Dev Anand Introspective melodies Jaidev Sad Film Songs

A rare combination

I have always wondered why certain teams never seem to click in Bollywood in popular perception. Quite like the behaviour of the stock market, this sentiment. There may be great merit in the performance but the ill defined ideas of the great Indian movie going public seems to determine what will work and what won’t. As a result, pairings are repeated: Director-Actor, Director-Actress, Director-Music Director, Music Director-Singer(s), Music Director-lyricists, Actor-Actress, Actor-singer and so on and so forth , the list is really very long. Dev Anand is remembered for his movies as much as their content as by their music. One defining aspect of Navketan movies has always been the quality of its music. In this pursuit, Dev Saab teamed up with the Burmans for decades. The Naveketan- S D Burman partnership was truly lasting and Dev saab even showed his commitment and loyalty by even putting his dream project, Guide on hold for months due to Sachinda’s illness. So also was Devsaab’s on-screen partnership with Rafisaab initially and Kishoreda for the latter two thirds of his career. I feel Sachinda played a huge role in Dev Saab switching from one to the other, despite some really all time great songs for Navketan by Rafisaab. In this both seem to have largely overlooked another fabulous singer- Manna Dey. Mannada to me was THE most complete singer in Bollywood with the widest imaginable range of singing an incredibly diverse genres of melodies, and doing it better than many others, and he did so consistently over decades.

I am even more surprised because Manna Dey had actually worked with SachinDev Dev Burman as an assistant for many years, after having started working as an assistant music director first under his uncle Krishna Chandra Dey, and then under Sachinda. He composed music for a few films also, one of these movies was 1948 film Hum Bhi Hain Insaan starring Dev Anand. In this film, he sang for Dev Anand for the first time. Manna Dey sang for him 10 years later in Amardeep. A couple of years later, Sachinda took Manna Dey for Devsaab once again in Manzil which was the least famous (and least successful ) of the Dev Anand-Nutan films. Amazingly Burmanda carried out the unusual experiment of having three different singers for the same hero. Manna Dey sang one solo and one duet with Asha Bhosle. Rafi and Hemant Kumar also sang in this film for Dev Anand. Kala Bazaar had the two team up again, and Manna Dey also sang in Bombai Ka Babu. The last time Devsaab had Manna Dey sing for him was 4 years later, with the unsung genius Jaidev Verma composing the music.

The movie was Kinare Kinare. A movie produced by Nyay Sharma and directed by Chetan Anand (who also had a very important role in the movie). Nyay Sharma also wrote the screenplay, story and lyrics. Kinare Kinare had the unusual romantic pair of Dev Anand and Meena Kumari, who sadly dies at the end, having been shown to suffer from a heart disease and being rescued from the obligatory kidnapping from her wedding by the baddies and the fight where the hero beats up the goons.

See the wonderful quality of the song, I really wonder why Manna Dey never got to sing more for Devsaab. I suppose it is just another of those undecipherable Bollywood things, like Meena Kumari not getting enough light hearted and frothy, upbeat roles, despite shining in the few that did come her way. Poor lady was stuck with the heavy millstone around her neck forever, of being stamped a tragedienne.

C’est la vie, I guess.

Stay happy and healthy, folks. The rains strengthen again as Ganeshotsav is just around the corner.


By abchandorkar

Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, Pune, India

6 replies on “A rare combination”

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