Filed under: India
♬ Kazi Aniruddha • Main Hoon Pyar Tera
♬ Kazi Arindam • Fever
The term “Bollywood” originally referred to Bombay’s (now known as Mumbai) Hindi language film industry. Although there are a number of other studios that produce films in other languages, more recently the definition has been expanded in the West to describe pretty much all films produced on the sub-continent. But where in most countries a film’s soundtrack would merely be used as a promotional tool for the film, in India film music has become an industry unto itself with playback singers and dance numbers. The music is just as important as the film and lives on long after the film has left the theaters. These songs are, for the most part, the pop music of India.
As with most popular music, other artists sometimes recorded cover versions of these songs. Of these musicians, a small number specialized in instrumental arrangements and created what could be called the elevator music of India. While there were a few who used the harmonium or ‘mouth organ’, the most popular instrument used in these “instrumental favorites” was the steel guitar.
The earliest known report of anyone playing slide guitar was Gabriel Davion, a native of India who had been kidnapped by Portuguese sailors and was brought to Hawaii in 1876. Of course, there are Indian string instruments like the gotuvadyam and the vichitra vina that utilize slide known to have existed since the 11th century. But it was not until Ernest Ka’ai and his Royal Hawaiian Troubadours’ toured in 1919 before the slide guitar was introduced to India.
Not much is known about Kazi Aniruddha, except that he was the youngest son of revolutionary Bengali poet and musician Kazi Nazrul Islam. He released about two dozen songs before his death in 1974. And with the exception of a handful of film tunes in 1984, all of Kazi Arindam recordings were of Tagore songs, many of which he did with violinist Debshankar Roy. Although, he did produce a couple of records by Dipankar Sen Gupta, another steel guitarist who records Bollywood tunes. Whether or not the two Kazi’s were related is something that I’ve never been able to clear up…
The song Main Hoon Pyar Tera by Kazi Aniruddha is included on the Bollywood Steel Guitar compilation on Sublime Frequencies. Van Shipley, S. Hazarasingh, Sunil Ganguly, Charanjit Singh, Gautam Dasgupta, as well as Kazi Arindam are also featured on the disc.