Monday, March 23, 2009

The Sheer Abundance!

I'm reading this book, Hindi Film Song: Music Beyond Boundaries, by Ashok Da. Ranade, and I'm really enjoying it, in part because it's just bursting with exclamation points. It's a relatively straightforward piece of nonfiction, but it's as if the author is so enthusiastic about his subject that he just can't contain himself. (Yes, comment has been made in my household to the effect of "Hmm, why does that sound familiar?")

The chapter subtitle "The Sheer Abundance!" (referring to the insane number of Hindi film songs produced) is a good example, along with the overview "The Ambitious Big Theories!"

His factoids are amusingly told, too. He mentions the career of Ashok Kumar: how he became a big star in the pre-playback days, even though that meant he had to do his own singing. And he was apparenly not very good at it (ironic, for the big brother in whose footsteps legendary singer Kishore followed). Other writers have commented before on Kumar's overcoming this obstacle, but Ranade describes a performances thusly:

"Ashok Kumar's musicality became recognisably adequate in Kismet." (p. 120)

Now that's something to aspire to: being recognisably adequate. There are days I'd settle for that.

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