We have noted that Manna Dey’s formal association with comedy songs with the text-book comedians of the cinema roots in Manzil (1960) song Hato Kahe Ko Jhoothi Banao BatiyaN.. This certainly blazed a trail that distinguished the career of Manna Dey as well as Mehmood. As can be expected many other music directors subsequently used Manna Dey’s voice for comedy songs with other comedians as well.
Before we fully explore this dimension, it is certainly worth its while to note that Manna Dey has recorded quite a few comedy songs for what is broadly termed as Hero in the cinemas. We begin our present, and last for the time being, leg of Manna Dey’s career journey.
Manna Dey’s Comedy Songs for Lead Actors.
We have had a multi-part series journey of Manna Dey’s Songs for the Lead Actors. Barring a few songs, we had refrained discussing Manna Dey’s Comedy Songs with Lead Actors there..
Manna Dey’s Comedy Songs for THE Kapoor Brothers
The active singing careers of some of the playback singers like Mohammad Rafi, or Kishore Kumar or Manna Dey have spread over several decades and were so potently dominant in their own times that each one having rendered playback voices for the Kapoor Brothers Trio has not attracted any attention. Manna Dey singing a comedy song for each of the three Kapoor brothers, there for does require a special mention.
Manna Dey and Raj Kapoor
Manna Dey had emerged as the principal alternative playback voice for Raj Kapoor from the very first film – Awara (1951) – of their association. It was therefore very obvious that he would get to sing special situation songs like, a sad song Tere Bina Aag Ye Chandani or sheer romantic duet Pyar Hua Ikrar Hua or very light-station dance number Mud Mud Ke Na Dekh or a song bordering to a classical comedy song Dil Ka Haal Sune Dilwala.
However, the first truly comedy song that Manna Dey sang for Raj Kapoor for the first time came up in Paravarish (1958)
Mama Oh Mama Oh Pyare Mama.. Gharwale Khaye Chakkar… – Paravarish (1958) – with Mohammad Rafi – Dattaram – Hasrat Jaipuri
Manna Dey was used as (almost) a default playback for Raj Kapoor in this film. So it was very natural that Manna Dey would playback to Raj Kapoor and Mohammad Rafi to Mehmood.
Next big comedy song that Manna Dey sang for Raj Kapoor came up in Dil Hi To Hai (1963)
Laaga Chunari Mein Daag Chuupaun Kaise – Dil Hi To Hai (1963) – Roshan – Sahir Ludhyanavi
It was Mukesh who was the default playback singer for Raj Kapoor in this film. However, for so strong classical rag-based comedy song, Roshan easily seems to have preferred Manna Dey
Manna Dey And Shammi Kapoor
Manna Dey had had an occasional chance to playback for Shammi Kapoor – Ab Kahan Jaye Hum – in Ujala and a few other films, which we have covered in details in our Manna Dey – Shammi Kapoor piece earlier.
Meri Bhains Ko Dand Kyun Mara – Pagla Kahin Ka (1969) – Shankar Jaikishan – Hasrat Jaipuri
It was Shankar Jaikishan who again recalled Manna Dey for a full-fledged comedy song, filmed on Shammi Kapoor, when Mohammad Rafi had become THE ShammI Kapoor Playback voice.
Manna Dey and Shashi Kapoor
Manna Dey also had his share of Shashi Kapoor songs. It was in Pyar Kiye Ja (1966) that he gets a very light song to sing for Shashi Kapoor
Sun Le Pyar Ki Dushman Duniya – Pyar Kiye Ja (1966) – with Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle – Laxmikant Pyarelal – Rajendra Krishna
This is a cry against the tyranny of the world towards the young people in love, but presented in a lighter tone.
Manna Dey’s Comedy Songs with Other Lead Actors
We have had a detailed look at Ashok Kumar – Manna Dey Comedy Song Jaa Re Beiman Tujhe Jaan Liya (Private Secretary, 1962; Music Director – Dilip Dholakia; Lyrics – Prem Dhawan), in Ashok Kumar – Manna Dey piece @ Manna Dey and Lead Actors. So, we will be satisfied here with taking a note of that one excellent comedy songs of Manna Dey. Of course, no discussion of Manna Dey’s comedy sngs for Ashok Kumar can ever be complete without mention of Babu Samajo Ishare, Horn Pukare (Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi, 1958; Music – S D Burman; Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri)
One of the rarest find while working for this entire series is Manna Dey’s Comedy Song for Vijay Ananad.
