52 years of melodies

Aug 09, 2013, 03:32 IST | Soma Das

Orchestra group Melody Makers enters its 52nd year and will celebrate the occasion with a concert this Saturday. The GUIDE goes down memory lane

In 1961, the city of Pune was fIooded due to the bursting of Panshet and Khadakwasla dams which cost many Iives and destroyed property in the city. At that time, four college friends: Suhaschandra Kulkarni, Surendra Akolkar, Pramodkumar Saraf and Ashokkumar Saraf, decided to collect funds through their performances, to aid the flood-affected people of Pune. They gathered a few friends who were performing in college groups and some well-known artistes in Pune to form the group Melody Makers.

Melody Makers performing at an awards night in 1981

Melody Makers were considered as a group that nurtured talent, and their singers and music composers have worked in the Hindi and Marathi film industry. They have performed with actors like Amitabh Bachhan and Aamir Khan; music directors: RD Burman, and Khayyam as well as playback singers like Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhonsle.

They have also performed for the late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi; Fiji’s Prime Minister, Union Ministers and other dignitaries. Today, the group is Ied by Pravinkumar Saraf, son of Ashokkumar Saraf and they perform for events, film awards, theme shows, dandiya, weddings, corporate functions, charity shows and more. They also sing in Gujarati, Punjabi, Bengali, Urdu, Kannada, Tamil, Konkani and Marathi.

On the eve of their silver jubilee year in I986, they released their first musical album, Sapnon Ki Manzil, with songs by Kishore Kumar, Asha Bhosle and Sudesh Bhosle. However, changing times haven’t helped such orchestras, admits founder Ashokkumar Saraf: “Earlier theatre shows for orchestras and dramas were in big demand as the means of entertainment were limited.

Today, only 40% of theatre shows are done due to the high number of music channels. However, there is still a demand for orchestras at private functions, parties, annual days and festive seasons like Ganpati or Navratri.”As an anniversary celebration they will host shows in Mumbai and Pune. The playlist will include old and new Bollywood numbers with guest artistes like Sudesh Bhosle.

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