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31 March 2014

The Reed Man

Manohari Singh
Photo source: YouTube

It was writing the post on Van Shipley that piqued my interest in writing about other background musicians.  And so, I had made a list - Manohari Singh, Sebastian D'Souza, et al. Before I got around to it,  a reader, Ashwin Panemangalore chanced upon the Van Shipley post. In the comments, he said he had interviewed some of the musicians and wondered if I would like to read his articles. I jumped at the offer, since having an interview would enhance the post I planned on these personalities who enhanced our film music. So he very generously sent me a few of his articles, without any expectations about them whatsoever other than that I read them. After I did, I wrote to him to ask if I could use the articles as a complement to my articles and he, even more generously, agreed to that as well. 

Then, I went back and re-read his articles, wondering how to use them best. I first thought I could add this interview under my article as a sort of complement to it. Then, I thought perhaps I should write a post about Manohari Singh first, and then put up this interview as the second part; again, that would have made Ashwin's article just an add-on to mine. While I still intend to write a comprehensive article on Manohari Singh to add to my The Masters category, I decided to let Ashwin's article stand as its own exclusive post. 

Without much further ado, let me present guest writer Ashwin Panemangalore to my readers. 

Ashwin is  an electrical engineer by profession, and after a long stint as a Business Unit Head at L&T, he headed a group of companies in software and instrumentation before retiring in 2008. Since then, he has been indulging his passion for jazz. He has written reviews of several jazz concerts in India and is the proud possessor of several jazz anthologies. Fascinated by the use of jazz, Indian classical and Western classical techniques in old Hindi film music, he embarked on a quest to interview musicians who had participated in its creation to find out how they had gone about it.   

Many of them had unfortunately passed away, but those he met revealed a wealth of information which he transcribed into articles for the print media. The music of that era is one of our richest cultural legacies in the performing arts and Ashwin strongly believes that its creators have never been given their just due. This article, as the others, is a bid to shine some of that spotlight on these under-appreciated musicians. 

Over to Ashwin. 

Manohari Singh, the versatile reedman and arranger was the sheet anchor behind the creative RD Burman. He had a strong sense of harmonic structure and  scripted written scores for a variety of instruments. Playing alto and  soprano saxophones, clarinet and flute, he arranged almost everyone of RD’s tunes on all of the films that they worked together and soloed on most of them. Here, he talks about his life and experiences, his colleagues  and what it was like in the halcyon days of the Hindi film music world. 

How did your musical journey begin? 
I come from a family of musicians originally from Khatmandu. At age 7, I picked up the flute. My father played in an orchestra for a British audience. I grew up in Batanagar near Calcutta, where many Czech musicians lived and worked in the shoe factory. I first learnt to play the clarinet under Czech clarinet player Joe Newman. Discipline was arduous and as a result, we reached a high level of performance at a young age. I played in my first concert when I was fourteen. 

Later, I moved to Calcutta and played for the New Theatre where Pankaj Mallick was a prominent figure. So were Kamal Das Gupta and Hemant Kumar. The night club scene was active at the time and we played in dance music  bands there. Louis Banks uncle was one of the musicians. I was exposed to all kinds of music forms  from Western  classical to pop and dance music to Bengali geet.

Who brought you to Mumbai and how did you get your first break? 
Salil Chowdhury persuaded me to come to Bombay in 1958; my colleague Basu had come earlier. For a long time, I didn't have much work. Anil Biswas was  no longer in demand and I tried with others with little success. SD Burman finally gave me my break with Sitaron se Aagey. Later, I worked with OP Nayyar and Salil Chowdhury as well as the others. 

Which are the most memorable movies for which you played and arranged music? 
It is difficult to single some out but what comes to mind is Insan Jaag Utha, Chotte Nawab, Bhoot Bungla, and [1942 A] Love Story. I remember [1942 A] Love Story very sadly. RD had passed away and Basuda and I completed the score and the music in a sorrowful frame of mind. The music of Guide and Tere Mere Sapne had the most impact on me; I also remember doing the background music for The Burning Train, and Jewel Thief, as also  Bandini.  
Manohari Singh with Mohammed Rafi, 
Sumant Raj, and Hariprasad Chaurasia
 How was it to work with other musicians at the time?
It was a collaborative effort at all times. I was helped by my colleagues Basu and Maruti Rao. The musicians were all thoroughly professional and we all worked together; it was a family. I have many friends who played the same instruments as I did, and we all had a lot of fun together. 
Manohari Singh with Joe Gomes
What was it like to arrange the music?
We had between 60-80  musicians in the orchestra. Most of the musicians came from well trained, solid backgrounds. As arrangers, we wrote the score for each musician. We used about 30 violins and violas, 6 cellos, 16 brass instruments (trumpets, trombones), reed instruments like flutes and clarinet, guitars, mandolins (you know, Laxmikant was a great mandolin player!)and about 15 rhythm instruments like dholaks, drums, tympanis, and bongos. We had to manage all of them and ensure a perfect finish. But the musicians were all highly disciplined and played perfectly and it was a very satisfying experience.   

