Is it a new speaker, a toy or a dummy transistor? When I first saw the device, I was confused. It did look like a radio, but who needs a radio set of this shape and size in this day and age? I was intrigued, and had to check it out. Holding in my hands the device, much fancier and much more colourful and vibrant than the two Philips sets I had seen back home, I was already reminiscing my childhood days when one of its features caught my eyes: Geetmala. I switched it on, and there has been no going back since, or rather coming back—from the golden days of Binaca Geetmala melodies.
Saregama Carvaan stores in it ‘Geetmala ki chhaon mein’, a journey of Bollywood songs from 1952 to 2000, complete in 50 volumes, narrated by the evergreen Ameen Sayani in his gentle and captivating voice. Sayani takes you back in time as he shares his experience at Radio Ceylon, Asia’s oldest radio station. But there is more to Saregama Carvaan than Geetmala. The device comes with over 80 dedicated stations pre-loaded with a strong repository of 5,000 retro songs under two categories of Artistes and Moods. You can select an artiste or mood and find all your favourite singers and music directors of yore.
There are almost a thousand songs by Lata Mangeshkar alone, around 500 songs each by Kishore Kumar and Asha Bhosale, another 700-odd numbers sung by Mohd Rafi and over 200 by Mukesh, besides Hemant Kumar, Geeta Dutt, Manna Dey and Talat Mahmood. Rotating the jog-dial, you can hear Jagjit Singh in the Ghazals section, choose religious songs from Shakti and Spiritual sections, or take a Sufi, Film Instrumental, or Hindustani Classical pick.
An important feature is the fact that you hear the songs in a different sequence each time you play the device, recreating the old magic of listening to radio that came with a surprise element—you didn’t know which song was to be played next.
Carvaan can double up as a speaker for all kinds of parties. Using Bluetooth or USB drives, it can play any music of your choice stored in other devices. The volume quality has little negatives to complain about, though it may not match up if you try to compare Carvaan’s sound to that offered by the high-end speakers available in the market.
Priced at Rs 5,990, Saregama Carvaan comes in two models—Electric Blue and Porcelain White. The most striking feature of the device is its design. With its shiny plastic body, its steel buttons and a large tuning knob, and the rotating volume dial made of plastic, the device complete with an LCD display panel successfully gives a modern makeover to the good old transistor.
Estimated street price: Rs 5,999