Monday, September 7, 2015



                                                  ( The Maestro with Lata Mangeshkar  )
                                                           ( With Mohd Rafi )




Madan Mohan ( 1924-1975 ) was born in Iraqi Kurdistaan where his father ,Rai Bahadur Chuni Lal Kohli served in a very senior position  with Peshmargha ( Kurdish Police ). Rai Bahadur Chuni Lal hailed from village Chakwal inJhelum District of undivided Punjab .
After Iraq won independence from British rule, Rai Bahadur Chuni lal Kohli was given the option to either take Iraqi nationality or quit his job . He opted to quit his job and returned to Chakwal  , his ancestral village .Later he  moved to Bombay and became a partner  in Bombay Talkies ( owned by Himanshu Rai ) and later  Filmistan ( Founded by Shashadhar Mukherje ) . After sometime , the entire family shifted to Bombay .
 During my posting at Amritsar , I came to know many things good things  about Madan Mohan and his close relations FROM Amritsar.
Madan Ji had married Sheila Dhingra , niece of  revolutionary freedom fighter Madan lal Dhingra ( 1883-1909 ) through an arranged marriage . This Dhingra family was well settled in Amritsar and  owned many houses in Katra Sher Singh ( Old city )  and some Bunglows on GT Road ( Newer and outer Part of the city ) .Madan Lal Dhingra’s father ( Dr Ditta Mal Dhingra ) was a well known  and widely respected Civil Surgeon of Amritsar .

Madan Mohan was an affectionate father , Dutiful husband , caring son , loving brother and a warm hearted friend . Every function in his house was a great celebration with his family , close relatives and friends . You could never miss Shanta Mahindroo ( his sister) and her family, Talat Mehmood and his wife, Om Prakash , Madan Puri ,David, his immediate neighbors and so many friends . His mother Bhagwanti Devi, wife Shiela and brother Prakash Kohli acted as Hosts and served guests .

Remebering his father , Sanjeev kohli (Madan ji's eldest son ) adds ,

"One of my most memorable experiences as a child was when he suddenly told me that he wanted me to take a week off from school and go with him on a holiday - I think it was in the late 60's, when I was in my teens, and he probably felt that he needed to bond with his growing son. We went to Pune and Mahableshwar with him driving the car - just the two of us! We walked, we talked, played games, and ate all our favourite meals at the best of places - he even taught me how to row a boat on this trip.
Of course, the composer in him always peeped through - in the most uncanny moments, I remember him suddenly humming away - whether it was in the swimming pool with us or even in a hotel lobby - of course it was a new tune striking him, which he had no means of recording at that point in time. To us children then, what appeared strange is now clearly the genesis of one of his great songs.
I also remember great evenings spent at our residence with his colleagues - most often, Chetan Anand, Priya, Kaifi Azmi, at other times Rajinder Krishan and Raja Mehdi Ali Khan, and of course, Lataji - he would cook for them and play them a song he had recorded earlier in the day, while we children, way past our bedtime, would sit outside the room and listen.
What made him stand out from his other colleagues was his very western personality. While he was totally an Indian at heart, and of course at music, his command over the English language was amazing. He was indeed a sahib among his colleagues, in his demeanour, the clothes he wore and his knowledge of global affairs. "

Joining as emergency commissioned officer ( In 1943 ) in Artillery Division of the ARMY , he left it after two years to join AIR Lucknow as Program Assistant in 1946 .In Lucknow AIR , he interacted with great  legends of Hindustani  classical music that  including Ali Akbar Khan, Abdul Wahid Khan, Pandit Ram Narain, Vilayat Khan, Roshanara Begum, Talat Mehmood , Fayyaz Khan, ustaad Barkat Ali Khan and Begum Akhtar .He was soon transferred to Delhi but he found it a Dull station and resigned in 1947 and  moved to Mumbai  to work as full time professional singer . He recorded Some private Albums and also sang for some films when S D Burman engaged him as his assistant.
 During the period of this struggle , he also acted in some films like Shaheed (1948), Ansoo (1953) and Munimji (1954). PARDA, His first film as a hero was shelved due to some problems even when some reels were shot by the production house .
 Like an Army officer  , He was always tidy and well dressed. Fond of  Good clothes and  Good food ,  his other interests were  Body Building , Ball Room Dancing, Tennis ,Swimming, Boating and Cricket. He read Newspapers and Magazines  and kept himself updated and informed about anything and everything around.
Madan Ji loved typical Punjabi food especially Non vegetarian ; Home made dishes like   Masala Bhindi, Saag meat, Rajmaah, Khata Meat,  Maha Daal ( With Desi Ghee tadkaa ) and Kadi Chawal   remained his favourite.

