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The lesser heard romantic duets of Manna Dey (Part 2)

When I was shortlisting songs for a post on the various ways in which music – especially classical music – has been depicted in songs of the golden era, I noticed that quite a few of these songs were sung by Manna Dey (or Prabodh Chandra Dey, 1919-2013). There is no questioning the fact that Manna Dey was par excellence in rendering classical raga based songs, given his strong foundation in classical music. Unfortunately, he got typecast and several of his songs, at least in the early 1950s, were for classical music based movies (e.g. Basant Bahar, 1956) or the historical/mythological ones (e.g. Kavi Kalidas , 1959). Another offshoot of the same genre was philosophical songs playing in the background, egging the protagonist to fight all odds (e.g. Nirbal Se Ladai Balwaan Ki, Toofan Aur Diya, 1956). This makes one (falsely!!) infer that this genre was his forte.

Even when one lists his romantic duets with female playback singers (excluding the Mangeshkar sisters), it is the usual suspects that find a place in the list – Aan Milo Aan Milo (Geeta Dutt, Devdas, 1955), Main Tere Pyaar Mein Kya Kya (Geeta Dutt, Ziddi, 1964), Na Jaane Kahan Tum The (Suman Kalpyanpur, Zindagi aur Khwab, 1961), Tum Jo Aaao To Pyaar Aa Jaaye (Suman Kalpyanpur, Sakhi Robin, 1962) and Bheegi Hawaon Mein (Suman Kalpyanpur, Shriman Satyavadi, 1960). Other prominent female playback singers such as Shamshad Begum and Sudha Malhotra are not even considered. This made me explore the lesser heard light hearted romantic duets of Manna Dey. I did quite a bit of research, skimming through almost 1300 songs to shortlist apt songs for this post. Many of the films are nondescript but the songs are hidden gems.

This post is in two parts; the first part dwelt on Manna Dey’s romantic duets with the Mangeshkar sisters – Lata, Asha and Usha. This is the second and final part of the post which features lesser known light hearted romantic duets sung by Manna Dey with Suman Kalyanpur, Geeta Dutt, Shamshad Begum and Sudha Malhotra. I have excluded qawwalis and classical raga based duets – largely to make a point that Manna Dey was equally adept at singing light hearted romantic numbers. I have not included duets with male singers. All the songs are of the golden era.

Manna Dey’s lesser heard duets with Suman Kalyanpur

I have listed five of the lesser known/heard duets of Manna Dey and Suman Kalyanpur. There were a few more rare melodies that I had on my list (like Yeh Nashili Hawa, Neeli Aankhen, 1962) but the post would have become unwieldy and so I decided against including them.

1) Mil Gaye Duniya Mein (Dark Street, 1961) Lyricist: Gulshan Bawra; Music Director : Dattaram Wadkar. This is a lovely duet from a rather interestingly named movie. However, it appears that the plot of the movie did not have much to do with the title of the film. The video of the song is missing too. But, the song by itself is so enjoyable that you can keep humming it. The tempo and the beats of the musical score seem to suggest that it is a tonga song. The sweetness of the song proves that Dattaram had indeed imbibed a lot from his mentors – the Shankar -Jaikishan duo.

2) Aaja Chale Piya Chaandwale Des Mein (Rocket Girl, 1962) Lyricist: Prem Dhawan; Music Director : Chitragupta. This is a very beautifully penned song, sung with great élan and gusto by Manna Dey and Suman Kalyanpur. It turns out that this movie – Rocket Girl – was perhaps the first space related movie made in India. The plans of the lady and the gentleman about their future have nothing in common. The man believes in playing safe whereas his lady love is adventurous. She is desperate to go visit the earth’s natural satellite (chaand!) whereas the practical lover that the man is, feels that the earth is a better place to live and die!

Aa ja chalen piya chaand waale des mein
taaron mein hum jaa ke pyaar karenge
Teri kasam wahaan khair nahin jaan ki
marna hi hain to yahin pe marenge (😊)

3) Tum Ho Dil Ke Chor (Al-Hilal, 1958) Lyricist: Shevan Rizvi; Music Director : Bulo.C.Rani. This light hearted duet is from a movie which has a very popular QawwaliHume To Loot Liya Milke Husnwalon Ne. The songs of this movie show how versatile a music director Bulo C Rani was. This song is picturized on Shakila and Mahipal.

