Ten of my favourite Manna Dey songs

Prabodh Chandra Dey—better known as Manna Dey—turns 90 years old on May 1, 2009. A long innings, and though with too little recognition (in fact, far less than a talent like his deserves), a superb one. In my opinion, Manna Dey’s was one of the most beautiful male voices to have ever sung playback for Hindi cinema: warm, sensuous, and with a glorious smoothness, throaty and full of feeling, that’s unparalleled. Listen to him sing a qawwali, a raag, a rock-and-roll number—all with equal ease, panache and conviction, and it’s easy to become a fan. Happy birthday, Mr Dey; may you and your songs live long!

Prabodh Chandra Dey, aka Manna Dey

And now, on to the post itself: ten of my favourite Manna Dey songs, all from films I’ve seen. My favourites are grouped at the beginning of this list (the first half), but other than that, I’m not putting these in any order: each song is a gem as far as I’m concerned.

1. Ae mere pyaare watan (Kabuliwala, 1961) – Music: Salil Choudhary, lyrics: Prem Dhawan. My favourite patriotic song; it never fails to give me gooseflesh. The lyrics, evoking the much-loved memories of a faraway homeland, are poignant, but so is the immense feeling with which Manna Dey sings this song. The orchestral music, by the way, is very subtle and minimal: it’s Dey’s voice that provides most of the rhythm.

Balraj Sahni in Kabuliwala

2. Zindagi kaisi hai paheli haai (Anand, 1970) – Music: Salil Choudhary, lyrics: Yogesh. This, to my mind, is one of Hindi cinema’s loveliest songs—in more ways than one. Salil Choudhary’s music, soaring and beautiful, is matched by the picturisation: the balloons lifting into a blue, blue sky; Rajesh Khanna, ebullient though doomed, striding down the beach, sandals in hand—and Manna Dey’s voice. He captures the lyrics and the mood of the song brilliantly, in a voice superficially (even triumphantly) cheerful, but with sad depths. Superb.

Rajesh Khanna in Anand

3. Poochho na kaise maine rain bitaayi (Meri Surat Teri Aankhen, 1963) – Music: S D Burman, lyrics: Shailendra. I’m not a fan of classical music, but this song is awesome. It’s based on the morning raag ahir bhairav, and S D Burman derived it from a Nazrul geet. What makes it special is the controlled yet emotional way in which Manna Dey sings it—you can hear the trained classical singer, and you can feel the anguish of a man rejected by the world simply because of his looks.

Ashok Kumar in Meri Surat Teri Aankhen

4. O meri mynah tu maan le mera kehna (Pyaar Kiye Jaa, 1966) – (with Usha Mangeshkar) Music: Laxmikant-Pyarelal, lyrics: Rajinder Krishan. Though Manna Dey’s most frequently cited `Western’ song is Aao twist karein (Bhoot Bangla, 1965), I prefer O meri mynah. This is a peppy, completely madcap song—all the way from the loony lyrics to the dancing by Mehmood and Mumtaz—and Manna Dey, teamed with Usha Mangeshkar, pulls it off perfectly. A delightful example of the man’s versatility.

Mumtaz and Mehmood in Pyaar Kiye Jaa

5. Kaun aaya mere mann ke dwaare (Dekh Kabira Roya, 1957) – Music: Madan Mohan, lyrics: Rajinder Krishan. Anoop Kumar plays the role of a classical singer in Dekh Kabira Roya (incidentally, one of my favourite comedies of the 50’s and 60’s)—and in this song, Manna Dey sings playback for a song that has a classical feel to it. It’s a beautifully lilting tune, sung with all the exuberance and pure joy of first love.

Anoop Kumar in Dekh Kabira Roya

6. Kasme vaade pyaar wafa sab (Upkar, 1967) – Music: Kalyanji-Anandji, lyrics: Indeevar. If O meri mynah and Kaun aaya mere mann ke dwaare are Manna Dey at his brightest and bubbliest, Kasme vaade pyaar wafa sab exemplifies the depth of emotion Manna Dey could infuse in a lament of utter cynicism. In an interview, Manna Dey once said that this was his favourite of all the songs he sang for Kalyanji-Anandji. He also had a story to tell: the day after the song was recorded, he received a phone call from Lata Mangeshkar, who said that the song had moved her to tears. I can understand why.

