Favorite Playback Singers

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Favorite Playback Singers

Post  Drunkenmunk on Wed Sep 10, 2014 7:38 pm

Inspiration:

https://twitter.com/balapperiyava/status/509726216987750401

Start meesic.

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Re: Favorite Playback Singers

Post  Drunkenmunk on Wed Sep 10, 2014 7:41 pm

My favorite "playback" (being the operative word) singers:

Ilayaraaja, S Janaki, SPB, TMS, P Susheela, KJY, KS Chithra, Shreya Ghoshal, Malaysia Vasudevan, Kamal Haasan, Asha. In Tamil film music. In that order.

Severe pro-IR bias. onnyum seyya mudiyAdhu. Will explain other choices. In the meanwhile, twitter'la kuzhumi irukkara mafia ellAm inga Ajar aga viNNappam vaikkirEn.

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Re: Favorite Playback Singers

Post  app_engine on Wed Sep 10, 2014 7:50 pm

My personal hall of fame:

Gold : SJ, SPB, KJY, PS

Silver : KSC, IR, MV, TMS

I've re-stated in twitter that PS is "HMV" (his mother's voice) for me Smile

There are others who thrill me in a number of songs but do not make it to the HoF, like PJ / SPS / PBS / KH / Jency / SheryaG / Swarnalatha...even Uma R or Vani J.

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Re: Favorite Playback Singers

Post  V_S on Wed Sep 10, 2014 8:53 pm

namma listu ithO Smile

https://twitter.com/maestrosworld/status/509750351189512192

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Re: Favorite Playback Singers

Post  V_S on Wed Sep 10, 2014 9:37 pm

I thought I would also explain the reason of my listing and the order.

SPB tops the list for all obvious reasons. He excels in all formats (genres, moods everything), so versatile and I have not seen him slip in Sruthi,Pitch or Bhaavam. It is almost a perfect playback singers I have ever heard. The way order goes down does either falls short of either of the three parameters or they didn't not get to sing high quality songs consistently.

Rafi is almost at the top, except he is little less versatile when compared to SPB (he has sung even for comedians, but nowhere near SPB in that area), but again Sruthi, pitch, bhaavam are top-class and matchless.

S Janaki while she is the most versatile singer, she occasionally slips in sruthi and pitch which I cannot tolerate. But that somewhat compensates on her versatility.

Malaysia Vasudevan again is another most versatile singer who can sing every song, but just that it is unfortunate that he was preferred only after SPB/KJY. I don't have any complaints against MV just like SPB.

TMS is a legend as we all know and a solid singer of all times. Just that he could not quite convince me on soft/baritone based songs (just like PBS could not convince me on sharp/bright/striking melodies).

I was having a big debate on whether to put Lata in lines with SJ, as she is matchless on sruthi/pitch. Never slipped on those, but she always got nice melodies (like P Susheela) while her sister got lots of peppy songs. Same way LRE got peppy songs those days. There is a preference/limit which should not be the case for any singer. That was not the case of SJ where she was the primary choice for any kind of song.

I have included Asha just because she also got to sing so many melodies with Rafi and Kishore which I like more than even Rafi-Lata or Kishore-Lata songs. Then you might ask why Lata is listed first then PS, the main reason being PS could not sustain much in IR songs where more bhaavam is required. Since she was mostly given the songs to match her convenience, when IR tried to explore more from her, she did not match/excel according to me. Whereas Lata could sing any song for any director (the range of music directors from 40s to 70s are huge compared to what we saw in thamizh) with not much difference.

That's also another reason I rated IR ahead. He can sing any song as he himself is a composer, he is the best when it comes to original and unadulterated bhaavam. I have cried a lot only after hearing him sing.

KJY while he is superior in semi-classical and soft/bright/sad melodies, he is no way near fun songs. I felt that's a big handicap. Moreover his voice is so majestic that fun songs does not match his voice too.

