Sunday, August 10, 2014

Take away Madan Mohan and you take away half of India's film music

Take away Madan Mohan and you take away nearly half of the heart of the golden era of music in Hindi cinema. One of the few directors who seldom, if ever, gave an ordinary composition, Madan's numbers stand out almost as the distinguishing signature tune of his period. And that was the age of immortals like Naushad, Roshan, Ghulam Mohammad, S D Burman, Shankar-Jaikishan,Salil Chaudary, Chitargupt, Ravi, - to name just a few.
( By the way, when you talk of Madan Mohan ,it is impossible not to talk about Kaifi Azami.The two together stand out as an exceptional writer-composer duo.)

One of the sadder aspects of Madan Mohan's graph, who had actually begun his career as a singer with Lata : most of his great compositions came in films which were either ordinary or were made under banners that really didn't endure -Chetan Anand being the exception. Unlike Shankar Jaikishan who had RK or Naushad Sahib who had the likes of Mehboob Khan, Kardar and had his songs regularly given an aui-visual grandeur by the likes of Dilip Kumar, Madubala, Vijayantimala, some of Madan Mohan's greatest songs were picturised on artists who did not really rank as superstar immortals.

It is possible to argue against this 'thesis' but even the great composer himself had this same sad feeling towards the closing stages of his career, though someone more qualified than me to talk about Hindi cinema can shed more light on this.

When Madan Mohan did compose for big banners , the films did not do exceptionally well at the box office, even though their music swept the charts, with exceptions , towards the closing stages, like . Chetan Sahib's Hanste Zakham,

Some of MM's greatest gems came in films that actually bombed at the box office for being off-beat. Dastak for example ( Bahiaa na dharo, Maai re, Hum hain mataa--e-koocha-o-bazar ki trah.
About his great and immortal melodies not getting a befitting audio-visual support, take this s breathtaking number from Sanjog,picturised on Anita Guha.No offense to Anita ji as a consummate artiste, but commercially, she did not fall in the top bracket)

(And what a lyric - overwhelming flood of great lines by Rajinder Krishan:

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