ashok ranade

It is mandatory to introduce India’s most versatile Musicologist and who has authored one of the finest musicological Research venture for the benefit of  the International and Indian Music Lovers of Hindi Music Songs. Here is an attempt to grasp the Origins and historical dynamics and transformations of Hindi Film Music into a great Modern Cultural phenomena. The idea germinated as intense desire which took hold of this Musicologist way back in 1960’s of last century at SANGIT CENTRAL NATAK ACEDAMY function in Goa. This exhaustive venture flowered into a magnificent contribution of 450 pages from an ethnomusicologist in 2006 after 46 years of Research work. The Book unfolds through Eleven Chapters beginning from Why & How, Auditory for Visual, Popular Music Parent category, Chitra+Pata + Sangeet, Musical landmarks in Hindi Cinematic or Popular Hindi Film Music (1934 to 1946 & 1947 to 1980), Early Composers, Later Composers, Major & Minor Voices and Balance Sheet. This is followed by Bibliography & Index.It has  impressive Bibliography of, 37 Authors on studies of Film Music beginning from 1937 onwards till 1990. It touches upon the notable contribution from great Eisenstein Sergei. Also it includes Photographs of music composers and latter composers with ‘Specialist Identity”. -Like Salil Chaudhary: – thinking composer (major & minor voices) who gave expression and articulation to Musical Composers’ creations.

By definition, Ethnomusicology is the study of music in its cultural context. Ethnomusicologists approach music as a social process in order to understand not only what music is but why it is: what music means to its practitioners and audiences, and how those meanings are conveyed. Ethnomusicology is highly interdisciplinary.

Chapter one to four are dedicated to Define and comprehend the basic concepts of Music, Chapter 5 & 6 brings out Historical Transitions of Hindi Film Music and Chapter seven to Nine are he apparently narrates the evolutionary History of Composers and Singers of Hindi Film Music but in fact brings out the their creative efforts in ‘making’ of History. But his approach is that of a Phenomenologist, as Thinker and as Outstanding Progressive Intellectual.As Ethnomusicologist he treats the subject of investigation as a Social Process and his Method is clearly inspired and dictated by synthesis of Psychology, Ethno-History and Linguistic of the Cultural Process. Like a Dialectician well versed in Western and Indian Philosophy he begins with Elementary concepts and their conflicts and penetrates through the phenomena to grasp the intrinsic dynamics of the ethnic origins of Music from innumerable Cultural sources into coming into being, into existence of this as the most reverberating , integrating Cultural  Ensemble named ‘Indian Film Music”.  His, in-depth research and acquaintance rather mastery over the fundamental entities in  ‘what is Music’ and as Musicologist, historian, Singer, Writer, Educator have resulted into this voluminous Book. His Studies on FOLK musical traditions, Composer and Historian by himself enables him to evaluate the contributions from Major and Minor composers and singers originating from innumerable ethnic- geographical locations in India and synthesizing this into Cinematic Music Culture.

Other than Music Beyond Boundaries, Ashok Da Ranade has to his credit, very important writings which includes, Music Contexts-A Concise Dictionary of Hindustani music, Sangeetache saundarya Shastra, Perspectives on Music, On Music & Musicians of Hindustani, Music Context, Essays in Indian Ethno-Musicology, Stage Music of Maharashtra etc SUCH MORE THAN THIRTY books.. The Book under review is virtuallydedicated to C. Ramchandra and Anil Biswas. His close association with C. Ramchandra’s  dates back to above quoted event in GOA in early 1960’s.  More importantly both Mr. Ranade & C. Ramchandra and so also Anil Biswas who raised the issue of evaluating Musico- Cultural worth of Film Music. They were pained and perplexed by the lack of interest in of the Indian Intellectuals from Music World  in research on intellectual biography or auto biography – in Indian literature on music. This induced him to undertake such Project Endeavour. Hence it was also a challenging test for this Ethnomusicologist to undertake assessment and evaluation- analysis of Hindi Cinema Music as Cultural Product.

‘Why & How’, Why this Book for Review and Evaluation?- Defining ‘Popular Music’.

Hindi Film Music is comparatively of recent Origins. However irrespective of massive growth of “Popular Music’,  the Authors dealing with this phenomenal growth are insignificant in numbers and composers and singers occupy centrality or dominance.Dr. Ashok Da Ranade is known to us as Music Missionary and his contributions are well recognized in relevant circles. However his study  on ‘Popular Music’ are not well known toCommunity ofIntellectuals, Singers, Film Producers, Composers and those who conduct Programs on ‘Popular Music’.  This Article is not meant only for introducing Dr. Ashok Ranade as ‘Ethnomusicologist’ but to introduce his Classical ‘Ethno musicological Method’ and which leads us to understand the inner dynamics and the aesthetical blooming process in ‘Making of this Popular Music’ as ‘Cultural Phenomena’.

Unfolding of this Book begins with questions, How & Why? And he considers it essential to disclose the Origins of his ideas to the Community of Musicians, Singers and Music Lovers of Hindi Film Songs and discuss with them the methodology he adopts.As an Ethnomusicologist, he has chosen to enlighten us with study of music from Cultural and social aspects of the people who make it. It covers Cultural, Social, Material Cognitive, Biological and other dimensions or context of their musical Behavior and Performances. Our aim is finally to understand how far he has succeeded in this current Endeavour.

As precursor to introduction of the topic and the subject of this Book, ‘Cinema& Popular Hindi Music’ Dr. Ashok Ranade introduces us to the Seminar organized by SANGIT CENTRAL NATAK ACEDAMY.It involved debate and deliberations from different participants which included B.N. Sircar, Anil Biswas, Dilip Kumar, K.A. Abbas and several others from all segments of Film Industry. Anil Biswas defined Temples as Centre of Classical Music while termed Folk Songs as originating from Villages and Fields and Hindi Film songs integrate both at higher levels. Dr. Ranade profusely praised Anil Biswas who points out “By music in films we think of only song items but important is the background music which gives voice to mute images and weaves the incidents into an emotional pattern Notes in the background music are thus like srutis in the scale of Scenes”. On Orchestration he says “It is still in infancy in India. Instruments have not been tested for their tonal values for Orchestra.”Anil Biswas predicted.(P.13)

Dr.Ranade was enthralled by Vladimir Lenin’s idea that thefilm is a democratic medium of mass education. Hence he appreciated what Anil Biswas said the “the democratic medium like film is naturally the aptest to reflect or mirror the great revival of collective life. He appreciates what Anil Biswas said, “where books are scare films should be plentiful” to stress the need for popular education, uniform system of reading and writing music will have to be evolved just as the English Language and Roman script. He stressed on research – Script and Expressions. System of Notations also has to be specific.

