Let me clarify at the very outset that that my playlist is only representational in nature and there are many more melodies which have been left out to make the blog crisp. My attempt in this post is to only show that S.Mohinder had a very vast repertoire of compositions and each song vaguely reminds you of a more famous composer- essentially to indicate that his music was of the same standard as that of his illustrious contemporaries. The Punjabi flavour that one finds in O P Nayyar’s songs is perceptible in many of S.Mohinder’s compositions as well. He worked with almost all the ace playback singers of his time such as Lata, Asha, Geeta Dutt, Manna De, Shamshad Begum, Talat Mahmood, Hemant Kumar and Mukesh. One of his masterpieces – Guzra Hua Zamana Aata Nahin Dubara from Shirin Farhad sung by Lata – is enough to establish his depth as a music director.
S.Mohinder or Mohinder Singh Sarna began as a music composer in the Hindi film industry in the late 1940s and was active till the late 1960s after which he turned to Punjabi film music. He was very proficient in classical music having been a disciple of several doyens such as Bade Ramdasji of Benaras. His coming to Bombay was completely accidental as he coincidentally got on to a train which got him to Mumbai during the fateful partition of India in 1947. In Mumbai, it was the great singing star Suraiya whom he knew from his Lahore All India Radio (AIR) days who helped in finding work for him as a music composer. But, unfortunately, he never got the recognition that he deserved. This post is a humble attempt at showcasing the brilliant work of S.Mohinder through the songs that Rafi sang for him; among the male play back singers, Rafi was the one who sang for him the most.
1. Phir teri yad naye geet sunane aayi (Bekhabar, 1965), Lyricist Raja Mehdi Ali Khan : A beautiful, touchy solo sung by Rafi which also has a truncated female version sung by Suman Kalyanpur, shows the depth of both the music director and the playback singer. Upon hearing the song for the first time you would easily think the music director is perhaps Madan Mohan.
2. Chupke se kuch dil ne kaha (Khoobsurat Dhokha, 1959) Lyricist Rahil Gorakhpuri: This peppy number of Rafi is again a rare gem. When you hear it you would think the music composer is perhaps O. P. Nayyar. The name of S.Mohinder would in all probability not cross your mind. The lyricist Rahil Gorakhpuri too has only a handful of film songs to his credit.
3. Yeh shehar hain Bambai (Do Dost, 1960 ), Lyricist Bharat Vyas: When we think of Rafi’s songs about Mumbai/Bombay, we inevitably zero in on the iconic duet from the movie CID – Ai dil hain mushkil jeena yahan. However, this song from the movie Do Dost is a lost melody which needs to be resurrected. It has the typical Rafi magic which the music director creates with great aplomb.
4. Mat samajh mujhe tu kangala (Do dost, 1960) Lyricist Bharat Vyas: Another song from the same movie, this time a duet of Rafi with Asha Bhonsle. Just listen to this light hearted banter carefully and you will hear Rafi yodelling (along with Asha) in this song – a feature which was very typical of songs sung by Kishore Kumar and not usually associated with Rafi.
5. Bijli giri kahan se (Picnic, 1966) Lyricist Majrooh sultanpuri: This high pitched heartbreak number of Rafi establishes the versatility and range of S Mohinder as a music director. Another interesting bit of trivia about this song is that it is sung on screen by the famous lyricist Anand Bakshi, who made a cameo appearance in the movie.
6. Main kaise keh doon (Jeevan Saathi, 1949) Lyricist – Hamid Khumar (?): A rare gem again, this bubbly duet brings two great voices together – that of Rafi and Amirbai Karnataki, one of the greatest singing female stars of the golden era. The music of this duet almost reminds you of Naushad’s compositions.
7. Duniya mein ujala tumse hain (Zarak Khan, 1963) Lyricist -Saba Rampuri: A lovely qawwali of Rafi along with Balbir and others, establishes S Mohinder as a multi faceted music director who could compose music for varied genres.
8. Ae jaane jahan jate ho kahan (Patal Pari, 1957), Lyricist Rajinder Rajvanshi:- Another romantic number of S.Mohinder and Rafi, the lyrics remind you of the hum dono song Abhi na jaaon chodkar
9. Tauba tauba tauba ye adaein (Naya Paisa, 1958) Lyricist Raja Mehdi Ali Khan: This foot tapping number of S Mohinder with Rafi’s mesmerizing voice is quite impressive, again reminding you of O.P.Nayyar’s melodies.
10. Tera kaam hain jalna parwane (Paapi, 1953), Lyricist Rajinder Krishan: This beautiful and rather profound song is sung on screen by Raj Kapoor – one of those few songs where Rafi has sung for Raj Kapoor. However, Raj Kapoor’s acting is somehow not in sync with the lyrics and mood of the song; in fact comes across as rather churlish, at some level. Yet another priceless composition of S.Mohinder.
As I said at the beginning, this playlist is only indicative and there are many more songs of Rafi and S.Mohinder which I have not been able to include – like the songs from the movie Zameen ke taare (1960). Do listen to these melodies listed above and do not forget to tell me which your favourite one is!