4) Raat Ne Gesoo Bikhraye (Sapera, 1961) Lyricist: Indeevar; Music Director : Ajit Merchant. When I first heard this song for this post, I was reminded of a very popular song Haayi Haayiga Jabilli from a blockbuster Telugu movie Velugu Needalu, (1961). This led me to find out who the first composer of this tune was. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that it was Ajit Merchant – a very gifted Gujarati composer, who also composed for a few Hindi films – who had created such an evergreen, melodious and soothing tune which inspired many a music director in the years to come. Suman Kalyanpur and Manna Dey have done full justice to the delightful music of Ajit Merchant.

5) Yeh Din Din Hain Khushi Ke (Jabse Tumhe Dekha Hain, 1963) Lyricist: Shailendra; Music Director : Dattaram Wadkar. This romantic duet is a rare gem, picturized on Pradeep Kumar and Geeta Bali. It has a very long, delightful, musical prelude which lasts for more than a minute before the mukhda begins. The prelude reminds me somewhat of Khoya Khoya Chaand (Kala Bazar, 1960).

Manna Dey’s lesser heard duets with Geeta Dutt

Image result for Geeta Dutt Manna Dey legends

There are less than 30 duets that Manna Dey and Geeta Dutt sang. I have listed five of the lesser known/heard duets out of these. There were a few more rare melodies that I had on my list (like Humne Sapne Dekh Liye, Sitamgar, 1958 and Rang Birange Phoolon Ki , Janam Janam Ke Phere, 1957) but did not include them in the interest of brevity.

1) Picnic Mein Tik Tik Karti (Piya Milan Ki Aas, 1961) Lyricist: Bharat Vyas; Music Director : S.N.Tripathi. Personally, I feel this song is the highlight of this post. I say this because it is special for various reasons. It breaks many a stereotype that we associate with certain names. If you read the names of those associated with the song and then see the song intently, focusing carefully on the voices simultaneously, you will at once appreciate its uniqueness. Who would have imagined that Bharat Vyas – who penned lyrics for songs of many a mythological/historical movie and S.N.Tripathi who also prolifically composed music for such movies could come up with a stunner like this? By the way, S.N.Tripathi was also the director of this movie. The lyrics are such that they have eternal appeal. Why would anyone think of Monday while frolicking on Sunday? The mukhda is sung thrice over in the song. There are no antaras. The chorus has an important role in the song.

Picnic mein tic tic karti
jhoomey maston ki toli
Sunday ki mauj manaa lo
Monday ko maaro goli

The highlight of the song is of course the exemplary yodeling by Manna Dey. He is as good as (if not better than) Kishore Kumar at it. The icing on the cake is the superb choreography. The tap dancing, the twirls and the whirls leave the viewer mesmerized. The choreography was by Surya Kumar.

2) O Mr., O Mr. Suno Ek Baat (Agra Road, 1957) Lyricist: Prem Dhawan; Music Director : Roshan. This is a lovely duet by Shakila and Vijay Anand (on screen). They are a lovely pair to watch. This was the debut movie of Vijay Anand as an actor. The music of this song is however inspired by an English Song Woman (Uh Uh), 1953. The movie for reasons best known to Ravindra Dave – the director and producer – was made cutting corners. The choreography of the song is good and so are the lyrics. This is one of the typical man vs. woman songs akin to Bholi Surat Dil ke Khote (Albela, 1951) and Lara Lappa (Ek Thi Ladki, 1949).

3) Naya Naya Chand Hain (Khuda Ka Banda, 1957) Lyricist: Shevan Rizvi; Music Director : S.N.Tripathi. This is a lesser known duet of Geeta Dutt and Manna Dey. It features Krishna Kumari and Chandrashekhar. The tune is very enjoyable and so are the lyrics. There isn’t too much information about this movie; fortunately, the video of the song is available. The other songs of the movie such as Chhoota Watan Hamara are also memorable.

4) Hain Pyaar Ke Do Matwale (Apradhi Kaun? 1957) Lyricist: Majrooh Sultanpuri; Music Director: Salil Chowdhury. This adorable duet from a crime thriller has Kammo and Kumud Tripathi lighting up the screen. This is a song of one-upmanship; the lyrics as well as the on screen chemistry say it all. The song is shot on a terrace.

Manna Dey
Hain pyar ke do matavale
ek ham hain aur ek tum
aur tum bhi kya
Geeta Dutt 
Ab rah gaye do dilavale 
ek ham hain aur ek tum 
aur tum bhi kya

5) Babu Bol Kaisa Roka (Pyaase Panchhi, 1961) Lyricist: Qamar Jalalabadi; Music Directors: Kalyanji Anandji. This fun duet features Ameeta and Mehmood (who plays the male lead in the movie). This song has Mehmood on the cycle as the city bred man and Ameeta as the typical village belle with an earthen pot.

