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When Kishore Protested and SD Burman Persisted: The Making of Dukhi Man Mere

October 13, 2016 | By

SD Burman knew which voice to use for a particular composition. In a backstage meeting Manna Dey had recalled how Kishore Kumar was made to sing Dukhi man mere by SD Burman. Peeyush Sharma remembers Kishore Kumar on his death anniversary with an anecdote about how Dada Burman’s insistence made Kishore agree to sing what has now become an evergreen hit.

Manna Dey, Madan Mohan and SD Burman

Madan Mohan and Manna Dey had assisted S.D.Burman at the beginning of their careers

It was in 1974, at the backstage of the Calcutta Information Centre auditorium that I first spoke to the legendary singer Manna Dey. That happened to be the first of seven more opportunities I had to speak to him on different occasions till 2006. And in all those years I was part of the audience in 24 of his stage shows.

But memories of that first meeting have stayed with me, especially the golden anecdotes he shared. The meeting happened as I was acquainted with a senior member of the program committee of the local Maddox Square area in South Calcutta who knew Manna Dey. He took me along for the event at the CIC and then backstage to meet the celebrity singer in person. I had seen two Manna Dey shows prior to this and was familiar with his ways on stage.

However, on a conversation regarding his early days in Bombay and then on S D Burman whom he had assisted for quite some time, Manna Dey got into the mood to share an incident he had been witness to.

In Manna Dey’s own words (we spoke in Bangla and I have translated it for my readers):

“I was at that point of time getting busy as a singer and also had a couple of films in hand as a music director. You know, earlier I was assistant to Sachin da but since I got busy I could not give him much time. Also, he had Jaidev and Suhrid Kar and also Dutta, as his assistants.

Kishore Kumar with Asha Bhonsle, SD Burman and Vijay Anand

Kishore Kumar with Asha Bhonsle, SD Burman and Vijay Anand (Pic courtesy: Hamara Photos)

One day I went to his house looking for Asha Bhosle, she was rehearsing there with Kishore for a Burman song. I needed her in one of my films.

The atmosphere was charged. Some discussion had taken place. The brothers Chetan Anand and Dev Anand were there. Sachin da was looking upset about something. Well, it was that Sachin da just composed the song, Dukhi man mere, sun mere kehna (sings the first two lines), and wanted Kishore to sing it. But Kishore kept getting nervous, insisting he could not do it. Chetan suggested, let us get Talat. It is a Talat song. Sachin da got more upset. Kishore and only Kishore will sing it, he had decided.

In this commotion, I landed there. Kishore immediately jumped up. ‘Manna da, save me, it is your kind of song, you please sing it, I can never do it.’ Sachin da scolded him, ‘Don’t involve Manna, you will have to sing it.’

I requested to Sachin da to sing the entire song to me. Ah, what an experience it was to listen to him sing. No one could ever match that range, mood and effect. It still rings in my ears. Every time I’ve heard him, I’ve had something new to learn. Well, once over, Kishore asked, ‘Tell me Manna da, can I ever sing it?’ But, Sachin da was Sachin da, absolute genius. He knew how to get the best from any singer and which voice to use for a particular composition. And see, how beautifully Kishore has sung it. Now it seems no one other than Kishore could have sung it.”

Dukhi man mere, sun mera kehna (Funtoosh, 1956) SD Burman / Sahir Ludhianvi / Kishore Kumar

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When Kishore Protested and SD Burman Persisted: The Making of Dukhi Man Mere – By Peeyush Sharma

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6 thoughts on “When Kishore Protested and SD Burman Persisted: The Making of Dukhi Man Mere

  • Sangeeta Gupta

    I have always believed that the composer and creator knows best and in this piece by Peeyushji has strengthened my belief over again and that too with the great Sachinda to prove the loint.

  • Moti Lalwani

    What an anecdote about Burman Dada and his protege Kishore. I still remember the first time that I heard that song in the just released film ‘Funtoosh’ (1956), we friends were surprised beyond our imagination at Kishore singing a sad song! We couldn’t believe it! Kishore’s voice was full of pathos, but we were used to Dev lip syncing fun songs and romantic songs by Kishore.

    This is what Kishore has said to Ameen Sayani in his interview on Burman Dada’s death: “Aur phir aayi Funtoosh (1956). Funtoosh mein bahut dukh bharaa gaana tha..Sab kehne lage ‘Yeh naya laDkaa Kishore, yeh gaana gaa naheen sakegaa’. Sachin-da aD gaye, ‘Gaana Kishore hi gaayegaa, main gaana usi se gawaayunga’. Phir kya tha, maine gaaya, aur us geet se Sachin-da mere jeevan ka ek hissa ban gaye. Us geet se unmein aur mujhmein woh naata juDaa jise na doori toD paayi hai na maut.”

    Peeyush bhai, a great post deserving ‘Nobel Prize’ if there was one in this category.

  • Peeyush Sharma

    Thanks Sangeeta ji. Even Hemant Kumar shared the same thought that the music director knows who will best voice a particular composition.

    Moti Bhai, the appreciation from knowledgeable readers is my prize.

    Thanks Deepa for appreciating.

    Bharat, I remember Manna Dey mentioning that he was looking for Asha for Gauri Puja, a Desai production, that he came to know was at SDB’s house rehearsing, so he went to fetch her.

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