In all, there were only about eight microphones. Nowadays, you have one for each instrument and all kinds of special effects. Sound engineers like Kaushik, Minoo Katrak, Robin,  BN Sharma, etc., were veterans and captured those sounds on the equipment of that time.

How was it like to work with RD Burman?
RD was very keen on a rich big band sound. We went to America and visited Detroit and heard the band of Stan Kenton live. It was wonderful! 
RD Burman's Orchestra
 Are there other arrangers whom you would like to mention? 
Sebastian [D'Souza] was great. He used 40 violins and did some wonderful, memorable work. Pyarelal too was a genius.  

You are an accomplished jazz musician. Who were your greatest influences? 
I was influenced first by Artie Shaw on the clarinet, and then by Benny Goodman. On alto sax, my idol was Johnny Hodges, and it was a great experience playing Glenn Miller's Moonlight Serenade in the midnight darkness in the old days in Calcutta.  

Any fellow musicians you would like to mention? 
There were so many great ones - Narvekar and Karnad (violins), George Fernandes (trumpet), the Lord  brothers, Kersi, and Buggie (drums); Father Cawas Lord even played bagpipes. Anibal (Crasto) was excellent on guitar as well as trombone.
How should the honours for creating a song be shared? 
Fifty per cent should go to the arranger and the musicians, and the other fifty percent to the director, singer and lyric writer. It is everyone’s effort. 

Finally, do you think the golden era of Hindi film songs can return? With the kind of music heard nowadays, will the wheel turn  full circle?
No chance! That era will never come back. How many people will you find learning the violin or the clarinet, and who has the patience ? The culture has changed and so have the times.
Here are some classic examples of the orchestration and arrangements by Manohari Singh. He is backed by some great musicians like the Lord family, Homi Mullan, Maruti Rao, Sumant Raj, Acharya, Dilip Naik, Bhanu Gupta, Basu Chakraborty, George Fernandes, the Monserate brothers, Leslie Godinho, and so many others. 

1. Mere Sapnon ki Rani  from Aradhana 
One of Manohari’s earlier works which was handled by RD Burman for his father. A violin (strings) section intro preludes the lovely harmonica sound, and is ideal for the scene. Flutes (Sumant Raj and Manohari) and strings make for an appropriate setting with powerful vamps on the accordion by Kersi Lord. The rhythm instruments of congas, bongos, scratcher and so on are Homi Mullan’s domain, ably supported by Buggie Lord. A super arrangement using a variety of solo instruments to provide an all-round setting.  

2.  Aane wala pal from Golmaal
An interesting arrangement. Lovely trumpet intro by George Fernandes. The orchestral strings (violins, viola) sections fill the passages broken by  guitar ( Dilip Naik)  and trumpet (George Fernandes) solos.

3. Meri nazar hai tujhpe from The Burning Train 
A powerful brass ensemble section with trombones and trumpets played by the Monserate brothers, alternating with  string vamps and rhythmic explosions of congas, bongos (Homi Mullan) and tabla (Maruti Rao). The sitar by Acharya takes over for an interlude, culminating in a delicate Spanish guitar solo by Bhanu Gupta. Once again, a lonely trumpet solo by George Fernandes, before the singer comes on and the rhythm flows. An amazing arrangement combining the best of western big band brass, strings and Indian  melodic and rhythmic instruments. 

4. Dekho maine dekha hai from Love Story

Another example of a superlative arrangement by Manohari. One needs to listen to this track several times from start to 0.20 to decipher which instrument comes in and out in quick succession. Kersi Lord is known to play a variety of them. Dilip Naik’s guitar and  Kersi's accordion are followed by strings and the jal tarang with a clavioline for the oriental been-like effect, which continue with fills throughout the trackKersi's ingenuity on these instruments makes for wonderful repeat listening. The score is so tight throughout. Full credit to Manohari and Basu Chakraborty for the score. 

