There’s this wonderful new reality show called ‘Sur Kshetra’ (loosely traslated into English as ‘The Battleground of Musical Notes’) being telecast on Sahara One channel. As the name suggests, it’s a sort of a musical ‘battle’ between 2 arch rivals India & Pakistan. For the purists (from amongst the musical community) who hail music as a universal concept that supposedly binds/brings together people rather than insitigates them to cross swords, the concept may be abhorrent. But for channel TRPs, it should prove to be a raging success. Only time will tell how it is handled from here on. But pretty early on in its telecast, it seems to have a hit a snag – the question is should the singers be correct in their diction (pronunciation of words) or not. Per judge Runa Laila (the nightingale of Bangladesh), they should. But our very own Asha Tai (Asha Bhosle) seems to think otherwise. “Urdu”, she very confidently opines, “is no more the language of song. No one follows it hence diction mistakes are all forgiven”. Really? If language is not important then why do we need words anyway. Just musical notes will do. Let the participants hum the melody and be over and done with. But if  ‘voice expression’ and the ‘correct portrayal of lyrics as they have been set to music’ is important – and they are if the very same Asha Tai is to be believed - then the language of those lyrics comes right back to the fore. You see, portraying the inherent expression of the lyrics, which the composer has painstakingly matched to his music, will always need an accurate understanding of the language and its nuances BEFORE the singer can express them through her/his voice. And that flies in the face of Asha Tai’s point. Hope someone can point that out to her before she commits other similar gaffes…..


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  • Anoop Kalra Says

    You are right about the language but these days everyone is speaking just one language and that is Indian. So while Asha Tai was wrong about saying ‘no one speaks with fine pronunciation anymore’, I do think most young people in India do not even know how to pronounce Urdu words correctly. I am not saying it’s right to corrupt a language, but this is a problem when you are speaking so many languages in a single place.

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