Manna Dey is one of most favorite singer, again he is very under-rated. He is very versatile that he can excel in Classical, fun or any kind of songs. I love almost every of his songs.
Kishore on the other hand is hugely over-rated, still he has to be there given the deep throat-ed voice and the way he brings bhaavam to an ordinary songs. I can bet if the same song would have been sung by any other singer (including Rafi), they will sound flat. He brought up some uninspiring melodies to great level with his in-depth voice and singing. To his disadvantage, he didn't sing many tough songs, almost carried his singing career with convenient songs of his caliber. But when it comes to yodeling and fun songs, he is top class. He can make your sadness go in seconds.

Chitra again excelled her immaculate singing with pristine quality, she is not a versatile singer. She cannot sing all kinds of song with ease, especially fun songs. Same goes to PJ. He has sung some marvels. PJ's main disadvantage is he mostly lived in shadows of KJY among the people.

MKT, PUC, Talat, Ghantasala, PBS, T R Mahalingam (I have not heard such a tone at all, he was ruthless), Shamsad Begum, Noorjahan, LRE, Swarnalatha, Shreya Ghoshal, Vani Jayaram, Uma Ramanan, Jency are all next in the list. And there are many more, the list is endless, but let me stick to this.


Last edited by V_S on Thu Sep 11, 2014 10:53 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Re: Favorite Playback Singers

Post  app_engine on Wed Sep 10, 2014 11:17 pm

Lot of insight, V_Sji - as usual!

One thing (perhaps the only thing) I have, that is not so much in favor of SPB, is his lacking in punchy execution of certain kind of macho songs that called for gaNeer sound / ANmai gambeeram etc (e.g. war-cry / political-cry / 'neeyum nAnumA' kind of TN-style-loudless-with-thaththuvams etc). 

For that simple reason, he had to wait till IR's emergence or MGR-Sivaji-fading, to reach the top spot in TFM. Until then, he was primarily singing fun songs, romance songs or sleazy numbers for 2nd / 3rd level heroes etc as can be seen from the pre-IR SPB thread.

That can also be seen from the fact that he didn't get to sing much for NT under IR. (Actually, NT had to leave IR post maestro's TMS-ladAi and work with him again only when MV rose to the occasion, for veLLai rOjA / mudhal mariyAdhai. SPB promptly came in veLLai rOjA to do songs for 2nd / 3rd heroes).

I think I got into a similar discussion in the SPB-IR thread of the hub, when talking about political songs and rAsA.

There are a few SPB attempts in such genre (vArungaL onRAy sErungaL, koovungaL sEvalkaLE, gAndhi dEsamE, oruvan oruvan mudhalALi and some other Rajini intros under ARR/Deva like pAlkAran, AttOkkAran etc) but none of them are anywhere as impacting the public psyche as the gaNeer / gambeera numbers that TMS did for MGR-Sivaji.

If not for some terrific IR compositions that brought variety / versatility to SPB, he would have been doing 99% of songs under the "lover-boy-club-dance" kinds in TFM. 

Thankfully, rAsA came into the scene and we got SPB move into a different league!

BTW, whether such songs are needed at all for movies is a different discussion. That such were part and parcel of TFM from 50's-70's, put 4 CMs in a row in the state from cine field is simple history Embarassed

(Once again, IR had to break that vicious cycle by making better use of music. His songs thankfully didn't engineer the next CM, hopefully).

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Re: Favorite Playback Singers

Post  crimson king on Thu Sep 11, 2014 5:31 pm

For me, Rafi will always be the king...well, at least until another singer surpasses him.  His mastery of legato and subtle inflections, including even slurring words intentionally at times, make him inimitable.  Among the male greats, only Talat used legato as much as Rafi and he was relatively weak in romantic songs and therein his Achilles heel.  In his time, Rafi was the most versatile singer he could have been and left practically no genre untouched during the 60s.  

