Madan’s music was characterized by his immense ability to meld elements of Indian and Western classical music into a new style of Hindi filmi song. He had a keen and sensitive ear for the nuances of Indian classical tunes, and combined them with elements of Western music such as harmonies to produce a style of music that could be appreciated by both classical music aficionados and the common person alike.
As this day, 14th July 2010, marks 35th Death Anniversary of this Music Director, here are some songs of his that I adore the most. Majority of Madan Mohan’s songs were sung by Lata mangeshkar and all these songs have a certain magic and sweetness to them that few music directors, if any, have been able to recreate. And though I am more of an Asha fan (not that I don’t like Lata, it’s just that I like Asha more), I love all the songs of Madan-Lata duo.
1. Hoke majhboor mujhe usne bhulaya hoga (Haqeeqat, 1964) : It’s such a beautiful composition – touching lyrics by Kaifi Azmi, haunting music, amazing rendition and picturization that would bring tears into your eyes. A true masterpiece! This song also happens to be the only song in which four top-rated male playback singers – Rafi, Talat, Manna Dey, and Bhupendra have put their voices together. Bhupendra appeared on the screen in this song as well for the first time. This song is believed to be the inspiration behind another Bollywood hit, Sandese aate hai from the film Border. Each song of this movie is a beauty in itself – Kar chale hum fida, Masti mein chhedke tarana, Zara si aahat hoti hai but Hoke majhboor remains the most special one.
2. Lag jaa gale ke phir yeh haseen raat ho na ho (Woh Kaun Thi, 1964) : Madan Mohan’s most successful venture was Raj Khosla’s Desi version of Woman in White, titled Woh Kaun Thi?. This film has three Lata solos Naina barse rim jhim rim jhim, Lag ja gale and Jo humne daastaan apni sunayi and a duet, all of which have transcended time and are still heard and applauded with the same enthusiasm today. This is such a divine song – awesome lyrics, mesmerizing music and beautiful voice. Truly amazing! And then Sadhna and Manoj Kumar. I have always loved Sadhna but I feel she looks her best here – stunning and enticing. Sadhna, to me, is the epitome of beauty, charm and grace. She is my all-time favorite actress. And Manoj Kumar in the movies prior to the patriotic era has a different appeal altogether…a very handsome man!
3. Main toh tum sang nain milake (Man Mauji, 1962) : This is one of my dad’s favourite songs. When I watched this movie I had no clue as to what songs it had. I had heard the songs but never knew the name of the movie. So I was delighted to hear Zaroorat hai zaroorat hai, Chanda ja re ja and Main toh tum song. I don’t remember the story but I had liked it back then just because of the songs and Sadhna! Personally I like Chanda ja re jaa (it’s such a beautifully executed song) much better but this one’s for dad.
4. Maine rang li aaj chunariya (Dulhan Ek Raat Ki, 1967) : Being an ardent Rafi fan, I love Ek haseen shaam ko the best from this movie but I had already included that in Dharmendra special post. So here’s another lovely number from the same movie, this time in Lata’s voice. Nutan’s another favourite actresses of mine. I had seen this movie (not the full movie though) long ago and I had read Thomas Hardy’s Tess also almost over a decade ago, so don’t remember much of both but ever since I read yves’s take on it and the parallels drawn between the movie and the book, I’m dying to re-read the book and re-watch the movie. I actually don’t remember seeing this song while watching the movie. But as always I later on heard it on Vividh Bharati and liked it. It’s a very cutely composed song. Though it goes little beyond my liking lyrically with charano mein piya tere swarg basaye teri daasi part, I love this song for it’s music and vocal delivery and then the rest of the lyrics.
5. Betaab dil ki tamanna (Hanste Zakhm, 1973) : This is another movie with nice songs. Be it Aaj socha toh aansu bhar aaye, Beetab dil ki, Tum jo mil gaye ho, Yeh mana meri jaan - all are very different from one another but they share one thing in common that they all are very beautifully written, composed and sung. Inspite of the rather funny green outfits that both Priya Ranvansh and Navin Nischal are wearig and Priya’s gold jewellery that doesn’t quite go along with her costume, I like this song a lot. There’s something very mystic and haunting about it. Hanste hanste rode hum itna bhi toh hansao na – is my favourite line.
