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We Lost The Kohinoor Of Indian Radio: Mir Afsar Ali Pays Tribute To Ameen Sayani (1932-2024)

I vehemently argued that no other paste should enter our house except for Binaca. The sole reason was my affinity towards Binaca Geetmala on the
Mir with Ameen Sayani
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During my childhood in the 1980s, while my parents decided on everything about the house, I was given the freedom to decide on a single thing: toothpaste. It had a reason. I vehemently argued that no other paste should enter our house except for Binaca. The sole reason was my affinity towards Binaca Geetmala on the radio by Ameen Sayani! I would listen to it like a prayer and brush my teeth with Binaca!

Such was the impact Ameen sahab had on me. Today, as I complete 30 years of working at the radio station, I still remain a radio guy to the core. Itu2019s because of Ameen sahab.

Actually, the concept of the Indian radio would not have been amplified to the extent it has, hadnu2019t it been for Ameen Sayani. He was the irrefutable Golden Voice of radio. Back in the day, he was the sole person who conceptualized his shows, produced and presented them alone. Today, there is an entire team in charge of this.

He was also the father of countdown shows. What can I say about Binaca Geetmala? Today, countdown shows have reached a point of fatigue owing to its excess. Moreover, while todayu2019s shows are based on album sales, Binaca Geetmala was the first of its kind. With no tabulations, no data to support Ameen sahab, he did them with his own calculations which were always impeccably to the point. u00a0u00a0

In contrast to todayu2019s 2,000 to 3,000 shows, which are considered more than enough, Ameen sahab held the record of doing 54,000 shows all by himself! What can you say about such a man?

In his day, with no television, the only channels of advertisements were film posters and radio. Producers of the then Bombay film industry would line up in his studio for their film promotions. There wasnu2019t a single superstar of his day who hadnu2019t given interviews to Ammen sahab. These are all well documented.

Ameen Sayani at an event in Mumbai
Ameen Sayani at an event in Mumbai

I have had the great opportunity to meet him in 2019, when I had gone to Mumbai to collect an award. That was the first and last that I saw him. It was like meeting my Dronacharya, with I being his Ekalavya.

A few years ago, there was a hoax that Ameen sahab had passed away. I spoke to Rajil, Ameen sahabu2019s son, who said that his father was extremely upset about the news. u201cHow come people have become so irresponsible to not check facts?u201d he had supposedly rued.

Finally, the hoax came true on February 22. We lost the Kohinoor of Indian radio. He is, and will be the ultimate.

All images: Mir Afsar Ali, Google, YouTube.

Radio voice for 30 years. TV host. Storyteller. Emcee. Musician. Currently hosts and directs his audio-story channel ‘Goppo Mir-er Thek’ on YouTube.

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