5. Roop Tera Mastana from Aradhana
A dramatic string entry, followed by  Kersi on the accordion with a powerful intro, followed by the vibraphone by Buggie, and George soloing on the trumpet. Manohari comes in with a delectable alto sax solo after the thunder clap. Enjoy the super sound of each of these instruments with an excellent easy paced rhythmic backing.

©Ashwin Panemangalore for Conversations Over Chai
Photos are the property of the late Manohari Singh and his family.

CoC Disclaimer: The interview was originally published in its entirety in the publication dna. It is being reproduced here with the explicit permission of the author, Ashwin Panemangalore.


  1. Fabulous article, Anu. What valuable archiving of little known bits of film history, Hindi films, particularly.

  2. All credit goes to Ashwin, Banno. I am just the host in this case.

  3. Thanks so much for sharing this, Anu. It's wonderful to get these behind the scene glimpses into the lives and work of the prodigiously talented individuals who put the "art" in Hindi cinema.

    I often tell my husband that one of the main reasons I married him was because of his encounters with greats like Manohari Singh and RDB and the stories he could tell me about them.:-)

  4. You're welcome, Shalini. I'm so glad Ashwin sent these to me.

    Your husband has tales to tell of Manohari Singh and RDB? Oh, do share!

  5. AK, thank you. I think it is important to give these musicians their place in the sun. For far too long, the musicians and arrangers have been sidelined in favour of the music directors. It is nice to know of the others a little.

    And yes, the controversy rages on. I have read interviews with both Manohari Singh and Kersi Lord that stated categorically that RD was in no way involved in the score, other than as assistant director (as was Manohari). In fact, Kersi is on record as saying that RDB was nowhere in the recording studio at all.

    Both sides put forth their arguments with great vehemence. I wonder if we will ever know the truth behind this. :(

  6. This is familiar territory for me, it also sends me down nostalgia lane. Manohari Singh's daughter and I studied together in the same school briefly, I lost touch with her when she changed schools. I grew up hearing about all these great musicians, those were the days when you had the privilege of watching these musicians playing at award functions. As I was small I did not have the opportunity but I head my parents talk about them. Nowadays you have actors gyrating to songs on stage with an army of dancers behind them. Back then the singers came on stage to sing the award winning songs accompanied by live orchestra. Another great musician who I am told those days was the highest paid was guitarist Hazara Singh.
    Incidentally the Lord family had a beautiful bungalow which was quite close to my home, now a high rise has come up in tits place.
    As has been mentioned in the interview, during that golden era 60 to 8o musicians were present for a recording, I remember my father saying that he used to have problem finding a place to park his car because the studio would be packed with cars of the musicians when there was a song being recorded. Nowadays there is no such problem, most of the work is done by the synthesizer. I remember reading that when Farah Khan got Pyarelal to record a song for one of her films, she had a tough time trying to locate a recording studio large enough to accommodate his large orchestra.

  7. Ashwin Panemangalore31 March 2014 at 13:32

    AK, Anu from a musical standpoint its pretty clear that this track has the stamp of Manohari's arrangement including the instrument selection and the tempo Who would know better than Kersi about R D Burman's responsibility here For the record the arranger always writes the score not the music director The word 'assistant' is a misnomer considering the extent of value added by an arranger I think, rather than getting into the controversy, its best to appreciate the superlative work of creation here

  8. Ashwin Panemangalore31 March 2014 at 13:35

    Lovely to read this, Shilpi You were privileged Hazara Singh is the guitarist you hear on 'Mera Nam Chin Chin Choo' I think Manohari Singh's daughter married a musician called Roy Venkatram and they are in NZ but that's hearsay I dont know them

  9. Ashwin, I agree completely. As Manohari Singh put it so aptly in your interview with him, music is a collaborative effort.

  10. Ashwin, Shilpi is yesteryear actor Tarun Bose's daughter.

  11. Shilpi, trust you to come up with some interesting anecdotes about that era! I honestly wish you would compile them together. It's such a valuable addition to the (scarce) knowledge that we have about that period in Hindi cinema.