Pran in Upkar

7. Dil ka haal sune dilwaala (Shree 420, 1955) – Music: Shankar-Jaikishan, lyrics: Shailendra. The folksy Manna Dey, in another song that’s somewhat cynical, but in a lighter vein: more anti-establishment than anything else. I love the rhythm of this tune, the cheery crescendos, the humorous punchlines (I can almost imagine Manna Dey rolling his eyes as he sings Yeh toh hai thaanedaar ka saala!), the easy fitting in with the picturisation. And who said only Mukesh could sing effectively for Raj Kapoor?

Raj Kapoor in Shree 420

8. Yeh raat bheegi-bheegi (Chori Chori, 1956) – (with Lata Mangeshkar) Music: Shankar-Jaikishan, lyrics: Hasrat Jaipuri. Another example of Manna Dey singing playback for Raj Kapoor, in a gloriously full-throated duet with Lata. Chori Chori had some excellent Manna Dey-Lata Mangeshkar songs, but I particularly like this one, with its hint of yearning, a desire for something that may be out of reach—but then maybe not. Very romantic.

Raj Kapoor in Chori Chori

9. Ae meri zohrajabeen tujhe maaloom nahin (Waqt, 1965) – Music: Rafi, lyrics: Sahir Ludhianvi. Romance of a more mature kind, in one of what Manna Dey lists as his own favourite songs. Ae meri zohrajabeen is one of those evergreen qawwalis (it was based on an Afghan song) that are absolutely unbeatable. And instead of being boisterous—as many qawwalis are wont to be—this one’s affectionate and playful. Manna Dey’s voice has a softly mellow and loving tone that makes this the perfect paean to a wife of many years!

Balraj Sahni in Waqt

10. Tu pyaar ka saagar hai (Seema, 1955) – Music: Shankar-Jaikishan, lyrics: Shailendra. I’ve always held that I’m not a bhajan freak; I like Allah tero naam, but that’s about it. For some odd reason that I haven’t been able to fathom, I’d forgotten about this one, another fabulous Manna Dey song. His voice has a smoothness, a quiet calm that reflects the lyrics effectively, praising the Almighty, and acknowledging mankind’s own dependence on a greater power.

Balraj Sahni in Seema


A friend of mine—an exceptionally witty young woman who has the depth, the character and the wisdom one wishes more Hindi film heroines of the 60’s would have been depicted with—is a die-hard Manna Dey fan. In fact, she admitted that she once had a crush on Manna Dey, all because of his gorgeous voice. Well, girl: count me in. After hearing so many of his songs over the past few days, I’m veering towards a crush myself.


69 thoughts on “Ten of my favourite Manna Dey songs

  1. Makes me miss my Manna Dey audio cassettes compiled in college. All the songs you’ve listed are toppers, completely haunting, seared into the memory of even one musically challenged like me.

    ‘Ae mere pyaare vatan’ can bring tears to my eyes, even now, only with the memory of that song, the pain of exile.

    I am a huge, huge fan.


  2. A great post!
    Thanks for reminding us that it is manna dey’s 90th birthday!
    I personally think it is Hindi film music’s (HFM) loss that it used so little of Manna Dey’s talent.
    I find his voice had more variety of subtleties than let us say Mukesh and his voice suited Raj Kapoor and also Dev Anand very well.
    I love all songs of Chori Chori! The producer (it is said) wanted Mukesh but Raj insisted on Manna. Mukesh was experimenting with acting that time.
    I missed the soulful, spiritual “laga chunari me daag” from Dil Hi To Hai. This song fascinated me even as a kid. Took me long to really understand the meaning. Raj plays the buffoon, which is totally unsuited for this great song.
    I also missed “Naa to Karavan ki Talash hai” from Barsat Ki Raat. It is a quintett, but Manna Dey opens the Qawalli with a tone, which puts the stamp on the whole song. It’s one of the few true qawallis in HFM. A beautiful, spiritual Qawalli. Only “Khwaja Mere Khawaja” from Jodha Akabr comes near.
    I also love his opening of “Ae Sakhi radhike banwari ho gayi” from Jurmana. Lata takes this song to greater heights, but manna sets the tone.
    One of my fav Manna-Asha duets is “Sanjh dhali” from kala Bazar. I think it is Manna Dey at his naughtiest-romantic best.
    I also like”Yaari Hai Iman Mera” from Zanjeer.
    Thank you for the list!


