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                        LISTENER'S LETTERS

Sunday, January 07, 2007

 I am tired of Radio Mirchi... Vividh Bharati rules!!!

 It was sometime during my jewellery making spells that I started getting majorly irritated of Radio Mirchi... The RJs are always hyper active, hyper excited, hyper happy, hyper artificial... Perhaps they are groomed to appear 'bubbly', 'youthful' and 'fresh' 24 7, but they have been grossly overdoing their acts of late...

It was also during the same spell of gritting my teeth everytime an RJ went overboard in his/her hyper spells, that I started tuning in to Vividh Bharati. Vividh Bharati is accused of being stagnant, of being operating by the same rulebook that it was initiated with: more weightage to classical music, followed by old hindi film songs.

Vividh Bharati, I discovered is quite efficiently living up to the 'image'. And due to this very image, it will definitely stand out with its own loyal and huge fan following in future. More predictably, almost all media are populated by the hyper active communication style which has become fashionable today and so will be the radio. But sooner or later, people will grow tired of the induced excitement and constant chatter, of the forced vivaciousness and high pitched action based information. They will want something sober, something more balanced.

The best thing about the simplicity of Vividh Bharati is that you can indeed keep the radio as a 'background' compnanion and proceed about your chores without distraction. The music is soft, the presentators calm and composed. The melody as well the the presentation does not interefere with your work. The 'rjs' here dont order you about in the shrill screams and hyper urgings to go see the latest movie, and dont play some horrible, far fectched jingles idolising anyone from filmstars to sportsmen. Talking about idolising, I was pissed off beyond the levels of my tolerance on hearing a jingle sounding like a garba aarti, which sang praise of Indian cricketor Sreesanth after his performance in a match against South Africa... Outright ridiculous!...

Vividh Bharati offers its listeners a well planned schedule. The variety of the contents took me by a pleasant surprise. The simplicity of presentation was something I was to eager to welcome. I remember listening to A K Hangal's radio interview one quiet night about a month back. I shall be indebted to some anonymous team at the radio station who put the programme together to bring to us A K Hangal's old shaky voice, the nostalgia of past evident from the highs and lows of his talks, the emotions and the pieces of history saved for ever thanks to an excellent interview on the radio waves.

Sometime in the morning the presentators (Mahindra and Mamta Singh)were reading letters sent by Vividh Bharati listeners from far away corners of the country. One listener said of taking help from someone to write the letter and walking a distance of twelve kilometers just to post it. Her indigience when she complained that her letters were not read up was justified. I listened to old Hindi film songs coupled with information about the composers, the lyricists, programmes giving information about some famous music directors, lyricists, film makers. A slot for instrumental music in the afternoon, a programme for youth, small plays... Vividh Bharati...O! I am fascinated...  

an e-mail from sh.v.s.datta

Dear Mahendraji: 

  I wish to express my deep appreciation for the Chaya Geet programme presented by Ms Nimmi Mishra on August 12. The subject was 'Jadoo' round which she tried to weave the delcate fabric of her narration accompanied by choice songs. It is the choice of her songs that I admire. I couldn't have chosen a better combination. She included, among others, Mukesh, Lata, Shamshad Begum and above all K.L.Saigal-- something unprecedented. In one stroke she captured the attention of three generations of listeners who were then sitting in my drawing room - one was the age group  of my uncle who just started swinging in ecstasy when th Saigal number was played. The middle generation swung with joy on listening to Mukesh and Shamshad Begum and the present generation enjoyed every bit of the Lata numbers as she is still right on top. Whil I was listen8ing keenly, I was telling the gathering, 'If she has really labored hard, she should not miss 'Jadugar saiyan'. But the song just wouldn't come. However, finally when it did come in the end, I felt delighted and realized that I could still try to read the mind of a compere who is really a sensitive listener. She broadcast TO the people, taking care of the over one crore population and did not broadcast AT them, utilizing the opportunity to force anything and every thing thoughtlessly.You see if you go on playing majority of the songs by one singer then no matter how great or good he or she is the programme tends to become borning. It is the variety of voices that adds spice to the presentation and not the monotony of the same voice over and over again. I am afraid even Kamal Sharma is guilty of that lapse. You must insist on variety - and then give them the freedom to pick and choose.Why shouldn't there be one song of the Kanan, Pankaj, Saigal era, another from the Surendra, Noor Jehan, Zohra , Suraiya era, yet another from the Madhubala Jhaveri, Geeta Dutt, Salochna Kadam, Raj Kumari, Uma Devi era ? Another from Talat, Rafi, Mukesh, Hemant Kumar, Manna Dey  , Kishore group ? One from Lata-Asha group ? One from the miscellaneous group comprising singers like Khurshid, Hamida Bano, G.M.Durani, Nirmala Devi, Mubarak Begum, Zeenat Begum,, Shanta Apte , Leela Chitnis, Amir Bai, Meena Kapoor, Manju, Karan Dewan etc If at least one song is taken from each group while two may be taken from some grouips, there will be so much of variety. Four generations will then listen to this programme or the programme wrongly titled 'Bhoole bisre geet'. Please don't patronize one singer as most of your announcers are doing and insult the memories of all other great if not greater singers who continue to be heard in the correct proportion on Radio Ceylon. My congratulations to Nimmiji again. If she can do it, why not others ? With best regards. And please convey my very, very deep regards to all your team mates who visited Allahabad and  whom I had the great privilege and pleasure of meeting. It was a wonderful, memorable  experieence for which I am personally grateful to you - for if you hadn't been posted in AIR Allahabad some decades ago, how could we have ever known each other ?- V.S.Datta, Allahabad August 14, 2008.  


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