In the First Part of the present series, we have listened to the songs that Manna Dey played back for Dev Anand, Raj Kapoor and Ashok Kumar.
By the turn of decade of ’40, Manna Dey was well-recognized for classical-based songs. The trend continued in 1951 and 1952. He made more in roads into the big banner films like RK’s Aawara (1951), which was to set up a very special, strong bond with the music directors, Shanker Jaikishan, and in turn with Raj Kapoor. After having tried his hands with music composition, first assistants to music directors like S D Burman or H P Das in ‘40s, in the initial years of ‘50s, he also tried his hand with music direction when he worked with Khemchand Prakash for Shree Ganesh Janma (1951) and Vishwamitra (1952).Then in 1953 came Do Bigha Zameen, which unmistakably shot his fame as a (singer) star. So, he, very wisely, did give up pursuit of music direction and decided to concentrate on his singing career.
With Balraj Sahni
Balraj Sahni had made a noteworthy entry with his role in K A Abbas’s in Dharati Ke Lal (1946). His ideological leanings and histrionic commitment made him the ideal fit for the role of a poor farmer for Do Beegha Zameen. Salil Chaudhary used Manna Dey for two songs – Hariyala Sawan Dhol Bajata Aaya and Dharati Kahe Pukar Ke – which not only made Manna Dey a very widely-known name across the country, that also established Manna Dey’s association with Balraj Sahni.
Balraj Sahni was not the material for lead male actor in the traditional Hindi movie fold, but he had several films to follow wherein he played the lead role of (sort of ) anti-hero. The first such film was Seema (1955) where Shanker Jaikishan found an ideal fit in Manna Dey, to playback for Balraj Sahni for a choir-tune-based song Tu Pyar Ka Sagar Hai, Teri Ek Boond Ke Pyaase Ham (Lyrics: Shailendra)
It was Mohammad Rafi who was a parallel ‘seventh’ choice, for Kahan Jaa Raha Hai.
In 1957, Balraj Sahni was the co-lead actor for a Russian joint venture film ‘Pardesi’. The film was based on XV century Russian traveler Afanasy Nikitin’s travelogue ‘A journey beyond three seas’. Anil Biswas has used Manna Dey’s voice as playback for several Balraj Sahni enacted songs in this film.
Phir Milenge Jaanewale Ae Yaar, Dasvidaniya – Pardesi (1957) – Anil Biswas
For a song that has an undertone of pathos, but is sung boldly, Manna Dey’s voice seems to be the obvious choice.
Tujh Mein Ram Mujh Mein Ram Sab Mein Raam Samaya – Pardesi (1957) – Anil Biswas – Prem Dhawan
In line with the basic social egalitarianism of the film, the song is used to spread this message.
1961 had two Balraj Sahni films, for which music director was Salil Chaudhary.
Of these two films, Kabuliwala is considered to be a classic.
Ay Mere Pyare Watan Ay Mere Bichhade Chaman Tujh Pe Dil Qurban– Kabuliwala (1961) – Salil Chaudhary – Prem Dhawan
The song is in fact filmed on Wazeer Mohammed Khan, but it is Balraj Sahni who is in the center of the song
Wazir Mohammed Khan is the actor who had acted in the first Hindi talkie film Alam Ara (1931) as well as its remake in 1956 and in 1973.
[Note: Akji(SoY) adds in his comment that WM Khan has the credit of singing the very first song of Hindi films, De de Khuda ke naam par for Alam Ara
The other film, Sapan Suhane (1961) was as obscure as Kabuliwala was famous.
O Gori Aaja Gadi Wich Baith Ja – Sapan Suhane 1961 – with Lata Mangeshkar – Salil Chaudhary – Shailendra
Here is the song, which is truly of a romantic mood, though set in rustic settings.
Dil Kaheta Hai Zara To Dam Lelo, Dagar Kaheti Hai Ke Chalte Chalo – Sapan Suhane 1961 – Salil Chaudhary – Shailendra
Here is another very playful song that embodies the philosophy of a life on the move.
The film had a third Manna Dey song, a triumvirate – Naam Mera Nimmo Mukam Ludhiana – wherein Manna Dey plays back for Master Bhagwan.
Balraj Sahni has sung a few more songs as the lead male actor, but these were played back by other singers like Mohammad Rafi (Sone Ki Chidiya) or Subir Sen (Kathputli). So we move on to two songs wherein Balraj Sahni is in the lead character role and Manna Dey chips in for the play back. Both songs were composed by Ravi.
Ae Meri Zohara Zabeen Tujhe Malum Nahi – Waqt (1965) – Ravi – Sahir Ludhyanvi
This is the song which remains one of the front-ranking-ever Manna Dey songs.
Tujhe Suraj Kahoon Ya Chanda – Ek Phool Do Maali (1969) – Ravi – Prem Dhawan
The song can be considered to suit Manna Dey like a ‘t’. from any angle you look, and Manna Dey has made the best of the ideal opportunity.
With David Abraham
I think everyone will justly conclude that we are going to talk about Boot Polish’ (1954), where technically David Abraham is in once-in-a-life-time supporting role of John Chacha, who mentors two young urchins away from the streets to the life of pride and self-respect.
