April 13, 2010 (Calcutta Tube): Veteran singer Manna Dey who has sung for Bollywood Hindi films, regional movies and non-films albums shares his views on contemporary music and more. The singer talks about music by ace musician A R Rahman.
When it’s a piece about two celebrated musicians, it’s bound to create hype. Case in point: Veteran singer Maana Dey’s comments on present-day music whiz, A R Rahman. He recently gave his opinion on the work of the maverick composer. He has been largely critical of Rahman’s hit version of Vande Mataram.
Prabodh Chandra Dey, fondly known as Manna Dey, dominated Indian playback singing from the 1950s to the 1970s. He was quite vocal about his displeasure regarding the makeover of the national classic. Rahman had composed the track to commemorate India’s 50 years of independence, which was well-received by the nation. The 91-year old singer however was not too happy about the changes instilled. “I fail to understand what he meant by stretching ‘Vande’ too long; Vandeeeeeeeey makes no sense to me because that is not the way one would pay respect to one’s mother,” he says, almost mimicking the Rahman’s style. “Pranaam karne ka bhi ek tarika hota hai bhai… tarike se gao.”
A R Rahman won accolades for his composition in Slumdog Millionaire. His track ‘Jai Ho’ fetched laurels like the Grammy award, Golden Globe, BAFTA and the highest honour – the Oscars! But despite this, Manna Dey fails to be impressed. The ‘Dadasaheb Phalke Award’ recipient feels that it’s just another example of the commercialization of music. “What is there in Jai Ho?” he queries, “I do not see anything more than just another commercial twist that has paid dividends.” Two of Rahman’s best works did not appeal to him, but he acknowledges the composer as a talented musician. He hailed Rahman’s music for films like Roja, Bombay and Lagaan as his best compositions.
A R Rahman has been on an award-winning spree, the latest being the Padma Bhushan. Manna Dey’s remarks have come at a time when he’s gearing up for his Concert tour. We’re sure that the ‘Mozart from Madras’ will take them in his stride and move on to scale greater heights!
– Sampurn Wire