Ameen Sayani: A legendary affair with the airwaves

For Sayani, whose initial Hindi was tinged with Gujarati and English, breaking into Radio Ceylon in 1952 entailed polishing his Hindustani. Even the half-hour "Geetmala" dropped into his lap only because other leading broadcasters declined it.

Filling the vacuum left by AIR's ban on film music in the early 1950s, Radio Ceylon may have little expected to unearth a phenomenon in Sayani. Songs were already popular for adding to the drama in films. Sayani further brought his own brand of drama to these songs. The programme became a rage in no time, drawing nine to 20 crore listeners.

Sayani ran the programme to record-smashing success for nearly 45 years, earning a place among the world's top five broadcasters and the Golden Abby Award for Outstanding Radio Campaign of the Century in 2000.

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