Friday, August 1, 2008

Falling in Love II - Gaana Aaye Ya Na Aaye

Hi friends, I am back as promised with my second edition on the great Dr Chaudhury. (Read Part 1 here : Falling in Love)

The secret revelation that I made to my blog has resulted in an avalanche of good wishes from all of you eavesdroppers... I mean friends. I am truly touched by your sincerity. I know all of you are shy about leaving comments here on the blog so I shall do the needful for you. After all good things should be shared with the world. Using this blog as a fireplace mantle, I am going to draw lots and pick out some of those heartfelt messages to display as mantelpieces. So here we go...!

"My belief has become stronger that some people "look" besura. I was so confident that this guy was going to be besura..."

Ouch! That was a not so lucky draw. But never mind. Mein aur mera blog are both equal opportunity feedback receivers. We believe in freedom of expression. Psst... let me tell you a secret on the side, this person is just jealous. I think he is feeling insecure because hamare Chaudhury Saab is giving serious competition to his second most favourite singer! Guess who?
Let's go to the next one

"You are such a silly-billy - Doctorjee needs singing lessons!!!! I also heard his rendition of 'Dancing Queen'...still tearing my hair..."
Isn't that sweet? She is obviously tearing her hair in ecstasy after hearing him immortalize ABBA with his kauwwa, sorry kokila roopi kanth. The part about the singing lessons, is obviously about the need to dispense lessons. True genius needs to be shared.

"I like his "roop tera mastana" better than the original and I'm sure if SDB were alive today he would have to agree that Dr Chaudhry is even cooler and zanier than Kishore ....Really have to doff my hat to you dilli wallahs/waalis !"
Now that is a true friend. Ok, admittedly a part is aimed slightly below the belt. In one blow it hits my SDB soft spot and my Dilli soft spot. But I shall remain positive. I shall let the 'Dilli barb pass as the inferiority complex of a typical Mumbaikar in the age-old Delhi-Bombay war. As a fan of the old man, I remain benign to all people who are fans of any of his assistants..[halo shining]
Actually, there is a point there, I have to agree, Kishore Kumar will need seven lives and a chestful of SDB's paans to sing like the good doctor. The way he sings 'mauj koi saahil se takraaye' and the way the '... ae.. ae... ae.. ae' echos in my 'karn karn'. It makes my hair stand on the end.

Here is the last one..this one came as a voice message on the phone and then a follow-up phone conversation

Voice-Mail : You have one new message. Press 1 to play the message
[Pressed 1]
Voice- Mail: [Background Dr Chaudhury singing ae.. ae... ae.. ae' ]..... I strongly suggest you go back to Dev Anand. Mera vote Dev Anand ke saath hai......

After such a message I simply had to call back. This is what I heard

".... I saw each of the videos thinking the real thing is yet to come. But now after watching them carefully I am very impressed. I am going to start singing and uploading my own songs.."

Errr... sometimes spreading good news can get counter-productive. (anyone who has heard her sing 'Hai Banto' will agree on that)

So those were your glowing good wishes, thank you very much for them. With the curtain raiser over, let me now take you on the journey to meet Dr Chaudhury.

Fasten your seat belts!

It has turned out to be a grand revelation that for the travellers on You Tube Dr Chaudhury is a legend. There are 562 such samples of his superior serenading skills out there on You Tube all recorded in a span of seven months. He has covered multiple languages Hindi, English, Punjabi and has elevated the works of artists ranging from Britney Spears to Abba, Kishore Kumar to Kumar Sanu, Lata Mangeshkar to Shreya Ghoshal and from Prakash Kaur to Surinder Kaur. And all of them swinging in the same chair with the same intense expression. I love such consistency.

