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Sentimental journey

Mumbai's Carter Road, where Naushad's Ashiana bungalow's snugly located, from today will be renamed as Sangeet Samrat Naushad Ali Marg. Raju Bharatan reminisces of the times he spent at the music maestro's house.

music Updated: May 05, 2008 16:09 IST
Raju Bharatan

If you pass Padmashree Mohammed Rafi Marg, could Sangeet Samrat Naushad Ali Marg be far away? That's what Carter Road, where Naushad's Ashiana bungalow's snugly located, becomes from today - to mark the mausiqaar's second death anniversary .

A sentimental journey down melody lane is what Ashiana is for me. Here's where Naushad told me: "You already have such a fine grip on cine sangeet. Why don't you add, to it, the raagdaaree part to make your repertoire complete?"

I'd been conscious of this lacuna in my music-writing ever since I saw Mughal-e-Azam. As Madhubala gave tender expression to Bekas pe karam keejiye, a long-coated Gujarati gentleman by my side exclaimed: "Here comes Naushad mian in Kedar."

Quite flattering
Thus Ashiana is where I determined I'd acquire at least a basic knowledge of raags. There came a time when Naushad identified his Lata-Rafi Shabab duet, Man kee been (on Nutan Bharat Bhooshan), as Raag basant.

"But, Naushad saab," I made bold to say "isn't Man kee been, more bahaar than basant?"

"Right you are!" conceded Naushad.

"See how you've reached a raagdaaree stage where you correct even me!"

Flushed with embarrassment, I remark: "Naushad saab, if I'm qualified to correct you, it's only when you say that Mar gaye hum jeete jee (in raag maand from your Shabab) is from Deedar."

"My job is to compose, you're always there to correct me in any such detail."

Dangerously flattering could be Naushad. I must've been to his Ashiana music-room some 30 times. Each time I came away with my musical vocabulary enriched.

Humble beginnings
That piano occupying a nook in his music-room was a reminder that Naushad started out as an instrumentalist in this industry at Rs 30 a month.

From such humble beginnings did Naushad become the first music director to charge Rs 1,00,000 for a film and build a bungalow of his own, complete with that music room.

A music room to which Lata, Asha, Rafi, et al, came to rehearse. "At a social level, I'll call on them any number of times," observed Naushad. "But for rehearsal, even Lata's got to come to this room."

Naushad revealed how thoroughly he'd rehearsed Lata, here, for Phir teri kahaani yaad aayi. If there's been better maand than this, I've yet to hear it.

Wish granted
That piano catches my attention afresh and I persuade Naushad to play a few notes for the lady fan accompanying us, Nirupama Subramanyam from Udaipur. And Naushad's piano wizardry takes our breath away .

As the Mukeshian notes flow in a stream as Hum aaj kahin in raag jaijaiwanti, Tu kahe agar in raag kirvani, Jhoom jhoom ke in raag piloo and Toote naa dil toote naa in raag bhairavi.

Son Rehman, having fulfilled father's wish by getting the Naushad Academy of Hindustani Sangeet really going, should also preserve the Ashiana music-room for posterity. For here's where the finest music, wrapped in the finest Urdu poetry came to be made.