30 July, 2021

Rhythm Mortis

Will the nineties ever hold a candle to the golden oldies?

Rhythm Mortis

the 30s 14 March 1931: Alam Ara brings sound to Indian cinema through the efforts of sound engineer-director Ardeshir Irani. The first Indian talkie is 10,500 feet long and costs Rs 40,000. Singer-actor Wazir Mohammed sings the first-ever song in Hindustani cinema - De de Khuda ke naam pe pyaare/Taaquat ho gar dene ki - to the music of Pherozeshah M. Mistry.

It is the decade of Kundan Lal Saigal. In Promathesh Barua’s New Theatres’ classic Devdas, he symbolises the frustration of the nation’s youth. In its Hindi version, sarod virtuoso Timir Baran gets Saigal to render Dukh ke din ab beetat naheen that has a whole generation of viewers feeling traumatised. Pankaj Mullick created countless evergreens for Saigal at New Theatres, and the 1939 Kapal Kundala had a gem - Peeya milan ko jaana. Bodily lifted by a couple of upstarts in Malayalam cinema, the tune won that duo the state award!

Bombay Talkies’ Bandhan caught the fancy of the nation for its hit-pairing of Ashok Kumar and Leela Chitnis....

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