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When 'Prince of Ghazals' Madan Mohan sang for Sadhana as substitute for Lata

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New Delhi, June 25 (IANS) Those witnessing the shooting of supernatural thriller “Woh Kaun Thi” in Shimla must have been taken aback when it came to its signature song “Naina barse rimjhim”. Sadhana was exquisite and eerie as she lip-synched the evocative song of love beyond lifetimes around an entranced Manoj Kumar, but the voice, striking and lyrical, was of a male!

It was music director Madan Mohan lending his voice, instead of the designated (female) singer, who could not be present, so that the shooting could be wrapped up. That made him the only male singer to have substituted for Lata Mangeshkar.

He had wanted to be a singer but became a music director – and in the full sense of the word, for his ability to seamlessly combine his tunes with the songwriter’s words and the singer’s voice to create eternal melodies. These were not confined to his quarter-century-long career but even manifested themselves decades after he passed away in 1975.

Some of his unused compositions, dug out by his son Sanjeev Kohli at Yash Chopra’s insistence and slightly revised, struck magic in “Veer-Zaara” (2004), earning him a posthumous Filmfare Award nomination.

However, he did not win – like in his lifetime.

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That was the tragedy of Madan Mohan, the unquestioned “Prince of Ghazals” and many other intricate compositions, for he appealed more to connoisseurs than swaying the ultimate arbiters – the common cinema-goers. Even Lata Mangeshkar, who benefitted the most from him, confessed that she found his compositions hard to master.

His chosen path meant he never enjoyed the same opportunities and popularity as his contemporaries and got trapped in a vortex of despair, disillusionment, and drink that caused his death at just 51.

Born in Baghdad on this day (June 25) in 1924 – making this year his birth centenary – Madan Mohan did not enter filmdom automatically though his father, Rai Bahadur Chunnilal Kohli, was co-owner of Filmistan Studios. He deferred to his father’s wishes by joining the Army in 1943 amid the Second World War. However, soon after the war, he resigned to return to his prime love – music.

With his imposing physique – due to his army stint and regular workouts, his Clark Gable-like looks, and charm, he could have a star. He did get a lead role in a film but it was canned after a few reels were shot while doing small roles in Dilip Kumar-starrer “Shaheed” (1948), and Dev Anand-starrer “Munimji” (1954).

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He also recorded two duets with Lata Mangeshkar for “Shaheed” but they were not used in it.

It was as a music director – after stints with All India Radio in Lucknow – where he befriended Ustad Faiyaz Khan, Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, Begum Akhtar, and Talat Mahmood – and Delhi, that he made his mark.

His first score was for “Aankhen” (1950) – though it was “Bhai-Bhai” (1956) became his first hit. Its “Qadar jaane na”, sung by Lata, so impressed Begum Akhtar when she heard it on radio that she called Madan Mohan long distance and made him sing it to her over and over again “for 18 or 22 minutes”, as she revealed in an interview.

There is also a story that once maestro Bade Ghulam Ali Khan was singing when the same song was heard on a nearby radio and he stopped right there, observing that this was perfect music.

Madan Mohan gave music for 90-odd films, with gems like “Zaroorat hai, zaroorat hai” (“Manmauji”, 1962), “Lag ja gale” (“Woh Kun Thi”, 1964) “Jhumka gira re” (“Mera Saaya”, 1966), haunting patriotic dirge “Kar chale ham fida jaan-o-tan sathiyon” (“Haqeeqat”, 1964), “Teri aankhon ke siva duniya mein” (“Chiraag”, 1969), “Ye duniya ye mehfil”, (“Heer Ranjha”, 1970), “Baiyan na dharo” (“Dastak”, 1970), “Ye maana meri jaan” and striking “Tum jo mil gaye ho” with its tune changes, (“Hanste Zakhm”, 1973), and his swan song “Dil dhoondhta hai” (“Mausam”, 1975) standing out.

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However, it was the filmi ghazals, like “Yun hasraton ke daag” (“Adalat”,1958), “Rang aur noor ki baraat” (“Gazal”, 1964) or especially “Phir wohi shaam, wahi gham” (“Jahan Ara”, 1964), that were his main strength.

Maestro Naushad, akin to Ghalib offering to exchange his whole oeuvre for one couplet by Momin, said he was ready to forsake all his musical legacy for “Hai isi mein pyaar ki abru” from “Anpadh” (1962).

In “Anpadh”, Madan Mohan also displayed his flair for challenges. A song, featuring Lata, was to be shot when lyricist Raja Mehdi Ali Khan – Madan Mohan’s favourite along with Rajinder Krishan – dropped in and announced he had a new song. Director Mohan Kumar was so taken by it and so was Madan Mohan, who retired to a room and in minutes, came out with a fresh tune.

The substitute was the evergreen “Aapki nazron ne samjha”.

(Vikas Datta can be contacted at vikas.d@ians.in)

–IANS

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Priyanka Chopra shares picture with daughter Malti: 'This is all I needed'

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Mumbai, July 14 (IANS) Actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas needed only her daughter, Malti Marie Chopra Jonas, after more than 42 hours of travel.

