Music

The curious case of an English RJ

Back in 1978, I wanted to become the world’s greatest radio jockey. Pure English music of course, as I didn’t know the difference between Amitabh Bachchan, Kishore Kumar, Kalyanji-Anandji and Anjaan. I had the perfect face for radio. Still have it.

Sadly, my interviewees never understood my wisecracks. They will never do. But I am determined to start my own nostalgia show of the 1970s, or even some 1970 years earlier than that. Today I have the arms and ammunition — namely YouTube, Facebook and WhatsApp. Like the dreaded nuclear technology, it’s just a button away from disaster. So here’s my set list for June 2018. It will not get as many ear-wrings as the current radio stations who describe anything before 2013 as retro. But if music be the food of love, play on. Bray on.

Old is gold

Those were the days my friend, we thought they’d never end. Am not lecturing but that’s my first song in my debut radio show called ‘No Rain But There's Naren’. It was sung by Mary Hopkin. Song No 2. ‘Que sera sera, whatever will be, will be’. My grandmother mistook que sera with kesar, some orangish ingredient she put in her handmade sweets. In my childhood, all the girls of my hometown wondered what an ole oak tree was, when all they knew were chickoo, papaya and mango trees. The song is ‘Tie A Yellow Ribbon 'Round The Ole Oak Tree’ by Perry Como. Oops, can't find the Tony Orlando version as my Internet is slow.

By now, I start getting requests. As I don’t have half the songs, I pass on the numbers of my favourite radio presenters Ameen Sayani and RJ Gaurav for Hindi, and Hrishi K. and Fali Singara for English. What’s with a radio show? I have confidence in sunshine, I have confidence in rain. Onto the fourth on my playlist, I actually forgot which song from The Sound Of Music soundtrack Iwanted to play. I will check that on Google over the commercial break. Dooh da da dah. ‘Bhaiyyon aur behenonAap sun rahe hain and keep listening to metro hits played by RJ Naren.” Da da dah dooh. Retro or metro? Am confused what I am playing.

Commerce rules

Break ke baad. Mandatory contest. Restaurant vouchers and movie tickets for first two who answer correctly. First question: Who sang the song — ‘Yesterday’. Second question: Name the singer on ‘Light My Fire’. Now this is an English nostalgia radio night but nobody talks of the Beatles or Jim Morrison. Answer No 1, they tell me, is Sonu Nigam for ‘Kal Ho Na Ho’. And the next one is ‘Saawan Mein Lag Gayi Aag’ by Mika Singh.

Sitting in my studio with my earphones and peering into some ten computers and thousand buttons, I need a strong coffee. Instead I sip on lukewarm chai. So I play ‘Summer Wine’. I don’t remember the names of the singers so I just announce Palak Mucchhal and Arijit Singh. Even before my next song, I get 117 likes on a new Facebook book page am tagged me on. My ego was boosted. So many likes. Itne pasand. So forgetting this was an English show, I played ‘Jo Tumko Ho Pasand Wohi Baat Karenge’. Yippee! 210 likes and 63 comments before I could think of my next song. Which is my last for tonight.

Another ad break. One more quiz follows. Prize for two is a holiday at Dubai’s Burj Al Arab. I ask who sang ‘Are You Lonesome Tonight?’. A 17-year-old bachelor says, ‘Akele Hain Toh Kya Gham Hai’. Another 17-year-old girl instantly responds with “Amitabh Bachchan in ‘Mein Aur Meri Tanhai’. Shukriya, deviyyon aur sajannon, I won’t venture into English music shows after this. I will survive, yeah, yeah.

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Printable version | Mar 24, 2020 8:57:41 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/the-curious-case-of-an-english-rj/article24155753.ece

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