  12. Ashwin Panemangalore31 March 2014 at 14:01

    Incidentally, the two pics you see here were very generously lent to me by Manohari when I visited him for the interview He had also invited Kersi His wall was full of pics of musicians at work from the golden era and I stood there stunned examining each of them I think he liked that and offered me whatever I wanted I didnt want to take advantage and took only two I scanned them and returned them the next day The first pic has Md Rafi,Sumant Raj,Manohari and Hari Prasad, Both Hari Prasad and Sumant Raj are holding bansuris ( sweet toned) and Manohari has a western flute ( reedier tone) The combined effect of these are heard on the flute fills on so many of the songs This is a unique combination The other shows part of his orchestra In view are Maruti Rao tabla, Bhanu Gupta spanish guitar,Acharya ,sitar,Louis Correa and Basu Chakraborty,cellos.. Again unique for their ability to blend sounds from both western and Indian traditional instruments

  13. So nice to see an interview of Manohari Singh.

    Anu, thank you so much for publishing the interview here.

  14. Thank you for this post, Anu & Aswin. A very insightful interview with Manohari Singh and some priceless pictures; my favourite being that of a young Hari Chaurasia. Manohari's avtar as a Jazz musician made for very interesting reading, a facet of his life that I had no clue of; Damn cute of him to say 'Louis Banks uncle' :)

    Pancham, Manohari Singh, Kersi Lord, Bhupinder (briefly) led the crack team that gave us some of Hindi cinema's evergreen songs. To read more about their life and times, you could pick up a copy of of the awarded book R D Burman, The Man, The Music (ISBN: 9789350290491). That is one for your bookshelf.

  15. It is nice, isn't it? It's so rarely that we get a chance to hear the voices of these people, that I'm grateful that Ashwin gave me the opportunity to publish it.

  16. You're welcome, Boby. It was generous of Ashwin to share. I'm merely playing the host.

    And what makes you think I don't have the book already? *grin*

  17. Ai la. You bought the book. :) Made for good reading. Let me know if you'd like to collaborate with its author. I know Anirudha and would be happy to connect you guys. His previous publications include a book on Big B too

  18. That was fun - and informative. To be honest, much of the technicality mentioned against each of the songs in the latter half of the post was a complete intel lob for me, but I thoroughly enjoyed the first part. Incidentally, I was reminded of an excerpt from Naresh Fernandes's Taj Mahal Foxtrot, where he too talks about the importance of arrangers.

    Thank you for this, Anu, Ashwin!

  19. Ashwin Panemangalore1 April 2014 at 02:32

    Hey dustedoff no tech really.... just a description of the music as it fills your ears Do listen to the tracks maybe more than a couple of times Key is to shut your attention off the vocals and focus on the music Its thrilling

  20. The second Hindi film I watched and the one that solidified my love for Hindi cinema (the first one was Waqt). I remember sitting through the entire film enthralled and the plot holes and illogical plot devices didn't even bother me! Every time I hear a song from this film I always find myself reminiscing about ny unusual transition from "too cool for bollywood" and going out of my way to avoid Hindi films to becoming a Bollywood lover and just going nuts with my bolly-love. Funny how that works.

    But I digress. The most important thing I want to point out is that is that SHAMMI KAPOOR IS AWESOME his films are always so entertaining! As is Asha Parekh, her films can usually be counted on to be entertaining as well.

    I need to watch this again. I love this film.

  21. Kishore Kumar, No question a genius with an amazing voice. The only tragedy is the voice rendering that started with the bhoot bangla song, Jago Sone Walo, and then continued in Kati Patang where all three hit songs were rendered for speed and pitch, this trend continued with most all of the initial RD Burman movies (mere jeevan saathi, namak haram, paraya dhan, hare ram hare krishna), don't agree? check out the blog findingkishore(dot)blogspot(dot)ca.

  22. Was that the same Roy Venkatraman who played for a while with Atomic Forest? Left handed guitar player. I think he had a black Gibson guitar. Not sure if it was a Les Paul.

  23. This film actually had far less potholes in plot than most others. Vijay Anand is known for his tight scripting and even tighter direction. I'm glad you enjoyed this film. You really cannot watch this and still be 'too cool for Bollywood'. *grin* Yes, this one was really one of Shammi's best.