Remembering her Husband ,  Mrs Shiela Kohli ( His wife) once said ,

“ He was a family man and gave lot of time and attention to his family. He was the most compassionate Husband, son , Father and a friend one can expect in this world. Sometimes , he would cook some special dish for the family. Cooking was another hobby with him. He was always engrossed in music. At times, he got up in the middle of the night and started composing some tune on Harmonium . That tune possibly flashed in his mind at that moment. This also happened while he was driving the car. He would suddenly stop and start writing some lyric on a piece of paper that he kept in his pocket. “

About Madan Mohan , Lata ji  has said ,

“I have always said that he was one of the finest composers that India has ever produced and had a unique style. I have had the privilege of working with almost every composer in the last six decades, and each has contributed so much to my repertoire with their genius.
Though I have sung more songs with other composers, my number of hits with Madan Bhaiya are numerous. People say that I added something special in his songs - I do not know whether this happened consciously. Maybe it happened because of our personal rapport and affection for each other, our mutual respect for each others work, and maybe because of the perfect tuning we had and the fact that he was able to find nuances in my voice and rendition that he intuitively understood. He created such beautiful melodies for me that were always challenging, and I had to be at my best.
He would always say that he composed a tune only with me in mind and always had some 'jagahs' conceived with my voice modulation in mind. It was thus always challenging to live up to his expectations and the pleasure on his face after a recording would always give me a lot of satisfaction.
It is impossible for me to list my favorite songs of Madan Bhaiya - there have been many albums in which I have presented some of them, but I always feel I sometimes miss out the less heard ones. Of course, some of our most popular songs have been 'Bairan Neend Na Aaye', 'Yun Hasraton Ke Dagh', 'Hum Pyaar Mein Jalnewalon Ko', 'Nagma-O-Sher Ki Saugat', 'Woh Chup Rahen To', 'Sapne Mein Sajan Se', 'Lag Ja Gale Se', 'Nainon Mein Badra Chhaye', 'Zara Si Aahat', and many others.
Ghazals of course, were his forte, but his talent was not limited to ghazals alone. He has composed some memorable folk-based songs, qawwalis, as well as romantic songs sung by me and other artistes, and of course his classical and semi-classical songs.”

His first independent assignment as music director was in 1950 ( AANKHEIN )

When DASTAK was Released in 1970, It re-established MADAN MOHAN as the most versatile film Musician with in depth knowledge of Hindustani  classical music. The songs “Baiyaan Naa Dharo”,   “Mai Ri Main Kaase Kahoon “ and” “Hum Hain Mataay-e-Kuchao” fetched him the National Award for best music direction for that year.
Pandit Ravi Shanker had highly appreciated his composition “Tum Jo Mil Gaye Ho” for its fantastic variations in Tempo, notes and Rhythm .
About his composition " Bhaiyaan na dharo ",Gazal Maestro Ghulam Ali once said
" Dil kartaa hai buss yeh gaata Hi rahuun.Kyaa kamaal ki composition hai? Kahaan gaye aissey composer?"

About his composition “ Mai  to Tum sang Nain Milaa ke Haar gayii sajnaa “ Begum Akhtar has said ,
“ In Bolon mein eik Aurat apne pyaar mein Haar ki yaani shikast ki baat kar Rahi hai . Lekin Madan Bhai ne Kyaa Dhun Banaayi hai . Kyaa kamaal ki composition hai .Haar ki baat mein Mithaas bhar diyaa hai. Lajawaab Madan Bhai , Tumhe Meri Bhi Umar Lag Jaaye. Jeete Raho “
And so much was Begum sahiba enamored with Madan Mohan’s composition “ Qadhar Jaane naa Mora Baalam Bedardi “ when she first heard it that  she  immediately telephoned him requesting him to  sing it over phone to her . And for 18 minutes , Madan Mohan sang  “Qadhar Jaane Naa”  over the telephone .

When Music Director Naushad heard Madan Mohan’s composition “ Aap Ki Nazron Ne Samjha Pyaar ke qaabil Mujhe “ , he was simply mesmerized . To Madan Mohan he said ,
“ Madan Bhai , Let me have this Ghazal and take all my compositions in return”

In 2004, Madan Mohan’s ’s fallow tunes were used by his son, Sanjeev Kohli, for the Yash Chopra blockbuster Veer-Zaara. The tunes were superbly refreshing even after a lapse of about 30 years.
Once, speaking about the method of his work, he said ,
"In a film where three minutes is all the time given to a song, the foremost requirement of a song is only one thing; it should be capable of capturing the interest of the listeners in a short period and sustaining it in the years to follow".

