Gopal Sharma – A Boon Companion from the World of Voice
Ek mahila (patli, dubli si, sanwali, muh par chechak ke daag) baahar aayin aur kehne lagi, “Namaskar, aap Gopal Sharma hain?” Maine kaha, “Ji haan, aur aap?” Ve boli, “Main Lata Mangeshkar hoon.” Maine ashcharya se kaha, aap? Ve boli, “Aapko yakin nahin ho raha?” Maine kaha “Lata Ji ki awaz toh itni badhiya hai.” Ve khilkhila kar hans padi aur kahane lagi, “Aap andar chaliye aur mujhe gaate hue dekhiye,tab vishwas hoga ki main hi Lata Mangeshkar hun.” Main andar gaya, mujhe aisi jagah bithaya gaya jahan se Lata gaate hue dikhai de. Vastav mein tab mujhe vishwas hua ki ye seedhi si dikhne wali mahila hi Lata Mangeshkar hai. Chitrgupt ji ke sangeet mein, Prem Dhawan ka likha hua geet tha film Baazigar mein, Pyar ka hai mausam,hum hain akele. Recording ek baar mein hi theek ho gayi thi. Phir Lata ji ne hanste hue kaha, “Ab toh maan gaye ki main hi Lata hoon?”
This is how veteran radio announcer Gopal Sharma describes his first encounter with Lata Mangeshkar, in his autobiography Aawaz ki Duniya ke Doston. Sadly this veteran announcer passed away today morning. Known for his inimitable style of compering, with excellent diction and modulation of voice which suited the radio perfectly he became an instant hit with the listeners. The resonance in his voice warmed the hearts of young and old alike. Born on 28th December 1931 at Chandpur in Uttar Pradesh, Gopal Sharma was introduced to the world of radio by none other than legendary Balraj Sahni. But Pandit Narendra Sharma and Pandit Bhawani Prasad Mishra on behalf of Aakashvani had failed his voice initially due to which he got attached to the Hindi section of Radio Ceylon. His journey with radio Ceylon started in April 1956 and served till 1967. He coined words such as Bandhuvar, shubhratri, filmonia and of course Awaz ki Duniya ke doston…
Radio listeners started looking forward to the programs compered by Gopal Sharma. He was the head of the Hindi section at radio Ceylon for 11 years. But for the reasons best known to him, he refused to air songs like Meri jaan meri jaan Sunday ke Sunday, Abhi Na Jao chhod kar and Main ka karun Ram mujhe buddha mil gaya, since he considered them vulgar. He had very deep knowledge and understanding of filmmaking and Hindi film songs which he imparted to the listeners on the radio, making his programs more interesting. Well known producer director O P Ralhan had written to him in a letter – “Kamal hai, aap Ceylon mein baithkar film sangeet ke baare mein itna kuchh jaante hain jo hamein yahan Bambai mein rahte hue bhi pata nahin.”
Not many know that Gopal Sharma was very fond of singing and he was a very good singer. But as a young boy, he had got a sound beating from his father when he came to know about his singing interests after which Gopalji had bid farewell to this hobby. Some of the programs he hosted for the radio were – Meri pasand ke geet, Ek aur anek Badalte hue Saathi, Kal aur aaj.
Post his Radio Ceylon job, Gopal Sharma used his voice for film promotions, specially Rajshri productions, commercial products and hosting music shows. Gopal Sharma, the radio legend, was indeed a boon companion to all the listeners from the world of voice.