Sahitya Sangeet

Literature Is The Almighty & Music Is Meditation

Mirza Ghalib

Madan Mohan Kohli
(June 25, 1924,to July 14, 1975)

Madan Mohan completed his Senior Cambridge from St.Mary's Convent, Byculla, Mumbai.

At the age of 17, he joined Colonel Brown's Military High School at Dehradun. After completion of one year military training in the year 1943, he joined the Army as a Second Lieutenant and served there for two years.

After the end of World War II, he left the Army and returned to Mumbai to pursue his musical interests.

During his stay at Lahore, he learnt the basics of classical music from Shri Kartar Singh for a very short period. He did not receive any formal musical education since. In Bombay, at the age of 11 years, he started performing in children's programs broadcast by All India Radio.

But he really got into music when he joined All India Radio, Lucknow in the year 1946 as a Program Assistant.

His earliest influence in music was listening to Jaddanbai, and later he was very influenced by the vocal styles of Begum Akhtar and Barkat Ali Khan. His interaction with legendary classical vocalists and instrumentalists of the time helped him learn the nuances of music.

Unknowingly, he also started composing music for small programs, then broadcast on All India Radio.

In the year 1947, he was transferred to All India Radio, Delhi. He did not like the atmosphere there and resigned the job.

Madan Mohan was very fond of and excelled in singing.

In 1947, he got his first chance to record two ghazals penned by Behzad Lucknawi, Aane Laga Hai Koi Nazar Jalwa Gar Mujhe and Is Raaz Ko Duniya Jaanti Hai.

Soon after, in 1948 he recorded two more private ghazals penned by Deewan Sharar, Wo Aaye To Mahfil Mein Ithlaate Huye Aaye and Duniya Mujhe Kahti Hai Ke Main Tujhko Bhoolaa Doon.

In the year 1948, he got his first opportunity to sing a film duet Pinjare Mein Bulbul Bole, Mera Chhotasa Dil Dole with Lata Mangeshkar under the baton of renowned composer Ghulam Haider for the film Shaheed, though this song was never released or used in the film.

He assisted composer S.D. Burman in the film Do Bhai, and composer Shyam Sundar in Actress and Nirdosh (between 1948 and 1949).

The first time the name of Madan Mohan blazed across the silver screen was for the film Ankhen (1950). For the film Ankhen (1950). Mukesh sang Preet Lagaake Maine Ye Phal Paaya..

Over a musical span of 25 years Madan Mohan has composed music for 95 released Hindi films (648 songs), 12 shelved Hindi films (28 songs) and one documentary (one song) produced by Films Division.

Madan Mohan had a very striking personality and wanted to try his luck as an actor. His first film as a hero, Parda got shelved after completing almost eight to nine reels of shooting.

He is also credited with screen appearances in Shaheed (1948), Ansoo (1953) and Munimji (1954). But all his efforts to get a foothold as an actor failed.

He then decided to concentrate on music only. He was also very fond of body building. He had a robust physique and the looks of an athlete. He was also a sports enthusiast. A good boxer, an expert billiards' player, He also had an obsession for playing cricket. He once narrowly missed being selected for the State Ranji Trophy team. He was also fond of swimming and ball room dancing. In spite of consistently composing superlative melodies, Madan Mohan was deprived of any recognition or award of national importance.

Some prominent awards conferred on him are as under.

He received National Award as Best Music Director for the film Dastak (1970). Sur Singar Sansad's Swami Haridas Awards for two successive years for the songs Nainon Mein Badra Chhaaye (Mera Saya) and Maine Rang Lee Aaj Chunariya (Dulhan Ek Raat Ki).

The Andhra Pradesh Film Journalists Award for best music direction for the film Anpadh (1962).

The Uttar Pradesh Film Journalists Award for best music direction for Dil Ki Rahen (1973).


Posthumous Awards for his tunes used in Veer-Zaara (2004).


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