  3. I admit picking the top 10 from a mind blowing collection of songs that Manna Da has recorded over last 6-7 decades wouldn’t have come easy to you.

    Though it doesn’t feature here, I also love the song “tere naina talaash karein jisey” (Talaash, 1969). As always, Manna Da has rendered this song so effortlessly that the classical touch has got belittled to an extent where one would fall for the illusion that anyone (simply anyone!), can sing it equally well!

    I also recall the song “Gori Tori Painjaniya” from the film Mehbooba in one of his finest classical music based works in Hindi films. Hema Malini does equal visual justice to the song with her exquisite looks and graceful dance moves.

    Born with two left feet, one song that has often had me swaying around in my room behind closed doors in what I would call as my form of dancing, has been “Chham Chham baje re payaliya” from the film Jane Anjane.

    Hats off! Kudos! Long live Manna Da!


  4. Lovely! I love Manna Dey’s voice too. He sings one of my very favorite songs pictured on Dharmendra: “Abhi To Haath Mein Jaam” from Seeta Aur Geeta. So sweet—voice filled with longing, though “drunk”…and I think my favorite “western” song from him is “O My Darling” from Aakhri Khat (although I haven’t seen the film itself, it’s just a fabulous swingy song).

    Happy Birthday to the master!


  5. Thank you for the recommendations, all! From your suggestions, I’ve made my own list of Manna Dey songs I must listen to right now – some I don’t recall ever having heard, and some I’ve forgotten the beauty of. Thank you for reminding me!

    Banno: Yes, isn’t it a wonderful song? I find it arousing much more patriotic sentiment in me than Mere desh ki dharti… and Manna Dey’s voice is so evocative.

    harvey: I agree whole-heartedly that Manna Dey’s voice had more subtleties (and nuances, I think) than say, Mukesh. And I missed out a number of Manna Dey’s good songs simply because of my self-imposed rule of listing only songs from films I’d seen! ;-)… but thanks for reminding me of those – Na toh karvaan ki talaash hai is a particular favourite of mine (I personally accord it the distinction of being the best qawwali in the history of Bollywood!), but I’m saving it up for my top qawwalis post. Besides, I think the beauty of Na toh… is in its totality; even though Dey himself is superb, so are all the others. And yes, I love Saanjh dhali dil ki lagi! Now why didn’t I think of that?!

    freebie: Thank you for dropping by! Picking my 10 favourite Manna Dey songs was very difficult – and thank you also for suggesting those other ones. *off to listen to more Manna Dey*

    memsaab: O my Darling? Now that’s one I don’t recall ever having heard. Am going to find it right now. Thank you for the recommendations!


  6. What a lovely post! A very happy birthday to Mr. Dey and many thanks for all the wonderful songs. A couple of my favorites, in addition to quite a few mentioned above. One’s the ebullient “Chunari Sambhal Gori” from Baharon Ke Sapne. And the absolutely beautiful “Hansne Ki Chaah Ne Kitna Mujhe Rulaya Hai” from Aavishkar though it does make me feel dreadfully blue! His Bengali repertoire is pretty fantastic too of course.


  7. Thank you – and I love Chunri sambhaal gori: the entire feel of that song is so infectiously cheerful! Had to give it a miss, though, because I haven’t yet got around to seeing Baharon ke Sapne. It’s on my wishlist for a rental, but let’s see when it arrives. I’m looking forward to the film: such awesome music, and some of my favourite stars too!

    I must admit to having heard very little of Manna Dey’s Bengali songs. Any suggestions for must-hears?


  8. Very good compilation of his best songs – peppered with interesting trivia as well!

    My most favorite solo by Manna Dey is Poochho Na Kaise Maine rain beetayee… have been humming this song since last few days.

