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When A. R. RAHMAN music helped us in selling more stereo cassette decks in the early 90s. (Those Cherished Cinematic Moments: 5) - By Bobby Sing

08 Jan, 2018 | THOSE CHERISHED MOMENTS OF THE SINGLE SCREEN ERA / Articles on Music, Poetry and Life

The name A. R. Rahman needs no introduction to anyone well versed with Indian film industry and its music in particular. Popularly known as the Mozart of Chennai and winner of many reputed national and international awards including the Academy Award, you must have read many articles written on his magnificent achievements in the initial years and the recent past too working for World Cinema. So instead of repeating the same I would like to take you back in the early 90s sharing the kind of impact his music had on both the listeners as well as the sellers having big and small cassettes and music equipment shops in the local markets.

In those days, cassettes used to be the most popular medium of enjoying all kinds of music in the entire country. LP Records were already out of trend (though many continue to prefer them the most) and Audio CDs were still a few years away of becoming the common man’s medium being too costly and out of reach. So cassettes and stereo deck (with two large speakers) used to be a ’must-have’ for every home and a big collection of those cassettes would sure be still lying in the stores of many readers here reminding them of those good old musical days.

Taking you behind the counter of the music shop owned by a friend, a particular special cassette used to be played by the sellers of both local and branded stereo cassette decks in the markets while displaying the sound quality of their equipment to every potential buyer.
In the late 80s, it mostly used to be the cassette with recordings of different instruments in left and right speakers (like dholak on the left and harmonium on the right) or the cassette having an effect of sound moving from the left speaker to the right and vice-versa. The buyers, especially the unaware and non-metro residents used to really get amused listening to the sound changeovers and at once agreed to buy one of the displayed decks for their family. And this was the common practice at every single stereo deck selling shops all over the market.
Interestingly, the first change was witnessed in the early 90s, when the pirated copies of Bally Sagoo’s remix album of Hindi film songs (including “Chura Liya Hai”) took over as the main ‘sound check’ cassette due to its exceptional quality, followed by Sagoo’s MAGIC TOUCH with the maestro Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan featuring “Dum Mast Qalander Mast Mast” having an incomparable sound.
Roja A R RahmanHowever it all suddenly went through a big change again when around 1992, Magnasound (the then leading audio company) quietly released an album titled ROJA, that was supposed to be a dubbed Hindi film’s soundtrack composed by a new, young boy as A. R. Rahman. The album truly amazed us all in the very first listening itself and we were actually stunned listening to its melody and sound quality (of the base in particular) along with many fresh instruments and tones heard for the very first time.
Within a few days of its release, ROJA replaced every ‘sound check’ cassette in almost all the shops in the locality and everyone used to play just “Chhoti Si Aasha” or “Rukmani Rukmani” while dealing with any kind of customer buying a stereo cassette deck. And believe me - we never met even a single person asking us to play something else while checking the sound quality.
For months we kept using just ROJA as our only ‘sound check’ cassette and sold hundreds of cassette decks and speaker sets with the help of its outstanding fresh sound. Almost 10 cassettes of ROJA had to bought one after another due to its repeated use till we got hold of another of Rahman’s Tamil Film soundtrack THE GENTLEMAN that had equally brilliant content and instantly likable melodies. And then both the albums together used to be our solid ‘Bhrahmastra’ for ensuring the daily sales of both cassettes and stereo decks for the next many months.
So that is how A. R. RAHMAN’s music helped us increase our sales at the cassettes and stereo deck music shop in the early 90s.

(Note: The article was first published on UC-News Mobile App on 6th January 2018)

The Important After-Note

However, it was only later in the decade that I thankfully learned that the sound quality enjoyed in those films was the work of not one but two blessed creators together. The one in front was the young musician and composer A. R. Rahman and the other behind the screen was H. Sridhar his immensely talented sound engineer, who unfortunately passed away in 2009.

Tags : When A. R. RAHMAN music helped us in selling more decks - by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com
08 Jan 2018 / Comment ( 0 )
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