Songs Of Manoj Kumar
Raj Kapoor, Raj Khosla and Manoj Kumar had the best music sense ever heard and seen in commercial Hindi cinema.
They knew how to get the best songs out of their composers—Shankar-Jaikishan and then Laxmikant-Pyarelal for Raj Kapoor, Madan Mohan and Laxmi-Pyare for Raj Khosla , Kalyanji-Anandji and Laxmi-Pyare for Manoj Kumar. Manoj Kumar in fact is a composer himself.But he believed in letting the official composers do their job.And what a job.Presenting 6 great songs from Manoj Kumar directed films.
1. Kasme vaade pyar wafa sab(Upkar) : According to me Kalyanji-Anandji saved their best for Manoj. Upkar had a gallery of great songs, from Mahendra Kapoor’s evergreen Mere desh ki dharti to Mukesh’s Dewaanon se yeh mat pucho to Lata Mangeshkar’s Har khushi hai wahan. None greater than Manna Dey’s Kasme vaade a song about the loss of family ties in a world filled with greed and materialism. The song was shot on Pran,who counted the song among the high points of his career.Poet Indeevar’s best lyric ever.
2. Koi jab tumhara hriday tod de(Purab Aur Paschim): Manoj Kumar’s preferred voice was Mahendra Kapoor who sang Hai preet jahan ki reet sadaa and Dulhan chali haan pehan chali teen rang ki choli(about the tri-colour flag). But this one solo went to Mukesh , why? Says Manoj Kumar, “I think I’ve an ear and eye for the right casting. That goes for songs as well. I know Mahendra sang my other songs. But this …this one…cried for Mukesh.” I agree.
3. Ek pyar ka naghma hai(Shor): This is one of the most pitch-perfect love songs ever written composed and sung in a Hindi film. Lata Mangeshkar and Mukesh bring to the table an aching melodic sweep. Laxmikant-Pyarelal’s composition whispers waves of romance and nostalgia.Santosh Anand’s lyrics for this are simply immortal. An added attraction: that’s Payrelal himself playing the violin in this magnificent ode to love. I once asked Manoj KumarSaab to single out one song from his cinema as his favourite. He chose this. Good taste, Manoj Kumar Saab.
4. Main na bhoolunga(Roti Kapada Aur Makaan): It is hard to single out any one song in this film. One of the most pitch-perfect soundtracks ever Roti Kapda Aur Makaan belts out classic after classic. This Lata Mangeshkar-Mukesh ditty is a dizzying ode to romance, the crests and dips of the orchestra are breathtaking.Every note is a sparkling gem. Every word, a promise to eternity. Composers Laxmikant-Pyarelal proved themselves geniuses beyond the definition of the term.
5. Panditji mere marne ke baad(Roti Kapada Aur Makaan): I have often wondered why this Lata Mangeshkar classic is not counted among the best songs in Manoj Kumar’s films.And why Lataji’s Hai hai yeh majboori went on to be far more popular than this other Lata solo which is much more hefty in content far more innovative and one of the most challenging songs of Lataji’s career. Varma Malik’s lyrics mock at the rituals after death . The song suggests that singer be sent off to the other world not with gangajal in her mouth but alcohol. Delectably irreverent and provocative, this is vintage Manoj Kumar. “You like it?So do I? I agree it is a neglected song maybe because Hai hai yeh majboori was filmed on Zeenat Aman while Panditji was on Aruna Irani,” suggests Manoj Kumar. He has a point.
6. Zindagi ki na toote ladee(Kranti): The magnificent Laxmikant-Pyarelal out-excelled themselves in this love ballad. A marvel of creation the duet was meant to be sung my Mukesh and Lataji. But then Mukeshji suddenly passed away. Lataji made sure his son Nitin Mukesh got all the pending songs of his father.Among them, Laxmikant-Pyarelal’s Woh aurat hai tu mehbooba in Satyam Shivum Sunderam and this ballad . Though I think Zindagi ki na toote ladee is an all-time great I wonder what it would have been like if Mukesh had sung it. Or what Manoj Kumar’s career would have been if after Kranti he didn’t slip into directing Clerk and Jai Hind .