    I also like Tum Bin Jeevan and Bhor Aaye from Bawarchi. And how can you forget Hoke Majboor and Na To Karavan Ki Talash Hai…


  9. Sorry, I always forget your rule of only *self-imposed rule of listing only songs from films I’d seen!*
    Anyway I know how hard it is to make such a list. Mine were only comments not a critic! :-)
    but I’m really happy you reminded us of Manna Dey’s B’day!
    there is an article on rediff movies commomerating his b’day. Nothing spectacular but makes a good read.
    I also don’t know the song “Oh Darling”.
    in “Chunri sambahl” I think Lata has the finer melodies, but the song is great nevertheless.
    Agree with you totally on na to karvaan ki talash hai. Everybody has sung the song so well. My only complain is that some parts of the qawali are missing on you tube. The whole qawaali is longer.
    How about a review of “Barsaat ki Raat”?

    suhan: thanks for the link! *going off to see it*


  10. Yay for Manna Dey. 90 and still going strong! And the last of the great singers from the melodious decades in Hindi cinema.

    I loooooooove all the songs in your list. Ae mere pyaare watan never failed to bring on the water-works and the pain of exile – not even when I was very much living in watan! Was checking some of my favorite Manna Dey songs and I realised that the best ones are mostly for Raj Kapoor! :-( OK. Got to give RK some credit for recognising a brilliant voice.

    I’ve often wondered why he didnt get the credit due to a singer of his ilk. It may be something to do with his tremendous versatility – there is no recognisable Manna Dey style. You dont identify him with any particular way of singing or specific singing mannerism (like Kishore and his yodelling). So perhaps the very things that make him such a great singer also worked against him in the popularity stakes!


  11. Vishal: Thank you for stopping by! And yes, Poochho na kaise is utterly beautiful; I only wish I had a voice that could replicate even a millionth of the beauty that Manna Dey infused in that song. I love the Bawarchi songs too – and Na toh karvaan… is, as I mentioned to harvey, more a team effort, though I do think Manna Dey is in his element even there.

    Suhan: Thanks a billion! Am going to try and find these to listen to.

    harvey: I saw Barsaat ki Raat years ago when I was a kid, and still haven’t forgotten the absolutely mind-blowing music of that film. Have been trying to get hold of the DVD (seventymm, from whom I rent DVDs, has it but it’s obviously very popular – it’s not got around to me yet in 3 years of subscription!) Someday, soon, I hope I’ll get to see it again.

    bollyviewer: Yes, he did sing some wonderful songs for RK – Aaja sanam madhur chaandni mein hum is another of my favourites. One point in RK’s favour!
    Thanks for the link to Man Panchhi Albela: am off to read it! The latest India Today also has an article on Manna Dey, not loads of trivia, but plenty of praise for the maestro.


  12. Thanks much for the offer :). I have found it, and it’s superb: somewhat like Elvis, but with a lilt that’s very Manna Dey. Wonderfully peppy song, thanks a ton for introducing me to it!

    Here’s a somewhat abridged version of the India Today article on Manna Dey (from the last paragraph, it appears that he will be actually performing at a concert. Wow). For those who’re keen on old music, the same issue of India Today carries a review of a new book by Nasreen Munni Kabir, on Lata Mangeshkar. Sounds very interesting, and has some delightful trivia.


  13. My personal favorite is Tu hai mera Prem Devta from the movie Kalpana. It is a duet with Rafi and is absolutely captivating.

    2. Bhai bhanjana Vandana Sun Hamari from Basant Bahar.
    3. Dil Ki Girah Khol do – duet with lata Raat Aur Din
    4. Har taraf ab yahi afsane hain – Hindustan Ki Kasam
    5. Ketki Gulab juhi – a duet with some classical guru – amazing

    Not to miss the wonderful qawalli – Naa to Caravan ki talash hai.

    Oh yes ! the beautiful operatic song from Navarang – Tu Chuppi hai kahan.


  14. My self-imposed restriction of featuring only songs from films I’ve seen results in my not listing these! I haven’t seen Kalpana, Basant Bahar, Navrang or Hindustan ki Kasam: all on my must-see list, if only because of the music. But I have seen Raat aur Din and agree with you completely: Dil ki girah khol do is superb. In fact, I listed it as one of my favourite dance party songs – it’s beautifully sung, and I like the picturisation too: Nargis is so different from her usual self!

