Sunday, November 19, 2017
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manna dey allahabad shocked

The announcement about the death of popular and legendary singer Manna Dey  came as a stunning blow to his innumerable fans of all age groups. I was sitting in BHS auditorium, judging their debate when my mobile gave a missed call. It was AIR news which said that Manna Dey had passed away.


Manna Dey had old associations with Allahabad and had come here first in the 1950s  for a stage show in which he rendered his hit numbers from Chori Chori, Dil Hi To Hai and so on. I got an opportunity to personally meet him. And it was a rare meeting about which I will give a glimpse on Sunday.
I cannot help recalling how the audience would be moved to tears when Manna Dey’s voice echoed through the local cinema halls showing ‘Ram Rajya’. The song was, ‘Teri amar bhavna amar rahi’, sung when Sitaji goes back into the earth. I recall how the local audience in Vishwambar were  swinging in joy when he rendered the song, ‘Chali Radhe Rani’ in Parineeta. And in Vishawambar the hall echoed in melody when the Mashal song came on screen, ‘Oopar gagan vishal’.    I can’t also  forget the audience laughing and cheering when Manna Dey, playing back for David, sang in classical tunes a hair-raising remedy through the song, ‘Lapak jhapak tu aree badarva’. That was Raj Kapoor’s Bootpolish released in Vishwambar.
But it was in ‘Shri 420’  that he came out with the immortal romantic song: ‘Pyar hua ikrar hua’ filmed on Nargis and Raj, followed later by several such duets filmed on the smae stars in ‘Chori Chori’
Our reader S.S.Majithia rang me up on  Friday morning even before it was dawn. He said: ‘I am deeply pained by Manna Dey’s passing. He was my favourite singer’. But he lamented that TV channels paying tributes to him the previous night did not telecast his favourite number, ‘Laga chunariya mein daag’ filmed on Raj.

When Raj Kapoor visited Allahabad  he told me that whenever Mukesh was not available his first choice was Manna Dey. I told him:’ When a student leader was on fast unto death on Allahabad University campus-Lakhan Singh was the leader as far as I recall—Shri 420 had just been released in Allahabad.  Students were cheering him by singing his Manna Dey song, ‘Dil ka haal sune dil wala’. Raj replied, ‘If Allahabad boys were inspired by that song it could also be  because the hero of Shri 420 was shown in the film as being a graduate, a gold medallist of Allahabad University’. Manna is gone, leaving behind such golden memories of that era when music was young . Our warm tributes to him. He was 94. Few are fortunate to live that long. But we would have loved to see him live longer. Alas that was not to be.

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