Priyanka, who has been on the go, took to Instagram and shared a picture of herself cradling Malti in her arms.

“After 42+ hours of travel around the world in a couple of days, this is all I needed,” captioned Priyanka, using the geotag of Gold Coast, Australia.

Before sharing the picture with her daughter, the actress, who married American pop star Nick Jonas in 2018, shared a video of herself travelling in a car to the location down under and wrote: “And we’re back. Australia. The Bluff.”

In 2022, Priyanka and Nick welcomed their daughter Malti via surrogacy.

Talking about ‘The Bluff’, which is directed by Frank E. Flowers, it tells the story of a former female pirate, played by the ‘Desi Girl’, who embarks on a journey to protect her family.

The 41-year-old actress will be seen sharing the screen with Karl Urban.

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Priyanka will also appear in ‘Heads of State’ alongside John Cena and Idris Elba.

–IANS

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Alec Baldwin breaks silence after 'Rust' shooting case dismissal

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Los Angeles, July 14 (IANS) Hollywood star Alec Baldwin, who has been embroiled in the ‘Rust’ fatal shooting case since October 2021, has spoken out following the dramatic dismissal of his involuntary manslaughter trial.

Recently, Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer issued a verdict to dismiss the case with prejudice on its third day in Santa Fe’s 1st Judicial District Court of New Mexico, reports People magazine.

The 66-year-old actor-producer expressed relief that the years-long legal drama was over in an Instagram post on Saturday.

“There are too many people who have supported me to thank just now,” Baldwin wrote alongside an image of himself in court.

He added: “To all of you, you will never know how much I appreciate your kindness toward my family.”

According to People, Baldwin was indicted by a New Mexico grand jury in January after the gun he was holding during a 2021 rehearsal on the set of his Western movie discharged, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza.

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Baldwin has maintained that he did not pull the trigger of the gun or know why it contained live ammunition. He pleaded not guilty and, if convicted, faced up to 18 months in prison.

The actor’s legal team had repeatedly asked for the case to be dropped, including on July 12, when special prosecutor Kari Morrissey made the unusual move of taking the stand herself to testify about possibly suppressing relevant evidence.

In part because ammunition dropped off at the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office was filed separately, “the late discovery of this evidence during the trial has impeded the effective use of evidence in such a way that it has impacted the fundamental fairness of the proceedings,” said Sommer in the announcement of her decision, which prompted Baldwin to burst into tears.

Alongside his wife Hilaria Baldwin, others who supported the star throughout the three-day trial were his sister Beth Keuchler and brother Stephen Baldwin.

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–IANS

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Britney Spears needs to 'slow down', says she had 'false confidence’ post-divorce

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Los Angeles, July 14 (IANS) Popstar Britney Spears revealed that she may have had “false confidence” following her divorce from actor-model Sam Asghari and apologised for not being “perfect.”

The 42-year-old took to Instagram and posted a throwback dance video from September 2023, stating that she needs to “slow down.”

“I guess I need to brace myself and slow down and recap the past year because I think I had false confidence after my divorce,” Spears wrote in the caption.

Spears, who split from Asghari after almost a year of marriage, added Madonna’s track ‘I’m Addicted’ to her dancing video, reports People.com.

“Although I did post some of my best work with ‘Ray of Light’ and ‘I’m Addicted’ by Madonna!!! There was a lot of WTF moments!!! Trust me, I know we’re all human and make mistakes!!!”

Spears then shared in the post that she apologises “for not being perfect.”

“I literally need to go back and adjust and possibly do a couple more therapy sessions. I apologise for not being perfect, and I will try to get confidence and consistency back like I used to have!!!”

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Spears, who released her best-selling memoir ‘The Woman in Me’, had her divorce from Asghari finalised in May when a judge with the Superior Court of California in Los Angeles County signed off on it.

The pair separated due to “irreconcilable differences that have led to the irremediable breakdown of the marriage, making it impossible for the parties to live together as husband and wife,” according to documents previously obtained by People.com.

–IANS

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Chrissy Teigen shares side-by-side photos of John Legend as a baby and their son Wren

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Los Angeles, July 14 (IANS) Chrissy Teigen, wife of Grammy-winning musician John Legend, feels that their youngest child bears a striking resemblance to his father.

The model and author, 38, shared a photo on Instagram of their one-year-old son, Wren, smiling as he sat in his high chair munching on strawberries, alongside a vintage snapshot of Legend as a baby, reports ‘People’ magazine.

“I mean this is the same baby no!?!?” Teigen wrote in the caption of the post, tagging her husband.

Legend, 45, added his own joke in the comments, writing, “I think it’s safe to say I am the father.”

According to People, internet users quickly chimed in to agree with Teigen about Wren and Legend’s similar looks.

One wrote, “Wow, those are some strong genes!” alongside a twin emoji.

Another called Wren “John’s mini-me!” and yet another remarked that the two were “twinning.”

This isn’t the first time the Sports Illustrated swimsuit alum has shared photos of Wren, where he looks exactly like the ‘All of Me’ singer.

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In October 2023, when Wren was three months old, she posted adorable videos of him taking a bath in the sink.

