Yeh hai Radio meri Jaan!
Ever since private FM radio stations exploded into our lives, the radio has become ubiquitous. You switch off the radio at home, get into the car and put on the radio and then when you get off to go to the departmental store, they are playing the same station more often than not! Life is at its musical best. 24x7 music and youth talk fills up households. Each station competing with the other for air time and delivering what is most popular. Read Film music with a smattering of local news and views. Each FM station sounds like any other. Genetically engineered clones. Non stop chatter and non stop music. Only, you get the feeling that music here is on the back seat. It’s more like a filler piece that is disconnectedly sandwiched between small talk. Only a very small percentage of the shows actually end up discussing the music they are playing. It’s like arranging a song in between a prerecorded monologue.
Memories of my childhood summon pictures of the radio playing at home long before the television gate crashed into our lives and after it. With a radio, you don’t have to sit at a place and spend your time. You can get entertained while going about your chores and work. Radio was switched on at 5:55 in the morning with the still resonating violin theme followed by the news and then the music rolled on. Vividh Bharati has retained its charm in spite of all the competition. And what I like best is the variety. Predominantly film music, these are played under different shows. You have those on old film songs, new songs, request shows, music from one film, or a particular theme, ghazls, pop music, classical music, folk music, intercviews and even plays! More importantly, As a result, I can hum more than just the opening lines of song I know, and I can recollect more information on the songs thanks to AIR RJs and their presentation that includes mentioning the name of the movie, singers, music director and lyricist. You did not just enjoy music but learnt to appreciate and admire the great artists behind the making. Listening to private FM channels, I don’t know which movie they are from or who has sung them, let alone who the music director or the lyricist is.
These days you can email you requests or SMS them. But for the rest, Vividh Bharathi has not changed and I fervently hope they don’t ever.