I had a fit last week. Not the type when you froth at the mouth, face twitching, eyes rolling skywards and finally, you drop down dead on the floor ..with a thud. Mine was different. I chanced upon a website called suhanegeet.com. What I saw there was amazing stuff. Vintage hindi film songs from 1930 onwards. I am not a big follower of hindi film songs really, but I love collecting artifacts of antique value, be it coins, paintings, or any old titbit piece of art for that matter.
Achhut Kanya (1936) – Ashok Kumar & Devika Rani : (Download)
To me the glorious black and white era of hindi films ended with the release of Mughal-e-Azam in 1959 (or was it 1960 ?). This was the period which saw the evolution of hindi film songs from the unbearably harsh sounding songs of the early 1930s to the refined voices of singers like K L Saigal, Amirbai Karnataki, Zohrabai Ambalawali, C H Atma, Talat Mahmood, Suraiya, Khursheed, Shamshad Begum, Noor Jehan and many others. The emergence of Lata Mangeshkar and company in the late 1940s however, changed the face of hindi film music forever.
Mughal-e-Azam (1959) – Lata & Shamshad Begum : (Download)
So I went down to work. Suhanegeet.com is not a fanciful site, infact it is a bit drag on at first look. It has a great search engine though. Above all, it has an archive of some 8000 songs, but I was interested only in songs of the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. The songs can be played on an onsite flash mp3 player but cannot be downloaded. I somehow managed to download ‘quite a few‘ songs, all of them from the above mentioned vintage period. I have this strange thing going for me. When I get down to do something, I try very hard to be meticulous about it.
Thirsting for more of such vintage songs, I discovered another site : ansarimusic.net (or songs420.com). Applying the same ‘method’ which I did with suhanegeet.com, I downloaded ‘some‘ of the songs, mostly of the legendary singers. I finished the job by downloading a ‘few‘ from smashits.com, most of them from the 1930 through the 1950s. Finally, I have a handsome collection of select old hindi film songs now, all vintage. All this took me a few hours of nosing around ..and a little application of mind.
Comments are welcome.