RANADE enters into what is known as Musicological Enterprise. Anil Biswas says that Uniform system of reading & writing music will have to be evolved like English language and Roman script. The raging debate between Ranjan & Dilip Kumar on use of Western Instrumentation in Hindi film Music led to the fundamental topics of defining whatHindi Film Music is.  The Seminar rolled on to several pertinent topics and points and touched upon various theories which have become the subjects within unfolding narrative of this Book. It was decided that to judge cinema music new frame to be created. India long cultural march and audio visual experiences must be grounded in the cultural practices. Hence Cinematic music demands examination in the context. In different historical periods audio visual senses have different status. Music as Art manifestations are life related but are not life!  This reveals Dr. Ranade’s idea of providing popular thrust to ‘Musicology’ through “Popular Music”.


Our aim is to FOCUS onDr. Ranade’s method of enquiry and Presentation of these Phenomenanamed ‘Popular Music’ the Form in which the Plethora of Hindi Film Songs exists like the branching and flowering on the trunk of this Tree. Our aim is to grasp the inner dynamics of path he traverse through, from the Primitive, prehistoric culture to Modern Culture and techniques. Composers and singers coming from different Regions of Indian subcontinents have integrated these cultural forms through Hindi Cinema Music. Hold of Hindi Cinema Music and Films on the mass of population is well illustrated with single illustration of Appa Kulkarni’s songs through Whistles!

In doing so, Dr Ranade is keen to understand what music means to its practitioners and performers, namely composers and singers and hence brings forward the ethno biographical aspects of the Music composers of Hindi Film Music and the singers who provide vocal, Audio- Visual expressions to those compositions.  As historian he covers their ascendancy right from the beginning of Nineteenth Century till 1980 and even till End of the Century. Their continued and ever expanding contributions flowering at each stage of History resulted into sheer abundance of Hindi Songs. Their popular reception – conveyance to the audience, spectators has created an integrated culture reflected in ‘POPULAR MUSIC.

The Hindi linguistic cultural dominance of Hindi and its phenomenal spread over one fifth of global population justifies his choice of Hindi Language as medium.  The concept is not confined to “Hindi Belt’ but has descended as ‘Identification or Uniformity’ across all regions of India.

Methodologically he treats Phenomena of Cinematic Music as it appears as a complex phenomena  and picks up the simple Elements of Hindi song as ‘culture specific’ instead of taking recourse to big theories, such as Lacanian psychoanalysis, Structuralism etc. that is on linguist phenomena. These theories have not touched upon ‘FILM SONGS” He decides to take “middle Level Research’, i.e. to treat Hindi Film Music as ‘Culture specific’. He has followed this method throughout the book.

His profound comments like ‘Film is a Vision but Indian Cinema is a Dream factory with Songs as its Brand Products” is prophetic!  The Cinematic history unfolds through different stages,such as studio stage and disintegrates again to re-integrate at the level of     —it’s The Singers and Composers rooted in different and varied cultures bring with them the cultural ethos.

With Chapter One-Why & How he begins with ‘Film’ as the highest Cultural product of Human Civilization. Even dictators like HITLER & STALIN,  MUSSOLINI liked to see Film. But most important comment comes from Vladimir Lenin who while laying down the Educational policy of the NEW AGE’, ‘prophetically declared’ Cinema as to be the important work of ART. Dr. Ashok Da Ranade also pays tribute to Sergei Eisenstein’s contributions to Film. This provided him the clues and inspiration to probe into the Film Music-Songs which has formed the most important integral part of Culture and ethnomusicology.Ashok Ranade is not merely concerned with asking what music is but why it is and most importantly, “Why Hindi Film Cinema & Why necessary to study Hindi Film Songs”? How it can be fruitfully examined. Hindi has seven Language area groups with subgroups as well. They are Magadhi, Avadhi, Braj, Rajashtani, Kanrari, Panjabi & Pahadi. Circulation and in mixing of ideas, growth of musical literacy,

CHAPTER Two (AUDITORY & VISUAL) The Chapter defines and whereindiscusses about his methodology as evolutionary- beginning from sensory human organs, Visual to sensory- auditory, he discusses about role of multiple sense organs involved in the ‘Artistic’ activities. His evolutionary and historical approach is discernable in this chapter. He covers two fundamental elements of music as aesthetical experience. He begins with conflictor tensions between two fundamental conceptual pairs of Categories- Verbal & Non verbal and Auditory and VISUAL. He very interestingly uncovers their internal mounting tensions between the two conceptual pairs and brings about their integration at the higher level of the Phenomena. Under Visual – Auditory pair he discusses about passage from Ancient Indian Drama to Cinema- Hindi in specific. The other pair, Verbal & Non Verbal he discusses about Music as Performance and aesthetic Experience.

Firstly, performer’s harnessing it’s tension is gainful. Though ‘language communicates all communications’, both, VERBAL AND Non Verbal, have different functions in manifestations of them in Performance. In fact language is unable to utilize ‘the sensory capacity’. He makes an absorbing discussion on Verbal- Non Verbal language, their articulations and tensions. As such he believes that the Language that as such, ‘Institution of language alone inherently lacks capacity to note sensory nuances!’ Hence Performing Arts are founded on combination of Visual, Non Visual, Auditory and Symbolic expressions which accounts for Human experience. Hence he takes recourse to defining their aesthetic expression as Synaesthesia.

Auditory for Visual, is another Pair of Elements which Ashok Ranade deals with while treating emergence of Cinema from the wombs of Musical Drama, the traditions and forms well rooted in Indian Culture from Ancient Times across all regions. Indian Music Drama has influenced Cinematic Thinking. This influence originates from BHARAT MUNI’s Nattya Shastra (200 BCE), from the Medieval times, which, defines Musical Drama as ‘Drisha’ (Visual) and Aural( Shrya). Theater & Films are the two mediums in which Auditory and visual elements can be combined or compounded in variety of ways.Bharata’s distinction between Natyadharmi (Theator Oriented) & Lokadharmi (Life oriented) is further developed byAbhinavgupta-(950AD to 1016AD), the Aesthetician and the Mystic from Kashmir. He differentiates between Theatre Music which he says is the integral part of Drama and not the reproductions from ordinary or common situations, while other songs were used in auspicious situations only.  Based on the definition, Ashok Ranade beautifully introduces the simile, for the distinction. In fact the Natyadharmi is grounded in Lokadharmi- the wall or Bhitti, in which ‘Natyadharmi is chiseled like a frieze! Further he discusses about place of ‘Music’(when ‘speech’ is intoned in ‘song’ and intense emotional expressions and when language acquires poetic grace)  and , Dance (Feminine expressions)  and Poetry. All three being different modes of ‘EXPRESSIONS” of feelings and emotions. This becomes the totality – the larger phenomena. .Dr. Ranade thus proceeds with the main genre of the theatric music was identified as ‘Song’- Dhriva of five types or ‘principles’.

Cinematic thinking and the music composing, cinematic development as such has however undergone important deviations from what Bharata prescribed.

Dr. Ranade goes on to formulate the intense need to compound the Auditory and Visual principles as Governing. The second From Medieval time to our modern times the Aesthetic awareness has acquired Focus. Further he discusses about conflicting principles- Verbal and Non Verbal within ‘LANGUAGE”. He takes us through the interesting discussion Synesthesia, He defines it as “Measure of the richness of imagery” and imagery as creative aspect of imagination .Arousal of Imagery and differentiation between Cinema & Drama. Also he defines Music which flows through the channels vocal, instrumental, Melodies and Rhythmus. Thus he prepares the Ground for defining Popular Music as ‘Parent Category.

