Singer Sharda's Interview (Episode1)-Vividh Bharti

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Monday, January 4, 2010

English Translation of the Interview (Episode-1)

Sharda had made her grand debut in hindi film industry with the movie-Suraj, the music for which was composed by arguably the best and most popular ever MDs in HFM: Shankar - Jaikishan.
A series of her interviews on radio channel Vividh Bharti was broadcast under the program ‘Ujaale Unki Yaadon Ke’. Hindi transcript was posted on various blogs. However, after receiving overwhelming request from non-hindi speaking fans, all the interviews have been translated in English. This is the translation of Episode-1 broadcast on 13 September 2009.

Younus Khan: Ujaale unki yaadon ke! Today we are starting a series under this program in which we will chat with the famous playback singer Sharda. During the chat we will play the gems of old times and you would also get to know singer Sharda more closely. So let us listen to the first episode of your friend Younus Khan’s chat with playback singer Sharda. As soon as her name comes to mind, it is full of many sweet songs. So we heartily welcome Shardaji who has come to vividh bharti studios after very long time.

Sharda: Hello-hello-hello! namaste everybody!!
Younus Khan: Shardaji, as soon as one remembers you, the mind feels like butterflies (hindi word - titli) flying all over, why is it so?
Sharda: Yes, everybody remembers me for the ‘titli udi’ song.
Younus Khan: We will certainly talk about it but as far as I remember, this is some 43-44 years old song.
Sharda: Yes, absolutely right.
Younus Khan: We will talk about it but before that please tell how Shardaji belonging to Tamilnadu landed in Mumbai.
Sharda: This was just by chance. I used to sing hindi film songs much earlier than that.
Younus Khan: Like? Which were your favourite songs?
Sharda: I was very fond of Noorjahan’s songs . I used to sing those songs. We used to live in Tehran and Raj Saheb had come there.
Younus Khan: Where?
Sharda: Tehran. I was in Tehran.
Younus Khan: Is that so?
Sharda:Because there were not many singers, I used to sing in parties. Raj saheb (Raj Kapoor) was there, the party was in his honour. I sang song and Raj saheb liked my voice very much. He called me and told,’Your voice is very sweet, very different, unique.’ I told him, ‘Will you give me a chance to sing for your movies?’ He said, ‘Why not! You come to Bombay (Mumbai).’ So I went to Bombay and went to his studio. Hw took my voice test and everybody in RK liked it. Everybody in RK family approves it. Then Raj saheb asked me to meet Shankar-Jaikishan. I went to Shankar-Jaikishan’s office and Shankar saheb immediately sent music teachers to my house. Then ?I started getting training.
Younus Khan: Oh, it seems like a fairy tale!
Sharda: Oh yes, absolutely! You know, nobody planned that I have to become a singer. Otherwise what happens, first one sing in chorus, then goes to see all music directors. Noting like that happened. I don’t know but this is like a story.
Younus Khan: Great! From Tehran to Mumbai, it is like Around the World (laughs). OK we will move ahead but before that we will listen to ‘titli udi’ and that too from you, live!
Sharda: OK. (Sharda blushes, smiles and sings) ‘titli udi ud jo chali)
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Song played: Titli udi ud jo chali (movie – Suraj)
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Younus Khan: Oh ho ho ho! Do you know Shardaji! Today I am confessing something. My father likes this song very-very much.
Sharda: This song can also be called generation song. New generation too likes it. When I go for concerts, people say, 'My daughter danced to this song.' Some ask me for the entire lyrics sayingइ, ‘My daughter needs it.’ So it is going on like this.
Younus Khan: Very nice! How do you feel to see that a song is 4-5 decades old?
Sharda: It’s really surprising because this is a very simple song. There was neither dance nor romantic scene with it. It is a very simple song. The princess is going in a horse cart and singing. And what is there in this song which is still attracting the people!
Younus Khan: Probably the song’s innocence!
Sharda: It’s very much in abundance. Actually I have done a lot of research for this song and during last few years it has dawned to my mind that Shailendraji used to keep some philosophy or other in each song. We call soul as bird or butterfly. The soul wants to go to the source, the soul wants to move towards God, wants to go to the sky. But earthly things like flowers and leaves want to pull it down to the earth. But the butterfly says it wants to go to my source.
Younus Khan: Oh is it!
Sharda: So it is probably such philosophical meaning of this song due to which it is still liked by the people.
Younus Khan: This song has two facets, one is spiritual and the other is little bit light.
Younus Khan: OK now please tell us some incident related to this song, where was it recorded?
Sharda: This was recorded in Famous (studio). Those days it used to be live recording. Now they do it through computers, even if it is off key, it is adjusted. It was very diffcult in those days. When I think how Shankar-Jaikishan made me sing - see because of their capacity I was able to sing all those songs. I still remember. All the musicians were there.
Younus Khan: How many piece orchestra it would have been?
Sharda: 100-150 musicians because violins only used to be some 50-60!
Younus Khan: And Shankar-Jaikishan are known for this.
