By Sneha Ullal
Ask any bigwig in the Indian advertising industry who Bipin Pandit is, and he or she might just break into an old Rafi or Kishore number, or praise Pandit’s ability to recite long soliloquys from classics while mimicking Rajesh Khanna, Amitabh Bachchan and Dev Anand.
But people will probably, instinctively, first tell you about his musical initiative, Khumaar. Khumaar is the concert that Pandit, COO of The Ad Club, orchestrates for corporate audiences every year, where young singers and some big names too, sing hits from classic Indian movies, along with ghazals, Sufi songs and qawwalis. The book of the same title is merely an extension of support from the industry, filled with black and white photographs and stories – some personal, some never before revealed – about the music legends of Indian cinema between the 50s and 90s.
Several stalwarts from the Media, Advertising and Marketing domain are surprisingly knowledgeable, self confessed fans of the golden era of music - Piyush Pandey, Ayaz Memon, CVL Srinivas, Madhukar Sabvanis, Apurva Purohit, Priti Nair, to name a few. In the book, these industry professionals and Pandit himself have written about Kishore Kumar, Mohammed Rafi, Geeta Dutt, the Mangeshkar sisters, Manna Dey, Mukesh, RD Burman, Illayaraja, Amitabh Bachchan et al.
“It is always the unknown side of well known personalities that has interested people,” Pandit writes in the book’s preface. “While the achievements of some of the writers in their respective fields are known, what is not known is their passion for music. I’m sure most people would be keener to read an article about Sachin Tendulkar by Amitabh Bachchan, than one written by a famous sports correspondent.”
If you ignore the outof- place, jarring ads, this book’s an ideal centre-table accessory for those who know the history of Indian cinema and miss the music of that era. We’d recommend winding up that old LP player too, while you leaf through the pages.
GLIMPSES OF STORIES IN KHUMAAR
CVL Srinivas, CEO, South Asia, GroupM Media India Pvt Ltd, writes on Kishore Kumar and RD Burman’s legendary collaborations: “Both RD and Kishore were extremely gifted. They were both eccentric in their own ways, extremely versatile and loved to experiment. They could capture any mood and deliver perfect scores and songs every time.”
Piyush Pandey, Executive Chairman & Creative Director, South Asia, Ogilvy & Mather, writes on Amitabh Bachchan’s incidental foray into singing: “Singing Rabindra sangeet is not easy for anyone; but when Amitji sings ‘Ekla cholo re’ in Kahaani so delicately and with such feeling, it inspires us to take on the world with nirbhaya (fearless) spirit.”
Sports columnist Ayaz Memon muses who was the better artiste – Mohammed Rafi or Kishore Kumar: “Kishore was very different from Rafi as a singer, but was undeniably gifted. His yodelling style was initially pooh-poohed by purists but they ignored the fact that he was only doing what he was asked to in the changed ethos.”
Bipin Pandit in his interview with Pyarelal of the famous Laxmikant- Pyarelal duo, who was also the chief guest at the launch of the book quotes Pyarelal: “I want to set up an academy, which will enable students to learn music in seven months… it’ll be unique and will expose students to various facets of music.”