A melancholic vacuum has been created. A big loss!
One of Bollywood music’s biggest the stalwarts, Manna Dey, was battling illness for quite some time. And news of his death reached me while I am in Mumbai today. Manna Dey breathed his last in Bangalore.
Had his final rites been organised in Mumbai, I would have paid my last respect to him and only then returned to Delhi.
His death doesn’t mean the passing away of just a singer. For Indian music he was an era unto himself. His voice touched the soul directly. Even as Mohd. Rafi, Mukesh and Kishore Kumar were being celebrated by the music fraternity, Manna Dey not only made his presence felt but many musical geniuses acknowledged his brilliance.
Can the present generation, though, truly understand this legendary personality’s worth? The new generation cannot really comprehend the difference between having Manna Da among us and the void created by his death. Many might have even heard Manna Da’s name today for the first time, only when news of his death is making headlines on news channels.
For many, Manna Da could have been just a singer who lent his voice for the popular number ‘Yaari Hai Imaan Mera Yaar Meri Zindagi’ from the film ‘Zanjeer’.
But for me, Manna Dey is not just that, but a voice that expressed a variety of emotions and connected with the heart. A voice that could make you laugh, cry and wonder about the complexity of life. It’s not just me; people from the older generation know how magical Manna’s Dey voice was.
My favourite Manna Dey song- ‘Zindagi kaise hai paheli haaye...kabhi to hasaye...kabhi yeh rulaye, from the film ‘Anand’ easily interprets the meaning of life. When I saw the film directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee, I instantly liked it and this particular song kept resonating in my ears. Rajesh Khanna’s screen presence and Manna Dey’s voice mesmerised me. And today, both the legends are no more.
It is difficult for me to specify just one song. A number of songs sung by him are my favourites. ‘Laaga chunri mein daag’, ‘Tu pyaar ka sagar hai’, ‘Aye meri zohra jabeen’, ‘Yeh raat bheegi bheegi’, ‘Aaja sanam madhur chandni mein hum’, ‘Qasamein vaade pyaar wafa sab’. Each of his songs is a class apart. And, Harivansh Rai Bachchan’s ‘Madhushala’ rendered by Manna Da is evidently incomparable.
God gave a long life to Manna Dey. He lived a humble and a spotless life. He dedicated his life for music but never lent his voice for ‘Chalu’ or cheap music. Even until recently, Manna Da performed at various stage shows in order to connect with his admirers and spread love through his music.
I have no complaints against God, but it is impossible to forget Manna Dey.
Manna Dey please come back...come back and make your presence felt through a child’s voice, for there was a child in you, which sometimes flew a kite or played little pranks. You had said, “I wanted to grow old when I was a kid, because I felt I would get freedom when I grew up. But after growing up, I realised what I had lost.”
Manna Da... My eyes are moist and I have your song on my lips... ‘Zindagi kaise hai paheli haye’
(Sudhir Chaudhary is Editor and Business Head, Zee News.)