Sharda: Yes. And violins used to have 2-3 parts. One melody part, one counterpart and one counterpart obligeto. And along with violins, cello, double bass used to be there. Then there used to be main section and rhythm section. Some 15-20 persons used to sit in the rhythm section and there used to be separate rhythm controller. There used to be separate music assistants for music and separate for the singer. And at the time of recording, the singer had to take care of lot of aspects. Many people used to come. Guests used to come, pres used to be there, producers, directors, sometimes stars used to come and song writer.
Younus Khan: Which artists were present during the recording of this song?
Sharda: Rajendra Kumar saheb was there.
Younus Khan: Oh is it!
Sharda: And there is a photograph too with him.
Younus Khan: Oh is it! So 150 musicians are sitting, press is there, Rajendra Kumar is there, Shankar-Jaikishan are there, Shailendraji is there.
Sharda: Yes, the director is sitting there, producer is sitting, distributor is sitting, financier is sitting.
Younus Khan: Oho!
Sharda: It has to be liked by everybody.
Younus Khan: It is absolutely happening like a stage show! (laughs)
Sharda: Yes, but in stage show you sing live, so everything gets accepted. It can’t get accepted here. Here, sound recordist would come and say, you know, breathing noise is coming – control it. Music director would come and say – take care of the notes, then song writer would say – this word is not getting rendered properly. So like this care had to be taken for so many things. Then director would come and say – expression is not there, dullness is there, you have to put expressions.
Younus Khan: This was your first song. How much nervous were you?
Sharda: I didn’t realize at all. Shankarji, Jaikishanji, both were there. Both as if lifted me to the sky. I was feeling like as if I was flying like a bird.
Younus Khan: Oh is it! Were you feeling like this song would reach such pinnacle of success?
Sharda: No, but Shankar-Jaikishan said that this song is going to be a hit. I asked how do you know that? So they said we have not just passed time like nothing in the film industry (Younus Khan laughs) . We say beforehand and then make the song such that it becomes a hit.
Younus Khan: OK please tell did you receive formal training in music because you were saying that you were in Tehran?
Sharda: Yes, I used to sing there just for fun. After coming to Bombay, I got trained under the top people like Jagannath Prasad Guruji, Laxman Prasad Guruji and Nirmalaji – Govindaa’s mother. And apart from that, how one must sing for live recording – that training I received in Shankar-Jaikishan’s music room because whatever new songs they used to compose there, they used to ask me to sing so that I become familiar, you know! How to sing all the fresh songs, how to give expressions.
Younus Khan: So about Shankar-Jaikishan’s creative process, how did they use to work and how did they use to complete a song?
Sharda: A whole book could be written on it! I had the association during only the last few years and I used to go to the studio 2-3 times a week. When they used to do the ‘sitting’ in the evening, during 4-8 in the evening, they used to do floor sitting and everyday something about composing used to go on. Shailendraji and Hasratji both used to be there. Some ‘mukhda’, Shankarji used to play the tune and they used to give words for fitting to it. So this way, composing used to go on.
Younus Khan: Some incident or song you can recall which was made in very interesting manner?
Sharda: "Yeh mooh aur masoor ki daal"
Younus Khan: Great!
Sharda:During conversation somebody casually said “Yeh mooh aur masoor ki daal.” Shankar saheb said,”Fit it in any of my songs.” (Younus Khan laughs). And immediately that song got made this way!
Younus Khan: And this song has been very popular. Will you hum the song for us?
Sharda: (Sings) "Yeh mooh aur masoor ki daal, vaah re vaah mere baankelaal.”
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Song: Yeh mooh aur massor ki daal….. (Movie - Around the World)
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Younus Khan: Today when you listen to your songs, how do you feel?
Sharda: Well! Many of the songs don’t impress me at all. But sometimes I find few songs good .
(Blogger’s comment: Shardaji herself sent me the errata through email on 4.11.2009, “Actually I understood Younusji's question as “Today when you listen to today’s songs, how do you feel?’”)
Younus Khan: OK, in your opinion, which of your own songs in your most favourite?
Sharda: My own, I think, “chale jaana zara thehro”
Younus Khan: Oh is it!
Sharda: Because this is a unique song. No other song has been made this way.
Younus Khan: Anything related to the recording of this song?
Sharda: This was my third or fourth song, second duet with Mukeshji because ‘duniya ki sair karlo’ had already been made. Mumkesh saheb was joking to make the atmosphere lively. He would joke with everybody, ‘I am an off-key singer’ – he used to say like this (both Younus Khan & Sharda laugh). And the second duet with Mukeshji – ‘vo pari kahaan se laaoon’, there were three microphones for it, there were many girls along with Sumanji and me. He came inside and wanted to run back (saying) ‘I cannot sing in between so many women.’ (Younus Khan laughs).
Younus Khan: Oh, very nice! Will you hum this song?
Sharda: (sings) "vo pari kahaan se laaoon, teri dulhan kise banaaoon."
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Song: Vo pari kahaan se laaoon….. (Movie – Pehchaan)
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End of episode - 1
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