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Naushadnama:The Life & Music Of Naushad Hardcover – 2013
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Raju Bharatan is such an authority on Naushad and our film music, with so much first hand knowledge and information, a book from him on Naushad is likely to be the last word as an account of his professional life. But this book covers so much more: what the cine music filed was like from inside, how the composers were competing , how they were bad-mouthing Naushad in private, in spite of the show of public bonhomie, what devious games were played to corner awards and limelight, etc. The point is not the filmi world was so dirty; the point is that the composers created great music even in such atmosphere.
The book covers the career and achievements of Naushad from various angles, naturally. But we get to know the other aspects of his personality, which are not always pleasing:
- his objection to Suraiya -Dev Anand love only because Dev was"Hindu";
-the way he dispensed with Shamshad Begum, once he jumped to the bandwagon of Lata; was he so unsure of himself that like everyone else, he too could not compose without Lata ?
-the way he dispensed with Mukesh and Talat , even though they had done exceptionally well for him.
-the way he studiedly ignored Kishore Kumar, and even Manna Dey.
History taught Naushad a lesson, as it teaches all ! He promoted Rafi as the voice of Dilip Kumar but with the fall of Dilip Kumar as a star, the market for both fell! Likewise, once Kishore , after twenty years of neglect, came into prominence, Rafi declined!
-He did not have the moral courage to stand up for Vani Jairam, in the face of the known dislike of her by the Mangeshkar sisters.
The author deals with many details of such developments having been an observer and also a participant. The way he details how he referred the views of one ( eg. C.Ramchandra ) to Naushad ( or vice versa) makes for interesting reading. Such spices litter the book.
The book deals in detail about the music of Mughal e Azam. Naushad was disappointed that it did not get the coveted Filmfare award. But seriously what was so great about its music? It was all contrived craft, without any spontaneous element or serious creativity. I have followed Hindi film music for 60 years, and i feel Naushad's creativity stopped with Uran Khatola( 1955), even before Mother India. Disputes rage in respect of Naushad's role in Pakeezah's music.
This book has changed my image of Naushad. I used to admire him as a Titan, but this book reveals him as very much part of the rat race.
Raju Bharatan is a formidable authority on his subject, we can but take note of what he writes! But this book has disturbed me!
The book contains enormous amount of first hand information gathered over decades, and vital details . But the language of the book does not make for pleasant reading. The author adopts a style which suited him for his articles in The Illustrated Weekly, Filmfare, etc in the 60s and 70s, but to write a whole book that way? This is a great book, marred by bad style. Yet it deserves four stars for the first hand material it contains.
Naushad's music was something I grew up with since I was just a ten year old and, possessing a Tape Recorder memory for songs, I vividly enjoyed reading Naushadnama as it unfolded with song after song from the Naushad repertoire unfolding before me. I had to stop often and play the tune in my head before proceeding to the next passage, thus reading the book took a while. I am sure Raju will know exactly what I mean.
I must compliment Raju for such a painstaking effort, resulting not only in a fitting tribute to the classical Film Music that Naushad delivered to his listeners for decades, but also for making the book a vast storehouse of anecdotes about Naushad. The book also revealed a lot about Rafi, which was a bonus. I would gladly recommend the book to everyone who loves listening to old film music.
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