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A sanctuary for music A sanctuary for music

Topic started by Venki (@ on Sat Oct 2 02:25:44 EDT 2004.
All times in EST +10:30 for IST.

M. Ali Khan, Ilayaraaja and Vairamuthu are names that are going to remain unforgettable for a very long time. They were the ones who had made films which would have otherwise been forgotten, remain unforgettable. Some wouldn't readily believe it but this is true.
Ali Khan has collected all the film songs ever since the first Tamil talkie 'Kalidasa' made its appearance in 1931. The very first song in Tamil was 'Raatinamaam' from the film 'Kalidasa'. Vishwanatha Das had done this song. I have all the songs, starting from this one up to the latest one. My collection exceeds 1 Lakh.

Ali Khan is 66 years old now, but he has the same enthusiasm for collecting songs that eh had 45 years ago, when he began his hobby. But he is unable to continue it.

"Only two places in the whole world have a collection of all the songs that were ever released in Tamil films- Radio Ceylon and the 'old film songs research institute' that I own. The Srilankan Government spends lakhs of rupees to maintain their collection but I single-handedly maintain my collection. I have spent from my own pocket for the past 45 years. These days I record my songs on CDs. I have more energy and time to spend now but I don't have the money to continue this. I spend more than Rs 10,000 on the maintenance and rent alone. These songs could be preserved only if the Government or the Nadigar Sangam intervenes," he said.

Ali Khan had written letters to the President of India and the CM, but nothing has happened yet.

"Many visit my center. Some of them are assistants of music directors. They buy the old songs and simply copy it and release them as new ones. I can even give out their names. But I don't want to. They spend Rs 150 to buy these cassettes and make lakhs of rupees out of it."

He has a collection of more than 10,000 Carnatic music tapes. Ali Khan believes that if the producers are ready to set aside a small sum of money, then that alone would be more than enough to run the place.

"It has been more than 45 years now. I have no money to spend on this. Sometimes, I even think about simply closing the place down. When Vairamuthu heard that I was planning to close it, he called me up and gave me Rs 10,000. I took it as a loan. That will last for only a few days more."

People in the film industry should understand that his frustration is an irreparable loss to the industry. else, they would lose voices like MK Thyagaraja Bhagavadar, PU Chinappa, NKS, VA Chellappa, SG Kittappa, TP Rajalakshmi, KB Sundarambal and works of music composers like G Ramanathan, SM Subbaiah Naidu, SV Venkataraman, CR Subbarayan and others forever.



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