Guest Post: The Guitar That Sang

Today is the 80th birthday of my father, Andrew Verity Liddle. Papa has influenced me in many ways, but possibly the greatest influence on my life that I owe to him is my love for old Hindi cinema and its music. Ever since I was a toddler, I’ve been surrounded by the voices of the 50s and 60s—if it wasn’t our old record player and the LPs whirling on it, it was the radio, with Ameen Sayani’s voice announcing one song after another… and most of it courtesy my father, who loves the music of that period.

As I’ve mentioned on several other posts on this blog, my father had an elder brother who worked in the cinema industry. David Vernon ‘Verni’ Liddle (also known professionally as ‘David Kumar’, or ‘Kumar Sahib’), nine years older than my father, was a guitarist who played for some of the greatest hits of Hindi cinema (and yes, I have mentioned some of these before, but recent research done by my father has thrown up pleasant surprises far beyond what I’d expected).

David Vernon Liddle (1929-1982)

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In Tribute: ‘Verni’

Those of you who’ve been frequenting this blog for a year or more probably came across this earlier post, on my uncle David Vernon Liddle. Vernie Tau (tau is the Hindi word for a father’s older brother) was my father’s elder brother. He was born on October 12, 1929, and passed away when I was barely 9 years old. I do not remember much of Vernie Tau except for the fact that he was a witty, fun-loving man with (as a cousin of mine puts it) “a terrific sense of humour”. And he was a guitarist who played in some of Hindi cinema’s greatest hits from the early 50s.

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Introducing ‘Kumar Sahib’

After having waxed so long and eloquent about my parents, my sister, my cousin, and a couple of other relatives (not to mention servants!) in the context of our love for cinema – it’s time to focus on the one link my family does have to cinema. The one person from our family who made it to the Hindi cinema industry in Bombay, back in the golden years.

David Vernon Liddle, who called himself David Vernon Kumar. People in the industry used to call him ‘Kumar Sahib’, and he was my father’s elder brother.

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