Ameen Sayani, Pioneering Radio Star in India, Dies at 91

Ameen Sayani, a pioneering radio presenter who drew generations of listeners in India with his melodic voice on a radio show that became a national phenomenon, died on Tuesday. He was 91.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India expressed condolences for Mr. Sayani’s death on social media, saying that “he played an important role in revolutionizing Indian broadcasting and nurtured a very special bond with his listeners.”

Mr. Sayani’s son, Rajil, was not immediately available for comment.

Born in 1932, Ameen Sayani was introduced to radio by his elder brother who was an English-language presenter. In 1952, Ameen became one of the first voices to be heard on the airwaves in Asia by starting the radio program for which he became the most famous, “Binaca Geetmala,” showcasing Bollywood music.

He hosted the program on Radio Ceylon, one of the oldest radio stations in the world, based in what is now Sri Lanka. The show was later moved to All India Radio, the state-owned public broadcaster. The show began as a half-hour series but was extended to one hour because of its explosive popularity. The program continued for more than 42 years.

“Hello, sisters and brothers,” he often said on the show in Hindi. “This is your friend Ameen Sayani talking.” The phrase became his signature, and widely imitated, way of addressing his audience, evoking nostalgia, and instantly recognizable among longtime listeners.

This is a developing story.

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