As Ethnomusicologist he rightly begins. the s with Musical Drama which  marks the shift from ‘visual to Auditory inevitably. Ashok Ranade as true researcher begins with Drama (800 AD) and its governing principles of compounding of Auditory and Visual elements.  Cinema is thus revolution over Drama as ‘ Ascendency of Time Arts”. In Auditory- Visual combination and compounding Dr. Ranade conceives  the ‘Basic thrust’ of the completeness of Artistic and Aesthetic experience!. He almost defines Music as “the chief Non Linguistic Auditory’. Musical forces flow through the channels of vocal, instrumental, solo and concerted expressions” (P 42). Its contents and channels of expression are communicated according to the nature of musical categories namely, Primitive, Folk, Religious, Popular Art and confluence. 


Ashok Da Ranade defines here, ‘What is PopularCulture” and ‘Popular Music”. Music- Hindi Music in particular, in this case is treated as ‘manifestation of Popular Culture”. It is defined in multiple ways, one of which is, ‘Culture’ as triumph of democratic aesthetics over elite aesthetics!’. He offers provisional definition of ‘Popular Culture’ ‘As noticeable surface manifestations of cultural forces discerned in the behavior of society that is able to , or which chooses to be, partially responsive to aesthetic stimuli”. He states, ‘Innate association between socio cultural strata and particular music’, provides basis of origins of musical categories. Music seems to ‘Symbolize’ cultural strata’ and categories tend to reflect molds of experiences and layers of ‘minds’.’Categories are fundamental moulds of conceiving, receiving and transmitting musical experiences’. Dr. Ranade sumps up several CATEGORIES of Music, however he argues for inclusive approach to Music making

Hindi Film songs are Parent category- others being Folk, Primitive, religious, Art and confluence.

Indian Films are form of ‘Popular literature’- Audio Visual literature. Like the –Dangur (Indonesia), Tango- Argentina, Egyptian Music, Indian (Hindi) Film Music holds dominant position as the POPULAR MUSIC.

Further he discusses about the role of Musical Instruments, introduction of New Timbers, passage from Harmonium as dominant Instrument for Indian Musicologists to Piano and all other Instruments from 1950 onwards. After covering number of topics and areas, by end of the section he recounts the role of Media which played the role of TRANSMISSION. Mass media, print media, television,  AND MEDIUMS LIKE, DISCS, CASSETES, TAPES act as Agents of change. Importantly, the Instruments which ruled  the “RECORDING INDUSTRY”and its evolution,  beginning from 1877 was Thomas Edison’s Phonogram till1988-ninety years completion. HMV the pioneering Gramophone Company began losing its Monopoly.  The evolution has seen several attempts to break the monopoly of HMV, including that by V. Shantaram finally succeeded, in the wake of rising tide of Indian Nationalism.

Important contributor to making of ‘Popular Culture’, Ashok Ranade believes is the ‘Anti-Elite stance and Desire to protest” and he refers Remo Fernandez’s anti elite contributions to making of the ‘Popular Music’. We can see in subsequent chapter how he has evaluated Salil Chaudhary on this ground

Under concluding Section of the Chapter Ashok Ranade states that serious discussion on Conceptualization is fairly recent phenomena. Progressive secularization of modern man, carnivalization and other social processes considered as manifestation of social voices in conflict or voices of culturally oppressed come to the foreground. The phenomena of ‘Popular Culture’ is link between popular & Hindi Film Music on one hand and popular music with other categories of Music on the other hand.  Essentially Dr. Ranade identifies ‘Popular Music’ as identity of those of the oppressed.


Chapter Four rigorously defines Hindi Version of ‘Cinema Music’, Chitrapatsangeet’. He analytically reaches into realms of ‘Human  Audio- Visual’  experience and into the multiple functional roles of music. He breaks down the ‘Compound word’, Indian Cinematic Music, into three Words or concepts, Chitra + Pata+Sangeet.   ‘Chitra’ means Image, Picture, painting or wonder. Its auxiliary terms, Pratiman, (Resemblance, Similitude) ‘Pat’ means table, plate or piece of cloth in which the Chitra is woven. ‘Sngeet’ means sung, played or danced.It defines the dynamics of creation of Pratima or Image through CHITRA! Here he says, ‘we have to refer to go out of way’, Pratima, Chitra is not merely visual, hence the experience is not merely visual; hence cinema cannot be reduced to medium explored to offer visual esthetic experience alone.Indian tradition chooses to rely on aural – sense of hearing to create image, well anchored in oral tradition.

In this Foundational chapter, ‘Chitrapata’, hegrounds the ensemble of pictures, pictorial Series, movements, verbalization (comments) communications, and employs music in order to evoke ‘non verbal significance’. In Sangeet, three separable entities, namely the sung, the playedand the dancedare welded together. Chitra is at the centre, visual experiences evolving effects of surprise and wonder. It is thought provoking to learn that Jean Cocteau and Sergei Eisensteinrepeatedly exclaimed in similar vein with words “Shock through attraction”. PATA is like Garland of flowers, the sequence, internal dynamics, and movements enter the field.

The ‘compounding’ of concepts has historical origins and process of evolution. Dr. Ranade provides interesting supportive illustration of Shubhraj Maharaj who held high post in Tipu Sultan’s Royal Court. He was deeply interested in Metaphysics, and was well versed in music, dance and literature. He first prepared the ‘picture frames’. Madhavrao Patwardhan of Kalyan began preparing ‘Stills’, in 1890and perfected techniques of creating ‘Slide Strips’. Till 1910 he prepared ‘Audio-Visual’, slides, and carried out innumerable experiments in combining music with moving images and improvised the process till 1910. Like a true Phenomenologist, Dr. Ashok Da Ranade, enters in to the Groundwork of  ‘Chitra + Pata’ in which SANGEET is ‘rooted’, germinates and grows out from it, like a stem of a tree branching upwards.  The deep influence of Western philosophical Method is visible in Ashok Ranade’s presentation. He now introduces us the Phenomena, named Hindi Film Music as grounded in ‘Chitra + Pata’.  Hence his next topic is “What are the musicological entities?” in which he takes us into thick forest of Musicological Theories.

As part of this Chapter Dr. Ranade discusses about aims and functions of Music. Vocalization from this ‘Chitra + pata’ has two streams, music and language. We can quote two Functions based on theoretical Constructions- Psychoanalytic and Suture (system of filmic grammar and syntax).Dr. Ranade lists out thought provoking arguments about them. These are based on psychoanalytic principles and aesthetic principles. Filmic musical communication reaches the Unconscious’ as music lulls the ‘censor’. To this effect, music is described as unheard melody as it works and affects spectators without them becoming aware of music-ness of music. Music may take the subject back to infancy by facilitating craving to return to the primordial and ‘pre-oedipal’ stage, pre- linguistic stage an expression of maternal loss. Music has direct access to spectator’s psyche- Auditory images of pre-linguistic stage. Theorist like GuyRosalato even argued western musical movements provoke nostalgia for maternal body. Music fosters viewer’s regression to backtracking to psychic traces of subject’s fusion with mother’s body.

