Emperor of Melodies – Madan Mohan Kohli, better known as Madan Mohan is one among those precious gems of Bollywood, who unfortunately got recognition he deserved only after his death. Left the world at a comparatively young age of 51, he left behind a few melodious and evergreen songs which became extremely popular after his death. He reserved best among his songs for Lata Mangeshkar, while male renditions were mostly done by Mohammed Rafi, and both ruled millions of hearts in the 1960s. His distinct style of melting Indian classic music to popular music makes him an extremely popular composer. He wisely used western elements and instruments too, for his compositions.
Associated with Raj Khosle movies, he composed his career best songs for actress Sadhana for the movies, Woh Kaun Thi, Mera Saaya etc. He also composed some wonderful compositions featuring actress Priya Rajvansh, and he used Lata Mangeshkar’s voice to record songs for both these actresses. Chirag, Hasthe Zakhm, Anpat, Haqeeqat, Mausam, Laila Majnu etc are a few more memorable movies that can be tagged under Madan Mohan Compositions sung by Lata.
Lata christened him as the ‘Emperor of Ghazals’ and regarded Madan Mohan as her brother, and they shared a deep bond. She was one among those rare artists of Bollywood who identified his talent and potential, and it took many years for music lovers to find the real magic hidden behind his tunes. Obviously Madan Mohan played a significant role in grooming her career and gave some of her career-best songs. Madan created some masterpieces of his career in Lata’s voice and most of them are solo numbers. So, let us see some of the best songs of the deadly combination of Madan Mohan-Lata.
1. Lag Jaa Gale of Woh Kaun Thi – No doubt, this song will definitely be listed among her top 10 songs among the countless ones she sung for 7 decades or so. The ever green classic – Lag Jaa Gale also finds its place among the top romantic hits of all time. Pictured on Manoj Kumar and Sadhana, the song has not lost its intense, passion and freshness even after 50 years.
Throughout his career Madan Mohan has composed some amazing songs for Raj Khosle movies, and wonderful lyrics by Raja Mehndi Ali Khan. I would love to dedicate this song to the beautiful heroine Sadhana, who passed away last Christmas. Definitely, Lag Jaa Gale is the most popular song pictured on Sadhna, perhaps the most loved Madan Mohan composition too by music fans.
2. Naina Barse Rhimjim of Woh Kaun Thi – If Lag Jaa Gale was the top song of the album, the haunting melody – Naina Barse Rhimjim too was not less. Wonderful lyrics by Raja Mehndi Ali Khan and amazing rendition by melody queen, this song too definitely find its place among the best 10 songs of Lata. Also, as a Bollywood music fan, it’s my most favourite song in Lata Mangeshkar’s voice. This song has a deep intensity in romance, passion and longing for someone, beyond all explanations. Its popularity after 50 years makes it a classic evergreen song.
3. Aap Kyon Royen of Woh Kaun Thi – How can I leave this melodious song with magical lyrics penned by Raja Mehndi Ali Khan? With the dilemma of love between the lead actors, it’s a soulful sad song pictured on Manoj Kumar and Sadhna. Though Aap Kyon Royen was not equally popular as the rest two romantic tracks sung by Lata, it definitely deserves a mention in my list.
4. Aap Ki Nazron Ne of Anpadh – Similar to songs of Woh Kaun Thi, this particular song too deserves a special mention in the top class songs of Lata Mangeshkar. This solo track was pictured on Mala Sinha and Dharmendra. Madan Mohan is quite popular for his association with Raja Mehdi Ali Khan, and Anpadh is one such. The movie also included the melodious solo track – Hai Isi Me Pyar Ki Aabru.
5. Mera Saaya Saat Hoga of Mera Saaya – This haunting melody is a precious gem among Madan Mohan compositions. It’s yet another super hit song pictured on actress Sadhana and Sunil Dutt, though the song is pictured as Sunil Dutt’s memories of his dead wife. The movie belongs of trilogy of mystery films of Raj Khosle, starring Sadhana.
6. Naino Mein Badra Chhaye of Mera Saaya – Madan Mohan is known for using Indian ragas for film compositions, and Naino Mein Badra Chhaye is perhaps the most wonderful Bollywood tune based on raga, Bhimplasi in the mid-1960s. Bhimplasi is a common raga used in many of Bollywood compositions. But Madan Mohan composed Naino Mein Badra Chhaye retaining its pure classic elements.
Aa Neele Gagan Tale Pyar Hum Karey, Kuchh Dil Ne Kaha, Aaj purani rahon se, Hawaon Pe Likh Do, Tum Jo Mil Gaye Ho, Kabhi Tanhaiyon Mein, O Beqaraar Dil, Ari O Shokh Kaliyon Muskura Dena, Kahin door jab din dhal jaye, Tadap Ye Din Raat Ki, Dil Mein Tujhe Bitha Ke, Dil ke tukde tukde karke, Gori tera gaanv bada, Dil ke armaan aasu, Bol na halke halke, Kehta hai mera dil (Jeans), Ae Ajnabi Tu Bhii Kabhi, Tu cheez bari ha mast, Chand ne kuch kaha, Radha kaise na jale and Eli re eli are some of the popular songs inspired from this raga, and most of them belong to haunting genre particularly the oldies – no doubt.