    And Na toh karvaan ki talaash hai is being hoarded up for when I do my favourite qawwalis post: it is awesome! Though, as I mentioned to harvey, I tend to think of it not as a Manna Dey showcase, but more as a combined effort. Everybody’s just perfect in that.


  15. hmm.. songs are meant to be heard. And so very often a good song is ruined by bad picturisation. Navrang – not be missed, absolutely not! Kalpana will be hard to find, it was made by Uday Shankar. Hindustan Ki Kasam has the delectable Raaj Kumar and lovely songs to commend it.

    I havent seen Basant Bahar or Barsaat Ki Raat, so I dont know, but the lovely songs and Madhubala are ample reasons for wishing.


  16. You must see Barsaat ki Raat: Madhubala is (of course!) beautiful, and so is Shyama, even though Bharat Bhushan (never one of my favourite actors) is a bit of a pain. But the songs are absolutely superb. The qawwalis are awesome, of course, but one of my all-time favourite songs from the film is Garjat barsat saawan aayo re. Sheer magic.

    Will look out for Navrang and Hindustan ki Kasam. I’m not a Raj Kumar fan, but will no doubt be able to bear him if the music’s good! ;-)


  17. Ditto my feelings about Bharat Bhushan :( Dont know how he bagged so many great movies.

    AhOh ! If you dont like Raj Kumar (not even the early non-jaani one???) you will have to settle for Priya Rajvansh in a double role in this fauji-battle-between-india-pakistan flick (HKK). The songs are heavenly.

    Garjat barsat is a classical song – no wonder it captivates. I hope Madhubala/Shyama dance to it. I will surely see Barsaat ki Raat.


  18. I liked Raj Kumar in Dil ek Mandir, but I don’t know if that counts – with competition like Rajinder Kumar (whom I can’t bear!), any sane woman would settle for even Raj Kumar! :-))

    Am putting Hindustan ki Kasam on my wishlist pronto. Anything with good songs and a bearable story are fine with me. And as long as Raj Kumar’s in his pre-jaani days, I can perhaps summon up some admiration for him!


  19. Thanks for putting together this lovely list; very difficult to pinpoint 10 best of anyone!

    Other songs that I like by him (not to criticise the list in anyway at all!)
    are “Chalat Musafir moh liyo re” from Teesri Kasam.

    Also enjoyed his “Na Mangu Sona Chandi” from the superhit Bobby, although it tends to get forgotten among all the other brilliant numbers of Shailendra, Lata and Chanchal.

    Hoke Majboor has to be the greatest cuartet (or perhaps there was never any other) in Hindi music

    and of course, all kudos to him for “losing” (albeit under pressure) to Kishore in “Ek Chatur Naar”.


  20. I had to (very reluctantly, I may add!) remove Ek chatur naar from my original draft of this list: it’s definitely a great song! I love Hoke majboor mujhe usne too: such a beautiful song, as is Chalat musafir moh liyo re – the latter has such a lovely folksy feel to it. But since I tried to make life easier for myself by not taking into consideration films I hadn’t seen (and I haven’t yet watched either Teesri Kasam or Haqeeqat), I couldn’t include them. I think I should start creating a draft of part 2 of this post in time of Mr Dey’s 91st birthday! :-)


  21. Very good compilation of his best songs and among them
    Zindagi …kaisi hai paheli, haaye is best in Anand.

    Original Music by
    Salil Choudhury

    Zindagi …kaisi hai paheli, haaye
    Kabhi to hansaaye kabhi ye rulaaye

    Kabhi dekho man nahi jaage peechhe peechhe sapno ke bhaage
    Ek din sapno ka raahi chalaa jaaye sapno ke aage kaha

    Jinhone sajaaye yaha mele sukh-dukh sang-sang jhele
    Wahi chunkar khaamoshi yu chali jaaye akele kaha


  22. Nice list. Agree that it is tough to pick a top ten from his vast and wonderful collection. Most of my favourites feature here. A few other great ones (again not to say the others are not great)

    1. Laaga Chunri mein daag – perhaps the best ever classical rendition
    2. Dharti Kahe Pukaar ke
    3. Nadiya chale chale re dhaara
    4. Chalat Musafir
    5. Sur na saje

    it is difficult to list down all of them…


  23. Ah, yes – lovely songs, all of these. I must admit to a particular liking for Laaga chunari mein daag and Nadiya chale chale re dhaara. I’d almost certainly have included those if it hadn’t been for my rule of including only songs from films that I’d seen! Maybe by next year… :-)
    Another of my favourites is one of his first hit songs, Upar gagan vishaal: it’s fabulous.


