About Us Contact Us Help




Blast From The Past....These Are A Few Of My Favourite....Manna Dey Songs....

Sudha (Lakshmi) Rao

(This article is sponsored by Masala Art)

2013 has seen the passing of many a legend in Film Music in North and South India… Shamshad Begum, P.B.Srinivas, V.Dakshinamoorthy, T.M.Sounderrajan, Vaali, to name a few…. and just recently, Manna Dey… who was one of the most remarkable singers that ever graced Indian film music….

Manna Dey, born in 1919 as Prabhod Chandra Dey, started his musical career under the wing of his very prominent uncle, K.C.Dey. He began his playback singing career with a beautiful duet with Suraiya in Tamanna…more Hindi, Bengali and Marathi film songs followed suit and Manna had established himself. Over the years, he became more popular for the seriously philosophical or classical songs…. though he handled a romantic ballad with equal ease. He also sang in a number of Indian languages including Malayalam and Kannada….

Even though he wasn’t singing much in Hindi films in the last few years, he continued to regale audiences with his still strong and mellifluous vocals on stage and television. He died after a prolonged illness in Bangalore, which he had made his hometown.  

Manna’s versatility was so apparent in the distinctive styles he employed for different songs…he could do an aao twist Kare or mud mud ke with as much panache as he could do an aye mere zohra jabeen or ye dosti or a deep and philosophical ai mere pyare vatan or zindagi kaisi hai paheli or the extremely classical sur na saje or ketaki gulab….

Sharing with readers some of my favourite solos and duets….I know there is a whole world of his songs in Hindi, Bengali (coffee houser being a great favourite) and other languages and I want to assure you that even if your favourite song might not find its place in my list, that does not make it any less precious or fantastic…I have 3 categories – solos, semi-classical solos, duets (with female and male singers)

Aye Mere Pyare Vatan (Kabuliwala) ranks as my ultimate favourite Manna Dey solo– a song that gets me emotional with the beauty, sadness and message of the song…the longing for motherland that Manna Dey conveys with a quiver in his voice and the sole accompaniment of the rubab drench me with bitter-sweet emotions…. I still cannot hear it without a tear in my eye and a lump in my throat…. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_NfdFfdKn4

Maanasa Maine – an immortal classic from Chemmeen – hailed as one of the finest Malayalam songs ever written and composed – Vayalar and Salil Chowdhury shared credits for this song that Manna Dey breathed life and soul into.


Zindagi Kaisi Hai Paheli– a dazzling treatise on life (lyrics: Yogesh) from Anand. Salil Chowdhury with his penchant for western classical music had inserted some amazing back up harmonies and interludes throughout the song. 


Tu Pyar Ka Sagar Hai – Manna Dey’s voice suited Balraj Sahni so well… this song from Seema is spiritual, reflective and meaningful. (Shailendra/Shankar-Jaikishen)


Phir Kahin Koyi Phool Kila- charming and gentle melody from Anubhav, with music by Kanu Roy.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgBdFGYwcCQ

Kasme Wade Pyar Wafa – serious and melancholic song filmed on Pran from Upkar – music by Kalyanji Anandji.      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GahTfMktcjY

Ai Mere Zohra – a song that is beloved and evergreen even after nearly 50 years –upbeat song that gets one’s spirits up and feet a tapping and hands a clapping, from Waqt with music by Ravi. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfNjDPsX1VQ

Aye Bhai Zara – the clown laughs and jokes around till he cries at the irony of his life…. a philosophical Manna Dey singing for Raj Kapoor in Mera Naam Joker with music by Shankar Jaikishen and lyrics by Shailendra.


Aao Twist Karen – Manna Dey showed us he was as comfortable with rock and roll as he was with Hindustani – this song from Bhoot Bangla that was inspired by Chubby Checker’s Let’s twist again is an equally exhilarating song as it’s Checker version. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKE_JURJvDo

Dil Ka Haal Sune Dilwala – this lively and folksy number from Shree 420 was composed by Shankar-Jaikishen. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBlBBJWBSQw

Classical/Semi-Classical Solos:

Kaun Aaya – What happens when you put Madan Mohan, Rajendra Krishen, Manna Dey and Raag Rageshri together…that’s right…sheer magic with Kaun aaya from Dekh Kabira Roya picturised on Anoop Kumar as he wonders who has entered his heart with the sweet sound of anklets - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_vcV7JGKpY

Poocho Na Kaise – Can’t imagine this S.D.Burman and Shailendra’s masterpiece in Aahir-Bhairav from Meri Surat Teri Aankhen being rendered by any other singer…. the angst ridden sweetness of the melody just engulfs the listener.


