Our search for Manna Dey’s songs for the lead actor has basically reached the period of second half the decade of ‘50s. From what we have seen till now, it appears that it is not incorrect to infer that his songs that have attained fame have rooted deeper his image of niche singer and his romantic songs for the lead player still hunt for a permanent association that can turn out to be game changer for his career.
With Kishore Kumar
There was a period in Kishore Kumar career where he was so active as working as the main lead actor for the films that he has accepted some of his songs on the screen played back by Mohammad Rafi, and as we shall presently see, by Manna Dey. In each of this case, the song would invariably be a one-off case in that film, all other songs being enacted and sung by Kishore Kumar himself. That would, normally, mean that the music director has some or other valid reason for opting for the other playback singer. However, presently, we have no intention to look out for such reasons. We will be content with listing such songs within the scope of our present series.
Din Albele Pyar Ka Mausam, Chanchal Man Mein Toofan – Begunah (1957) – with Lata Mangeshkar – Shanker Jaikishan – Hasrat Jaipuri
Here we have an ideal romantic duet, once again Shanker Jaikishan choosing to use Manna Dey for such a lovely song. The song did become famous and is quite known even today. But, being filmed on Kishor Kumar, its fate as catalyst for Manna Dey being set as a lead actor’s principal voice does not help the cause. That Begunah was banned within just a few days of hitting the screen further aggravated the case.
Pahele Murgi Ke Pahele Anda Zara Soch Ke Batana – Krorepati (1961) – Shanker Jaikishan – Shailendra
Manna Dey matches Kishore Kumar’s comedy theatrics on the screen. The song is filmed as satirist comedy on the establishment. However, because of the presence of Kishore Kumar as the actor, the song does not fall into the cast of so called comedy genre that Jhonny Walker and Mahemood brought on the screen.
Ho Gayi Shaam Dil Badnam Leta Jaaye Tera Naam – Naughty Boy (1962) – With Asha Bhosle – S D Burman – Shailendra
Here too Manna Dey sounds so natural to Kishore Kumar’s acting. The song is a party song whereat Kishore Kumar resorts to his comedy acting while remaining very faithful to the romance in the lyrics of the song.
Alakh Niranajan – Haaye Mera Dil (1968) – Usha Khanna
One of those non-descript comedy songs that Manna Dey would get after getting type cast for comedy genre songs.
‘Haaye Mera Dil’ has one more Manna Dey song – a duet with Usha Khanna – Jaaneman Jaaneman Tum Din Raat Mere Saath Ho – which is filmed a club song.
With Shammi Kapoor
Shammi Kapoor’s acting career is normally divided into pre-Tumsa nahi Dekha and post-Tumsa Nahi Dekha films. If Talat Mahmood had a lion’s share for the playback songs for the former part, it was Mohammad Rafi who sang to Shammi Kapoor’s style in the latter part. We have two films which can be considered as twilight zone between these two phases.
Tangewaali (1955) has a duet with Geeta Dutt – Tina Tan Ta Tina Kisi Ne Dil Hai (Music: Salil Chaudhari; Lyrics- Prem Dhawan) – which Shammi Kapoor ought to have lip-synched on the screen, like a genuine tonga Rafi solo cast on a punjabi folk tune, and two duets – A Rafi-Lata duet and a Tonga-genre Hemant-Lata duet. Unfortunately, we do not have a digital link.for this Manna Dey- Geeta Dutt duet.
The second film Ujala (1959) was an idealistic socialist theme film. The two songs of the film probably would easily fit in for Manna Dey’s voice, particularly when Shankar Jaikishan have composed the music.
Ab Kahan Jaaye Dil Ye Bata Aye Zameen, Ab Kisi Ko Kise Pe Bharosa Nahi – Lyrics: Shailendra
This again a choir-Church tune and after the success of a similar song – Tu Pyar Ka Sagar Hai, Teri Ek Boond Ke Pyaase Ham (Seema 1955), choice of Manna Dey to playback for Shammi Kapoor is quite obvious. This song also went to get respect and fame.
Suraj Jara Aa Paas Aa, Aaj Sapnon Ki Roti Pakayenge Ham – Lyrics: Shailendra
The song is deeply stepped into a socialist moulid, and with Shankar Jaikishan having successfully executed O Raat Gayi (Boot Polish, 1954) and Dil Ka Haal Sune Dilwala (Shree 420, 1955) with Manna Dey it is again obvious that Shankar Jaikishna would repeat Manna Dey for this song, whoever would be the actor..