I would hate to attempt to compare Rafi and SPB, legends that they are.  But if I had to, the differentiating factor for me is that SPB's prowess seems to lean heavily on IR.  It is not that he has not sung well for other composers.  But it somehow doesn't stand out to the same extent.  At least I wasn't very much attracted to his work with MSV or KV.  I liked the Rahman-SPB numbers when they came out but I don't listen to them that often anymore.  Whereas Rafi carried several mediocre/average/merely good songs on his shoulders and allowed lesser composers like Sonik-Omi or Usha Khanna their proverbial fifteen minutes.  There's nothing in a song like, say, Maine Rakha Hai Mohabbat that isn't there in n number of 60s Rafi solos.  But it's the way he sings that makes it, among so many other songs, memorable.  Rafi's expression transcended the limitations of the composition. I cannot say I always felt that about SPB and in some songs like Devathai Ilam Devi or Paadi Parandha Killi I didn't like his approach too much either.  

I am more selective when it comes to the other male greats whereas these three (Rafi, Talat, SPB) I can listen to just for their voice and unique styles.  But still, I love lots of songs of Mukesh, Kishore, Manna Dey, TMS, PBS, KJY and PJ.  Not overly fond of Hemant Kumar, Mahendra Kapoor, Mano or Deepan Chakravathi but they are very fine singers in their own right.


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Re: Favorite Playback Singers

Post  crimson king on Thu Sep 11, 2014 5:38 pm

Coming to the female greats, Lata is the queen of technique.  But she's a bit hung up on the semi classical niche. Her best songs are in this genre (whereas Rafi could do an Aa gale Lag Ja just as effectively as an Aapke Pehloo Mein Aakar).  I also feel she is more about technique than expression ultimately.  And while I respect her prudishness as a personal choice, for my taste her reticence gets in the way of being more exuberant and wholesome in songs where she had the opportunity.  

For that reason, I would tie her with Asha and SJ.  Asha and SJ are almost like mirror images.  Very bold, daring and versatile singers.  Asha is probably the more technically accomplished while SJ is more restrained, more mindful of the composer's vision.  Chithra and PS I would put just a rung below but again that's just for the sake of drawing lines. L R Eshwari probably got slotted and was not fully utilised.  Geeta Dutt also deserves mention.  She was by far the most expressive of all these singers and in songs like Waqt Ne Kiya produced an authentic quality of emotion that most of our female singers shy away from. But she had technical limitations vis a vis Lata or Asha.  

I love lot many songs of Swarnalatha and Uma Ramanan.  Even some Sunidhi numbers, esp Mudhal Murai.  But they probably don't belong in the same category as the first mentioned singers.

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Re: Favorite Playback Singers

Post  Drunkenmunk on Thu Sep 11, 2014 6:33 pm

crimson king wrote:For me, Rafi will always be the king...well, at least until another singer surpasses him.  His mastery of legato and subtle inflections, including even slurring words intentionally at times, make him inimitable.  Among the male greats, only Talat used legato as much as Rafi and he was relatively weak in romantic songs and therein his Achilles heel.  In his time, Rafi was the most versatile singer he could have been and left practically no genre untouched during the 60s.  

I would hate to attempt to compare Rafi and SPB, legends that they are.  But if I had to, the differentiating factor for me is that SPB's prowess seems to lean heavily on IR.  It is not that he has not sung well for other composers.  But it somehow doesn't stand out to the same extent.  At least I wasn't very much attracted to his work with MSV or KV.  I liked the Rahman-SPB numbers when they came out but I don't listen to them that often anymore.  Whereas Rafi carried several mediocre/average/merely good songs on his shoulders and allowed lesser composers like Sonik-Omi or Usha Khanna their proverbial fifteen minutes.  There's nothing in a song like, say, Maine Rakha Hai Mohabbat that isn't there in n number of 60s Rafi solos.  But it's the way he sings that makes it, among so many other songs, memorable.  Rafi's expression transcended the limitations of the composition. I cannot say I always felt that about SPB and in some songs like Devathai Ilam Devi or Paadi Parandha Killi I didn't like his approach too much either.  

