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Ajay Mankotia

Ajay Mankotia

Music aficionado and authorajaym@gmail.com
The writer is an author, former revenue official, former NDTV executive and a music aficionado.

By Ajay Mankotia

Remembering Jagdish Raaj: The quintessential policeman of Bollywood

On his death anniversary today, we remember Jagdish Raaj — an actor who epitomised the role of police inspector in Bollywood.

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Remembering Naushad: The music director beyond compare

Naushad passed away on May 5, 2006 - 15 years ago. But old masters never die. The music lovers and connoisseurs still adore him. Like a diamond, a genius is forever.

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Remembering Soli Sorabjee and his role as an ombudsman

The eminent jurist was also an impartial ombudsman for a TV news channel. Defending freedom of the press and censorship for decades, he was the ideal man for the job.

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The unsung hero: Michael Collins was a man on a mission

Michael Collins, who piloted the Apollo 11 Command and Service Module, died on April 28 at the age of 90.

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How vicarious songs came to the aid of bashful actors in Hindi films

How should the budding romance between the protagonists be depicted on screen, when the script forbids them from directly doing so? Enter buskers and vicarious music to aid.

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How Bollywood songs have been borrowing without sharing credits

Sharing credits is not part of Hindi film writing convention.

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Mahendra Kapoor: The playback singer who did not need a sound system

January 9, 2021 marks the 86th birth anniversary of the singer who owned the bastion of patriotic and religious songs in Bollywood

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Remembering Noor Jehan, Malika-e-Tarannum

On her 20th death anniversary, we remember Pakistani singer and actress Noor Jahan, a shared heritage between our two countries who shall always be loved and revered.

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Usha Mangeshkar: The voice of goddess and poor man's Lata

Usha Mangeshkar, who turns 85 on December 15, will always remain the irreplaceable voice of Goddess Santoshi Maa. Her voice works for large religious gatherings, demanding attention from all devotees.

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The magic of Farida Khanum, the Queen of Ghazal

Farida Khanum wears the title of Queen of Ghazal with panache. Every song of hers bears her unique identity and soul.

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50 years of The Beatles split: Why even the gods couldn't prevent it

This year marks the 50th year of The Beatles' break-up, which even the gods could not prevent.

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Bryan Adams: The mournful romantic

Bryan Adams — one of rock's most talented balladeers with a friendly, world-weathered rasp — turns 61 today.

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Remembering Manna Dey: The classical titan who deserved better

Manna Dey was too good for his own good. On his seventh death anniversary, here is a tribute to the immense talent and humility of the singing giant.

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Bollywood movies, Censor Board, and the curious case of deleted songs

Heard melodies are sweet, those unheard are sweeter. But those that are unseen are a matter of regret.

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Remembering Jagjit Singh: The singer who made ghazals accessible to everyone

There are singers and then there is Jagjit Singh, who remained a perfectionist till his untimely death on October 10, 2011.

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Happy birthday, Sting: Every song you make, we'll be listening to you

Today, October 2, 2020, Sting turns 69. To borrow from his own song, every song that he records, we’ll be listening to it; every move that he makes in music, films and causes, we’ll be following it.

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Born in the USA - Bruce Springsteen: Hero of the working class

Bruce Springsteen's songs chronicle his working-class roots and cover social and political commentary. On September 23, 2020, he turns 71.

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How Western music covers have yielded to a fertile, original indie music scene in India

The indie music scene is buzzing with huge potential and the future looks promising.

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Roger Waters: The septuagenarian firebrand

Roger Waters is 77. He is still selling out concerts around the world. He is a loud voice on human rights issues — sometimes aggravating and occasionally troublemaking.

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How Rafi, Asha and other playback singers of 50s and 60s sang jingles too

The nostalgic era of a fascinating slice of music and advertising history when many of our classic playback singers lent their voice to advertisement jingles.

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At 62, Madonna continues to provoke

The adage goes, "women do not get to be sexual in old age". On August 16, 2020, Madonna turns 62. And she continues to provoke by daring to be an ageing woman exhibiting her desires and the need to be desired.

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Happy Birthday, Mark Knopfler: The Sultan of Swing

Mark Knopfler — born on August 12, 1949 — made a massive impact on rock history with some of the best guitar playings to ever come out of the rock world.

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Remembering Mohammed Rafi: The jewel of Indian music

Mohammed Rafi, who passed away on this day 40 years ago, does not deserve Bharat Ratna; the Bharat Ratna deserves him.

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Carlos Santana: The man who made the guitar sing

One key to Santana's success is his unique way of reinterpreting the music of different cultures, from Latin to reggae and blues to bop.

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How back-to-back songs in Hindi films told a story by themselves

What better way to transition from one emotional theme to another than to have a song immediately after another with a different mood so that the differentiation becomes obvious?

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Happy Birthday Kalyanji: An ode to the music Kalyanji-Anandji treated us to

The duo had a fine flair for regional folk music, catchy dance numbers, soulful devotional songs, children’s songs – you name it.

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What makes the Bollywood title song eternal

The title song is amongst the many subgenres that exist in the delightful world of Hindi film music, especially till the mid-70s. Though not extinct yet, they are certainly on their way out.

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Engelbert Humperdinck: How a shy Madras boy became pop heart-throb

This month, Engelbert turned 84. But his music has transcended time and generations and his voice continues to reach out to people – serving to transport and inspire, to embrace and to provoke emotions.

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Why there cannot be another Talat Mahmood

What makes Talat Mahmood's voice unique, beyond replication?

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Delhi gang rape convicts hanged. Is India ready to face its reality?

India’s Daughter should be seen by all as it holds a mirror to a society that is far from being sensitive to gender issues.

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