The history of independent India told through Bollywood songs

16 September, 2018 3:09 pm IST
Text Size:

In Note by Note – The India Story 1947-2017, the authors weave an engaging narrative around history by picking one song from each year.

What happens when Bollywood music meets Indian history, and not one, but three Cupids work their charm? You get a book that nudges you to pick it up called Note by Note – The India Story 1947-2017.

Written by the journalist trio — Ankur Bhardwaj, Seema Chishti and Sushant Singh — it’s also got a succinct foreword by celebrated filmmaker Shyam Benegal.

The book has a chapter dedicated to each year, starting from the year India became free. You get a stanza of the signature song of that year, the backstory to its creation, and national events that could be linked to it.

Time crunch or otherwise, the greatest felicity of this book lies in each chapter, averaging about five pages, being stand-alone. The fact that you don’t have to connect earlier chapters with the one you pick makes it both interesting and easy to refer to.

To pick randomly:

If it’s 1950, it’s Gore Gore O Banke Chore. It’s also when the Constitution was adopted and the Election Commission came into being.

We are deeply grateful to our readers & viewers for their time, trust and subscriptions.

Quality journalism is expensive and needs readers to pay for it. Your support will define our work and ThePrint’s future.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

If it’s 1957, it’s Yeh Duniya Agar Mil Bhi Jaaye. It’s also when the Mundra scam dominated headlines and Life Insurance Corporation bought fraudulent stocks.

If it’s 1975, it’s Tere Bina Zindagi. It’s also when Emergency was declared.

If it’s 2014, it’s O Jugni Ho Pataakka Guddi O. It’s also when the BJP came to power at the Centre winning 282 seats, and Arvind Kejriwal resigned after just 49 days as Chief Minister.

While reading Note by Note you are sure to jog your memory, as it traces many long-forgotten, yet beautiful melodies all the way back to 1947. For most of us listening to a bunch of songs on a loop, this is a great way to reboot. You’ll get a brand new playlist, and in the bargain, shore up on Indian history too.

You could argue the authors might have arbitrarily chosen a song-of-the-year. You could say their linking of certain lyrics to political change that year might be stretched at times. There can be no debate, however, that the subject of the book is unique. Told in a no-frills style, there isn’t a dull moment in the narrative.

Read Note by Note for the many hued accounts of how composers, singers, producers, lyricists and actors came together to musically reflect a thought. Read it to see how well the authors connect the dots between society and song.

The writer is an associate professor at O.P. Jindal Global University.

Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

News media is in a crisis & only you can fix it

You are reading this because you value good, intelligent and objective journalism. We thank you for your time and your trust.

You also know that the news media is facing an unprecedented crisis. It is likely that you are also hearing of the brutal layoffs and pay-cuts hitting the industry. There are many reasons why the media’s economics is broken. But a big one is that good people are not yet paying enough for good journalism.

We have a newsroom filled with talented young reporters. We also have the country’s most robust editing and fact-checking team, finest news photographers and video professionals. We are building India’s most ambitious and energetic news platform. And we aren’t even three yet.

At ThePrint, we invest in quality journalists. We pay them fairly and on time even in this difficult period. As you may have noticed, we do not flinch from spending whatever it takes to make sure our reporters reach where the story is. Our stellar coronavirus coverage is a good example. You can check some of it here.

This comes with a sizable cost. For us to continue bringing quality journalism, we need readers like you to pay for it. Because the advertising market is broken too.

If you think we deserve your support, do join us in this endeavour to strengthen fair, free, courageous, and questioning journalism, please click on the link below. Your support will define our journalism, and ThePrint’s future. It will take just a few seconds of your time.

Support Our Journalism

Share Your Views

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here