A fortnight or so ago, there was a brief news item in the local evening paper featuring a retired man who had great passion for film music having collected almost all songs from 1930s, esp. up to 1970s. His passion was for both Hindi and Kannada film songs. I had called him using the phone number provided at the article. Today, I decided to meet him because my interest too was in the songs of the same period. I would like to call it as 'the melody era'.
I have only a small collection, nothing compared to this sexagenarian's dedicated effort extending to decades. So I wanted to show him how I pursued my passion. I had taken my book in which I have listed songs in my collection of cassette tapes. During the 80s, I and my colleague got plenty of songs recorded by someone whom a common friend had introduced. He had made a list of his massive collection of gramophone plates, also of the same tastes - 1930s to 70s and even the latest at the time, the early 80s. He charged a nominal fee for recording. We had to indicate the serial numbers from the list and the songs would be accommodated in the tapes we gave. Usually, the wife of the factory-working man did the recording in her spare time as she stayed at home. That way, we got many of only the chosen best songs of different singers. We got them on good quality tapes though the pre-recorded ones were starting to get available on the shop counters, at a time when the gramophone plates were paving way for the cassette tape revolution.
My small collection of cassette tapes. The cassette tape era is also now paving way for the electronic era - CDs and flash drives!
When he looked at my book, he said it was a good collection and I requested him to fill gaps in the list. I had left blanks for some film names and in some places the year of release of that film. From a free flowing memory, he kindly obliged by filling up without blinking.... 1943, 1935..... and so on and he was so sure that he even made a couple of corrections! That showed how immersed he was in his hobby! Hats off!
His name is Parthasarathy. While I was visiting, another music lover friend of his dropped by, typically in the old Mysorean way, without intimation. Dr.Srinivas, introduced himself as a retired scientist. He had dropped in to record some missing songs in his collection from Parthasarathy's. He had his laptop for this. I watched in awe as they reeled out names of films, directors, singers and years from the earliest period, as they were their relatives or family events! They seemed to know such details through and through!
How easy it is now to transfer data! In his earlier days, Parthasarathy used cassette tapes to record film songs aired on the radio, esp. from Radio Ceylon [now Sri Lanka]. It appears that he sold off 8 different radios to get better ones that helped him in recording until he got a rare 10-band radio which too he sold off when songs in cassette tapes became easily available.
He knows which songs are missing from his collection - he is always looking around everywhere and is hell bent on getting them somehow! Such is his treasure, now in Compact Discs, that many from the film industry have come to take his help with regard to vintage references!
He happily posed for me beside his treasure. He has made arrangements with separate music systems in 3 places of his house! This is one of them. Loud speakers are erected on the wall, just out of the top of picture here.
And I must add that this morning, his brief interview also had been aired on the local radio. Before I left, he picked out an extra CD containing some 70 songs of Hemant Kumar and Manna Dey, my favourite singers. He said he was also a great admirer of Hemant Kumar. He chose one from his magnificent collection of many rare songs of this unique singer with the enthusiasm of a youngster, said 'just listen to this.... how melodious it is!' Because of sheer melody they have become collectibles!