Letters from Readers
I don’t necessarily subscribe or endorse
the views and opinions expressed
in these letters -Shaji
Dear Shaji,

With reference to your article on Sri Sri.

As much as there are lots of fake gurus and your criticism is understandable. Are you trying to say that that even the elite people especially if you consider the ones from India are bunch of fools to be blindly following Art of Living? Have you bothered to even explore any aspect of AOL before criticizing?

I have not had any exposure to Sanskrit. I have experienced few gurus before this. Most Gurus have talked about practices but not one of them interpreted Vedas in a way that is practicable and that the modern world can relate to or in a way that can ease today's problems. The knowledge in Vedas was bookish to me till AOL came along. Most of the Gurus could not even tell the difference between religion and spiritual. The revered Mr. Osho, Oops!!! Looks like he went a step further from spiritual=>Religion=>To hang on, its got to be SEX baby! Not sure how true it is but the poor guy seems to have died of AIDS.
Anyway my humble suggestion is "Grab the meaning and not the word"
The choice is criticize everything or to focus all the energy towards something constructive.
On that note what positive contribution have you made to this world other than criticizing?

Good Luck

Dear Sathiya
Please don't live in the misconception that the fee you paid to attend the art of living course is a contribution you made to the world.
I don't criticize anything without knowing it well and the answers of all your queries are there in my article.
You are criticizing Osho in your letter. Do you know anything about his teachings?
Who told you that all his teachings are about sex?
He taught about the importance of valium and laughing gas too.
Charlatans in different wrappers. Wheather it Osho or Sri Sri.
I know Sanskrit and I know what Vedas and Upanishads teach about human life.
If Sri Sri is the only thing you understood so far, good for you and so be it.
Vijay Mallya may be able to teach you better about religion and spirits.
All the best
Hi Shaji

I was reading your article on R.K.Shekhar's film music compositions and read about Rev.Fr.G.T.Ooonukallil. I want to know whether you have the list of those devotional music albums by this priest. I know I cannot get those LPs now, but do you by any chance have or know somewhere we can get them. I am trying to gather some information on Christian devotional songs that were recorded and produced in the 60's and 70's and looking for ways to get digital copies of them.

Thank You
Dear Shaji
I saw you very first time in the book release of Charu. I am very delighted with your presence. And I am very impressed with your speech.
Hoping to see you again

Hello sir,
I have read your two new blog posts the Calcutta trip and Boney m and shared it with some of my friends; Salilda post helped me to learn a lot of things about the musi.
Boney M post is like a short story thriller, some of my friends said they are shocked,but I liked the first post very much for the excellent writing. Moreover again and again I am visiting your blog for the gripping narration.
With friendship
Dear Sir,
I am Ramkumar, doing my masters in social work in Chennai. I listened to your speech at Charu Niveditha's book release function. it was hilarious and thought provoking.
Now, my query is not about that but about music.
What is your opinion about Ilayaraja's music? I mean about his compositions and so.
I would like to know your opinion. Please reply

Ramkumar Sathurappan

Hi Ramkumar
Do read my article on Ilayraja in January 2010 Uyirmmai.
Also read this old article of mine on him.
Hi Shaji,

Enjoyed the article on Naushad and Madan Mohan.
However, calling Naushad mediocre...! Well, it is your right of course.
Not that Naushad was ever my favorite..
My personal favorite is Roshan, with Madan Mohan close behind.
Please visit a small thread where I have put up songs from some of these great men...


Dear Hari
Thanks for reading my articles.
Could you read the following articles too?
Geeta Dutt – A Forlorn Star
MANNA DEY – The Last Singer of an Era
The Magic of Salil Chowdhury

I admire your love for Talat Mehmood’s singing but when it comes to the composers; you are an extraordinarily broadminded person I think. Otherwise you would not have been able to consider Naushad, O P Nayyar, Anil Biwas and R D Burman in the same league of Madan Mohan, Roshan and Jaidev ji. I also request you to listen to the likes of Sajjad Hussain and Vasant Desai. There is no major place for Salil Chowdhury too in your list of favourites. Dada was way ahead than all the above said composers in terms of his instrumental arrangements. His melodies too are ever haunting. But you are mentioning things like ‘What if he has adapted - or lifted - Mozart Symphony 40 for this, it is still a fantastic song’.
Firstly this is not one of the greatest songs of dada.
Secondly the Mukhda of the song is an adaptation of the moto allegro portion of Mozart’s 40th symphony but with a totally different rhythm valuation.
The Antara is totally Indian which blends so well with the western Pallavi. Such adaptation could only be handled by a true genius.

When you use the word ‘lifted’ for this song you should remember that the composer in your legends list R D Burman is lifted maximum number of songs to Indian film music. His liftdome is so vast ranging from Scandinavian songs to Tamil film songs. To me Naushad is below mediocre and I have listed the reasons in the article. You may prove me wrong by giving the example of one great song by Naushad. Please don’t tell me ‘Man Tadpat Hari Darshan Ko’ or ‘Bhagwan’.
Anil Biswas too in the same league of him, I think.
Your dislike for LP is justified but not the Dosti songs. They are on par with, if not better than many of the celebrated Shankar Jaikishan songs.

