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Have You Been Sound Tripping?

A conference in Delhi brings fresh insights to bear on technology and music in Bombay’s cinema

1/30/2015 4:45:39 PM
written By : Trisha Gupta Print

The most exciting thing I've done last week is to spend two successive working days in the School of Arts and Aesthetics Auditorium at Jawaharlal Nehru University, where an academic conference on the subject of technology and music in India has been unfolding. 

Titled 'The Music Box and its Reverberations', the four-day event represented a marvelouslly eclectic mix of music. There was a morning devoted to Hindustani classical and (in nicely egalitarian fashion) an afternoon to Carnatic; there were lively papers on everything from Garhwali folk VCD culture to how L R Eswari created (and was created by) the husky female voice in Tamil music. 

There were also many great discussions of film music and the Hindi film song, ranging from early Bombay cinema, through the cliched 'golden age' of the fifties and sixties, and into the present. Poet, editor, music and cinema aficionado Yatindra Mishra, who is working on a book on the life and music of Lata Mangeshkar, offered up a talk on innovation and fixity in the Hindi film song. 

It contained several great anecdotes: my favourite was about Raj Kapoor, whose musical sense I would have thought was fairly good, given the stunning songs his films always had. But Kapoor was apparently so obsessed with Raag Bhairavi that when Shankar-Jaikishan, his music directors, offered him a song based on any other raag, he was certain to dismiss it as "popatiya". 

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