Listening to a popular Mohammad Rafi number on FM, it just struck me that the evergreen voices of Rafi, Kishore, Mukesh, Lata, Asha, Shamshad can be easily recognised even from a distance. In contrast, I find it extremely difficult to put a name to today’s singer in as much as that even the number 1 singer of today , Arijit Singh, is difficult to be placed apart from his rivals. They all sing full throat, mainly following the Pakistani style of singing inspired by the likes of all time greats such as Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and whenever I listen to a song from new movie, I have to google to check the name of the singer. Rafi had a great pitch – he could sing O duniya ke rakhwale on one hand and sound smooth as silk in yeh mera prem patra padhkar! Lata could sing aa jaane ja and more panghat pe nand lal chhed gayo re with equal ease and yet sound Lata in both the genres of the above songs. Kishore could yoddle or be immensely serious with ease and without sounding anyone else but Kishore.
After the above greats, the last of the lot were Suresh Wadkar, Alka Yagnik and Sonu Nigam, who sounded distinct ( I am not including Southern greats like Yesudas, SP Balasubramaniam etc for obvious reasons). Today’s movies are the first weekend wonder and so are the sounds. It’s difficult to make out one Arijit number from another or for that matter Arijit number from a Pakistani singer’s number. They are all talented, but they sing alike. In the matters of old songs, I am a master winning several radio quizzes. When it comes to the recent songs and movies, I am going to be a damp squib – the only argument being whether I or these songs are damp squibs? 😀