  24. Hi, This is Vinay here.,
    I am a member of hamaraforums.com,. Since last few weeks I am searching one song “Yeh Zameen Hamari hai from movie ” “Zameen Ke Taare (1960)”– Asha & Manna Dey, Music: S. Mohinder, I found it on HamaraForums.com after i post a request on it, But; When I click to download It says My upload ratio is almost 0.0%
    though I’v uploadedsome rare songs of C. Ramchandra with more than 50. mb.. But I cant see it in the post (May be I am doing some mistakes while uploading)
    Can you do me a favor, If you can get me that song for my Patriotic songs collection., I’ll be very thankfull to to you..– My email ID is: kvc333@gmail.com

    In future If u need any help.. I’ll be ready to do it,. Hope you can understand how much I need That Song..

    the song is there in Asha Bhosle-Post–>>




  25. Hi Vinay, sorry – can’t help you with this. I’ve never used hamarforums, so have no idea how it works. And I don’t remember having even heard this song, so don’t have access to it anyway. Sorry…


  26. without a doubt Manna da was one of the finest singers to have walked on the earth.he was a class act.he was incomparable.we love you dada.


  27. Thank you for that suggestion, Indu! I searched for it, but could only find what seems like a remix version.

    I was reminded of Manna Dey on a recent visit to Kolkata last week – we had lunch at a fabulous Bengali restaurant, Bhojohori Manna, and one of the owner-partners told us that the name of the restaurant is derived from a song of Manna Dey’s, about a cook called Bhojohori, who went from place to place looking for new recipes. Cute! – but I wish they’d play more Manna Dey songs as piped music. ;-)


  28. Mukesh could not sing in CHORI CHORI as he was bound by some contract for acting with a studio( production house)

    thanks we got such wonderful duets in chori chori with MANNA DEY

    grand father of hrithk roshan



  29. Wow, what a lovely list!!! Though we have only two songs in common I love all the other songs here. I don’t belive that I forgot > Ae mere pyaare watan and Zindagi kaisi i paheli !!!


  30. “the humorous punchlines (I can almost imagine Manna Dey rolling his eyes as he sings Yeh toh hai thaanedaar ka saala!)”

    thanks for reminding me that it’s time to watch Shree 420 again. Even when I first watched this and had to rely entirely on the subs this was one of my favourites from this outstanding soundtracks, and now I laugh everytime that line comes up.


  31. It’s a superb song! I really like the soundtrack of Shree 420 – except perhaps for Pyaar hua ikraar hua hai. My favourite by far is this one, though. And though I’m not a Raj Kapoor fan, this is one film that has a scene where I have to admit Raj Kapoor exhibits some very fine acting…


  32. The list could have been doubled, without a stretch. Show a song, which Manna Dey sung and listeners didn’t like? In fact, Mannadaa never tried to to be a part of rat race, those days. Music directors had genuine faith in his different type of voice, too. Daa and all leading music directors maintained a bond of honour & respect within professional as well as personal relationship. Whenever a song was offered to him to sing, Daa delivered the best, every time. May it have been … Lagaa chunrime … Kisne chilmanse maara hain … !!


  33. Redirected from your recent post on favorite Mahendra Kapoor songs, it was lovely going through this list. Fantastic! Almost all of my favorite Manna Dey songs are here starting with Aye mere pyare watan.Tu pyar ka saagar hai – I sing often when my spirits are down. It’s so uplifting, don’t you think? Manna Dey seems to suit Balraj Sahni very well judging from your list at least.


    • I’m so glad you liked these songs! :-) Manna Dey’s is one of my favourite male voices in Hindi playback – he is just so very good, not just as in technical expertise, but also in the emotion he brings to his songs. Perhaps that is why songs like Kasme vaade pyaar wafa, Ae mere pyaare watan and Tu pyaar ka saagar hai – all of which are heavy on emotion – are such a success. All so beautiful.