I am more selective when it comes to the other male greats whereas these three (Rafi, Talat, SPB) I can listen to just for their voice and unique styles.  But still, I love lots of songs of Mukesh, Kishore, Manna Dey, TMS, PBS, KJY and PJ.  Not overly fond of Hemant Kumar, Mahendra Kapoor, Mano or Deepan Chakravathi but they are very fine singers in their own right.

Spot on CK. But otoh, the same logic can be reversed. That SPB under Raaja got an incredible range and difficulty of songs, which no other singer in IFM probably got. Again, reiterates the point that Music > Singer and eventually, composer > singer. Goes both ways. Rafi was trained, SPB was not. Rafi's technique and emotion is matchless, SPB's style is derived from Rafi's. eppidi paathaalum hardly anything to choose between the 2 for me. While objectively speaking purely on the songs and the range of music sung, slightly tilts towards SPB but sine I love Rafi a lot (love SPB too, but Rafi a notch more Razz ), my scales tilt to him. I would however perfectly understand if someone rated SPB a notch ahead.

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Re: Favorite Playback Singers

Post  crimson king on Thu Sep 11, 2014 6:42 pm

Yeah...well, I am quite sure that even if Rafi in his 60s peak had somehow had the chance to sing for Raja, the music would have still overshadowed him!   Very Happy  But the difference is basically one of nuance.  SPB is a little more laboured coming from the Carnatic based background (though he was not trained) while Rafi slides languidly through the notes.  It boils down to one's tastes and preferences, ultimately.  Some people like staccato, adichu pallichu singing (which TMS characterised for subsequent singers to emulate).  Some like expressive legato singing.  I like both approaches but marginally plump for legato.  And the training also gave Rafi's voice a certain well rounded shape which is very much evident when he does an aalap in the prelude.  Like Duniya Na Bhaye or even Isharon Isharon.  His voice just cuts through and seems to penetrate my system.  I have felt that quality in a few other singers as well, all trained AFAIK, but not so much in SPB's case.  In SPB's favour, he actually captured the spirit of Rafi's singing much better (especially in songs like Enna Satham Indha Neram) than outright imitators like Mahendra Kapoor or Sonu Nigam in his T Series days.

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Re: Favorite Playback Singers

Post  app_engine on Fri Sep 12, 2014 6:45 pm

An unreleased TMS version of 'ennOdu pAdungaL' song here:
http://www.muziboo.com/mp3/ennodu-padungal-0/
(Link posted in the hub thread that Venkkiram quoted in twitter)

This version has TMS singing that nAn vAzha vaippEn song whereas the officially released version had SPB (the song was a big hit those days and got played hundreds of times on radio, especially IOKS)...

Look at the SPB version:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzO8BBL_Zu8

Proves why SPB is far more superior for such songs...TMS-kku romba, rombakkashtam.

the hub post talks about TMS badmouthing IR in Srilanka about this "replacement" thingy Laughing

Good that IR got SPB re-do the song! (TMS version is paridhAbam to my ears and I'm not a TMS-hater)

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Re: Favorite Playback Singers

Post  V_S on Fri Sep 12, 2014 7:17 pm

I would not say TMS sang badly. In fact he was very good, just that the soft western arrangements did not jell well with his 'solid' and 'manly' voice. It sticks out. When SPB sang, all are in the same plane that the arrangements gets its due. In photography context, there is difference in photographing portraits and landscapes. In portraits the main subject has to be in focus and other subjects blurred out. In landscapes, everything has to be in focus. Since TMS was used to pose for portraits, he did really well there. But he really did not know his role in a landscape photography. This was one of the points I made about TMS earlier, his voice and singing cannot come down to sing soft songs which has to convey subtle emotions along with rest of the arrangements.