Lapak Japak Tu Aa Re Badaria, Sar Ki Kheti Sukh Rahi Hai – Boot Polish (1953) – Shanker Jaikishan – Shailendra
Shanker Jaikishan – Shailendra have come up with a winner of a song that is to blaze the future genre of classical-based-songs-for-comedy-situations.
Raj Kapoor was a great perfectionist when it came to making of his films. Shri Arunkumar Desmukh recounts a very interesting story in relation to this song. We get to know to what length Raj Kapoor would go to enliven the situation that has germinated in his mind.
O Raat Gayi, Raat Gayi Phir Din Aata Hai Isi Tarah Aate Jaate Hi Sara Jivan Kat Jata Hai – Boot Polish (1954) – With Asha Bhosle – Shanker Jaikishan – Saraswati Kumar Deepak
The song is classic depiction of hope in the face of gloom.
Song also has a mundane historical value of being the first duet of Manna Dey and Asha Bosle.
Thehar Jara O Jaaneale O Babu Mister Gore Kale… Kab Se Baithe Aas Lagaye Ham Matwale Paliswale – Boot Polish (1954) – With Asha Bhosle and Madhubala Zaveri – Shanker Jaishan – Shailendra
Manna Dey comes up with vigor of full joy as he opens the song and then continues the mentoring with an encouraging lively tone as he opens the interlude.
Once again, Mohammad Rafi comes up the ‘seventh’ choice to replicate the voice of an elderly person in Nanhe Munne Bachche Teri Mutthi Mein Kya Hai
With Bharat Bhushan
It is very difficult to associate Bharat Bhushan with Manna Dey in the playback, since almost of the successful songs that Bharat Bhushan got to sing on the screen invariably has Mohammad Rafi for playback. However, the subject of ‘Basant Bahar’ (1956) revolves around a singer who is blessed with a classically-oriented voice, which makes Manna Dey as the very natural choice for the music directors Shanker Jaikishan.
Sur Naa Saje Kya Gaun Mein, Bhay Bhanjana Vandana Sun Hamari, or a classic competition song. Ketaki Gulab Juhi Champak Ban Phoole, are indeed best in the class songs. Perhaps, this would be classic tale where greater the height of immediate success seems to have undesirable long term effect.
The film does have one of the most melodious duets to the credit of Manna Dey – Nain Miley Chain Kahan, Dil Hai Wahin Tu Hai Jahan – where Manna Dey matches Lata Mangeshkar’s natural melody on a chord-to-chord basis.
In Rani Rupmati (1957), a historical film, Bharat Bhushan played the lead role. One of the very popular song from this film – Aa Laut Kar Aaja Mere Meet – had Mukesh as playback singer. In a classical competition duet – Baat Chalat Nayi Chunari Rang Daali – Mohammad Rafi plays back for Bharat Bhushan. There are three more duets Phool Bagiya Mein Bulbul Bole, O Raat Andheree Dar Lage Rasiya and Jhananan Jhan Jhan Baje Payaliya, where too Mohammad Rafi is chosen as play back of Bharat Bhushan. However, S N Tripathi once again falls back upon a high-octaved poignant feeling song Ud Jaa Ud Jaa Bhanwar Maya Kamal Ka Aaj Bandhan Tod Ke.
Manna Dey again plays back to Bharat Bhushan in Kavi Kalidas (1959). Choice of Manna Dey seems directly linked to his now strong association with classical based songs.
Jai Saraswati – Kavi Kalidas (1959) – Music: S N Tripathi; Lyrics: Bharat Vyas
Here is the prayer to the Goddess of Education (Maa Saraswati).
Naye Naye Rango Se Likhati Dharati Nayi Kahani – Kavi Kalidas (1959) – Music: S N Tripathi; Lyrics: Bharat Vyas
This is the romantic poetry that describes the beauty of nature as it operates through the changing colors of the earth in different seasons.
O Ashadh Ke Pahele Badal – Kavi Kalidas (1959) – With Lata Mangeshkar – Music: S N Tripathi; Lyrics: Bharat Vyas
This is a poignant request to The Clouds to carry his message to his beloved.
S N Tripathi has fallen back on the ‘seventh’ choice Mahammad Rafi for a simple romantic duet Un Par Kaun Kareji Vishwas
Bharat Bhushan once again played a devotional role in Angulimal (1961) that naturally prompts music director Anil Biswas to use Manna Dey for a background song filmed on the main protagonist – Aye Manav Tu Mukh Se Bol Bhudhdham Sharanam Gachhami (Lyrics: Bharat Vyas)
Bharat Bhushan’s association with Manna Dey also should record one of the most famous classical-comedy genre song Phool Dendava Na Maaro of Dooj Ka Chand (1964) (Music: Roshan; Lyrics – Sahir Ludhyanvi). Dooj Ka Chand is produced ny Bharat Bhushan. The song is filmed on Agha.
If Manna Dey was the classical playback singer choice for Basant Bahar, he too was THE choice for the romantic male lead of Chori Chori (1956), and a ‘seventh’ but quite an important choice for Shree 420 (1955) for Shanker Jaikishan. Each of the songs of these films were game changers and should have set any other singer right on the seventh heaven. Manna Dey did scale seven heavens, but as the niche playback singer only.
We will continue with Manna Dey’s journey with actors, who initially had Manna Dey as their play back, but their path to the first row seats of the commercial success of the cinema was travelled riding on the playback of other singers