Suture Theory- Music affects all marks of cinematic construction. Music has two functions. –Semiotic(Symbolic) and psychological –Semiotic has existing cultural codes, current musicological equations, to effectively bring together image and meaning or for securing their connectivity.


At the end of the Chapter Four, which I call it ‘THEORATICAL’, here onwards it is time for us to reflect on the Structure of the Book and Method of Presentation followed by Dr. Ranade. The Book consists of three Sections, First one, the Theoretical,what is Music and goal of Musicology for Hindi Songs. Through this process his enquiry enters into the Groundwork –Chitra + Pata+ Music, which we have explored in last section. He holds elaborate discussions on role of Non Verbal communication, Sound, Tempi (Musical Passage) etc,. Next segment two (Page 88 to page 143) he engages himself in comprehension of theTrajectory of coming into existence of HINDI FILM MUSIC in its Modern Cultural form, i.e. its the historical dynamics. This outline is provided in Chapter Five & Six (Page 85 to 123) which spans from Silent Phase and Subsequent Transitions to Talkies Phase to Studio Phaserespectively. The next Phase spans from disintegration of Talkies Phase and Reintegration of Hindi Film Music in Industry Phase (Page 123 to 143)! Third section is the largest and expanded, (page 144 to page 420), the massive flowering of the HINDI FILM SONGS, in Abundance, as a phenomenal form of its Appearance.

If we identify End of the First section (which I have concluded) – as essence of his enquiry into Hindi Music as Ethnomusicologist, the last section is the appearance of this Essence THROUGH Historical transformations, in its concrete multiple Forms.On the backdrop of various theories, Dr Ranade throws the Question,  What does Film music achieve, either in terms of furthering the narrative process of the Film and sealing the constructional joints, those may be disruptive to narrative process and keep the spectators glued to the Image Flow?

Dr. Ranade discusses the same in bullet points, the most notable which form the modernity is use of musical instruments, largely Western since 1940 and some dance rhythms, contrasting of tonal colors etc and whether Indians have accepted this strategy.


The Book is devoted to reach out into the springs of cultural heritage and thousands of years of reified lyrical Indian history in varied forms of music, such as Folk music, Tribal Musical forms, Bhajans etc. Thus Ethnomusicology for Ashok Ranade has been assimilated by Hindi Cinematic Song and music composers and Singers in last Eight to Ten decades. Indian Cinema Music and its marvelous integration with modern Eastern and western forms of music express itself as Indian Culture striving for GLOBAL expression.  This evolutionary phenomenon over last Sixty years (from 1930 to 1980) is crucial subject of his study. Within this historical trajectory he has treated the music composers, beginning from Prof. B.R. Deodhar, Ustad Zande Khan till Salil Chaudhari and A.R. Rehman, Vocalists Ustad Amir Khan, Pt. D.V. Paluskar, Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Instrumentalists Pt. Pannalal Ghosh to Pt. Ram Narayan and Singers, Khurshd to K.L. Saigal Gita Dutt, Shamshad Begam to Ashsha Bhosle and Lata Mangeshkar, as harbingers and agents of History. They brought with them, from the cores of heritage of these primitive and old Musical Forms existing for thousands of years. They provided the articulate integrative expression as ensemble of ‘Popular Hindi Music’.   Ethnological Focus of study enabled Ashok Ranade to tap the sprouting beauty of Cinematic musical History of   Eighty Years!  He is keen to ensure that voices of numerous cultures which are ‘closely knit’ and coherent systems’ are not ‘SUPPRESSED”. As ethnomusicologist Ashok Da Ranade, while discussing about the Music making styles of Composers touches upon the IDIOMS and GENERES of their compositions. IDIOMS are the ‘styles, manners, types and Forms’ of expressions, pertaining to language- culture or Instrumentation.  In his words, “ Hindi Film song—as it is crystallized during decades of the Indian cinematic march —gradually but increasingly chose to mix or combine ‘IDIOMS’ of music making. Thus compositions which could be classified as lullaby, love-song, dance song, etchave become scare. Obviously, this is the result of composers’ preference for mixing, combining or mechanically bringing together singing IDIOMS otherwise specific to song-genres” (Page 370-71). Ashok Da Ranade specifically refers to them while evaluating Composers and singers and brings forward this rich heritage expressed in integrated phenomenal form


On this background he turns towards the chapter Musical Landmarks-(Chapter Six), Hindi Film Music from 1890 till 1946. Broadly the history is marked by two phases. Silent Films (till 1931) and Talkies (Till 1947).First question is whether there are two histories? One Culminating in Silent Films and other which takes off from Salient Films and subsequently culminates into Talkies.It is not irrelevant or inappropriate to quote few historically significant records and developments highlighted by Dr. Ranade. For example the debate triggered between-Dadasaheb Phalke and Baburao Painter, whether sound is impediment (Synchronizing Music with Moving Images) to growth of cinema. – both were hostile to sound in music disc. Charlie Chaplin worked on several silent films and had great experience in synchronizing music with succession of images. In India, Silent Films has quoted several writers, Kidar Sharma. He illustrates the Film Benher which thrilled the audience with Sounds. Its dynamics has itsown ‘sound vocabulary”.

Dadasaheb Phalke &Baburao Painter and Non Maharashtrians- Dwarkadas Sampat, Ardeshir Irani are credited with it. 1917- 1922-during which Social Themes were abound. Silent Films from 1912v to 1934 – Silent Films, Ashok Da Ranade identifies them as liberated Films, not  edited by censors since they were abound by ‘Kisses’(Heera Ranza & Anarkali).

Interestingly 1917 was a major LANDMARK year of creative upsurge- Legendry Balgandharva, established his ‘Gandharv Natak Mandali’ and Ravindranath won the Nobel Prize. From 1890 to 1929 Ashok Ranade enlists chronology of creations of Silent Films. Dr. Ranade lists out chronology of landmark years from 1890 till 1929 with highlights such as Raja Harischandra of Dadasaheb Phalke’s in 1913, Baburao Painter’s SAVKAR PASH, which was the first film with SOPUND TRACK  1925, Warner Brother’s ‘DON JAN” where in Characters were heard singing, 1926. Such large number of Credit Landmark’s have been penned by Dr. Ranade. After it came the TALKIES Phase.

Watershed Silent films appeared in India just in 6 months after they appeared in Western World;however TALKIES Films needed 5 years to reach Indian Shores. The reasons-Simultaneoussharing& recording of Visual- Musical- Sound needed single system modern equipment and their cost was detrimental initially. Anti- Imperialism and Nationalist Movement. Various Film Centers Prabhat, Bollywood, Lollywood (Lahore) . Through trolling Clone shots, close-ups, Montage & Technical devices. Language of camera matured. Emergence of V. Shantaram, Mr. Damle, Dhybar & Kulkarni from 1929. It was followed by the STUDIO PHASE. From, 1931-1946.