      Here’s a New Year present for you:


    • Dear Maniram I am also looking for 40 years for this songs. See my request of 24 juni 2011 on this site. Very difficult to find it. I am Radjin from Amsterdam (The Netherlands)


  34. None of the list include the immortal song ” Laga chunri mein daag”-One of the best songs of Hindi film music. I think it deserves a place,


    • “And now, on to the post itself: ten of my favourite Manna Dey songs, all from films I’ve seen….” (quote from my post, above).

      I haven’t seen Dil Hi Toh Hai (I think that’s the film from which that song is taken, right?), so. I guess it would have been on my list if I’d seen the film, but I still stand by my list. These songs are my favourite Manna Dey songs.


  35. I was surprised to see no one mentioned several of my favourite Manna Dey songs, some of which would figure in my top 10 and, I thought, should in any top 10. Later I noticed your qualification that you are restricting it to the films you have seen. If you do not consider my comments presumptuous, I thought this condition puts an unreasonable constraint, because many great songs you come across and become your integral part without ever seeing the film in which they feature. I also feel many of the great songs are available and familiar to all but the films may not be available. So please permit me to overstay the hospitality of your blog and put at least six of my Manna Dey favourites which I would have put if not in top 10, at least definitely in top 20.

    I may mention here my blog Songs of Yore , which you have so graciously included in your blogroll, is entirely devoted to songs of 1930s through 1960s. All the songs I refer to in my posts are deeply embedded inside me, but I would have seldom seen those movies.

    1. Kisne chilman se mara nazara mujhe from Baat Ek Raat Ki (1962), music SD Burman (picturised on Johnny Walker)

    2. Hato kahe ko jhoothi banao batiya from Manzil (1960), music SD Burman (picturised on Mehmood)

    3. Pyar ki aag mein tan badan jal gaya from Ziddi (1964), music SD Burman (picturied on Mehmood)

    4. Main tere pyar mein kya kya na bana dilwar with Geeta Dutt from Ziddi (picturised on Mehmood and Shobha Khote)

    5. Phool gendwa na maro from Dooj Ka Chand (1964), music Roshan (picturised on Aga)

    6. Albeli naar preetam dware from Main Shadi Karne Chala (1962), music Chitragupta (B grade movie, picturised on?)

    The significant thing about these songs you must have noticed is they are in pure classical style. For some odd reason they have been picturised in a comic setting but it is Manna Dey’s greatness that makes these songs all time classics.


  36. Thank you, AK. Yes, your list is wonderful – some lovely songs there.

    I don’t think my decision to restrict my list of favourites to songs from films I’ve seen is unreasonable – after all, the entire point of this being my blog is that I get to do on it what I want to do!

    Also, I am a firm believer in the fact that appreciation of anything is very relative – and that includes music. For instance, though I have seen a couple of the films from which you’ve listed Manna Dey songs, I do not think of those songs as Manna Dey’s best; I wouldn’t have put them on my list. I don’t think one could say that any song ‘should figure in any top 10’ – that would imply that everybody’s top 10 has to be the same!

    No, I don’t think so. But I do like discovering ‘new’ songs… and thank you for reminding me of some I had either never heard or had forgotten about.


  37. It seems I haven’t commented here. *shocked expression*

    But then all good songs have been mentioned.
    I’ve noticed that Manna Dey sang many songs for the comedian.

    Film Pati Patni 1966 has nearly all songs in the male voice sung by him. I had a tough time looking for one to put up here.
    So I chose this one.


      • Oh, delightful songs, both of them! :-) I remember having heard Allah jaane main hoon kaun long, long back – heard it again today after a long time. Thank you!

        Incidentally, another wonderful Manna Dey song, though not funny (even though it’s quite peppy) which I’ve come across recently is Chalat musaafir moh liya re pinjrewaali munia.


  38. Looking for Manna Dey song “Bada nahi insaan” from Raja Harischandra. This song has an emotional meaning for me when my parents died. For allmost 40 years I can not find this song for my collection.
    So maybe someone in this entire world can help me find this song.
    Regards and blessings


  39. i saw many songs on this site but i dint the romantic collectin over here i m 20+ just but i love old songd wat shud i do nad where would i get that romantic and love songs……….??


