Sunday, May 12, 2002

Radio Pancham

aka What a small world we live in

I'm sure each one of us has had some little experience that testified for the almost-trite adage "it's a small world". Well, I just had my own personal favourite today.

Some background first: WRFG 89.3 FM is a non-profit community-sponsored radio station that runs, among other interesting shows, a 2 hour 'Music from India' show every Sunday from 11 am to 1 pm EST. The show comprises selections of indian classical music, new Hindi film and Indipop releases, a 'down memory lane' segment featuring old Hindi film releases, and a tail segment that features bhajans and ghazals.

May 24, 2002: A little more about this (source: WRFG):

Hosts: Manorama Pandit,Jagan Bhargave

Co-host:Asha Bhoomkar

Perhaps the longest-running non-commercial and listener-supported radio program of South Asian music in the United States. Music From India offers a complete range of musical variety, from the classical to pop.

The first segment offers the best in classical music, both vocal and instrumental. The second segment features modern popular music from movies and other pop artists. The third segment goes back to more traditional forms of popular and semi-classical music including music from films, ghazals, geets, and devotional songs.

Community news and events, as well as live artists and interviews, are also featured.

Today, out of the random blue, in the old releases section, they played a song called 'chor tera naam' (kishore, lata). Yes,
obscure isn't it? Well, if like me you were as seeped as I was in RD Burman music, you could at least recognize the composer's touch. Sure enough, when they announced the credits, it was an RDB composition. from the film JAGIR. I must admit, it isn't one of his popular albums. But then, I'm a collector. Turns out one of the hosts on the show had purchased a CD titled "Evergreen Hits of RD Burman" and just played one of the tracks. She even wondered why they were called 'hits' (obviously she wasn't a collector, and yes, the song wasn't exactly popular material). So I called in with the information about the film. Incidentally, it's a 1984 film starring dharmendra, mithun chakraborty, zeenat aman with lyrics by anand bakshi (which was the information they were missing). For trivia buffs: It was the first hindi film soundtrack that T-series released . Being the chronic collector I am, I even got details about the CD and filled in some more credit blanks for them. Soon, I merited a mention on the program, but (the horror! the horror!) as a 'non-indian' who seemed to know a lot about Hindi films (especially la obscura JAGIR). Of course, I had to call in again to rectify their faux pas. This time the lady who actually bought the CD came over to the phone and began chatting with me, finding out more about where I came from and so on. Of course, I waxed eloquent about my being a fan of R. D. Burman (was it justification for the guilt of having known about so obscure an album?). As it turned out, she graduated from the same University back home as I did (The University of Pune). This doesn't say too much, since the U of P is an umbrella for a large number of different discrete architectural structures called colleges scattered all across the city that you could graduate from without even having seen the blessed structure (which is far-fetched, because everyone ends up taking a lot at this rather stellar structure/institution of the city). Turns out her daughter is a housewife in Pune right now and lives in close proximity of my residence back home. How's that for a small world? Now I have another contact in this foreign land.

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