If music be the spice of life, the National Film Archive of India (NFAI) added lot more spice to it at the recently concluded 45th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa by curating a unique exhibition: Telling the story of music in Indian films through posters.The exhibition covered a span of 78 years, beginning with the poster of Alam Ara (1931) and ending with Slumdog Millionaire (2009).
Said Arti Karkhanis, head of NFAI's Documentation Department: "We have been doing this poster exhibition since 2006, and this year we’re showcasing the theme of rhythm, raga and melody. Our purpose is to show the development of music in Indian films and the influences it enjoys. Alam Ara was the first film to have sound, and the song was De De Khuda Ke Naam Pe De De which was based on raag Bhairavi."
She added: "Actually this is also an attempt to show that Indian films can be classified on the basis of ragas. Most of the songs have originated out of ragas with Pahadi, Khamaj and Bhairavi being the most popular."
Songs are entwined in Indian films in such a way that you just cannot miss their soothing quality. There was a time when even the silent films used to have some elements of sound. Musicians used to perform in the theatre along with the visuals and in a way it gave birth to the idea of background score.
Further, film music turned out to be a life saver for folk music as it provided the blanket covering for a long lasting life to local melodies. Later, Hindustani and Carnatic systems of music emerged and the background music became streamlined.
The NFAI exhibition included posters from Mehboob Khan’s Anmol Ghadi to Guru Dutt’s Mr and Mrs 55 to Gulzar’s Lekin, encapsulating the essence of good music in Indian films. Definitely a wise attempt to preserve the cultural legacy of the Indian films. (Interact with Rohit Vats at Twitter/@nawabjha)