Manek Premchand has a Diploma in Journalism and a degree in Arts from Bombay University. He has many friends in the film industry, and remains fascinated by the enormous role that cinema has played as a key gluing medium in a country as disparate as ours. This fascination has motivated him to write five books on the subject. These are Yesterday’s Melodies Today’s Memories, Musical Moments From Hindi Films, Romancing The Song, Talat Mahmood—The Velvet Voice, and Hitting The Right Notes. A sixth book, Shiv Kumar Sharma—The Man And His Music, was co-authored with two others. Besides these, he has written hundreds of music-related articles for a variety of newspapers.
He has also been a Consultant with Saregama India Ltd, advising for compilations of CDs and meeting music personalities such as AR Rehman, Manna Dey, and Suraiya. On WorldSpace Satellite Radio’s Farishta channel, he hosted a weekly show, interviewing a slew of personalities such as Lata Mangeshkar, Shiv Kumar Sharma, Ram Narain, Burjor and Kersi Lord, Uttam Singh, Manohari Singh, Bahadur Nanji, Kishore Desai, Homi Mullan, Jairam Acharya, Manna Dey, etc.
WorldSpace apart, a few years’ stints happened on All India Radio and the web portal www.bollywoodondemand.com. Manek Premchand is frequently asked to share his knowledge on stage shows and TV, and to address Rotary Club meets.
In his work for his books, articles and other platforms, he has interviewed a host of music luminaries. Apart from those named above, these include Khayyam, Majrooh Sultanpuri, Sudha Malhotra, Naqsh Lyallpuri, Pyarelal, Talat Mahmood, Prem Dhawan, OP Nayyar, Anil Biswas, Anand-Milind, Snehal Bhatkar, Kidar Sharma, Anu Malik, Gulshan Bawra, Enoch Daniels, Pt. Ram Narain and many more.
Yesterday’s Melodies, Today’s Memories is an attempt to profile the great artistes—singers, lyricists and composers—who were part of the huge tidal wave of Hindi cinema’s music from 1931 to about 1970.Greater attention is given to the ‘50s and ‘60s, which period is now commonly considered the golden age of our film music. The book tries to bring these gifted people on the timeline of one stage, in a manner of speaking. Who was Manna Dey? What is the story behind the greatness of Majrooh Sultanpuri? How did the greats produce such greatness, and that too for so long? Was Mohammad Rafi for real? Khayyam and SD Burman, Shankar-Jaikishan and Sahir, Rajinder Krishan and C Ramchandra, OP Nayyar and Asha, Talat and Kaifi Azmi, Anil Biswas and Shakeel, Hemant, Madan Mohan and Mukesh, what are their stories? What made Naushad tick? Why did Shailendra and Geeta Dutt pass away so soon? In spite of being venerated so much, why don’t many people have a photo of Lata Mangeshkar in their homes? What is the story behind KL Saigal’s incredible superstardom? What propelled Ashok Kumar to become a singing-actor? Who put Shamshad Begum and Noor Jahan into high orbits? What is the quick story of Kanan Devi? But wait, there was Kishore Kumar, and along with him were Suraiya and Hasrat Jaipuri and Salil Chowdhury. What about Chitragupt? Not to forget Iqbal Qureshi and N Datta. Goodness, such a huge mass of incredibly passionate artistes!
The book has some rare interviews with many people from the era. It lists many songs created by these artistes, and in several cases, attempts to curate the songs they left behind—for many, a treasure too difficult to put a price on.
Yesterday’s Melodies Today’s Memories is a page-turning read, even as it has a lot of academic value as a reference tool.
This Indian film music book is a collection of eighty essays about the people who made remarkable music in Bollywood cinema, especially during the great era, and the ideas such people brought to the recording studios. When songs had to go without rhythms or when melodies had plenty of Q n A in them. In this music book, we flirt with Rock n Roll and scan songs that speed up at the end, we peep be
This Indian film music book is a collection of eighty essays about the people who made remarkable music in Bollywood cinema, especially during the great era, and the ideas such people brought to the recording studios. When songs had to go without rhythms or when melodies had plenty of Q n A in them. In this music book, we flirt with Rock n Roll and scan songs that speed up at the end, we peep behind the screen to see what the idea was behind chorus songs in our films – even if there was no one to sing that chorus on the screen; it’s a huge list. These pages are a reflection of the time when everyone was fired up in their art, and when no one wanted to finish last in the race. It is about artists who every now and then dreamt ideas, and only after crystallizing things perfectly in their mind’s eye, went out to translate and transform their dreams into unforgettable melodies in Indian movies.
Jukebox will interest the layman as well as the academician.