Raja Mehdi Ali Khan , Lata Mangeshkar , Mohd Rafi and Talat Mehmood were his close family friend .
There is an incident worth mentioning  that relates to recording of the song “NAINON MEIN BADRAA CHHAAYE “  By Madan ji ..
In 1966, when Raj Khosla started his New Project " MERA SAAYA " , he signed the Karachi born sindhi actress SADHANA ( Born 2nd sep, 1941 ) . Unusal for sadhana ‘s image he wanted a classical song to be picturised on her. He put forth this idea to Madan Mohan and requested him to go ahead with a classical composition . Madan ji called Raja Mehdi Ali Khan and Lata ji to his house, Raja was unwell that day. He did not have a pen or his diary with him. But then Raja was Raja .Closing his eyes for 10 minutes Raja said ,

“ Madan Bhai … Naino mein Badraa chhaye 
Bijli si Chamkey haaye .......Chalegaa “
“ Array Bhai … Kyaa baat keh di  … Aagay chalo…..”

Once the song was completed by Raja , Madan Mohan sang it playing the harmonium himself. He asked lata ji to listen . Lata ji in turn asked Raja to make the song ‘s feelings clear to her . Once Raja made the song clear to Lata ji ,she wrote the song lines in her diary and Sang it. Madan ji kept correcting her repeatedly and singing it himself again and again. The perfectionist in him took no chance and  left not even an iota of imperfection in   this composition that turned out to be a master piece later. Unwell, Raja Mehdi Ali khan  sat all along watching Madan Mohan  In peak creative mood.
The final recording of the song was delayed for one reason or the other. Lata ji was over busy while the entire unit kept waiting at lake palace Udaipur for shooting the song . Madan ji had to personally bring Lata ji to recording studio and record the song. In this song , Madan ji introduced pieces from Santoor and sitar played by Pandit shiv Kumar Sharma and Ustaad Rais khan respectively.
Madan ji also composed two more  master pieces like  “JUMKA GIRAA RE “ and “TU JAHAAN JAHAAN CHALEGAA”  for this movie .

 Madan Mohan  was hailed as a GAZAL KING in Film Industry. His Gazal compositions are haunting and the music of the  Ghazas composed by him l  blends with words  .With the use of western instruments , Madan ji brought enormous range in Gazal composition .  Every  Ghazal that he composed , remains  Popular to this day .
                                                      ( With Raja Mehdi Ali Khan )
Madan Mohan and Raja Mehdi Ai Khan combination gave some  superb Songs and Ghazals  to Indian cinema. Started in 1950 , this partnership ended with Raja's death in 1966. Some composition from this duo are ..

(1) Meri Yaad mein Tum Na Aansso Bahaana 
(2) Hai issi Mein Pyaar Ki Aabroo
(3) Rang Birangi raakhi le ke aayi Behna 
(4) Jiya Le gayo ri Mora Saanvariya 
(5) Aapki Nazron ne samjha Pyaar ke qaabil Mujhe 
(6) Woh Dekho Jalaa Ghar Kissi Ka 
(7) Agar Mujh Se Mohabbat hai Mujhe sab apne gham de do 
(8) Mein Nigaahein Teray Chehray se hataaon kaise 
(9) Jo Hum Ne dastaan Apni Sunaayi Aap Kyon Roye 
(10) Lag ja Gale ke phir yeh haseen Raat Ho Na ho 
(11) Chorr kar teray pyaar ka daaman 
(12) Naina barse Rim Jhim  
(13) Teray pass aa Ke Mera waqt Guzar Jaata hai 
(14) Ek Haseen Shaam Ko Dil Mera kho Gayaa 
(15) Kayee din Se jee hai Bekal 
(16) Maine Rang Li Aaj Chunariya sajna Tore Rang Mein 
(18) Tu Jahaan Jahaan Chalega mera saaya saath hoga 
(19) Aap ke pehlu mein Aa kar ro diye 
(20) Teray Bin saawan kaise beeta 

