The numerous deaths in 2011 of music personalities—such as Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, Ustad Asad Ali Khan, Jagjit Singh, Bhupen Hazarika, Ustad Sultan Khan—reminds one of another such year in history. The year 1975. That year too saw the deaths of some of the most popular and talented music personalities in the history of Hindi cinema. Madan Mohan, the King of Ghazal and the composer who gave Lata Mangeshkar most of her great numbers died on 14th July. Sachin Dev Burman died on 31st October. C H Atma, that talented singer who crooned the hit song, Pritam Aan Milo died on 6th December and Vasant Desai died in an unfortunate lift accident later that month—on 21st December.
Coming one after another in a span of less than six months—the later half of the year—these deaths, in a way, accelarated a trend that had already begun by then—the decline of melody in Hndi film music. Naushad had almost stopped scoring by then. Most other old timers had completely stopped composing. The tuneful Indian melody in Hindi Cine Sangeet was was fast giving way to two things—some highly westernized music on one hand and some lyrics driven heavy songs which were good to listen to if you are in the mood but not as melodious. They did not have that magic to catch yourself humming them even before you knew.
Public taste was changing. If there is one year that can be singled out for the biggest shift, then it was 1975. Guess what was the top song on Binaca Geet Mala? Baaki kuchh bacha to mehngai maar gayi. If that does not say it all, the biggest hits of that year were Deewar and Sholay. Music was no more a major component of the Hindi movie.
I guess God, for some reason, specifically wanted it that way. Why else would he have chosen to pick up all those great music makers at a span of a few months when none of them had even touched 70?