Kasmein Vaade Pyaar, Ek Pyaar Ka Nagma And More: Six Great Songs From Manoj Kumar Directorial Ventures

A day after Manoj Kumar's birth anniversary, Subhash K Jha lists down what he thinks are six great songs from Manoj Kumar directorial ventures:

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Kasmein Vaade Pyaar, Ek Pyaar Ka Nagma And More: Six Great Songs From Manoj Kumar Directorial Ventures
Raj Kapoor, Raj Khosla and Manoj Kumar had the best music sense ever heard and seen in commercial Hindi cinema. They knew how to get the best songs out of their composers - Shankar-Jaikishan and then, Laxmikant-Pyarelal for Raj Kapoor, Madan Mohan and Laxmi-Pyare for Raj Khosla, and Kalyanji-Anandji and Laxmi-Pyare for Manoj Kumar. Manoj Kumar, in fact, was a composer himself. But he believed in letting the official composers do their job. And what a job!

Let's list down six great songs from Manoj Kumar directorial ventures:

KASMEIN VAADE PYAAR WAFAA SAB (UPKAR): According to me, Kalyanji-Anandji saved their best for Manoj. Upkar had a gallery of great songs - from Mahendra Kapoor’s evergreen 'Mere desh ki dharti' to Mukesh’s 'Dewaanon se yeh mat puchho' to Lata Mangeshkar’s 'Har khushi hai wahan'. None greater than Manna Dey’s 'Kasmein vaade' - a song about the loss of family ties in a world filled with greed and materialism. The song was shot on Pran,who counted the song among the high points of his career. Poet Indeevar’s best lyrics ever.

KOI JAB TUMHARA HRIDAY TOD DE (PURAB AUR PASCHIM): Manoj Kumar’s preferred voice was Mahendra Kapoor, who sang 'Hai preet jahan ki reet sadaa' and 'Dulhan chali haan pehan chali teen rang ki choli' (about the tri-colour flag). But this one solo went to Mukesh. Why? “I think I’ve an ear and eye for the right casting. That goes for songs as well. I know Mahendra sang my other songs. But this... this one… I cried for Mukesh,” he once said. I agree.

EK PYAAR KA NAGMA HAI (SHOR): This is one of the most pitch-perfect love songs ever written composed and sung in a Hindi film. Lata Mangeshkar and Mukesh bring to the table an aching melodic sweep. Laxmikant-Pyarelal’s composition whispers waves of romance and nostalgia. Santosh Anand’s lyrics for this are simply immortal. An added attraction: that’s Pyarelal himself playing the violin in this magnificent ode to love. I once asked Manoj Saab to single out one song from his cinema as his favourite. He chose this. Good taste, Manoj Saab.

MAIN NA BHOOLUNGI (ROTI KAPDA AUR MAKAAN): It is hard to single out any one song in this film. One of the most pitch-perfect soundtracks ever Roti Kapda Aur Makaan belts out classic after classic. This Lata Mangeshkar-Mukesh ditty is a dizzying ode to romance, the crests and dips of the orchestra are breathtaking. Every note is a sparkling gem. Every word, a promise to eternity. Composers Laxmikant-Pyarelal proved themselves geniuses beyond the definition of the term.

PANDITJI MERE MARNE KE BAAD (ROTI KAPDA AUR MAKAAN): I have often wondered why this Lata Mangeshkar classic is not counted among the best songs in Manoj Kumar’s films.And why Lataji’s 'Hai hai yeh majboori' went on to be far more popular than this other Lata solo which is much more hefty in content far more innovative and one of the most challenging songs of Lataji’s career. Varma Malik’s lyrics mock at the rituals after death . The song suggests that singer be sent off to the other world not with gangajal in her mouth but alcohol. Delectably irreverent and provocative, this is vintage Manoj Kumar.

ZINDAGI KI NA TOOTE LADI (KRANTI): The magnificent Laxmikant-Pyarelal outdid themselves in this love ballad. A marvel of creation the duet was meant to be sung my Mukesh and Lataji. But then Mukeshji suddenly passed away. Lataji made sure his son Nitin Mukesh got all the pending songs of his father. Among them, Laxmikant-Pyarelal’s 'Woh aurat hai tu mehbooba' in Satyam Shivam Sundaram and this ballad. Though I think 'Zindagi ki na toote ladi' is an all-time great, I wonder what it would have been like if Mukesh had sung it. Or what Manoj Kumar’s career would have been if after Kranti he didn’t slip into directing Clerk and Jai Hind.

Image source: IMDb/Amazon