As this veteran actor celebrates his 73rd birthday today, here’s wishing him a very very Happy birthday!
He started his career as a romantic hero. Manoj Kumar’s image as the patriotic hero started with the 1965 film Shaheed, based on the life of Bhagat Singh. After the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri asked him to create a film based on the popular slogan Jai Jawan Jai Kissan. The result was Kumar’s magnum opus and his directorial debut, Upkaar (1967). Upkaar was a hit and won Kumar his first Filmfare Best Director Award. He then went on to direct and act in lots of other movies which earned him the name of Mr. Bharat.
Harikishan Giri Goswami, better known as Manoj Kumar, was a big admirer of Dilip Kumar, so much that he decided to name himself Manoj Kumar after Dilip’s character in Shabnam (1949).
He was blessed with good looks and an ability to act and direct well. I have been very fond of him but have always liked him more in his pre-patriotic era. That doesn’t mean I have anything against his patriotic movies. They were all very good but I’m making it a point not to include many songs from those movies, and even if I do, I will leave out the patriotic ones for now. Will do a separate post on patriotism some other time, may be around Independence day. For now, I’m concentrating only on romantic songs of his that I like the most with one single exception – the first song below.
1. Mera rang de basanti chola (Shaheed, 1965) : When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life in such a manner that when you die the world cries and you rejoice – this song just illustrates the saying. Manoj Kumar as Bhagat Singh has etched such an indelible impression in my memory that I just can’t find anybody else as good as him in the role. May be it’s because it’s one of the first movies of Manoj Kumar that I saw and the very first one of Bhagat Singh, during the good old Doordarshan days when they used to telecast patriotic movies on Independance Day and Republic Day. Everything about this song gives me goose flesh…esp the part where Manoj Kumar says : Hum gale milna chahate hai, ab ke bichde na jaane kab mile. And the way they embrace each other is so touching. Having said earlier that I like him better in romantic roles, I would have loved to list down Jogi hum toh lut gaye tere pyaar mein which I totally love, but I didn’t for 2 reasons – 1. I couldn’t help myself from not including Mera rang de basanti, 2. It doesn’t have enough of Manoj Kumar to classify it as his song. Each song of this movie, be it Sarfaroshi ki tamanna, Aye watan, Pagdi sambhal is absolutely brilliant and very emotional as well.
2. Gore gore chand se mukh par (Anita, 1967) : How could I not like Manoj Kumar sitting on a branch of a tree singing this paean to one of my favourite actresses, Sadhana. Though I don’t like her make-up much in this particular song, I love the room she is in! A beautiful song. Mukesh has sung some very nice and very romantic songs for Manoj Kumar. I could actually have done a combined post for Mukesh and Manoj Kumar but for all these years I have ignored him and failed to recognise his genius, Mukesh deserves a separate post just to himself, which is coming up soon.
3. Chodkar tere pyaar ka daaman (Woh Kaun Thi, 964) : This movie had some amazing songs, majority of them rendered by Lata. But when we come to Manoj Kumar, where even he gets to lip-synch some of the song, this song tops my list. He was a very good-looking man. And this song is such a delicious treat to the eyes – Manoj Kumar and Helen both looking their best! Manoj Kumar in black-n-white movies, I just can’t get enough of him. Lag ja gale is and will always remain my favourite from this movie and as I already had it in one of my recent posts, I am skipping it for the moment. And Naina barse is something I am saving up for some other occasion.
4. Door reh kar na karo baatein (Amanat, 1971) : One of the main reasons behind me doing this post. Ok…that’s not entirely true, I didn’t actually need an excuse to do this post. The fact that I actually like Manoj Kumar was more than enough in itself and to add to it that he featured in some of my favourite songs. This is a very passionate song, one’s of my all-time favourites – simple lyrics, soft music, flawless voice and picturised on two very good looking people whom I am very fond of.
5. Chaand si mehbooba hogi (Himalaya Ki Godh Mein, 1965) : I will never forget Mala Sinha’s name in this movie – Phulwa! Thanks to the flower Manoj makes and writes “wa” beside it on the stone in the beginning of this song. It’s a lovely song – beautifully written, rendered and very well composed. I am not very fond of the movie itself as such, inspite of Mala Sinha and Manoj Kumar but I love this song – probably the best thing in the movie. Manoj Kumar finds his dream girl in Mala Sinha, the innocent (though loud) village belle. And he looked very cute in it, not just in this song but in the entire movie…a doctor educated abroad who lands up in a village and is in complete awe of the rural superstitions initially but eventually decides to stay back there and help healing the villagers instead of going back to in the city and setting up a clinic.
6. Main na bhoolunga (Roti Kapada aur Makaan, 1974) - An unforgettable melody…..
Samay ki dhara mein umar beh jaani hai
jo ghadi jee lenge, wahi reh jaani hai
main ban jaau saans aakhri tu jeewan ban jaaye
Jeewan se saanso ka rishta main na bhoolungi….
Maang se sindoor ka rishta…Mandir se pooja ka rishta….
