An Unparalleled Saga in the Indian Music Industry: The Aroha and the Avaroha of a Rich Artistic Legacy
Ashwini Deshpande
MUSIC BY LAXMIKANT PYARELAL by By Rajiv Vijayakar Rupa Publications, New Delhi, 2021, 312 pp., INR 595.00
July 2024, volume 48, No 7

In the star-studded galaxy of Hindi film music, lined with music directors of exceptional talent, Laxmikant-Pyarelal (L-P) are often omitted from the genius list, despite their extraordinarily long innings and several brilliant compositions. Could it be because their tremendous mass appeal made them seem less cerebral to the connoisseurs? Or was it because their overall repertoire is mixed, consisting of numerous gems buried amidst the massive pile of high-pitched songs with loud orchestration? Was there a temporal shift in their creative direction: over time, did the pressure of mass production result in a decline in quality? Or all of the above?

The volume under review sets out to correct any misapprehension listeners might have about L-P’s rich artistic legacy and musical prowess. It provides a detailed trajectory of their individual and joint lives, personal and professional, which is plush with detail. We are also reminded of their many superb compositions that are perennial favourites from a time when loud was not the predominant aesthetic, and certainly was not their style. However, the author is not a blind acolyte. He admits to a ‘perceptible fall in quality’ (over time) starting in the 1990s, a period he describes as the avaroha (descent) of their musical sargam.

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