‘Almost all Hindi film songs have beat patterns which are straight and regular. But OP Nayyar had other ideas.’
The poor sarangi! Hindi film music had accorded it a rather limiting role – either in the kothas or as mournful accompaniment to melancholic songs. No music director had violated the rule. Till ‘The Disruptor’ came along and changed all rules of Hindi film songs. Not in small measure, but wholesale.
OP Nayyar took the sarangi out of the confines of the kotha and let it soar into the sky; from being an adjunct to a dirge, he transformed it into an upbeat musical instrument. He gave it a feel-good melody, a fast pace. He gave it respect. You could hear it sing joyfully, to be released from typecasting. Hear ‘Yeh Kya Kar Dala Tune’ (Howrah Bridge, 1958), and ‘Aankhon Hi Aankhon Mein Ishara Ho Gaya’ (CID, 1956).
Take the santoor. The beat allotted to it by music composers was gentle. It was elevator music. OP Nayyar used it as a fast-flowing brook – still soft but now more insistent – in the prelude to ‘Jaayiye Aap Kahaan Jaayenge’ (Mere Sanam, 1965). Never was the santoor used like this.
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