Ameen Sayani
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Ameen Sayani, Legendary Voice Behind Geetmala on All India Radio, Passes Away at 91

India’s beloved radio icon Ameen Sayani has passed away at the age of 91. Sayani hosted the hugely popular Hit Parade and Binaca Geetmala music countdowns on All India Radio for over 40 years. His distinctive style and signature opening line, “Namaskar bhaiyon aur behno…” made him a household name nationwide.

Early Life and Iconic Career of Ameen Sayani

Born in Mumbai in 1932, Ameen Sayani developed a passion for radio from a young age. He began working for English broadcasts but soon switched to Hindi programming in the early 1950s. This proved to be the perfect medium for Sayani to make his mark.

Sayani launched Binaca Geetmala in 1952. The show quickly became a cultural sensation across India. His scripted commentaries blended seamlessly with the latest Bollywood hits played on the show. For millions of listeners, Ameen Sayani’s cheerful voice was a constant companion tuning in each Wednesday for their weekly dose of entertainment.

At its peak, Binaca Geetmala was listened to by over 93% of radio households. Ameen Sayani used the platform to showcase popular music and drive conversations around social issues. His authoritative yet warm style established a deep bond with audiences. Even today, radio fans fondly remember tuning in to hear Sayani’s distinct booming voice followed by his signature opening line that made him endearing.

Lasting Legacy as a Radio Pioneer

In his six-decade career, Ameen Sayani mesmerized listeners with shows like Geetmala, Aap Hi Ke Geet, Sangeet Sarita and many more. He commanded unparalleled influence over radio programming in an era where the medium was king. Sayani seamlessly adjusted to the times as television gained prominence, taking on acting and hosting roles in the 1960s and 70s to stay connected with his loyal followers.

Sayani championed the revival of Binaca Geetmala in the early 2010s. Fans who tuned in to listen to the 91-year-old radio veteran recreate the old magic one last time welcomed his return with open arms. In doing so, Ameen Sayani further cemented his place as the eternal voice of radio listening in India for generations past and present.

Even in today’s age of streaming and digital mediums dominating entertainment, Ameen Sayani represented the bygone golden radio era. His legacy will inspire many presenters and artists to follow in his footsteps for years to come. The likes of Sayani come once in a lifetime – a thought that makes his loss even more heartbreaking for radio fans across India and abroad.

Family, Awards and Recognition

Ameen Sayani belonged to an artistic family based in Mumbai. His father was a photographer, while his brother, Hamid Sayani, made his name as a renowned film critic and entertainment journalist.

Sayani received numerous accolades over his distinguished career. These included the prestigious Padma Shri in 1980 and later the Padma Bhushan – India’s third highest civilian honour. His contribution to establishing Hindi as a broadcasting language and promoting Indian music earned Ameen Sayani widespread admiration from peers in the radio industry.

Several field luminaries have expressed sadness over Sayani’s passing and paid rich tributes. Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated that Ameen Sayani had nurtured a special bond with radio listeners he considered family members. Undoubtedly, Sayani leaves a lasting impact through his pioneering work over decades of excellent service to radio and music broadcasting.

Final Farewell Amid Widespread Grief

Ameen Sayani passed away following a cardiac arrest on the night of February 20, 2024, in Mumbai. He was 91 years old. His death plunged legions of fans into mourning the loss of a dear voice that enlightened so many evenings.

Condolences have poured in from public figures and ordinary listeners alike grieving Sayani’s demise. His funeral took place on February 22 and was attended by family, close friends and well-wishers. Radio channels also observed two minutes of silence to honour the life of an incredible artist who transformed radio broadcasting in India.

As his family performs Sayani’s final rites, an entire nation fondly remembers the magical moments Ameen Sayani created on air. His career stands tall as a source of inspiration for aspiring presenters and anyone driven by creative passion. While Ameen Sayani may have left the world, his words, voice and legacy will undoubtedly echo for aeons in the hearts of radio fans who grew up enamoured by him.

Ameen Sayani leaves behind son Rajil and daughter Usha to mourn his death alongside admirers from all walks of life. Though the show must go on without its shining star, the tune composed by Sayani shall reverberate forever to keep entertaining his eternal audience. For them, every “Namaskar bhaiyon aur behno” will always ring in that unmistakable voice, signifying the Indian radio legend fondly remembered as Ameen Sayani.

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