O Mister, O Mister Suno Ek Baat – Agra Road (1957) – with Geeta Dutt – Roshan – Prem Dhawan
Vijay Anand was considered to be one of the most competent drifters of the films. Picturization of the songs was his forte. He would suddenly briefly appear, in Alfred Hitchcock’s signature style, in some in the films he directed, His attempts to act, and that too as lead actors, have been considered to be equally rare, and by and large not very successful.
Agra Road was his first maiden such effort. The film direction was in th every able thriller film directors, (Nagina -1951– fame) Ravindra Dave.
Here Vijay Anand is seen lip-synching Manaa Dey in a very light situation dance sequence. Of course, he himself wi very seriously dressed in a full suit, a tie, shoes and all.
Manna Dey’s Comedy Songs with Other Comedians
After Hato Kahe Banao Jhoothi Batiyan (Manzil, 1960) for Mehmood, we get to listen Manna Dey’s comedy songs for full-fledged comedians in 1962 for Johnny Walker.
Manna Dey’s comedy songs for Johnny Walker
The default playback voice for Johnny Walker has always been Mohammad Rafi. Mohammad Rafi had in fact so much developed a style of throw of words that synched perfectly with Johnny Walker’s theatrics that just by listening to a song one would know this is Johnny Walker song..
Arre Kisne Chilman Se Maara – Baat Ek Raat Ki – S D Burman – Majrooh Sultanpuri
It is probably no coincidence that it is S D Burman who has chosen to use Manna Dey for Johnny Walker, taking on a contrarian step of not using Mohammad Rafi.. In fact SDB has already used Mohamad Rafi for Johnny Walker, right in this film – Aaj Ka Din Bhi Pheeka Pheeka. However, for this classical styled mujra, S D Burman has opted for Manna Dey. S D Burman has maintained spaces for Johhny Walker’s signature theatrics, while creating one of the most iconic comedy song in the annals of Hindi film history.
We have next three songs, all composed by Kalyanji Anadji.
Mere Mehboob Mujhko – Haseena Man Jayegi (1968) – with Asha Bhosle – Kalyanji Ananadji – Qamar Jalalabadi
This is a masala comedy song involving a sulking ‘the other half’ with our ‘comedian’ displaying all the theatrics available in his arsenal to win her over.
Ek Anar Do Bimar – Baazi 1968 -Kalayanji Anandji – Shakeel Badayuni
The templates are so rigidly cast, that even a new combination of music director – lyricist also is not able to inject any noteworthy variation.
Haye Re Raama Raam Qasam Kaisa Aaya Ye Zamaana – Ek Haseena Do Deewaane (1972) -Kalyanji Anandji – Qamar Jalalabadi,
If a film has a comedian, and that too of the order of Johnny Walker, or Mehmood, he has to be allotted one song. By now there are some standard templates typecast. Any one of that template style will be lifted up and a song will be worked out by crafting some variation here or some variation there.
We would once again to end an episode in this series by ruefully noting the sudden drop in the quality of compositions that Manna Dey had to sing as the years pass, starting always from an iconic song to end with most certainly the forgettable song.
We have one song that can help us move away from that gloom –
Munh Se Mat Laga Ye Cheez Hai Buri – Johnny Walker (9157) – with Mohammad Rafi – O P Nayyar – Hasrat Jaipuri
This is an all-Johnny Walker- Mohammad Rafi song. Manna Dey has played back for some unknown ‘on-screen’ friends. But that has not made a shade of difference to Manna Dey – he matches a note-to-note with Mohammad Rafi.
That is the beauty of a really ‘class’ composition!!
We still have one more episode-worth material for Manna Dey’s comedy songs for Other Comedians. We would take that up in our next episode.