, reading, etc.!!!
Actually, during the forties, fifties and sixties, Radio played a pivotal role in exposing the tasteful musical ears of the South Indians to the innumerable gems of songs from Hindi films and also to their many talented singers and Music Directors!!! Please notice that I did not mention ‘Lyricists’ as we never understood anything much in the Hindi/Urdu lyrics those days!! I can say we used to enjoy any great song immensely only based on its musical value: a) Tune of the song, b) Singing of the singer and c) The musical preludes and interludes!!! In fact, though I can now understand lyrics, I still hold the view that I love all the old beauties 95% only for their musical value!!! For me, great lyrics make a difference of only 5 to 10%!! Well, that is a separate subject to discuss!!
So, there is no denying the fact that Radio played a significant role in popularizing Hindi songs and thereby Hindi Films among the non-Hindi-knowing public of South India!!!
Coming back to my encounter with Radio since 1959 or so, I must say that those days, Radio Ceylon used to rule the roost, as far as old Hindi songs were concerned!! It was a pity Akashavani did not enjoy this leadership throughout the forties and fifties! Even the newly and rather lately launched Vividhbharati could establish itself only by mid-sixties!!! In Radio Ceylon, there used to be a program from morning 7.30 AM to 8 AM consisting of old songs of that period!!! Then from 8 AM, there used to be a program of new songs of that period!!! Well, I used to treasure both the ‘old songs’ and ‘new songs’ of that period as both were of almost the same excellence!!! You know what I mean!! In Radio Ceylon, there used to be programs such as ‘Ek Hi Film Se’ and the flagship program used to be ‘Hamesha Jawan Geet’ that was aired from 10 PM to 11 PM on Sundays!!! Those were the golden days!!
Radio Ceylon had some top-notch announcers such as Manohar Mahajan!!!
I need to thank Radio form the bottom of my heart for one very important thing, ie. Introducing me to Mohammed Rafi!! Well, when I was so very young, I used to love the singers and their voices, but never even knew their names!! To be honest, it was Lata Mangeshkar’s voice that made a first impact on me!!! I used to wonder how any girl/woman can have such a sweet and such a shrill voice!! But, Mohammed Rafi Saheb gradually grew upon me over 3-4 years from 1959. It is a different matter he is still growing upon me more and more even today!!!
I distinctly remember one Rafi song of 1964 from Film: Cha Cha Cha on Radio!!! It is : “Subha Na Aayi Sham Na Aayi”!! Whenever that song used to start on Radio, I used to run from wherever I was and used to keep my ear touched to Radio and enjoy it!!! I used to be in heavens listening to the ups and downs (of pitch and scale) of that song in Rafi Saheb’s expressive, modulated voice!! Similarly, I used to do the same for ‘Jo Wada Kiya Woh Nibhana Padega’ and some songs of Tere Ghar Ke Samne-1963, etc.
And years progressed, platinum era of hindi film music ended with mid-seventies, lots of noises, sounds have become part of music, Besura voices started getting preference over sur-baddh voices!!! So, I thought Vividhbharati too would decline over years and keep pace with the decline of music, in general! But, fortunately for genuine music lovers like me, that did not happen!!! Vividhabharati continued to be the flag bearer of old Hindi film songs!! And it, by and large, continues so even today!!
Lastly, I recall what my late mother used to say about Radio!! She used to say the pleasure of listening to songs on Radio comes from the surprise factor of not knowing which song comes next!!! On your CD player or MP3 player, you do not get that pleasure!!!
Long live Radio and long live Vividhbharati (with the same quality, of course)!!!