Interesting also are the innumerable ‘Records’, in ‘Mile Stones’, segment providing Historical Build up to Cinema till 1950.  Interesting records such as, ‘The Triumph of Will “ by Reni Refinstall- 1935 Nazi party Congress- Propaganda Movie), with Wagnor (Hitler’s favorite music composer), 1935- Anil Biswas joined Mehaboob  Sagar Movie stone, with first Orchestra of 12 Musicians, In 1936 BBC used Choral Melody from Janmabhoomi, a Film produced by Bombay talkies as signature tune for its Indian Services.1939- Naushad makes debut in Premnagar, 1942- Glen Millier was given Golden Oscar – Sun Valley Songs, 1944- was year of fear psychosis created by War. V. Shantaram touched upon theme of ‘sexual suppression” in ‘Parbat Pe Apna Dera”, 1946 saw Surraya’s decade as playback singer!

It is noteworthy that Dr. Ranade could recollect and pen numerous interesting events and narrated them as historical records through research! Like the event which Mr. Irani who wanted to replace Master Vitthal, the contracted Hero with Mehboob Khan because of his uncomfortable delivery of Urdu dialogues to his satisfaction. But Barister Jinhah intervened to fight Vitthal’s case successfully and was reinstated.


Dr. Ranade treats year 1947 as Water Shade year for LANDMAR SECOND stage due to significant happenings. Firstly there was a radical shift in singing-From ‘Actor Singers to Playback Singers’ and which was marked by death of ACTOR- SINGER-K.L. Saigal. Second, Noorjahan’s migration to Pakistan and Third was Lata’s emergence and rise.He identifies this as symptomatic!  It also saw liberation of Film Music from the grip of ‘Classical Musical Tradition’ both religious oriented or theatrical. Now Music began to follow the demand of the story and hence change of its Function! And lastly Western Musical instrument began playing much larger part as Orchestra.

Musicians on Payroll were called Orchestra. 1950’s Studio System was breaking up. Sebastien Disoza(Music Arranger (a person who brings order and organization to an enterprise, a musician who adapts a composition for particular voices or instruments or for another style of performance, ensure that every aspect of a music piece is well harmonized, from the instruments down to the tempo.) brought with him, what is called as, “golden Age’, of Hindi Cinema. His imprint on Hindi cinema was remarkable. 1947 onwards, bifurcation of singers and actors! Raj Kapoor’s voice was taken over by Mukesh. Asok Kumar who had steadfastly held on as ‘ACTOR SINGER’ had to relinquish his stand.

Other Historical Landmarks- 1957- All India radio began with ‘Vividh Bharati’, service for Film Songs. “Mother India, ‘Do Ankhe Bara Hat’, provided the image of ‘India”.  1972 – Illustrious year – R.D. Burman’s ‘Dum Maro Dum’, and its ramming music. Film ‘KASHISH’ with moving story of ‘Deaf and Dumb’ parent’s ‘up bringing’of their child has songs which takes the audience to different level of communication and emotional level.’ ZAROORAT’ with overt eroticism, Pakiza and Mugale Azam’s creative songs which articulates the ‘Muslim cultural identity’. 1981 was- Dull year for cinema and music. Such milestones and Land Marks till end of twentieth century bring out before us Dr. Ashok Ranade as deep researcher with phenomenal ability to weave the network of MEMOIRS. The narrative unfolds before us as part of “Making of Film &Music History’.


Studies in Indian ‘Popular Music’, lacks ‘ethnographic approach’. Ethnographic approach focuses on its  Production, Reception- Consumption, as  ‘social process and practice’. Chapters One to Six are dedicated to the results of theoretical and field research work of Music makers’, active for decades, century long by developing Ethno musicological research Method based on synthesis of Psychology, History and Linguistic within the Cultural Process! The current analytical efforts  become supportive study directed at assessment of works of Music Composer’s and Singers. Dr. Ranade discusses about the criteria employed in selection of FORTY ONE Composers from all quarters. The list is representational of and from variety of ETHNIC groups, languages, traditions, regions, and musical and cultural backgrounds. It’s a fascinating effort and energetic exploration of Musical resources from all Regions, cultural Groups and ethnic practices and ‘micro sociological processes to arrive at ‘National Scenario”

The discussions on – ‘Common Features”, which he has listed as Ten numbers, deserve special attention in view ofhis focus is on, one- Ragas & Classical Music and second  is on Folk & religious Music.Hindustani Classical Music is inherited from ‘theatre Music’ traditions from all regions. The resources are singing voices, Instruments, musical genre and vocalization. The other one, traditional Folk Music is thought of as Music composed by ‘Unknown’ Composers and orally passed on from one Generation to next generations by poor and working people.

In this segment I have  picked up or briefly  considered Biographical History and Film Songs contribution of Ten great Luminariesin Dr. Ranade’s own wordsout of Forty One Versatile Composers & Twenty Five Singers across all regions and Ethno-cultural background. This is in order to give justice to Dr. Ranade’s great efforts spanning over TWO HUNDRED AND SEVENTY SIX pages covered in three voluminous Chapters. Dr. Ranade has outlined  Musical-Biographical History of all of the Composers  right from Amarnath To Zande Khan, Naushad to A.R. Rehman, and minor and Major Voices (Singers)- beginning from Omkar Dewaskar to Lata Mangeshkar for detailed Research on those who cotributed in making of this History of Hindi Popular Music.

These two Chapters are grounded in Chapter, Chitra + Pata+ Sangeet’ and Dr. Ranade works out the Histo- biographical trajectory of Music Composers and Singers. He has Casted them in the form of  ‘story telling’. I reproduce below with illustrations, his prolific insights as Ethno Musicologist!

Dr. B. R. Deodhar (1901 to 1990)  Indian Classical Singer, MUSICOLOGIST, Vocalist and Educator. Music History and Hindi Music history of Composers cannot begin with any name other than Pt. B.R. Deodhar, Disciple of Pt. D.V. Paluskar. Dr. B.R. Deodhar established music school in Bombay in 1929. He composed for a Silent Film and produced orchestrated pieces in Raga KAFI & Sarang with the hrelp of some artist- instrumentalist. It was screened in Local theatre in Bombay with enhancing newspaper reviews. For the FIRST TALKI film screened, NAKLI TANSEN, Professor  B.R. Deodhar was approached to shoot and screen ‘variety music programs’ and he composed and produced the same which were screened in theatres.Till 1943 he composed Songs for more than ten Films. For Film NEELA (1935) screened in 1935, music composed by B.R. Deodhar had items from most renowned Instrumentalists. Dr. Ranade recollects Ordeal during composing for a Film in 1932 when ‘Non Singer was called for Performance”.