Mesmerising lyrics…very touching. Beautifully and emotionally sung by Mukesh and Lata Mangeshkar and amazingly portrayed by Zeenat and Manoj and Shashi. And it fits so well into the story, it more or less sums up a part of the story. This movie won Manoj Kumar his second Filmfare Best Director Award.
7. Bol mere taqdeer mein (Hariyali Aur Raasta, 1962) : I watched this film when I was 15 and I don’t know what I liked so much about it…I somehow could never forget this story of Shankar, Shobhna and Rita. Waise toh all the songs are good – Yeh hariyali aur yeh raasta, Teri yaad dil se bhulane chala hoon, Ibteda ishq mein hum, Lakh taare aasman mein but Bol meri taqdeer mein kya hai has always remained my favourite. One of the most romantic songs ever…and that too with quite a philosophical note to it - jeevan ke do pehlo hai hariyali aur raasta. After Shaheed, this was the second movie of his that I saw, followed by Dus Numberi. No wonder I ended up liking him so much!
8. Paththar ke sanam (Paththar Ke Sanam, 1967) : A hunk with two lovely ladies and a couple of great songs….I had to see this film. Though I didn’t like the film much, I totally love the songs – Mehboob mere, Tauba yeh matwali chaal, Ki nahin hai, Bata doon kya laana or the title track – all of them are amazing! I don’t think Rafi has sung many songs for Manoj Kumar but the few that he has are superb! Be it this or Door rehkar na karo baat.
9. Ke duniya ek numbari to main dus numbari (Dus Numbari, 1976) : It’s such an entertaining film. Though it’s been a quite some time since I saw this film, I remember liking it when I saw it. This used to be Sony entertainment Televisions favourite movie a decade ago, they used to air it almost every fortnight. And for once I saw Manoj Kumar so stylish (love his shades and his outfits in it) and it was so refreshing to see him do a role like this for a change.
10. Zindagi ki na toote ladi (Kranti, 1981) : I grew up listening to this song and watching it almost every week on Rangoli and Chitrahaar. This song itself was intriguing enough and the curiosity of seeing both Diliip kumar and Manoj Kumar together was too much to resist. So when this movie was finally aired on Doordarshan I just couldn’t afford to miss it. Though sad at times, from what I remember it was an entertaining package – action, drama, emoshun, good music, suspense, brothers separated in childhood, princess being kidnapped and what not. Un aankhon ka hansna bhi kya jin aakhon mein paani na ho, woh jawani jawani nahin jiski koi kahani na ho….lakh gehra ho saagar toh kya pyaar se kuch bhi gehra nahin, dil ki deewane har mauj par ho aasmano pehra nahin….amazing lyrics. Apart from Raj Kapoor Mukesh sang quite a lot of songs for Manoj Kumar. It’s interesting to see his son, Nitin Mukesh singing for Manoj Kumar here with Lata Mangeshkar.
There are so many other songs of his that I like from Upkaar, Do Badan, Shor, Aadmi, Neel Kamal, Purab Aur Paschim, Saawan Ki Ghata, Phoolon Ki Sej, Banarasi Thug etc….hopefully I’ll get to include all these songs in some list or the other over a period of time.
Thinking of his movies, I just can’t get Clerk out of my mind – few scenes in particular…For those of you who haven’t seen the movie, check this out -
One of the most ridiculous movies and one of those few movies which I couldn’t sit through the whole way. But there were quite a few scenes like this in it. Such scenes are entertaining and good to laugh at, esp when you can just see them instead of having to put up with the entire film!
Here’s wishing Manoj Kumar health and long life on this day and always!!!
Tags: Amanat (1967), Anita (1967), Aye watan, Bata doon kya laana, Bhagat Singh, Bol mere taqdeer mein, Chaand si mehbooba, Chodkar tere pyaar ka daaman, Clerk, Door rehkar na karo baat, Dus Numbari (1976), Gore gore chand se mukh par, Happy Birthday Manoj Kumar, Hariyali Aur Raasta (1962), Hema Malini, Hmialaya Ki Godh Mein (1965), Ibteda ishq mein hum, Jogi hum toh lut gaye tere pyaar mein, Ke duniya ek numbari toh main dus numbari, Ki nahin hai, Kranti (9181), Lag ja gale, Lakh taare aasman mein, Lata Mangeshkar, Main na bhoolunga, Mala Sinha, Manoj Kumar, Mehboob mere, Mera rang de basanti chola, Mukesh, Naina barse, nitin Mukesh, Pagdi sambhal, Paththar ke sanam, Paththar Ke Sanam (1967), Rafi, Roti Kapada Aur Makaan, Sadhana, Sarfaroshi ki tamanna, Shaheed (1965), Shashi Kapoor, Tauba yeh matwali chaal, Teri yaad dil se bhulane chala hoon, Upkar (1967), Woh kaun thi (1964), Yeh hariyali aur yeh raasta, Zeenat Aman, Zindagi ki na toote ladi