Since that was the era where singers were prominent and instruments were just accompaniments to the lead singers it worked out so well. No one remembers much the melody played by the instruments that time. With the advent of IR, we cannot separate singers and the orchestration. We cannot even hum the song without the interludes. That's where their kind of voice and singing could not much help IR. It does not mean, IR did not do portraits, there are many. May be I am wrong, but these are my thoughts.

Another thing to remember is TMS was in his later years of his career while SPB was almost at his peak which also makes the difference. One more thing to add. If there was no SPB version (and vice versa), I would not even think in these lines, which is another story.


Last edited by V_S on Fri Sep 12, 2014 8:27 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Re: Favorite Playback Singers

Post  app_engine on Fri Sep 12, 2014 8:01 pm

V_S wrote:I would not say TMS sang badly. In fact he was very good, just that the soft western arrangements did not jell well with his 'solid' and 'manly' voice. It sticks out. When SPB sing, all are in the same plane that the arrangements gets it due.

Nice explanation V_Sji, with photography analogy!

Perhaps my ears got trained for too many years with IR-orch that TMS-versions sounds paridhAbam Embarassed
(blame it on my ears Smile )

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Re: Favorite Playback Singers

Post  Drunkenmunk on Fri Sep 12, 2014 8:09 pm

Did a playlist of 30 of my favorite Rafi songs to share with MayilSK and Bala (Karthik). Sharing it here:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLn4GJpNVAHeyfaHcwucoy7t27rg1m-bOT

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Re: Favorite Playback Singers

Post  V_S on Fri Sep 12, 2014 8:39 pm

Good list DM. Yes, there are 100s out there. O Duniya Ke Rakhwale and Tu Ganga Ki Mauj are two songs from Baiju Bawra which tore me apart right from the first time when I heard  and confirmed my belief in Rafi.  The way he starts from baritone and goes to top with ease and adding more and more pain and power to the compositions make me fall at his feet. I love more of his 50s than 60s and 70s.

Duniya Ke Rakhwale - Baiju Bawra (Live with Naushad on DD).


All songs from Baiju Bawra here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yydwmgfmwgo

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Re: Favorite Playback Singers

Post  plum on Fri Sep 12, 2014 9:27 pm

This: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nvahIDfbos

And this:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_002K49S10

For SD Burman

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Re: Favorite Playback Singers

Post  V_S on Fri Sep 12, 2014 9:46 pm

Very beautiful songs Plum. SDB the legend. Dev Anand - Rafi unbeatable pair.

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Re: Favorite Playback Singers

Post  crimson king on Sat Sep 13, 2014 6:41 am

Drunkenmunk wrote:Did a playlist of 30 of my favorite Rafi songs to share with MayilSK and Bala (Karthik). Sharing it here:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLn4GJpNVAHeyfaHcwucoy7t27rg1m-bOT


Great list.  Loved the inclusion of Kaise Kategi Zindagi, an unreleased gem.  Missed Mere Mehboob Tujhe Meri Mohabbat Ki Kasam.  Also Koi Sagar, Aaj Purani Raahon Se, Saccha Hai Agar Pyar Mera Sanam, etc.  But then, even 30 is not nearly enough to cover Rafi's incredible repertoire.

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Re: Favorite Playback Singers

Post  crimson king on Sat Sep 13, 2014 6:48 am

V_S wrote:I would not say TMS sang badly. In fact he was very good, just that the soft western arrangements did not jell well with his 'solid' and 'manly' voice. It sticks out. When SPB sang, all are in the same plane that the arrangements gets its due. In photography context, there is difference in photographing portraits and landscapes. In portraits the main subject has to be in focus and other subjects blurred out. In landscapes, everything has to be in focus. Since TMS was used to pose for portraits, he did really well there. But he really did not know his role in a landscape photography. This was one of the points I made about TMS earlier, his voice and singing cannot come down to sing soft songs which has to convey subtle emotions along with rest of the arrangements.

