Sunday, June 24, 2012


 BY ADIL RASHEED / 15 February 2005

By all accounts, the Hindi film industry has not seen a more sincere and dedicated proponent of Indian music than the legendary music maestro Naushad. There is also probably no composer who has popularised Indian classical and folk music among generations of music lovers in the way this highly acclaimed music director has.
Never hesitating to compose music inspired from classical Indian Ragas, he has been successful in making many stalwarts of classical Indian music like DV Pulaskar, Amir Khan and Bade Ghulam Ali Khan to sing for his compositions.
The maestro has also been a great innovator and in step with modern times. Naushad Ali was one of the first to introduce sound mixing and the separate recording of voice and music tracks in playback singing. He was the first to combine the flute and the clarinet, the sitar and mandolin. He is said to have introduced the accordion to Hindi film music and was among the first to concentrate on background music to extend characters' moods and dialogues through music.
His recent first for Hindi cinema is his re-recorded rendition for the epic Mughal-e-Azam in Dolby digital sound. However, he has ensured that the singers' voices are restored in their pristine purity in the process.
City Times spoke to the great Naushad Ali in person to know about his recent tour-de-force among other things.
How challenging was it to re-record the music of Mughal-e-Azam in new digital format?
It has been a long and arduous process. I would say the whole film has had a reincarnation or Punarjanam as we say it in Hindi.
It took me more than one year to re-record the music in the dolby sound. It was difficult to maintain the tempo of the earlier compositions. You see it was not a spontaneous process where musicians are sitting and playing on their instruments. We had to add layers to the music. We had to do it part by part, bit by bit.
I had to measure each segment and sometimes break it after the fourth or sixth foot. And then we sent the picture and sound negatives to Hollywood. So a lot of effort and care has gone into the entire process. And I must say I am satisfied with the results and the whole effort has been well-received by the audience.
Do you see other Indian oldies being revived in the same manner?
Yes. Efforts are under way to re-release BR Chopra's Naya Daur in an all-colour and dolby sound format. Similarly, revival of many other projects are being considered as we speak.
The only hitch is that these projects entail a lot of expenditure — even more than the original cost of the movie's production. Still it is nice to see that the new-look Mughal-e-Azam has opened the floodgates for the revival of classics in modern format. Now younger generations can marvel at the accomplishments of filmmakers in the past by seeing their work in the way they are used to viewing movies.
Do you think a film like Mughal-eAzam could be made again?
Why not. In fact, I would say Akbar Khan's forthcoming epic Taj Mahal may match if not surpass Mughal-e-Azam in sheer stateliness and grandeur. If the world was awestruck by the Sheesh Mahal in Mughal-e-Azam, here (in Taj Mahal) we have many such palaces and a much bigger production. I am composing the music of Taj Mahal and I hope and pray the movie does well.
Mughal-e-Azam is being re-released in Pakistan also. The film is an all-time favourite among Pakistanis as well. So how do you view this significant development?
I think it's a very good sign. It just shows that people on the other side of the border relate to and marvel at our accomplishments. The remarkable thing is that a 40-year-old film is helping bring the two people closer. I just hope that the movie is able to facilitate greater interaction and friendship between the two countries. The feeling is indeed overwhelming.
We have heard you have not been keeping well these days?
Yes! I have some infection in my lungs and I am also suffering from arthritis. I use a walker now-a-days.
Would you like to send a message across to your followers.
My message is simple. Please preserve the rich heritage of Indian music. Please explore your own legacy and develop it further. There is a lot of wealth hidden in our cultural heritage so let us not ignore it. There is more to art than vulgarity. Please opt for a higher entertainment. 

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