Salil Choudhary:- (1925- 95), Folk & Tribal Musicof Asam Tea gardenshaped his musical tastes and provided him the moorings and root him into Folk & Primitive music. His childhood social moorings shaped his leftist- Communist Orientation for Art and life interrelationship and his taste for ‘People’s Art. Tribal, Folk & devotional music. He composed music for 70 Hindi Films & 32 Bengali, Gujarati & Marathi Films. He came to prominence as Composer & Writer. His childhood groomed him into Folk Music of Laboring and toiling population of tea gardens and from different parts of India. His Conscious employment of Chorus and Orchestra to express and articulate ‘collectivity ‘of Indian Society and tonal color was highly appreciable. It provided,  Unified musical expression to Collective, ‘PAN INDIA’, appeal. His ‘Arzi Hamarai Arzi’, with the popular appeal, Heritage and dialectical relationship with Rabindra Sangeet, experimentation with Orchestration, vedic and tribal music and Non Indian (Capitalist) music have been highlighted by Ashok Ranade.  (Salil talks about Evolution of his Music and two factors responsible for it- Indian National movement and Brahmo Samaj movement- against orthodox Hinduism! He treated and took music as weapon! ‘Do Bigha Zamin’ originates from the peasants movement in Bengal when he was underground and was under the threat of arrest. (Produced in 1951). The Film was leftist and idealistic without being Propagandist! (He became, Music Composer, Directir & Story Writer). With leftist connections could get Malyalam Films as well).  His songs in ‘Dharti Kahe Pukarke’, have marching procession instrumentation and music on the lines of March in Russian Red Square.

His Compositions expressed Linguistic Social problems through music to give ‘non musical message’! They are marked by Milder Protests, and collective protests, disguised in Bhajan Formats for illustration-‘Aaj Teri Duniya (Balaraj Sahani), Folk and devotional songscategories (Parakh) and ‘Mila Hai Kisika Zumka’, devotional categories- Dadra Tala, artistically processed. Ironical & satirical songs directed at Society at Large. – Collective Bhajans- (teri Leela Sabse Nyari), Landmark Film Madhumati, primitive music- Rag Vrindavani Sarang. In every sense he represented the “popular Culture’ and ‘Popular Music’. He received Rewards of International Significance.

NAUSHAD(1919-2006)  REPRESENTED HERITAGE OF  LUCKNOW with   56 films, 26 celebrated silver jubilee, 8 golden, 2 diamond to his outstanding Career as Composer. By 60’s he was a spent force.  In Dr. Ashok Ranade’s words, Naushad’s long career as Composer who ‘was destined to highlight musical riches of Uttar Pradesh’ .Dr. Ashok Ranade very profusely applauds his varied contributions and as “Unique chronicler-participant’ of the socio- cultural achievements that Hindi film music represents”.  ‘Naushad, “succeeded in meaningfully tightening the musical concept of a ‘film song’ as distinct from singing in a film. He has been lauded for his conscious use of ‘Hindustani Ragas’  and also for bringing Art Musicians of the standing of Ustad Amir Khan’, D. V. Paluskar etc. into the ‘FOLDS OF POPULAR MUSIC” with  for various songs from Baiju Bawra, Mughle Aazam etc. His songs were meticulously planned and rehearsed.

Dr. Ranade provides Analysis of songs profiles of Naushad which reveal ‘musical Patterns’ which makes remembrance easier, compact and condensed. Naushad’s songs are easily understood and meanings remembered. His Musical strategy was to enforce strong constraints, constant recourse to Classical Music and emphasis of ‘Bol through Sitar”. He also discusses about his failures in watered down classicism and Failure to understand the composing situation.Naushad composed for wide range of Singers, both for ‘actor singers’ and ‘Playback singers’ at latter stage, from Zohrabai Amirbai to Asha Bhosale. He was known as task master and hence crafted Melodic Moulds. His Baiju Bawra, Mother India, Mughle Azam turned out to be his best. . His use of Classical Music was highly authentic. Dr. Ranade lists out items he packed in his compositions as ‘clues’ of classism!

Here Dr. Ranade comes to a very significant point. “Good numbers of Naushad’s successful compositions are‘rearrangement of Folk Music melodic structures’ circulating in Uttar Pradesh and adjacent areas”.  He further states that “Naushad as a composer relied more on employing Folk Idioms and not on picking up or imitating certain Folk Genre or specific Folk Songs to make his music reachable and likeable”. (P.199). He relied on Idiom in general whose counterparts were in circulation in all parts of India, cutting across Regions, Religions and Language. . He selected ‘Folk Voices’ having sharp edge  and these Folk Voices with most required type of tempo to generate emotional breaks!. His use of Folk rhythmus, such as Kehrwa, Dadra or Khema  ensured almost ‘immediate communication’. Dr. Ranade provides number of illustrations of songs with perceptive use of Folk rhythmus. (Nagari Nagari Dware Dware). In single sentence Dr. Ashok Ranade summarizes his contribution-“”Naushad popularized Hindi Film songs as product in the category of popular Music”. Ranade calls him, “participant chronicler of Hindi Music”.


Chapter Nine is dedicated to ‘Musicology of Performances’. It studies and evaluates contributions by Minor and Major Voices for Hindi Film Songs- to Singers from Hindi Film Music of repute. “Their Voices deserve a detailed History for Analyzing their efforts and skills in making music accessible to, affordable to and enjoyable” to the vast mass of people. The astonishing quality of their singing has come under Dr. Ramada’s Histo- Biographic Analytical treatment. He says” Students of Indian Culture rightly hold that the cinema and film music are two outstanding contributors to Indian culture in the previous century” (p.329) and singers share in it is decisive. Ashok Ranade also recounts the place of “Classical Musicians’, who have shown ‘Love- Hate’ relationships with ‘Hindi Film Music. Nevertheless, Vocalists, like, Ustad Amir Khan & Prf. V.D. Paluskar (Both Baiju Bawra)  Ustad Bade Gulam Ali khan(Mugale Azam) and Instrumentalists, Pannalal Ghosh, Pdt. Chaurasia, Shiv Kumar Sharma, Ustad hatim Jafar khan made their memorable mark and contributions to Hindi Film Music in 1950’S.

In this book Ashok Da Ranade has recreated the world of Hindi cinematic music from ‘within’, and rekindled the spirit and ‘voice’ of human culture!. He has thread bared the contributions of Composers, the singers, instrumentalists struggling to create the 20th century world of Hindi music which has become the core driver of Indian cultural, emotional and Mental world. The outer world of Hindi Music thus now researched from within has articulated this amazing beauty and its inner dynamics, which now can be seen with our eyes.This chapter begins with minor voices but who made significant contributions. Their tenure however was not long lasting.

