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Siraj Syed

Siraj Syed is the India Correspondent for and a member of FIPRESCI, the International Federation of Film Critics. He is a Film Festival Correspondent since 1976, Film-critic since 1969 and a Feature-writer since 1970. He is also an acting and dialogue coach. 



Music Forever: Long performing music duo L-P, alias Laxmikant-Pyarelal

Music Forever: Long performing music duo L-P, alias Laxmikant-Pyarelal

Ajay Poundarik is neither a writer nor a journalist. But if he is anything, he is a fanatic admirer of the work of the music composer duo of Hindi films, Laxmikant and Pyarelal, better known as L-P. LP, which, in music parlance, is an acronym for Long Playing Record, is a term that fits them like the proverbial glove. They were indeed a long-playing pair, to be sure.

As a tribute to his ‘deities’, Poundarik has compiled a 700-page labour of love, called Laxmikant-Pyarelal, Music Forever, An ‘LP’ Era: :1963 -  1998. The two years signify the beginning of their career, in 1963, and the death of Laxmikant, in 1998, 35 years later, which brought an end to the ‘era’. Pyarelal did not compose alone, unlike Shankar, who, after his partner Jaikishan’s death, in 1971, continued to score music for films under the name Shankar-Jaikishan, until he himself breathed his last.

In the hardcover, large format book, which refuses to conform to any genre, statistical data and chronological events abound, about singers, lyricists and producers, along with details of the songs that became the highlights of the films L-P scored music for. The number of films they worked for is in itself a mind-boggling figure: 600, which will take some believing, because the average comes to 14 films a year! You learn that they worked with as many as 72 song-writers, with Anand Bakhshi topping the list, at 302 films, and since each film had 5-8 songs, the number of songs Bakhshi wrote for L-P were, hold your breath, 1,680. This figure acquires added significance because at No. 2 is Majrooh Sultanpuri, with just 45 films.

Guess how many singers, male and female together, lent their voices to the tunes of L-P? 160. Not surprisingly, Lata Mangeshkar is right on top, with 712 numbers. Her sister Asha Bhosle comes second, with 494. After two female leaders come the two male giants, and it comes as no surprise whatsoever that Kishore Kumar notched 402. Post 1970, riding the Rajesh Khanna wave, composers like L-P, Rahul Dev Burman, Kalyanji-Anandji, Bappi Lahiri and more rushed to KK, irrespective of who was the actor on screen, giving lip-sync to his vocals. But unlike K-A and RDB, they did not completely sideline Mohammed Rafi, who was numero uno till 1970. We find against Rafi’s name 389 L-P songs, which means that the composers for whom he sang the maximum number of songs were L-P.

A brief anecdote about L-P and Rafi bears mention here. I had gone to interview Laxmikant (the more vocal of the two), after the death of Mohammed Rafi, to get his reaction. Firstly, he mistook me to be Imtiaz Hussain Mateen, who used to lend his voice to an Ameen Sayani show, Shalimar Superlac Jodi. After some convincing, he accepted me as Siraj Syed. And about Rafi, he said something that was so simple, and, at the same time, so profound. “You know, Sirajbhai, while RafiSaab was there, we never thought about who would sing the tune. If a particular singer was called and could not do justice to it, we would always fall back on RafiSaab, who would never disappoint. After his passing away, we have to deeply consider whether the singer we are working with will be able to sing this particular composition or not.”

It would be de rigueur to include the top songs of the team year-wise, and their performance in the weekly hit-parade radio show, Binaca (later Cibaca) Geetmala, produced and presented by Ameen Sayani. And all that is there, in abundance. As an added attraction, Poundarik has listed the types of songs they composed and their favourite musical instruments, that were heard most often in their songs. The book ends with an index of 2,844 songs that bear their credit as music directors. If that is not mind-boggling, what is?

If you are looking for proper grammar, linguistic perfection, creative layouts….you have come to the wrong place. In the cause of a definitive anthology/monograph/biography/profile/call it what you may, these pitfalls will have to be overlooked. Also, there are very few pictures, considering the number of pages. This might be attributed to copyright issues. In any case, L-P’s music, like all music, is something to be heard, not seen. Published by Blue Rose, New Delhi, London, the cover price is 1,500. 

You can get your copy from Blue Rose:



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About Siraj Syed

Syed Siraj
(Siraj Associates)

Siraj Syed is a film-critic since 1970 and a Former President of the Freelance Film Journalists' Combine of India.

He is the India Correspondent of and a member of FIPRESCI, the international Federation of Film Critics, Munich, Germany

Siraj Syed has contributed over 1,015 articles on cinema, international film festivals, conventions, exhibitions, etc., most recently, at IFFI (Goa), MIFF (Mumbai), MFF/MAMI (Mumbai) and CommunicAsia (Singapore). He often edits film festival daily bulletins.

He is also an actor and a dubbing artiste. Further, he has been teaching media, acting and dubbing at over 30 institutes in India and Singapore, since 1984.

Bandra West, Mumbai


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