May 022009

Manna De turned 90 yesterday – the 1st of May. Compared to Mohd. Rafi or Kishore Kumar – he didn’t sing as much for Hindi films, but the songs that he sang left a mark.

It’s been a long time since i put together a compilation of songs, in a way my music hearing has been predominantly Hindustani Classical Music. Manna De, more than any other Hindi singer – was completely at ease with the classical form.

Here in no order of preference, are some of my favourite songs sung by Manna De. if you have your favourites, please post them

1) Yeh Raat Bhigi Bhigi – Mukesh is said to be the voice of Raj Kapoor, but i personally preferred the duets that Manna De sang for him with Lata. Be it this, or Pyaar huva or Aaja Sanam …. Shankar Jaikishen composed the music, and the film is Chori Chori . The guitar as the prelude is possibly one of the most distinctive pieces of Hindi film music. i need to hear two chords to identify the song. Enjoy Raj Kapoor & Nargis in this brilliant composition.

2) Tu Pyaar ka Saagar Hai – I used to have this huge crush on Balraj Sahani when i was a kid. in those glorious days of watching Chitrahaar and Hindi films on Doordarshan. I could never understand his films in those days – but i simply thought he looked yummmm 🙂 i still do. and of all his songs, this one was played the most frequently. Soul stirring stuff. Balraj Sahani & Nutan in the film Seema. Music by Shankar Jaikishen.

3) Kaun Aaya mere Dil ke Dwaare – I cannot remember watching this film, though i must i have. i devoured everything on Doordarshan whether it was Krishi Darshan or Santakukdi or Kilbil … Anoop Kumar (Kishore Kumar’s brother) and Anita Guha in Dekh Kabira Roya. Music by Madan Mohan

4) Dil Ki Girah Khol Do – the film “Raat aur Din”. The subject multiple personality disorder. The year 1967. And a commercial success. Nargis in her last leading role. Fabulous film. Fabulous music. Watch it also for a very young Feroze Khan. Music Shankar Jaikishen

5) Ja Tose Nahin Bolu Kanhaya – Raga Hamsadhwani. Lata Mangeshkar & Manna De. The movie is Parivaar and the music director is Salil Choudhary .

6) Hoke Majboor Mujhe – The film Haqeeqat. Possibly the finest war film ever made in India. From the point of view of the men who serve. Directed by Chetan Anand it starred Balraj Sahni (him again), Dharmendra and a host of others it is set around the 1962 war – which no one talks about. The song ‘kar chale ham fida jaan aur tan saathiyo’ by Rafi is guaranteed to bring tears to your eyes. But, this song, more philosophical is equally good. Check out Manna De in this

7) Mausam Beeta Jaye – The film “Do Bhiga Zamin”, the director Bimal Roy. Music Salil Choudhary. Actor Balraj Sahni and the voice Manna De. I cry everytime is see this film – nothing has changed for the farmer. When we decided to make our film “Jhing Chik Jhing” i went and rewatched this film — the famers’ lot is the same. there is a line in Jhing Chik Jhing where Bharat Jadhav says ‘we are farmers, we grow food but our children go hungry; we grow cotton and our kids wear torn clothes’. This is not the post to call for agricultral reform or greater support to farmers, but consider it said :(.

By the way, despite the subject this was not an art film. it was a commercially viable film .

8) Zindagi kaisi yeh Paheli – Manna De sings for Rajesh Khanna – a man with a medical death sentance. the music by Salil Da. The film Anand. Lyrics by Yogesh.

9) Laga Chunri Mein Daag – Music by Roshan (grandfather to Hrithik ). The film is Dil Hi to Hai starring Raj Kapoor and Nutan

10) Pucho na Kaise Man – The film was hackneyed but the music was great. Staring Ashok Kumar in a triple role , the film is Meri Surat Teri Aankhen. Music by S.D.Burman

11) Sur Na Saje Kya Gaaon Mein – the film Basant Bahar. music by Shankar Jaikishen – who hitherto had been considered to be ‘pop’ music composers without a handle on classical – and how they proved the world wrong. Starring Bharat Bhushan who possibly had some of the best classical songs featured on him. The other great song in this film is Ketki Gulab Juhi sung by Manna De and Bhimsen Joshi !

  8 Responses to “Happy Birthday – Manna De”

  1. Ah…what nostalgia! Thank you for this wonderful compilation.

    • i kept smiling to myself while compiling this list. love the man’s voice. smooth and melodious.
      there are songs i left out like ‘ai mere pyare watan’ or ‘yala yala dil legaya’ – time constraints. thank you for visiting.

  2. Nice. For me Sapta Suran Teen Gram is a personal favorite. Ever so often there would be debates among friendly fandom whether Rafi can actually sing bol tAns as well as he does etc. Irrespective of it I loved the control in his voice when he sang fast phrases and slow – he had what one called swara shuddham when he sang.

  3. thank you 🙂
    i lved sapta suran teen gram too …
    and he had that absolute melody
    should have included that great qawalli from barsaat ki raat. showed off both manna de and mohd. rafi at their best !

  4. Ay mere Zohra Zabin..

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    Prerna Sharma.

  6. Nice collection, though these miss one genre where Manna da was exceptional. Comic songs! He sang some absolute masterpieces in a comic mode – like ek chatur naar, duniya banane wale, even phool gendva naa maro, kisne chilman se maara and the list can go on. What a genius….

  7. Starnge noone’s mentioned ‘Kasme Vade Pyar Wafa Sab Baaten hein Baaton ka Kya’ from Upkar. That would have been #1 is my list:)

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