How Old is 'Old is Gold' ?
My love for Old Hindi film music is well advertised in my circle and even in the immediate periphery. Many Medical Sales Representatives come to me with soft copies of old music. And many of them make copies from my collection.
One hitherto unknown boy in early twenties came to my room this afternoon. He looked a bit hesitant and introduced himself and the products of his company. Since he was lingering around even after that, I asked him if there was anything else.
"Yes Sir" he told, "I heard you have a good collection of Old Hindi Songs. Can you give me some old songs Sit ?". I replied, "Fine, bring a disc or a pen drive. Choose your song from my collection and let us make a copy". He wanted to see the sample of my collection.
I played out some old songs for him from my PC, which I thought were old. He clearly wasn't impressed. He said, "What songs are these Sir ? I want 'Old' songs". Hence I asked, "Tell me which are your old songs ?". He said, "Mujhe neend na aaye, mujhe neend na aaye... This Aamir Khan song from 'Dil' movie Sir. Do you have it ? Have you heard it ?"
My head was spinning as I tried to control myself from falling off my chair. I replied, "Oh I am sorry, I don't have 'That' old songs. This is all I have". The boy was quite gracious and granted, "That's alright Sir, it is such an old song. Very difficult to get. It is a 'Classic' Sir. If I get a copy, I will definitely give you one". I thanked him profusely and saw him off because I had to laugh and it would have been rude to do so in front of him.
After recovering from the bout of solo laughter, I started to think. I am forty and he is just out of college. So what is old and precious for me need not be so for him. He perhaps doesn't even know of the 'Golden Generation' of Rafi, Kishore, Mukesh, Manna Dey, Talat Mahamood and Hemant Kumar etc.
This also brought back memories of two of my uncles denouncing Kishore Kumar as a gimmicks singer. For them Rafi was the epitome of melody and Mukesh was the most soulful singer of all times. But my maternal grandfather believed all singers evolved copying Kundan Lal Saigal. He also held a strong belief that Lata Mangeshkar started out copying Noor Jehan.
Anil Kapoor was blamed of aping Bachchan and Bachchan himself was accused of copying Dilip Kumar. Shah Rukh Khan once declared on live television that Shahid Kapoor was copying SRK. Shahid retaliated saying SRK was aping Bachchan. Both of them were engaged in a light hearted banter. But there is truth in what both of them said that night.
When we look at the body of work of all these people from K. L. Saigal to Shahid Kapoor, we do realize that there is some kind of inspiration drawn somewhere at some point of time. It is extremely difficult to be completely original.
Banting and McLeod won the Nobel Prize for discovery of Insulin. But it was Banting and Best team that worked on it. Very few people know Best became a part of the work on Insulin thanks to a flip of a coin that favored him over Clarke Noble. Noble somehow was not made for Nobel whereas Best was the Best Man in the right place at the right time.
Another fact that has eluded people is that Collip worked day and night for twelve days to get the purified Pancreatic extract after the first experiment lead to severe allergy. But Collip never really received the credit that was due to him. But all these people were inspired by someone called Oskar Minowski.
Today we have highly purified Human Insulins and Insulin Mimetics and Pumps and a host of new inventions. But can we say the present lot is better than the old lot ? Or do we imply 'Old is Gold' indeed ?
No idea is so revolutionary that it wouldn't become old some day. And many of those outdated styles, ideas or people were actually 'The Happening' once upon a time. Time and tide wait for none and the best of the people are washed away by the flow of time.
I have learned one more lesson. 'Old is Gold' indeed. But how 'old is Old' perhaps depends upon how old is the subject and how old the object is !
So anyone who thinks 'Old is Gold' and 'Old alone is Gold' should listen to This, This and This and many more ! And those who consider only present day as current and all past is dead should realize all of today will be yesterday when tomorrow comes !
So let me conclude with something that I consider 'Old is Gold' and will always remain so !