Lata Mangeshkar also gave her best to sing this soulful melody, pictured on Sunil Dutt and Sadhana. Mera Saaya is extremely popular for its haunting melody.
7. Tum Jo Mil Gaye Ho of Haste Zakhm – Though this romantic song based on Bhimplasi raga is regarded as Mohd Rafi song, Lata rendered two lines for this song and those two lines are enough to create magic. The song was pictured on Navin Nischol and Priya Rajvansh, and one of the top romantic songs of early 1970s. The movie also included two top solo songs of Lata.
8. Betaab Dil Ki Tamanna Yehi Hai of Hanste Zakhm – The top solo track of Lata Mangeshkar for the tragedy drama, Hanste Zakhm, the song was pictured on Navin Nischol and Priya Rajvansh. And special mention should be given for its magical lyrics written by Urdu poet Kaifi Azmi, which added new flavours and meanings to its tune.
9. Aaj Socha Toh Aansu Bhar Aaye of Hanste Zakhm – I often think it’s the agony hidden inside composer’s mind. Weeps and helpless inside human soul can never be expressed better than this wonderful rendition of Lataji! Hats off to Madan Mohan Ji for this soulful and painful composition, which stays fresh in listeners’ minds even after 40 years. The song has a magic enough to stir human minds even after decades it’s composed.
10. Zara Si Aahat Hoti Hai To Dil Sochta Hai of Haqeeqat – This amazing composition belongs to Madan Mohan-Kaifi Azmi- Priya Rajvansh combination, similar to the songs of Hanste Zakhm, which became extremely popular. It is a solo romantic number, voice rendered by Lata Mangeshkar.
11. Mein To Tum Sang Nayan Milake of Manmouji – This solo track sung by Lata too belong to the category of most popular songs composed by Madan Mohan in 1960s. Penned by Rajinder Krishan, the song was pictured on beautiful Sadhana Shivdasani.
12. Agar Mujh Se Muhabbat Hai of Aap Ki Parchhaiyan – This solo track was pictured on Supriya Choudhury and Dharmendra and is indeed popular till now.
13. Dil Dhoondta Hai of Mausam – Lata Mangeshkar sang this extremely popular duet with Bhupinder Singh, and it was one of the last compositions of the great composer. The song was pictured on Sanjeev Kumar and Sharmila Tagore and the movie was directed by Gulzar. The movie also included the popular duet – Chhadi Re Chhadi, sung by Lata aside Mohd. Rafi.
14. Teri Aankhon Ke Siva of Chirag – Lata Mangeshkar sang the female version of the song sung by Mohd. Rafi, and it’s one of the rare Madan Mohan compositions for Asha Parekh films.
15. Baiyan Na Dharo of Dastak – Though Madan Mohan received multiple nominations for Filmfare best music director award, he never received it. However he received his single National award for best music for the movie, Dastak in 1970, and this classic number was based on raga Charukesi. The movie also included the popular classic duet, Mai Ri Main Kase Kahoon. It’s one of the rare combination songs of these two music maestros, and Madan Mohan has rarely used his voice for playback singing.
16. Rasme Ulfat Ko Nibhaye of Dil Ki Rahen – This classic song was pictured on Rehana Sultan. The film’s print got damaged as it was not preserved well, and so its video may not be found anywhere.
17. Husn Hazir Hai of Laila Majnu – This particular track sung by Lata Mangeshkar is one among the rare Madan Mohan compositions which managed to reach no: 1 position in annual list of Binaca Geetmala in 1977. He passed away in 1975 and many of his songs were released posthumously.
18. Yun Hasratom Ki Daag – Rajendra Kishen and Madan Mohan joined hands together for the movie Adalat to give some amazing gems of the era of 1950s. The movie is known for some extremely popular solos of Lata and the popular duet of Asha Bhosle and Rafi – Zameen Se Hamen Aasmaan Par, one of my personal favourites of Asha’s early hits. Apart from Yun Hasratom Ki, Unko Yeh Shiqaayat Hai is yet another popular song of Lata featuring Nargis. Lata’s solo track – Jaana Tha Humse Door is yet another notable track of the album.
19. Tere Liye of Veer Zaara – When Madan Mohan’s music was re-created by his son, almost two decades after his death, it was something like a history re-born. Lata Mangeshkar got opportunity to sing 9 out of 11 compositions. These tunes were originally created by Madan Mohan during his lifetime, which remained unused till Veer Zaara got released. Almost all songs were chartbusters, and all its romantic tracks were pictured on Shah Rukh Khan and Preity Zinta.
Other popular songs sung by Lata for the movie include – Aisa Des Hai Mera, Tum Paas Aa Raahein Ho, Yeh Hum Aa Gaye Hain Kahan and Do Pal. The movie also included the extremely popular romantic track sung by Udit Narayan – Mein Yahan Hoon.
If I have missed any popular choice of yours, let me know.
Images: Screen shots from You Tube