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Thursday 14 July 2011

Meri Awaaz Hi Pehchaan Hai (My Voice Is My Identity)

L to R: Talat Mahmood, Mukesh, Lata, Mohd. Rafi & Manna Dey.
There was a time in the Indian film industry when listeners could identify a singer by his/her voice. From great stage-cum-playback singers like K L Saigal (hindi), P Bhanumathi and S Varalaxmi (telugu) to playback singers like Mukesh, Talat Mahmood, Mohd. Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Manna Dey (hindi) and Ghantasala Venkateshwara Rao, S P Balasubramanyam (telugu), their recognition and glory was their voice.

It is for this reason alone that a song of the 70s, “Naam Gum Jayega (name might be lost), Chehra Yeh Badal Jayega (face may change), Meri Awaaz Hi Pehchaan Hai (but my voice is my identity)” was not only a soothing and popular number but was relevant to the singers of that time.


The song is however irrelevant today given the number of singers we have in the Indian film industry today. Music lovers are no longer able to identify a singer on the basis of his / her voice. One has to check the cover of the CD or the cassette if he really wants to find out the name of the singer.

A look at the current chart-busters (according to my choice) validates the point.

SONG
MOVIE
SINGERS
Ab Kuch Dino Se
Dil to bachha hai ji
Mohit Chauhan
Kurbaan Hua
Kurbaan
Vishaal Dadlani
Mere Bina
Crook
Nikhil Dsouza
Jiyien Kyun
Dum Maro Dum
Papon
Mudhi Mudhi
Paa
Shilpa Rao
Khaabon Ke Parindey
Zindagi Na Milege Dobara
Alyssa Mendonza, Mohit Chauhan

From the above list, Shreya Goshal is perhaps the only exception who can be recognized by her voice. Be it the `Teri Ore' song in `Singh is Kingg', `Aadha Ishq' in `Band Baaja Baraat', `Saathiya' in `Singham', `Saibo' in `Shor in the City' or `Shukran Allah'in `Kurbaan', Shreya has made a mark for herself in the singing world. To my mind, Alka Yagnik was the last female singer who could be recognized by her voice in the 80s and the 90s.

To a great extent, the success of a singer also adds to his reputation and longevity but then, both reputation and longevity are based on the richness in voice.

Blame it on the fast-life or even otherwise, music lovers are less bothered now-a-days to even think of a good singer. Even the FM Radio channels seldom mention the name of the singers and much of the emphasis is on the movie, actors, music director and the directors. Credit has to be given to the All India Radio (AIR) which even today focuses on the singers before playing the song. 

Unfortunately, the number of people tuning into the AIR is very limited these days.

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