Since that was the era where singers were prominent and instruments were just accompaniments to the lead singers it worked out so well. No one remembers much the melody played by the instruments that time. With the advent of IR, we cannot separate singers and the orchestration. We cannot even hum the song without the interludes. That's where their kind of voice and singing could not much help IR. It does not mean, IR did not do portraits, there are many. May be I am wrong, but these are my thoughts.

Another thing to remember is TMS was in his later years of his career while SPB was almost at his peak which also makes the difference. One more thing to add. If there was no SPB version (and vice versa), I would not even think in these lines, which is another story.


applause Basically TMS was not a very dynamic singer.  Dynamic here doesn't mean doing a lot of scat, improv or clowning, etc...just the ability to adjust the volume and intensity of the vocal delivery to the music.  SPB had it and he probably imbibed it by emulating Rafi who was just ultra dynamic.  TMS tended to sing almost at a constant volume....loud, clear and emphatic. It was perfect for the relatively less dynamic compositions of the 60s and 70s (pre-Raja) where the emphasis was on Kavignar's lyrics.  IR's music is very dynamic and demands the singer to respond appropriately.  SPB could do it.  TMS was probably too old and too well entrenched in his style of singing to adapt so late.  TMS was essentially a very accomplished version of Kishore. I cannot imagine Kishore singing Paatum Naane or Pulanguzhal, he barely attempted any sangidhis/harkats at all.  But they both had the same problem of being unable to adjust their voice to soft music or even cover soft, loud and everything in between in the same song (Isharon Isharon is a great masterclass in dynamics, as an example).  Since TMS didn't have to compete with a Rafi-like singer and SPB also was forced to sing in that mould for a long time, it didn't really matter.

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Re: Favorite Playback Singers

Post  Drunkenmunk on Sat Sep 13, 2014 1:09 pm

Lovely songs plum Smile And yes CK. 30 songs can't do justice to even Rafi-Madan Mohan, leave alone Rafi's career Razz this was a mere sample to folks who wanted to get started on Rafi.

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Re: Favorite Playback Singers

Post  rajkumarc on Sun Sep 14, 2014 5:06 am

Fantastic discussions folks  with lots of insights applause. Thanks for the Rafi playlist DM.

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Re: Favorite Playback Singers

Post  fring151 on Sun Sep 14, 2014 9:41 am

I don't really have a dog in this fight as I'm a more of a composer fan. That said, of late, I do find myself slightly tilting towards the Rafi>SPB group. Another one sung for Madan Mohan that would definitely feature in my top 30 playlist -


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Re: Favorite Playback Singers

Post  crimson king on Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:16 pm

^^^  Yes, Mere Pyaar Mein from that film is also a great song.

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Re: Favorite Playback Singers

Post  V_S on Sun Sep 14, 2014 7:10 pm

Thanks ck. 

crimsonking wrote:the ability to adjust the volume and intensity of the vocal delivery 
Yes, Well said. Dynamic is the keyword.

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Re: Favorite Playback Singers

Post  counterpoint on Tue Sep 16, 2014 11:01 am

Difficult to list. Some have just great voices while some can do a lot of things with the given voice even if the voice itself is not a highlight. Some are technically well-equipped and can be admired from a distance but cannot be embraced. Some are not that well-equipped but can be eminently listened to, at all times.Some of them were universally well-regarded and proclaimed  a legend even before you were born that you are tempted to include them in the list even if they are not your personal favourites. Some have excelled totally in one category of songs and are the undisputed kings of their territory but not so much in others. Hmm.. Where to begin? One thing though Iam sure about, none from the current crop of TFM singers would make it to my list if at all I get to make one :-) Depressing to think about that. To think about how far the standards of playback singing have fallen. How the recent years havent produced a single legend-esque talent, especially in the male singers category. I feel that playback singing itself has come a full circle and there is nothing more to be done there, unless a totally different form or genre of music/singing emerges from somewhere which places unique demands on the singers. That goes for composers as well. Rahman could be the last big trend for TFM.

counterpoint

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