  40. Hello friends till now I’m looking daily for the song: Bada nahi insan from Raja Harischandra. I think nobody in this entire world have this song. Well?? Let me know. I’m radio announcer in Amsterdam so for my program I need it very very badly. Regards


  41. I would add “Laga Chunri Me Daag” and “Sur Na Saje” – the latter from “Basant Bahar”. His duets with Lata are fabulous, not to mention two great ones with Kishore – “Yeh Dosti” from Sholay and “Ek Chatur Naar” from Padosan. Apparently for the latter Manna Dey had to rehearse to be a counterpoint to the maverick and unpredictable Kishore (or that’s the story) but they pulled of a great number.


    • I didn’t know that anecdote about Ek chatur naar. Interesing! :-)

      Agree completely regarding Laaga chunari mein daag – that’s a beautiful song, would certainly have been on this list if I’d seen the film.

      Another song, a duet, of Manna Dey’s that I like a lot is this one from Zindagi aur Khwab, Na jaane kahaan hum the:


  42. lovely post.

    Manna dey is very versatile and the your list is a proof of it. there are some more peppy gems like 1) jodi humari from aulad, – his different version of ‘hum to hai angreezi’ throughout the song is just great. 2) are kisne chilman se maara (baat ek raat ki), 3) umad ghumad kar (do ankhen barah haat).

    Also one more great song, “ek samay par do barsaat” (jhoola). you can really feel that the whole world is crying when he sings ‘charo aur hai jal-thal’ and not to forget his poignant number ‘mitwa’ (uspaar). One more mention worthy is “jaa tose nahin bolu” (parivaar) based on raag Hamsadhwani although out-an-out a lata’s song, the opening verse by manna is just a perfect foil before lata takes over.
    Well I can go on about Manna for ages.


  43. Thank you or the appreciation, Nalini! Of the songs you’ve listed, I especially like Umad-ghumadkar aayi re ghata – that’s a fabulous song. I really like it a lot. I must admit I don’t know anything about classical music, so I can’t tell one raag from the other, but I know which songs I like – and offhand, I can’t think of any Manna Dey songs i don’t like!


  44. One Song played on the Screen by Mehmood :
    “Duniya Banane Wale, Sun Le meri Kahaani, Roye Meri Mohabbat, Dhhadke ………..Dhhadke Meri jawani……..Ni….
    Pyar Ki Aag mein Tan badan jal Gaya, Jane Phir Kyun Jalati hai Duniaya Mujhe, Pyar Ki Aag MeinTan badan jal Gaya……Pyar ki Aag MeinTaj Badan jal Gaya.

    This is from Film ‘Ziddi’

    What a Song… it is…..Full Compatability with Mehmood’s Style aas a Comedian, being shown as Love Lorn young man, lamanting with this Song.


  45. Another Song I wish to praise is this one:

    Jodi hamari Jamega Kaise Jaani, Hum hai Angreji, Tum Ladki Hindustani……..

    Typical Mehmood’s Comedi could be displayed with excellent matching voice and singing style of Manna Day Sahab.

    I salue both, Mehmood and also Manna Day Sahab.

    There are two more Songs which must be taken note by every fan of Manna Dey Sahab.

    Film : Mashal. Song composed by kavi Pradeepji, Music is given by S.D. Barman.

    Upar Gagan Vishal Re Niche Gehra patal, Bichmein Dharti Wah Mere Malik Tune Kiya Kamal , Tune Kiya Kamal , Tune Kiya Kamal.

    It is a sincere Prayer and Prise of the Lord.

    Further, One more Song: Film : Chanda Aur Bijli,

    Kaalka Pahiya Ghoome re Bhaiya, Laakh Tarah Insan Chale, Leke Chare barat .

    In this Song the Lyricist has shown the fact that Destiny is something which is unimaginable. Janak Ki Beti Avadh Ki Rani adn Bal krishna Kanhaiya also had to accept this fact.

    I salute Manna Dey Sahab


    • I especially like the first two songs you mentioned – Jodi hamaari banega kaise jaani, and Upar gagan vishaal. Incidentally, there is a rumour that even the music for that song was by Kavi Pradeep, and not by Burman. I don’t know, but it’s a fabulous song.


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