Voicing a tribute to the legendary Ameen Sayani - GulfToday

Voicing a tribute to the legendary Ameen Sayani


Ameen Sayani.

For those of us growing up in the Fifties and the Sixties in India,  Ameen Sayani was the stirring voice that navigated us through the world of Hindi film songs, whose fan following was not only restricted to India, but all over the world. 

His trademark catchphrase ‘Namaskar behenon aur bhaiyon, main aapka dost Ameen Sayani bol raha hoon (Hello sisters and brothers, this is your friend Ameen Sayani speaking)’ on Radio Ceylon would captivate us and by the time he would complete his act, we were entertained, informed and mesmerised by his voice. I am sure there are many out there who would croon alongside every song that he would choose to play for us, making us crave for more.   

What a phenomenal record, broadcasting his show Binaca Geet Mala since 1952 – mainly over Radio Ceylon and later via Vividh Bharati over 42 years, spoken for over 54,000 radio programmes and 19,000 spots/jingles since 1951.His selection of hit songs, and the Top Ten, was much awaited, and the position of No:1 was guaranteed to make the movie a hit, and lead to a frenzied buying of records of that hit song. It was also a convention for the winner of the Top Ten to visit Ameen Sayani at his studio, and regale us with interesting nuggets about their music and their personal lives.

He was also very gracious in his praise, lavishing a lot of praise on any song that ought to have won the Top 10 but failed to make it for whatever reason – and that unofficial crowning by Ameen Sayani was also certain to propel that song  towards stardom. Such was his love for this idea of the underdog, he also introduced a special programme named Geetmala Ki Chhaon Mein (In the Shadows of the Garland of Songs). The show showcased the great songs of each year which did not reach the annual Pop-Charts. 

In one live concert of the Binaca Geet Mala, Ameen Sayani paid a very profound tribute to the highly talented Hindi film world, who were drawn from varied faiths and hailed from different parts of India, who entertained us with such soul-stirring music that knit the country together with shared happy memories.

What can one say about a voice like Ameen Sayani? Will there be another like him? So many tried to follow in his style, but failed to sustain interest after a while. He was a class act by himself. He is no more, but his voice shall continue to be with us – yes, the world of Hindi films has a song specially for people like him:  Naam gum jayega, chehra yeh badal jayega, Meri awaaz hi pehchan hai, gar yaad rahe  

[My name will be forgotten. My face will change with the passage of time.

My voice is my identity, if you may recall.]

Stanley David