In the first clip, Teigen held her son over the basin as his full head of hair got shampooed.

“It’s time for the cutest part of the day!” Teigen could be heard saying.

Another clip showed Wren sitting in a plastic carrier in the sink, smiling and giggling as Teigen asked him why he took a bath with his socks on.

In the videos, Wren looked almost identical to his famous dad.

–IANS

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Roshan: Maestro of the filmi qawwali and the literary classical song

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New Delhi, July 14 (IANS) He may have ended up as a mere footnote in the annals of Hindi cinema with music for just one flop film to his account, had his indulgent mentor been a more money-minded man. In the process, connoisseurs would have been deprived of scores of exquisite qawwalis, elegant love songs, and aesthetic compositions showcasing the immortal words of Tulsidas and Meera.

And for 21st-century Bollywood fans, would Hrithik Roshan have emerged, had his grandfather, drawn to films after hearing a K.L. Saigal bhajan, abandoned his ambitions?

Roshan (1917-67), born Roshan Lal Nagrath on this day (July 14) in Gujranwala (undivided Punjab), spent just a third of his tragically short life in the film industry, but, in this span, he spun pure gold with his trademark classical music-based melodies. A leading music director, who also played a key role in his life, likened his music to honey dripping from a honeycomb.

Roshan deservedly was deemed to be the foremost exponent of the filmi qawwali, but his oeuvre was not limited to this form – it appears in just half-a-dozen of his 67 films.

On the other hand, there is “Khayalon mein kisi ke” (“Bawre Nain”, 1951), “Bade armanon se” (“Malhar”, 1951), “Main dil hoon ek armaan bhara” (“Anhonee”, 1952), “Salaam-e-hasrat qabool kar lo” (“Babar”, 1960), “Zindagi bhar nahi bhoolegi woh barsaat ki raat” (“Barsaat Ki Raat”, 1960). “Ab kya misaal doon main tumhare shabaab ki” (“Aarti”, 1962), “Laga chunri mein daag” (“Dil Hi To Hai”, 1963), “Jo vada kiya vo nibhana padega” (“Taj Mahal”, 1963), “Dil jo na keh saka” (“Bheegi Raat”, 1965), “Rahen na rahen ham” (“Mamta”, 1966) and “Hum intezar karenge” (“Bahu Begum”, 1967).

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Above all, there is the Meera bhajan “Ae ri main to prem diwani” (“Naubahar”, 1952) and “Man re tu kaahe na dheer dhare” (“Chitralekha”, 1964), skillfully adapted by Sahir Ludhianvi from Tulsidas’ “Mana tu kahe na dheer dharat ab…” and rendered sublimely by Mohammad Rafi.

Then, gauge how Roshan imbued a spiritual feel to “Chhupa lo yun dil mein” from “Mamta”, aided by the dulcet tones of Hemant Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar, and Majrooh Sultanpuri’s poetry, while recalling his AIR days with the studio-based “Saari saari raat” (“Aji Bas Shukriya”, 1957).

But, as mentioned, all this would have never come to pass without the trust shown by legendary director, producer, lyricist and screenwriter KIdar Nath Sharma, who had spotted Roshan, then working with AIR Delhi as an esraj player, way back in 1945 and offered him a career in the film industry.

Roshan had refused then, but approached Sharma in 1949 when he moved to Bombay. Sharma offered him a chance to compose for his “Neki Aur Badi” (1949), convincing his own regular composer Snehal Bhatkar to sit it out and the latter obliged.

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The film flopped and a distraught and disheartened Roshan told Sharma that he was no good and wanted to commit suicide. The filmmaker heard him patiently and asked him which Bombay beach he would prefer to do away with himself.

Then, on a serious note, he went on to say that if Roshan would defer his plans, he would offer him another chance in his forthcoming film.

This was not the end of the story.

During the film’s making, an influential distributor came to meet Sharma and in Roshan’s presence, promised him a large amount if only he would drop the music composer. Roshan went to another room and began sobbing, telling Sharma, who followed him, to accept the offer. Sharma, however, went back to his office and said no.

“Bawre Nain” (1951), with songs like “Teri duniya mein dil lagta nahi” and “Khayalon mein”, was a hit and started Roshan on his sparkling musical journey.

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Sharma was more patient than Anil Biswas, who took direct action when Roshan began crying at his song recording, saying he would never be able to create such music. Biswas sought to calm him down, but when Roshan would not stop sobbing, he gave him a slap, wondering how he would succeed this way. It was Biswas only who likened his music to dripping honey.

Roshan, whose music reflected his classical training, also had a penchant for knowing when to let his tune yield to the lyrics or the singer. His — and Hindi cinema’s most famous qawwali — “Na to karvan ki talash hai” (“Barsaat ki Raat”) is a prime example and so is the same film’s “Maine shayad tumhe pehle bhi” where it just fills the gaps.

On the other hand, “Tum agar mujh ko na chaho” (“Dil Hi To Hai”) has a steady beat accompanying the singer.

There was much more music left in Roshan when he succumbed to a heart attack in 1967.

(Vikas Datta can be contacted at vikas.d@ians.in)

–IANS

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