6. Nainon mein badra chhaye (Mera Saya, 1966) : Jhumka gira re, Tu jahan jahan chalega, Nainon mein badra chhaye, Aap ke pehloo mein aa kar …. each song is a timeless classic, each with a charm of its own. This song is eeirie yet soothing and calm but yet can give you goose bumps. What a beautiful beginning and the magic just continues throughout!!! And it’s so beautifully shot. This film was unique because of Madan Mohan’s music, Lata’s divine voice and Raja Mehdi Ali Khan’s phenomenal lyrics. Madan’s favourite lyricists were Raja Mehdi Ali Khan, Kaifi Azmi, and Rajinder Krishan, but Sahir Ludhianvi and Majrooh Sultanpuri also collaborated with him on a few movies. The Madan-Raja pairing in particular produced the classic Aap Ki Nazron Ne Samjha from the movie Anpadh. Among the many admirers of the song was the legendary Naushad who reportedly said, “Let me have this ghazal and take all my compositions in return” upon hearing it.
7. Milo na tum toh (Heer Ranjha, 1970) : The film is unique in the fact that the entire film and its dialogue is in verse, Kaifi Azmi, the man behind the verse dialogue. But somehow I didn’t like the movie much. May be it’s because I had heard so much about it that I had set my expectations too high. I find other movies of Chetan Anand more remarkable (read Haqeeqat and Aakhri Khat). But I like this song a lot – the sweetness and innocence clubbed with the Punjabi flavour – amazing combo and not to forget Raaj Kumar’s dance!
8. Yehi hai tamanna (Aap Ki Parchhayian, 1964) : This is another movie I want to watch again. When I first saw it as a kid, I hadn’t heard any of the songs before, so I didn’t really care for it. And back then there was no youtube to explore the songs. But now that I have fallen in love with all the songs, I want to see the movie again. Even if the story isn’t all that great, I would be happy just looking at Dharmendra. Again, I had included Main nigahen tere chehre se for Dharmendra special post. Hence it’s another song this time. This has a Lata number too – Agar mujhse mohabbat but I love Dharmendra’s dance in Yehi hai tamanna…it’s so very cute that I couldn’t resist myself from choosing this and it’s Rafi singing for Dharmendra! There’s another peppy and cute song in this movie – Kabhi ithlake chalti ho which is a Rafi-Asha duet.
9. Har koi chahta hai (Ek muthi Asmaan, 1973) : Madan did not usually employ Kishore Kumar, as his tunes were complex classical-based compositions and Kishoreda had a singing style of his own. But there are few songs they have done together and this is one of them. This song appears 3-4 times in the movie. One part of it is picturised on legendary Pran saab and that happens to be my favourite part. Vijay Arora spoils it for me. He’s cute to look at but the way he jumps around and tries to dance to this song is pathetic. If only he could emote and act a little better! It’s a very sweet song and philosophical at the same time. It never fails to soothe me. By the way, how many songs did Pran get to lip-sync? I can only think of Hum bolega toh bologe ki bolta hai, Yaari hai imaan mera and this at the moment.
10. Do pal ruka (Veer Zara, 2004) : In 2004, Madan’s unused tunes were recreated by his son, Sanjeev Kohli, for the Yash Chopra blockbuster Veer-Zaara. The lyrics were written by Javed Akhtar, and Lata Mangeshkar was invited to once again sing the majority of the melodies composed by her dear friend. Not that I ran out of oldies but I am including this song just to show that Madan Mohan’s music, composed more than 30 years ago is accepted and applauded by the crowd with the same enthusiasm even today.
Madan Mohan was also called the King of Ghazals. If any composer had utilised the ghazal andaz of Mohammad Rafi to the best of his potentiality it is Madanmohan. Aap ke pehloo mein aa kar, Teri aankhon ki siwa duniya mein, Ek haseen shaam ko, Tumhari zulf ki saaye mein shaam kar lunga etc are the few among them. But for a change I concentrated more of songs sung by Lata today. Saving Rafi’s gems for some other day
He aspired to becoming an actor but ended up directing music! Hats off to this great man for the lovely tunes he composed. May his soul rest in peace.
Today also happens to be the Birth Anniversary of Roshan. It’s already too late to do another post now. So here are few songs of his that I can think of at the moment – Ek toh surat pyaari, Jo baat tujh mein hai teri tasveer mein nahin, Paao choo lene do, Zindagi bhar nahin bhoolegi woh barsaat ki raat, Baaharon ki manzil rahen, Laaga chunri mein daag. Oh re taal mile nadi ke jal mein, Rahe na rahe hum.