Needless to say Dr Chaudhury has legion of admirers. Just a glance at the comments section in his uploads and you shall see the effects of his charismatic singing. People want to invite him over to their work-place. Other have him sing happy birthday on the laptop as they cut the cake and even others give singing suggestions. Here is a small sampling of the comments

Comment 1: "Wah wah Chacha ji qasam se aap ne to Mohammad Rafi, Mehdi Hassan, Mukesh sabb ko peeche chor dya,, ap ne music training kahan se lee he,, very nice voice and very nice songs,, plz do come to Sweden im ur big fan ,, Take care Uncle ji u are very zindadill "
Comment 2: "...I am really looking forward for my retirement. :-) "

Comment 3: "Respected Doctor sahab,
We are very grateful to you for the entertainment that you provide us. We are your fans from America. We want to give you 2 suggestions:
1)In the next summer, why dont you plan a US tour??? It will be awesome to have you in person --amongst us.
2)Another area which you have neglected is Hindustani Classical Music. A rendition of few ragas coming from you will be just HEAVENLY!!!!
- Choudhary fan club Stanford University'"

The last one is a great suggestion. I cannot wait to have Dr Saab do a DV Paluskar to 'Piyu Palan Lagi Mori Akhiyan'. Incidentally the fan following does not stop there. Stanford University is not the only place where he has a fan club. He has multiple fan clubs ( His fans all revere his superior singing skills. So huge is his fan following that India TV did a feature on him and he now rubs shoulders on Page 3 with the Ramanis and Ramonas of Delhi. No mean achievement.

Ofcourse, all legends invite criticism - some constructive and some otherwise. Our Doctor Saab is no exception. There are jealous souls out there who say he is besura. I wouldn't pay much attention to them. These are the same people who point fingers at legends like Himesh Reshamaiyya accusing him of being nasal, besura, wolf, doggy, and what not.. You know who these people are? I suspect they are all those singers on whom Dr Saab has done a favour by Hoton se chhooing and geet amar karoing. Jagjit Singh is definitely one of them (There are some people who think it is nemesis for Jagjit Singh after what he did onto others in his 'Close to my Heart' series).

Any music lover worth his salt knows that besurapan is a tag that should be worn proudly on the lapels. Today there is his highness Himesh, in the past there was Mahendra Kapoor of the 'Gaana Aaye Ya Naa Aaye Gana Chahiye' fame and above all there was Mukesh about whom many speculated that 'Sur ki gati main kya jaanu' was actually ghost written by him as an honest confession on his own singing skills. People even dare to whisper the same about the high priestess of Hindi film music regarding her recent forays into singing. I think the good doctor definitely has all these legends in his ears when he performs and Lata's stellar rendition of 'Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham' (the K3G one and not the 'Baaton Baaton Mein' song) seems to be a constant inspiration. When he sang 'Kuch na kaho' he surpassed her (in what sense, I shall leave to your imagination).

Doctor saab himself, is no Guru Dutt. Like a true artist who knows his worth he is unfazed by any criticism. Sample below.

"I love criticism and critics - even those showering obscene abuses, users blocked by me."

That is the spirit!

OK, lets get off our funny horse for a bit and examine what it is about this 63 year old gentleman that he has attracted so much attention. Undoubtedly he is completely tuneless. But then there are many other tuneless wonders on You Tube who don't have India TV chasing after them. Is it the prolific streak? 561 videos and still counting is no mean achievement. Is it his age? Or is it just the new age media that loves to celebrate the inane? It is probably a little of all the above. The kitsch value of his output is indisputable, yet it not only that. What probably attracts people to Dr Chaudhury's forays is his sincerity and conviction in the usefulness of his completely useless singing. There is something touching about it. The childlike concentration when he sings, the polite and enthusiastic response to all the smart alec comments and the consistency with which he has been pursuing his passion, one cannot help but feel indulgent. At the end of the day, it is the same indulgence that makes top film reviewers give Dev Anand's nth turkey a sympathetic review or infact a review at all. It is an indulgence for the indomitable spirit of a person in the autumn of his life.

So that was a journey into Dr Chaudhury's world. For his fans there is some distressing news. Dr Saab is currently pursuing other vocations and is not singing. But, there is some better news in offing. Lets hear it from him

" Thanks! I dedicate myself to one field at a time. Currently it is not singing. I would resume soon, composing my own songs on pakistan movie tunes"

Aha... so after giving Rafi, Kishore, Mukesh, Talat, Sonu Nigam etc. competition, our doctorjee is now making inroads into the territory of Nadeem Shravan and Sameer. I love it!

Lage rahiye doctor saab. Please keep singing... we shall keep listening... er... reaching out for our ear plugs!

Gaana aaye ya na aaye gaane chahiye

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