He also  worked with other  poets and film  lyricists that included Rajindra krishen, kaifi Azmi , Majrooh Sultanpri and sahir . There was a project with  Firebrand urdu poet Makhdoom  Mohi Ud Din that did not mature. Madan Mohan  set to tune two popular Ghazals of makhdoom for this project.
 As far as I remember , Madan Mohan and Sahir worked together in three films.( Actulally two only )
(1) Railway Platform 1955
(2) Gazal 1964
(3) Laila Majnu 1976 . (Tunes composed by Madan Mohan before his death were used for the songs of this movie while background score was provided by Jaidev)
“Naghmaa o Sher ki saughaat kisse pesj Karuun “ from Gazal was an instant hit. "Basti Basti Parbat parbat Gaata Jaaye Banjaara “ was again a super hit composition from Railway Platform.And “Koyee pathhar se na maare meray Deewaane ko” was a tune created by Madan Mohan . “
Inspite of the fact that Sahir and Madan Mohan worked together for two films actually, they were great friends . Sahir appreciated his music and Madan ji loved his poetry . They had many things in common. Both were Punjabis . Both loved good food and clothes . Both were highly creative individuals. And finally both loved the bottle.
                                                  ( With  urdu poet and film  Sahir Ludhianavi )
Between 1950 and 1975 , Madan Mohan  composed about 650 film songs . Every composition of this Maestro is evergreen and immortal .“Meri Awaaz Suno “ is a poem written by kaifi Azmi on the Death of Pandit Jawahar lal Nehru. This poem was also composed to a beautiful song by Madan Mohan and used in Sawan Kumar Tak’s movie NAUNIHAAL . In this movie , the song was picturized showing Funeral of Pandit Nehru in a very emotional and touching sequence.
                                         ( Madan Mohan with Pandit Jawahar lal Nehru )
Apart from those discussed above , his below listed compositions also remain my favourite to this day..

(1) Unko yeh shikaayat hai ki hum kuchh Nahin Kehtay
(2) Tu Pyaar kare Ya Thukraaye 
(3) Ho Ke Majboor Mujhe Uss ne Bhulaaya hoga 
(4) Me yeh soch kar uss ke dhar se uthaa thhaa  
(5) Milo Na tum To Hum Ghabraayein
(6) Kaun aayaa meray Mun Ke Dwaare Paayal Ki jhankaar liye
(7) Phir Wahi Shaam ahi Gham Wahi Tanhaayi hai
(8) Humsafar saath apna chorr chale
(9)Tu mere saamne hai Teri zulfein hain khuli
(10)Rehtay thhay Kabhi Jin Ke dil Mein 
(11) Teri Aankhon ke Sivaa Duniyaa Mein Rakha Kyaa hai

 In 2013  Government of India released a commemorative Postal stamp  in his honour.

Madan Mohan Ji had so many friends and well wishers . One such friend happened to be  Late G R Santosh noted Painter  from kashmir  .Adds  Artist and Photographer Shabir Santosh son of late G R Santosh :

“I had the privilege of watching the shooting of the song .. "Mai ri me  kaa se kahuun Peerr apne Jiya Ki " from the film Dastak in a Mumbnai   studio along with my father Gulam Rasool Santosh when I was very small and Madan Mohanji had invited was an experience I still cherish..   “                                                             

In 1975, at a young age of 51 , Madan Mohan died of Liver cirrhosis, Putting  lakhs in tears and grief. Where  have such creative composers  gone   ? What we get today  is no match  to what these great masters have left as heritage . Why do Connoisseurs  yearn for Good film Music today ?

  To remember Madan Mohan  ji is a pleasure . It brings so many fond memories of Indian Cinema and his great Songs .

I end this post with four  lines of  Poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz  ..

Raat yuun  dil mein teri khoyee huyi yaad aayee
Jaise veeraaney mein chupkey sey bahaar aa jaye
Jaisey sehra on mein ho’lay se chaley baade e naseem
Jaisey beemaar ko Be Wajah  Qaraar aa jaaye

( Last night, your misplaced recollections crawled into my heart
As if  spring  had arrived secretly  into a desolate garden.
As  if  morning breeze was  blowing unhurriedly in a wasteland

As if  an unwell person suddenly felt  healthy for no reason.)

( Autar Mota )

·         For the photographs and some details appearing in this  post  , I remain greatly indebted to the family of  Great Madan Mohan especially to his son Sanjeev Kohli ji.  

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1 comment:

  1. कदर जाने ना , यह गाना मेरा फेवरिट रहा है,मदनमोहन जी के ट्यून्स की फॅन हूं ।
    वीरजारा भी इसीलिये अच्छी लगी कि उसमें उनका संगीत है ।
    ऐसे लोग बारबार दुनियामें नहीं आते । सैगल, साहिर, मीनाकुमारी और मदनजी ....
    अगर ये चीज-- शराब न होती तो....


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