Lagaa Chunri Mein Daag –Manna Dey imparts pure delight in this Roshan masterpiece in Raag Bhairavi from Dil hi to hai – how effortlessly he transitions from aalap to song to bols, taans and swaras. - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtqRkQKGURM

Tere Naina Talash – an S.D.Burman classic from Talash – yet another dance number that is appealing in tune and spritely in rhythm and with generous sitar, santur and tabla and sarangi and bells accompaniment. - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqPLbBJOHwc

Tum Bin Jeevan – semi-classical solo from Rajesh Khanna starrer Bawarchi. Lyrics by Kaifi Azmi and music by Madan Mohan –http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6LU4TA9KcA4

Lapak Japak – Raga based fun song from Boot Polish picturised on David and others in a jail-house setting.    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDr9g_x2nYk

Bhay Bhanjana Vandana and Sur Na Saje - both poignant and heart wrenching renditions from Basant Bahar – music by Shankar-Jaikishen and lyrics by Shailendra.



Jhanak Jhanak Tori – from Mere Huzoor. Music: Shankar Jaikishen and Lyrics: Shailendra.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_CUNl3n-vU

Kisne Chilman Se Mara – entertainer all the way from Baat ek raat ki – Majrooh /S.D.Burman combine. - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdR7duGG_rw


Aan Milo Shaam Saavre – a beautiful and lilting devotional song with Geeta Dutt from Devdas - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xd33Mr_h4g8

Ye Raath Bhigi Bhigi and Aaja Sanam – Who could resist these two captivating duets with Lata from Chori Chori – Shankar Jaikishen’s orchestration are just magical as are the singers’ honeyed vocals! The latter has a lovely accordion intro leading into a marvelous duet with even more marvelous orchestral interludes.



Mausam Beeta Jaaye –(with Lata Mangeshkar) Bimal Roy’s Do Bigha Zamin had this splendid song whose refrain has its roots in the Russian Red Army anthem – Polyushka Polye.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05GyQnjL-jQ

Masti Bhara – with Lata Mangeshkar from Parvarish with music by Datta ram – cheerful and bubbly with lovely accordion and percussion accompaniment.


Bheegi Chaandni – Smoldering and sensuous duet with Lata Mangeshkar from Suhagan composed by Madan Mohan with lovely orchestration and beautiful harmonies by both singers. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FplbNAonA7Y

Mud Mud Ke and Pyar Hua Ikrar–Manna Dey and Asha are absolutely brilliant in mud mud ke that starts as a waltz – and then changes beats when Manna takes over…. foot-tapping and fabulous music all the way through…. Pyar hua ikrar with Lata is the unforgettable umbrella scene song that fans can never get tired of!



Soch Ke Ye Gagan Jhoome – romantic duet from Jyoti. (S.D.Burman/Anand Bakshi).


Saanjh Dhali Dil Ki Lagi- chirpy and cute duet with Asha from Kala Bazaar.


Ae Kaash Chalte Milke –Asha and Manna are in their element in this sparkling ‘chaand’ duet from Manzil with music by S.D.Burman and lyrics by Majrooh. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UG5Tqe7zTAY

Preetam Daras Deekhao – beautiful duet with Lata in Raag Lalit from Chacha zindabad - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XI2HLRFCNO4

Re Man Sur Me GaaLal Patthar –music by Shankar Jaikishen – the sweetness of Raag Yaman and Asha’s and Manna’s absolutely beautiful nuances just douse the listener with delight and awe. … http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKQXlsl4tXI

Male duets

Ik Chaturnar from Padosan – with Kishore Kumar – R.D.Burman - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HwrMGpFaik

Ye Dosti from Sholay – with Kishore Kumar – R.D.Burman - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_hlBHE3c-A

Ketaki Gulab Juhi from Basant Bahar - with Bhimsen Joshi – Shankar-Jaikishen http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcqmOaQSPDA

Tu Hai Mera Prem Devta from Kalpana - with Moh'd Rafi – (O.P.Nayyar - Qamar Jalalabadi) -  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVMRDiSZBGY

May you Rest in Peace, Manna Dey Saab – your honey-coated vocals may now be gracing the celestial arena – but they will also continue to enchant us and remain etched in our memories, cherished and unforgotten…

(Sudha (Lakshmi) Rao, homemaker and singer specializing in the golden oldies of Hindi and Tamil film music performs with Saptaswar (New England based) and Friends’ Orchestra (Chennai based) and also does karaoke based private & stage concerts. Is an overseas advisory member of TANKER (Tamil Nad Kidney Research) Foundation- an NGO based in Chennai, that helps the deserving and needy stricken with kidney problems. Sudha's music website: www.youtube.com/user/sudsless. )

Bookmark and Share |
1.Manna da review November 25, 2013Lekha joshi 

You may also access this article through our web-site http://www.lokvani.com/

Home | About Us | Contact Us | Copyrights Help