Recently I bought from Amazon.com a copy of the ebook,
“Ghulam Mohammed, The Unsung Melodist”, by Raaj Kumar Bothra and Ranjan Sain.
US Letter size, 169 pages, Color interior and cover, paperback $6.27, Kindle $3.29.
In India from Notionpress, Rs 299 (print and ebook), published in 2022.
What I liked:
This is the first book on Ghulam Mohammed, the music director. There is a lot of material in this book about him and contains a very detailed life history. There is a very informative interview with his son. Many chapters have been written by well-known people, such as VAK Ranga Rao, Chiranjeev Singh, and Nalin Shah. Detailed filmography, songs, photos, song lists and some analysis have been provided.
What I did not like:
No sources have been mentioned regarding the life history of the subject, whether they are based on some book, article, internet etc.
Their acknowledgment page simply lists names without any hint of the kind of help provided. Even though most of the movie/song details must have come from the work of Har Mandir Singh 'Hamraaz', his name has not been mentioned specifically, we only see:
Hindi Film Geet Kosh!
In my opinion, his full name should have been mentioned.
No sources for the pictures have been mentioned, except in the case of the cover picture. Apparently, many pictures have been taken from the YouTube channels (you can see the logos!), websites and Wikipedia.
There is a quote by Einstein, which is in inverted commas, but it is not an exact quote, merely a paraphrase. Normally when inverted commas are used, one expects an exact quotation.
They claim that Peace Kanwal gave up acting completely after Dil-e-Naadaan, but a perusal of the Hindi Film Geet Kosh or the Database website based on it, would have shown at least 7 more films. Who can forget her banter with Madhubala in Barsaat Ki Raat (1960), "Shaanti kyaa nahin jaanti, main nahin maanti"?
Numerous spelling mistakes and inconsistencies have crept in. It seems that proof-reading was not carried out carefully.
Some examples given below are:
Sometimes inhi logo but also inhin, logon;
One song is listed as "kismet BANANA wale" (capitalization mine);
Even Ghulam Mohammad is spelt in two ways, Mohammad/Mohammed;
Same with Talat Mahmood/Mehmood, Mubarik/Mubarak, Ibrahim/Ebrahim, Raja Gul/Rajagul;
The famous Pakeezah Rang Barang LP is shown but listed as Rang Berang!
Poor Raja Mehdi Ali Khan becomes Raja Mehendi Ali Khan;
Indian vs American English, we have both picturize and symbolise.
Record numbers are mostly missing, and used half heartedly.
A Name Index has not been provided.
I would make the following suggestions:
Provide sources of information at all places. Also acknowledge the sources from where the photos have been taken.
Standardize the language, grammar and spelling. Hire an expert proof-reader. Provide a Name Index.
It should not be too difficult to make all the corrections and re-submit the manuscript, since the book is self-published via Notionpress.
For the benefit of the people who have already bought the book, a detailed Errata should be prepared, which I will be happy to host on my website. It may be noted that my website already has Errata for many books. There is no shame in making errors, the trick is to admit and correct them.
In spite of all the good and hard work they have done and all the information they have made available, I cannot recommend the book without reservation. Let us hope the authors do the needful and make it truly the book The Unsung Melodist deserves, by publishing a revised edition.
Now You Know!