Radio Legend Ameen Sayani Dies Of Heart Attack At 91

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Radio Legend Ameen Sayani Dies Of Heart Attack At 91

| Updated: February 21, 2024 19:01

Ameen Sayani, the voice that charmed millions of listeners with his show “Binaca Geet Mala”, passed away on Tuesday night due to a heart attack. He was 91 years old. His son, Rajil Sayani, told that his father was taken to HN Reliance Hospital, Mumbai, where he could not be revived and was declared dead.

Ameen Sayani was born in 1932 in a family that valued literature and language. He helped his mother, Kulsum Sayani, in editing a fortnightly journal called “Rahber”, which was started by Mahatma Gandhi. It was published in Hindi, Urdu and Gujarati languages. His brother, Hamid Sayani, was a famous English broadcaster. Ameen Sayani started his career with Radio Ceylon in 1951. “Namaskar bhaiyon aur behno, main aapka dost Ameen Sayani bol raha hoon,” his signature greeting on the radio sets that looked like big wooden boxes captivated the audience in a newly independent India. He used a style and language that was simple yet informative. His show became a huge hit when All India Radio banned the broadcast of any Bollywood songs. It also promoted the use of simple Hindustani, which appealed to the people across the country.

His show, Binaca Geetmala, which started as a 30-minute programme on Radio Ceylon, became a craze in the 1950s. It changed its name several times but never lost its popularity — Binaca Geetmala, Hit Parade and Cibaca Geetmala. It ran from 1952 to 1994, and was revived in the early 2000s; it also shifted stations and was later aired on All India Radio’s Vividh Bharti. As a voiceover artiste, he has a record of hosting and compering over 54,000 radio programs. He also has a record in the Limca Book of Records for his contributions to around 19,000 jingles as a voiceover artiste.

He also had memorable interactions with the stars of the Golden Era — like when he asked Lata Mangeshkar about tough questions related to royalty issues with Mohammad Rafi and marriage, when Kishore Kumar interviewed himself on his show or his interview with Raj Kapoor. In an interview with Indian Express, Ameen recalled those times, “I wanted each listener to feel that I was talking to them and it immediately struck a chord. It, surprisingly, even revolutionised radio presentation. I didn’t expect it to become a phenomenon in the coming years. They were such fantastic times. It was my romance with Radio Ceylon.”

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