  24. I don't quite see it as a 'tragedy', I'm afraid. Your mileage may vary.

  25. Ashwin Panemangalore1 April 2014 at 11:55

    Yes same guy

  26. Ashwin I've always been impressed with the tone that the Indian saxophone players got out
    of their instruments. It is different from the western Jazz idiom of short phrases played
    in syncopated rhythms. People like Manohari Singh, Ram Singh, Shyamraj who played these
    western instruments were perhaps influenced by Indian shehnai/flute players who had their
    own way of playing, noticeably more Indian, more melodic, notes flowing into next. In the
    Western sense I've head only John Coltrane play like that and perhaps Yusuf Lateef.
    The approach to the note is different.. The tone that ManohariSingh gets in "Yehi woh jagah hai", or "Tumhen yaad hoga" , "Tere mere sapne ab ek rang"is very unique, it is penetrating yet soft.
    It has a tonal quality that I have rarely heard elsewhere from an alto saxophone.
    Manohari singh played both the flute and sax solos in "jaa re ud ja re panchi", in
    particular the saxophone solo that plays the counterpoint to Lata in the antara is
    beautifully fleshed out.

  27. This LP composition has a great saxophone piece by Manohari Singh. Pretty nifty runs in the prelude.


  28. Thanks for the information about Manohari's daughter but he had more than onedaughter, his eldest daughter who was my friend married a model I think. Oh yes I had the privilege of listening to Hazara Singh live on stage only it was so long ago that it is now a faint memory.

  29. Anu I am in a way compiling all I know in my blog. You know with this post on Manohari Singh, you have inspired me to do something similar, I am now planning to publish excerpts of my interview with Kamal Bose. people like Manohari Singh, Kamal Bose and their ilk get lost in all the star power, these are important people and it is so interesting to read about them and not just about the usual suspects--- you know what I mean.

  30. Ashwin Panemangalore1 April 2014 at 13:37

    Hey SSW you know your music Tone on the saxophone is a personal acquisition and determines one's identity Its fun to recognize different sax players purely by their tone You are right in your assessment about the Indian sax players In the jazz idiom the approach is harmonic playing across scales and in the vertical through chord progressions whereas the Indian approach is melodic on the horizontal with tonal inflections John Coltrane who started playing across scales ( modal) and composed his historic 'Giant Steps' and Yusef Lateef, both excelled in modal forms but when they were exposed to the nuances of Indian melodic expression in our classical music they adopted those techniques into their playing The demands of Indian film music were on melodic expressions so the flowing notes and the tone As for the counterpoint they produced, man, these guys were masters Its all a result of training and practising your scales so much it becomes pat There is so much counterpoint and fills in the music its like a fruit cake filled with the choicest of rains and nuts But having said that let me tell you that when Manohari played pure swing or modal jazz I have heard him adopt the jazz tone and approach completely He sounds very different in Indian film music As you would have read he also played western classical and Rabindra Sangeet So much for his versatility

  31. Thanks Ashwin. I've never heard Manohari Singh play straight jazz . I have heard from people who knew him that he was pretty versatile. On the subject of tone, I think the HFM music directors and arrangers were very influenced by Latin rhythms once they moved away from the big band sound. An interesting form of music that may have influenced the arrangers and performers came from Brazil. Before it became more cosmopolitan with jazz influences it had sounds that were more dependent on melody and counterpoint closer to our HFM. It was called Choros and perhaps the greatest choros composer of all was Pixinguinha. See the lyrical use of the flute and saxophone in his most famous composition Carnihoso..


    And this interpretation by Marisa Monte and Paulinho da viola more modern...it starts with a small footage of Pixinguinha himself playing with his band and da Viola and Monte speaking in Portuguese. It has a very nice chromatic progression.


  32. Shilpi, oh, do them. Label them differently, that is all. They *are* connected to your father's profession, so please do publish them. As you said, it *is* interesting to read about somebody other than just the lead actors, directors and music directors.

  33. Madhu, same here. :) But you notice SSW found it interesting. We should perhaps get these two to put together a session dissecting music. :) )

  34. Yes, I agree I find Vijay Anand 's films to be more coherent and less plot holey than a lot of other films and I always notice good, tight direction (and appreciate it). But I still found some holes in Teesri Manzil. Although it might have to do with the absolutely atrocious editing done to the film in order to get it onto the dvd. You think these dvd companies would get it together and actually make an attempt at trying to produce discs with the whole film on it... Oh well, I guess it's out of my control.

    And yes nobody can watch this and claim to be too cool for Bollywood lol.