Manna Dey’s duets with Shamshad Begum

I have listed all the three duets of Manna Dey and Shamshad Begum. There do not seem to be any more.

1) Arre Haan Dildaar (Bewaqoof, 1960) Lyricist: Majrooh Sultanpuri; Music Director: S.D. Burman. This hilarious duet will leave you in splits. It shows how versatile Manna Dey is. Shamshad Begum is the perfect match. Since it is a Kishore Kumar starrer, the movie has several other light hearted numbers like Michael Hain To Cycle Hain. The song also reminds one of several other Manna Dey songs like Phool Gendva Na Maaro (Dooj Ka Chand, 1964), Ek Chatur Naar (Padosan, 1968) because of the language mix up and the situational humour. The scene before the song begins sets the stage for a laugh riot. The on screen lip syncing is by I.S.Johar and Krishna Kumari(?). This is a song that must be watched!! The tune reminds me of the Suraiya song Woh Paas Rahe Ya Door Rahe (Badi Behen, 1949)

2) Tedhi Meri Humse Phire Saari Duniya (Musafir, 1957). Lyricist: Shailendra; Music Director: Salil Chowdhury. This is a milestone film which however is touted as being ahead of its times; thus, it did not get its due. It is the story of a house which three families inhabit. It marked the advent of Hrishikesh Mukherjee as a director. It was also the debut movie of Keshto Mukherjee who plays the role of a crippled beggar just to gain sympathy. In this song, which is a street dance number, Hira Sawant is the street dancer. Shailendra – the famous lyricist – appears on screen lip syncing (for Manna Dey) and playing the harmonium.

3) Desi Kya Bidesi Kya (Lal Batti, 1957) Lyricist: Majrooh Sultanpuri; Music Director: Salil Chowdhury. This is a fun duet which is of a movie written and directed by Balraj Sahni. The song has the typical rock n roll music which is the keynote of quite a few songs of this post. It also seems to be inspired by a song from one of Charlie Chaplin’s movies. Unfortunately, the video of the song is not available.

Manna Dey’s duets with Sudha Malhotra

These were the two duets I came across. There could be more.

1) Peepal Tale Ghar Mera (Jeevan Saathi, 1957) Lyricist: D.N.Madhok; Music Director: Bulo.C.Rani. The video of the song is not available. The song by itself is very melodious. Sudha Malhotra’s voice has a lot of sweetness and innocence and wonderfully complements Manna Dey’s. The song apart from being a lilting romantic composition, describes the countryside very beautifully.

2) Main Pyaar Ki Laila Hun (Mr.X, 1957) Lyricist: Hasrat Jaipuri; Music Director: N.Datta. This is a rock and roll duet in the voices of Sudha Malhotra and Manna Dey. The movie – based on science fiction – deals with the theme of invisibility and hence the name Mr.X. Interestingly, Ashok Kumar is the hero who becomes invisible; three decades later, Ashok Kumar again featured in another movie Mr. India (1987) which was based on the theme of invisibility. The movie also has a very popular song of Rafi’s – Laal Laal Gaal, – which is another foot tapping number.

With this, I come to the end of another musical journey. Interestingly, all the songs of this blog post belong to the 1957 to 1963 period. As Arunkumar Deshmukhji points out, 1957 was a period when Rock n Roll impact on Hindi film music was at its Zenith. This is indeed the defining element of some of the songs listed here. Several music directors – Roshan, Salil Chowdhury, N.Datta and even S.N.Tripathi tried their hand at this kind of music. This also perhaps explains why many of these tunes were inspired by English music. The choreography of these songs is thus as important as the music and the lyrics. Since I consciously avoided the classical raga based duets and the Qawwalis, the romantic duets I was left with somewhat belong to this genre. This post helped me understand how different music directors harnessed Manna Dey’s capabilities to come up with songs that stand apart and help us appreciate his versatility.

I have tried to highlight the other side of Manna Dey’s talent through my blog post in two parts. I am sure there would be more rare gems that I have missed. Please do add on.

Disclaimer, claims no credit for any image, screenshots or songs posted on this site. The images and screenshots are the copyright of their original owners. The song links are shared from YouTube/ other platforms only to make the post audiovisual. The copyright of these songs rests with the respective owners, producers and music companies.

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