And it was not the sheer momentum that would have led Shankar Jaikishan to opt for two romantic, peppy duets with Manna Dey, when they had set one Mukesh – Lata duet and a Rafi-Mukeshi duet in Mukesh and Rafi’s voice respectively for Shammi Kapoor in this film.
Jumta Mausam Mast Mahina, Chand Si Gori Ek Hasina, Ya Allah Ya Allah Dil Le Gayi– – With Lata Mangeshkar – Lyrics: Hasrat Jaipuri
An excellent off-the-sets outdoor song, that is as much playful as is romantic. Manna Dey sings the song with a caressingly smooth ease.
Chham Chham Lo Suno Chham Chham, O Suno Chham Chham – With Lata Mangeshkar – Lyrics: Shailendra
Here we have a typical Shankar Jaikishan folk-dance composition, based on a fast dholak-rhythm with a violin-ensemble orchestration. Manna Dey enters at the beginning of the 1st stanza on a very happy, positive note synching melody of the tune with the delivery of the song..
By the time Wallah Kya Baat Hai (1962) was released on the screen, Shammi Kappoor’s happy-go-lucky image formula had tasted great success @ Tumsa Nahi Dekha. Wallah Kya Baat Hai (1962) songs had naturally that Shammi-halo at the core of Shammi’s on-screen songs. Roshan suddenly opts to use Manna Dey for Shammi Kapoor in twin-version song – Katon Ke Saaye Men Phulo Ka Ghar Hai – Vallah Kya Baat Hai (1962) – Roshan – Prem Dhawan
Even when you are soaked with hugely playful Khanke To Khanke KyuN Kahanke, Raat Ko Mera Kangana or a pathos-laden Gam-E-Hasti Se Begana Hota in Mohammad Rafi’s voice, Manna Dey effortlessly slips into Shammi Kapoor’s playback in the first happy version
The second version has a pinch of worry as Shammi Kapoor seems to be in search of his child. The song varies in low to high pitch, maintain a moderately fast rhythm.
Yeh Umar Hai Kaya Rangili – Professor (1962) – Asha Bhosle, Usha Mangeshkar – Shankar Jaikishan – Hasrat Jaipuri
Young Shammi Kapoor is masquerading as an old professor, so Manna Dey(unfortunately) becomes a natural choice to playback for an old Shammi Kappor on the screen.
Tumhen Husn Deke Khuda Ne Sitamgar Banaya – Jab Se Tumhe Dekha Hai (1963) – With Mohammad Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle – Dattaram – Anand Baxi
Dattaram chooses Manna Dey to sing for Shammi Kapoor in this qawwali.
Chham Chham Baje Re Payaliya – Jaane Anjaane (1971) – Shankar Jaikishan – S H Bihari
Here, too, Shammi Kapoor is in a disguise of an old classical singer, so call of type-cast would befell on Manna Dey as the playback singer.
This is post-Jaikishan, post-Shailendra song, but Shankar has effortlessly maintained his hold on composing a Manna Dey song.
With Guru Dutt
In fact, to the best of the information that I could verify, most of the songs filmed on Guru Dutt have been played back by Mohammd Rafi, with Jaane Wo Kaiase Jinko Pyar Hi Pyar Mila (Pyaasa, 1957) and Eetal Ke Ghar Mein Teetal and Umra Hui Phir Bhi Jaane Kyun (Bahurani 1963) being rendered by Hemant Kumar or Tumhi To Meri Pooja Ho (Suhagan, 1964) rendered by Talat Mehamood as only the exceptions.
However, there is one more unusual exceptional song that Manna Dey has indirectly played back for Guru Dutt. The song is Jinhe Naaz Hai Hind Par Woh Kahan Hai, which is recorded as a cover version for the officially filmed Mohammad Rafi classic in Pyaasa (1957)..
At present, we do not have any knowledge as to why this cover version will have been recorded. We have only the end result with us.
We draw curtains to our journey of Manna Dey’s songs for the lead actors, to await the opening bell for the next episode wherein we will continue with our search for Manna Dey’s songs with the second-generation lead actors like Raj Kumar, Rajendra Kumar, Sunil Dutt, Manoj Kumar etc.