  35. Ashwin Panemangalore1 April 2014 at 19:19

    Well this music has had its influence not only on HFM but also in jazz with Jobim being their greatest influence In HFM its been there since the mid 50s when Chic Chocolate was requisitioned by C Ramachandra for 'Albela' and by Madan Mohan for 'Bhai Bhai' Listen to 'Hai Dil mujhe bata de' and you see the prelude straight out of 'April in Portugal' The rhythmic influence of this music on HFM is huge with most arrangers adopting Latin rhythms in several compositions However this is the subject of another thread Re saxophone influence I wouldnt link that with Portuguese or latin music The saxophone players in HFMs came in through the western classical or jazz route and they adopted the latin sounds and rhythms along the way

  36. ut I still found some holes in Teesri Manzil.
    Oh, but that is the DVD distributors' version of Teesri Manzil; the original film didn't have that many plotholes. The rant about DVD makers has been going on and on in the blogosphere. I doubt they will listen. :(

  37. Anu and Ashwin…..I am thrilled to see an article on great people "behind the curtains". I have been following all the great music directors, their styles of composition closely for the last 50 years and more. Clearly, all of us of 'that generation' recognize that the music directors of the 'golden era' were obviously talented and creative. At the same time, we could not have enjoyed those melodies without the skillful work 'behind the curtain' of arrangers and musicians. As Manohari Singh rightly said, arrangers and musicians should be given more credit and recognized. I read somewhere that Kersi Lord was given a Dada Saheb Phalke award. Sebastian D'souza, The Lord family, Goody Servai, Louis Banks and all the greats like Manohari Singh deserve to be in the limelight as much as the great music directors. Composers are like architects and interior designers for a beautiful home and the arranger/assistant is the project manager who coordinates everything and translates ideas, concepts to reality. Imagine building a house by coordinating painters plumbers, tile layers, electricians. Whew….A mammoth and extremely demanding task, Creating, coordinating music is a huge task that demands immense skill and perseverance. Just imagine conceiving and writing notes for the dozens of instruments for the preludes, interludes, across multiple types of sections including rhythm, brass, wind, strings and more. RD Burman used to credit Basu and Manohari in the titles as Assistants. Kalyanji-Anandji went one step further and used to create a separate title card that used to run like this:

    Assistant: Babla

    Arrranged by : Jaikumar Prate

    Conducted by : Frank Fernand

    Gregory D Booth wrote a book about these greats in

    'Behind the Curtain: Making Music in Mumbai's Film Studios'

    Ashwin……would love to see more of your articles. Please visit my blog Evergreen Indian film music, where I showcase styles of composers, great songs and specific themes.

    Anu……Thanks for introducing Ashwin and hosting him. This is a wonderful new dimension to your delightful serving of virtual chai !!!!! I am eagerly looking forwarding to more such articles.

  38. Have you seen Geraftaar?

  39. Ugh! You had to remind me of that horror! Yes, I did watch it though I wish I hadn't.

  40. RBSaab, thank you so much. It's been my pleasure.

    I have read Gregory Booth's Behind the Curtains. It is a very interesting book, and very well researched. I think I quoted it a couple of times when I was writing about songs. I'll let Ashwin answer the rest of your comment. :)

  41. Jobim came later and was instrumental in jazz picking up samba and bossa nova influences. Choro dates back much further to the 1860s and 70s. Originally Choro was from what I have read and heard, a merging of polkas, mazurkas, waltzes with unique Afro Brazilian syncopation. Originally there was no saxophone in a choro ensemble, the solo instruments of choice were the flute and clarinet supported by the 7 string guitar (violao de sete chordas ) and the cavaquinho. It is said that the saxophone was brought into Choro bands after Pixinguihua band's (Os Oito Batutas) visit to Paris in the 1920s. One of the members of the band Donga is one of the composer's of the first recorded samba.

    One song that stands out for me as perhaps having a choro influence is "Yeh raat yeh chandni phir kahan" because the interplay between the muted trumpet (again interesting tone perhaps a harmon mute sounds like a very percussive oboe) and the orchestra and the counterpoint, that is very much what choro came to be known for.

    Anyway this is probably boring so sorry for cluttering.

    "Ae dil mujhe bata de" is very Fado influenced not surprising considering all the Goan musicians that were there.

    This is the actual Fado song (Coimbra) that "April in Portugal" was transcribed from. It doesn't have the Les Baxter prelude that was added originally for the mandolin.