Quick recount here is not out of place. To name few like Omkar Dewaskar, W.M. Khan is important. Ashok Ranade does not forget to name, Khurshid who made her mark (Debut- laila Majnu), with great lyrical qualities of her voice, and who migrated to Pakistan in 1956.Amirabai Karnataki the accepted ‘song stress- actress’ with 250 songs to her record, went into oblivion because of advent of playback singing and perhaps due to crisis in her personal marital life. Her handling of new Idioms (C.Ramchandra’s), her music light vocalist but persuasive. Her, “Gore Gore, O Banke Chhore” became memorable song. Kannandevi, Zohrabai Ambalewalii (Who sang more than 1500 Songs- highest at her Times).  Ashok Ranade evokes the nostalgia of times by quoting her various song with expressive charm. He call her underused Artist. Similarly Suraiya, the actress who sung only for herself! Her ‘Suppressed Sob Songs’, she made great Historical mark as ‘Actress Singer’.

Rajkumari, another actress singer, who sang Tappa, (a difficult song genre in Hindustanimusic) and raga, taana and pattas, used to sing without microphones in stage plays!NOORJAHAN, -Lahore, (Allarakhi), a ‘PROTOTYPE” singer Ashok Ranade picks up and spells out several nuances in her pronunciations and rhythmus like Sobbing, crying or coughing she could create dramatic and evocative effects.

Dr. Ranade accredits VANI JAIRAM for her versatility in singing three beautiful songs in Guddi, ‘Bolare papihara’ (Rag malhar), “Hamko manaki  Shakti (Bhajan in Rag Kedar). Noted composers also utilized her talent. However she experienced step motherly treatment from ‘Bombay Film World’ and she returned to Madras where she proved her meritorious Singer. By pointing out the discrimination Ahok Ranade displays his impartial, unbiased , Non sectarian mental makeup.

Mukesh had a different stunning graph of big failure in studies create a long career of 36 years , known initially as ‘JUNIOR SAIGAL”. The actor singer became playback singer after 1945.  His Dil Jalta Hai to jalne do’, made impact very close to K.L. Saigal’s ‘Jab Dila hi Toot Gaya”. This song, with nasality  brought him the fanfare  and clearly  bears  K.L/. Saigal’s imprint. ‘Mukesh’s career comprises of only 992 songs but they remain impactful since all his songs have remained in active memory! Mukesh’s music was introversion! Like Aristotle he regarded tragic as essence of human existence! 

Out of Galaxy of Vocalists and Singers Dr. Ranade has evaluated, we will illustrate few of them from  Landmark Singers only as part case study from 1930 to 1946 & 1947 to 1980.

K.L.Saigal (1904-1946)Dr. Ranade has elaborately unfolded the contributions of this precious ACTOR- Singerand who represents also END OF ACTOR SINGER ERA, a watershed Landmark.(who lived only for 44 Years).  Imtiyaz Ahemad picked up this youth. His ‘Un-learnt’ masteryand emotionallycompulsive singing were hallmark of K.L. Saigal’s singing. At All India Music conference this youth ‘made waves’, with his singing and soon enveloped the country! Such was the magic of his magical music behind his metirioric rise! He conquered and all top ranking musicians such as D. V. Paluskar, Faiyaz Khan and others were side lined! Ravindranath Tagore allowed him to sing his music.   He sung 130 Hindi music songs and in his career. Dr. Ashok Ranade as usual displays his statistical mastery in the style of ‘Musicologist’. He recounts K.L. Saigal’s hallmarks, like emotional compulsions, in his singing, influence of folk music, particularly  Punjabi folk and Sufi streams. He was highly Alcoholic and drunk heavily before recording. Naushad could manage to get his  ‘Jab Dila hi Toot Gaya’, drunk and ‘non drunk’ versions, Born in Jammu inherited his mother’s voice (She used to Sing Bhajans and Punjabi folksongs). DR. Ranade throws a surprise at us by informing us that he acted in seven Films where in he did not sing at all with Khurshid and Surayya as his singing Co-Stars.!  He represented the ‘last’ of the Actor- Singer Era!  His RAGA based songs from DES and Jhinjhoti ‘were resonating’ in every and all ears!

Dr. Ranade’s ‘Attempt at Assessment’ section is fully dedicated to assessment of K.L. Saigal / D. V. Paluskar, the two luminaries, though their life spans were short.   Dr. Ashok Ranade  regards them as Prototype and were the – ‘Super / Most important landmarks. He has chosen K.L. Saigal only as illustration, for assessment. He applauds him for his exploration of various Musical forms. His role Model was so entrenched in Film- Musical circles that, Kishore Kumar & Mukesh were told to follow his pattern while singing.  Buoyancy in his tonal movements and his ability to present musical design in accordance with the Film character and not as per his temperament were significant. Thumri, Bhajans and Ghazals were his favorite forms and he did this with remarkable efficiency. His expressive introversions like those in ‘Babhul Mora’, has impressed most generations. His performance however on “CLASSICAL”, songs lacks the usual spontaneity.

From the SECOND PHASE- 1947-1980, Dr. Ranade has lavishly praised the singers, Geeta Dutt, Shamshad Begum, Suman Kalyanpur, Mubarak Begum,Asha Bhonsale, Vani Jairam, Mukesh, Kishore Kumar, Mohemad Rafi, Talat Mehamood, Mannade, Hemant kumar and finally Lata Mangeshkar. In fact it is impossible to differentiate amongst them as major or minor voices. I have considered few of them asillustrations only.

Kishor Kumar (1929-87) He remained under Saigal’s spell for a long time till he discovered his own voice.He acted in 81 Films as Nitche Actor Singer-Laughing Singer. After ‘ARADHANA’ KISHOR became the force which outclassed other singers. In 1960, Anil Biswas rated Kishor Kumar as the greatest singer! In his ASSESSMENT, Dr. Ashok Ranade provides innumerable and minutest insights in to his vocalization skills, including spectrum, male- female voices singing, flat voice, nasality, clipping vowels and consonants and so on. His technical efficiency in evoking different traditions, folk, devotional, Rock & Roll, carnataki classical etc. has been remarkable. He had to pay for his refusal to sing for a concert organized by Sanjay Gandhi- – Yuva Congress under notorious EMERGENCY. He was known for his humility.

Geeta Dut(1930-1972),is singled out by Dr. Ranadae for freshness of her voice, Emotional spectrum and tonal speed. Her songs, like, ‘Piya Aiso Jiya me’, sung in ‘Women’s IDIOM”, the Idiom of night club songsevoked deep nostalgia. Her duets, like ‘Muzko Jo Tum Mile’, tunefully projected in ‘Lilting DADRA’ with Hemant Kumar and her flirtation love songs like,”Babuji Jara Chalana’, are all memorable. Dr. Ranade provides her versatility of singing in different tonal shades However her Classicism he identifies only s ‘tilt’ or was rare. He quotes her songs sung in  ‘Gaudsarang’ and even Bhairavi also,  though rare, nevertheless were  worthy.  Ashok Ranade is saddened by the fact that she faded away by leaving back ‘promising mark in musical Firmament” In his opinion, Geeta & Asha Bhosale presented a case of ‘Temperamental affinity’. Asha not only carried forward Geeta’s Legacy but also improvised on it. Hence he says, ‘She (Asha) is what Geeta was’.