    You can still hear the original melody in the mukhda of "Ae dil mujhe bata de". Sung by Amalia Rodrigues


  42. Was it that horrible?

  43. You're kidding me, right? It was ghastly!

  44. To be frank, I've not seen it!

  45. Ashwin Panemangalore2 April 2014 at 13:42

    Here is a video where Manohari Singh answers questions about how they went about creating the song once they were briefed by Pancham and the film setting was known This is from Gregory Booth's excellent book 'Behind the Curtain'

  46. Ashwin Panemangalore2 April 2014 at 13:52

    Here Manohari Singh describes how they went about creating the song once they were briefed on the film setting and the kind of song by the producer and Pancham These are from the excellent book 'Behind the Curtain' by Gregory Booth

    And here is the continuation


    Bhupi is Bhupinder Singh a talented guitarist and singer who later formed the ghazal duo of Bhupinder and Mitali

  47. Ashwin Panemangalore2 April 2014 at 14:14

    SSW hey you really know your Brazilian music and its rich history tracing back to Portugal I had a fleeting knoweldge of Villa Lobos After feeling pretty empty headed reading you comment I spent a couple of hours on choros and listened to several trakcs the music described by you and was suitably educated Also, now I know where 'April in Portugal' comes from thanks to your link on Amalia Rodrigues ( lovely) but this is the subject of another thread so I wont pontificate here The song 'Yeh Rat Yeh Chandni' was completely arranged by Anthony Gonsalves for S D Burman and there hangs another weave for a new story

  48. That is funny. I came to Choro through Villa Lobos and Sergio and Odair Assad ( I listen to a lot of classical guitar music) and I came to Villa Lobos through Salvador Dali.

  49. Thanks Anu for this feedback, I was actually in two minds but now no dithering I will go ahead with it.

  50. Do! I look forward to reading it, and I won't be the only one.

  51. Well, don't! Waste of time. Unless you like watching train wrecks happening in front of you. Poor Kamal - it was such a waste of his time and talent!

  52. N Venkataraman4 April 2014 at 10:40

    Anuji, Ashwin

    Thank you for this informative post. I was out of circulation for sometime due to compelling circumstances. After a long time I am coming out of my shell. Yesterday I completed an article, where I have mentioned
    that Manohari Singh learnt the nuances of playing the Key Flute from Francisco Casanova. Then I come to your blog and find this post on Manohari Singh! Frankly speaking I do not understand much of western
    music, but again I am not averse to it. For that matter I listen to and enjoy music with an open mind and ear. Thanks to both of you for this educative experience. The interaction between Ashwin and SSW was an added bonus. That gave me an opportunity to listen to some good music. Will be looking forward to your write-up on
    other arrangers and instrumentalists.

    Thanks once again

  53. Unga nermai enakku pudichrukku! (to say this inspite of being a diehard AB fan) :)

  54. God, I wanted to smack AB for doing that film. He looked so tired and I don't know if his Myasthenia Gravis had begun, but he was almost completely expressionless. :( Kamal, on the other hand, looked like a deer trapped in the headlights; he must probably have been thinking, 'What the hell am I doing in this film?!'

  55. I'm so glad to see you back, Mr Venkatraman. I was just telling my husband that I wondered how you were doing because I haven't seen you around for some time. I hope you and yours are dong well.

    I'm glad to have hosted Ashwin's article; all credit for it goes to him. Yes, the comments have been very educative. :)

  56. Oh, I seem to have missed this comment completely. I'm so sorry. Booth's book is a treasure trove of information about how some of the songs came to be. I did post Dattaram's talking about the making of Tere bina aag ye chandni in my post on Awara.

    I bought Booth's book after I posted this review, and so didn't have the link. Thank you for posting this link here.

  57. Great blog Anu, really enjoyed reading it, especially because some of Kishore's own songs (Aa chat ke tujhe, koi lauta de meri, jin raaton ki, panthi hoon mein etc) touch you in ways that you are completely at a loss for describing them.

    Just an interesting piece of information about woh shaam kuch ajeeb thi - and Gulzar's lyrics for that song. Not sure if that belongs in this blog or not. If you look at the first antara and the second antara, the lines are exactly the same but in different order, giving it a different meaning. And the way Kishore has sung it, really touches you.

    Thanks for the great effort - please keep it up.

  58. Thank you, Ranji, both for reading, and for the appreciative comments.

    That is an interesting tidbit about the lyrics of Woh shaam kuch ajeeb thi - I haven't heard it recently, but I will definitely do so, soon. And of course it belongs in this blog. Anything to do with music and films belongs here. :) And I love trivia anyway.


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