Shamsad & Mubarak Begam: -Ashok Ranade admires Shamsad Begum for her songs which promotes easy participation of listeners and also for her mastery over Dhun Ragas such as Kafi, Dhani, Pahadi, Khamaj or “paradoxically even note clusters similar to Bhairavi. Mubarak Begam, another great singer had to refuse to sing for so many music composers because she was allotted only two three lines of songs. However she rose above the circumstances by presenting memorable songs like- ‘Hamari Yaad Ayegi’ (Snehal Bhatkar).

Asha Bhosle (1933-    ) . The great singing maestro, as per Dr. Ranade’s record sang 10, 344 songs (Hindi 7484) in 14 languages demonstrates Asha’s singing influence!  Ashok Ranade praises her for enviable voice and Voice Control covering all ranges and feminine grace, timber and for her Mastery of variety of Idioms! Apart from Variety of Forms of songs such as Western& Nightclub songs, Songs with softer touches, significant however is her mastery of IDIOMS. Composers prefer mixing and combining of different song- genres and singer’s ability to switch over from one idiom to other, from stanza to other even in single melodic unit has become ‘Valued Merit’ and due to supreme vocal efforts Asha cannot be ever challenged.  Her Ghazal singing, after Umrao Jaan’, other modern Idiom, named ‘Modern Dramatic’- ‘Sapna Mera Toot Gaya’ and Classical-‘Tora man Darapan (Darbari Kanada, Kajal),  constitutes classical excellence! Asha’s contributions and creativity can be summed up as “Prototype of an Indian singing voice in the globalized musical environment’.   

Lata Mangeshkar ( 1929-      ) And them comes EVERGREEN- the great ‘Lata Mangeshkar, Born to Master Dinanath, a versatile performing genius! Ashok Ranade narrates her story how she was casted into moulds of various Gharanas and GHUSARAS and transformed from Drama genious’s daughter to world renowned creative cinema Music Artist.

‘Her multilingual proficiency is hard earned’ cutting across linguigistic boundaries and acquiring phenomenal celebrity status. “Aie Mere vatana Ke Logo’ made her to ride on National Popularity hights. Her career has spanned over generations. Most profound observation of Dr. Ashok Ranade is that she dislodged Male domination’. He discusses at her three qualities, Prasada, Shareer & Lalitya (                                       ). His question,  ‘Is Lata Creative” compels us to traverses with him through various domains and songs, like, ‘Ayega Ane Wala’ to Rasik balama for evaluation. At the end of the Chapter- Major & Minor voices, Dr. Ranade lists out Eleven songs of Lata which may linger and come back to us with amplified! Illustrations are, beginning from Ayega Anewwala to Rasik balama (Chori Chori Shankar Jaikisan) (415 to 420)


BALANCE SHEET(422-431) appears to be summery of what he has penned down his thought processes. However in essence it is the Projected Image- Picture of the Phenomena in the Mind of the Readers, listeners and spectators and which he has comprehended as an Ethnomusicologist.

Dr. Ranade draws thirteen different reasons which critiques provide for condemnation of Hindi Songs,  which are, like Auditory excesses, Lack of logic for providing space for  the song at situation, Popular songs may provide or reflects aesthetic  / literary tastes of the composer- makers, indiscriminate usages of dances in Hindi films, , unrealistic or purposeless use of instrumental music, clumsy or distorted usage of western music, melodic poverty, rampant plagiarism, tasteless music are few of the pitfalls. Interestingly, impact of studio systems lead to decrease in number of songs per film. It is only after 1950, camera and characters were liberated from ‘pre erected’ solid sets. Hence it delayed the ‘Evolution of Cinematic Language’.

As repose, the protagonists of Film Music, give hard hitting Repose to such onslaught saying that it ‘THE’, medium OF Artistic expression which keeps space with time AND SERVE functions such as propaganda and attests as novel modes of recreations. It has created ‘Pan India’ musical identity by borrowing from all regional musical traditions.

Dr. Ranade dwells on cinematic culture from ‘ethno-musicological’ principles. Present culture has undergone deep changes. It has incorporated within its fold, rich ‘folk Dramatic Art Forms and this has cumulative results of representative cultural processes’. It has transformed itself from overtly artistic medium to industry of mass communication! It has been liberated from Monolithic Structure! It has become dominant cultural medium from which life messages are formulated and sent.

Dr. Ranade lists out 32 types of Film songs. As Musicologist Dr. Ranade is keen to identify the structural features of songs-like,Bandish’, Sthayi, Antara and Mukhada’. Hindi film songs have explored ‘genre array’, available from Bhajan, Ghazal, Quawali and Folk Songs! As a Musicologist he has focused on need for fusion of Folk & Western Musical Geners!

Most importantly, how songs work out their way to reach out to hearts and mental life of listeners? Number of Songs, music of Film Songs establishes symbolic order and re-affirms that it has established cultural dominance in India. Cinema gives us Behavior’, while Novel gives us thought and can activate the imagination, provides emotional education. Dr. Ranade concludes that music and songs – is a way to reach the state of ‘feeling for’ (Sympathy) and ‘feeling with’ (Empathy). Hence Cinema helps in achieving this ‘empathetic’ status, with or without inadequate knowledge base’. Secondly he concludes that as Cultural Phenomena, it needs deeper study to assess the contribution and considers his work as a ’step’ towards assessment!

Finally it is the Book which deserves the attention of International Community of Musicologists, Philosophers, Psychologists and Historians. The fascinating and Rigorous Presentation of this Book should make us proud of India’s International affiliation to Musicology. As summery, With the Authorship of this illustrious work, we can claim that ‘Music beyond Boundaries’ has made Ashok Da Ranadeto emerge,   -Singer, Composer, Research Scholar and EthnomusicologistEducator Par Excellence. With this he has also fulfilled desires of C. Ramchandra and Anil Biswas who were pained to state thatMusicians have lost perspective of ‘Unity of Indian Music”. In his own mind Dr. Ashok Da Ranade must have been satisfied for taking cue and clues and re-emphasizing Lenin’s Quote that Cinema remains and is the Popular Medium for Mass Education. The question remains who and how it will turn into popular Victory march!

Ashok Ranade (25 November 1937, Pune – 30 July 2011)

Anil Pundlik Gokhale is an Engineer by profession. As a non regular writer on political literature I have always been attempting to integrate Psychology and Marxism. I have recently published books ‘Condensation And Condescension In Dreams And History: Essay – From Sigmund Freud To E P Thompson’ by Author House London. Psychoanalysis & A- Historical Story of GENGHIS KHAN, Author House- London.

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One Comment

  1. K SHESHU BABU says:

    Rarely discussed interesting topic. Along with musicians and singers, one may not forget the contribution of lyricists who made possible the exposition of folk culture. Prominent lyricists like Sahir, Kaifi Azmi, Shakeel Badayuni or Neeraj have contributed a lot to folk literature. Sahir wrote many lyrics with folk background of Punjabi origin. Shakeel gave voice to Lucknowi and UP folk songs and so on.
    Also, such discussion should be extended to vernacular film songs and music as there is rich folk literature in the songs