As you mentioned these are purely my reflections.
Whatever our personal preferences are, let’s keep alive the great vintage music through our listening and discussions.

Hi Shaji,

Thanks for the reply. I do love a lot of these music directors, but mostly my personal favorite would be Roshan. Then Madan Mohan. And then maybe S.D.Burman, Hemant Kumar, Salil Chowdhri, O.P.Nayyar, Shankar Jaikishen, R.D.Burman, etc. I have liked the odd songs by Chitragupta too. Naushad is NOT one of my favorites, and definitely not Baiju Bawra! I like Man Tarpat Hari Darshan Ko Aaj, but again it is not a great song according to me. But of course there are some songs from Naushad that I really like.

And whatever said, I believe I have made my appreciation of Salilda pretty clear in my blog. I absolutely love the songs from many of his movies. For example, I believe our very own "Puthanvalakkaare Punnapparakkaarae..." is one of the best songs in Malayalam. And his songs from "Anand", and that lovely lovely Lata number from Bimal Roy's "Parakh", from "Poonam Ki Chaand", and the other song from Chhaya "Aankhon Mein Masti Sharaab Ki...", "Kai Baar Yun Bhi Dekha Hai..." from Rajnigandha, "Koi Hota Jisko Apna..." from "Mere Apne", the famous Yesudas's songs from "Anand Mahal" like "Ni Sa Ga Ma Pa Ni..." "Twamasi Mama Bhooshanam, Twamasi Mama...", " Raat Ne Kya Kya..." from "Ek Gaaon Ki Kahaani", "Tasveer Teri Dil Mein...", the list is endless!

Vasant Desai I consider a great director, specifically for two of my all time favorite Hindi songs, "Hum Ko Man Ki Shakti Dena", and "Nain So Nain Naahi Milaao". Along with "Guddi" and "Jhanak Jhanak..." I also like the songs from "Goonj Udtee Shehnaai" like "Jeevan Mein Piyaa Tera Saath Rahe...". But I have not listened to all that many songs by him, other than maybe also "Do Aankhen...".

Sajjad Hussain is not one of the composers that I have listened avidly to. Of course, if Talat's song from Sangdil "Yeh Hawa Yeh Raat Yeh Chaandini" is anything to go by, he must have been great. I have heard of his absolute dislike for Naushad, (I heard somewhere that he had a dog that he named Naushad... I do not remember if that was Sajjad Hussain or whether that was someone else) but then I believe he disliked a lot of others in the industry too, if I heard right.

But above all for me is Roshan, as I have mentioned in that thread. For his sheer ability to come up with one stunning melody after another..!

Anyway, unto each one his likes and dislikes, India is a free country.

By the way, I also listen to some Ghazal singers. Very few actually, my favorites are Ghulam Ali, Mehdi Hassan and Noor Jehan. I also like the husky voiced singing of Munni Begum somewhat, when she sings those "Mujhe Apne Shabd Pe Naaz Tha" kind of songs. Do you listen to Ghazals? Who are your favorites?

And what about Malayalam?

I have not yet read your other articles, but since they are about some of my own favorite singers like Geeta Dutt, Manna Dey etc, I definitely will.

Thanks again, and best regards,
Hari Sankar.

Dear Hari
Thanks a lot for the lengthy reply.
The question is not being in a free country but having a higher level of aesthetics in music appreciation.
As for your querry about Ghazal, do read my article
Mehdi Hassan; The God of Ghazals.
Best regards
Dear Mr. Shaji,
Hope you are doing fine.
I read your recent article in uyirmmai about john lennon which has come out in a very nice way. Jeyamohan's translation is very clear and reader friendly.
I watched some part of your interview in Doordhasan. The interviewer could have been extracted you much better,i feel. He asked very common questions.
Hope you might have read Charu's article in the same issue of Uyirmmai. He criticises that Jesudas always singing in monotonous way without expression. I agree with this point to some extent. I am in eager to know about your opinion in this matter as a critic.

Thanks for your time.

Suresh Kannan.
Dear sir,
Regards. First let me introduce myself. I'm S.Narayani. I'm a final year engineering student in Trichy.I recently had a great oppurtunity of readin your book "Sollil adangaatha isai". It was awesome. It inspired me to look at music(?!) from a different perspective. After reading your book i searched the web for the songs you've mentioned and listened to all of them. And the top one was GLOOMY SUNDAY. Thanks for introducing me to the variety of music around the world and giving me a new perspective to listening film songs.
I'm sure you've seen the tamil film SINDHU BHAIRAVI. There'll by my favourite lines in that film "Listening to music is a pleasure...sure but... discussing music is a unique pleasure."
This mail comes to say your way of discussing music and the themes you've chosen to write about inspired me a lot to listen to more of good music.
P.S: I think your book is the first of its kind :-) Hats off
Take Care
A Letter on Music and It's Religion

I am S. Sivanandan from Trichy. I work as a Trainer in an MBA institute. I am a regular reader of Uyirmmai. I buy it because of two people one is you and the other is Mr. Charu Niveditha. What I like about you is the wide range of subjects you deal with. I remember reading your write on Salil Chaudry, Manna Dey and also Madhubala if I am right. The way you deal with a subject from all the angles is worth noting down.

Your recent article on music system is enlightening. It was a very big shock for me. I am also a proud owner of all-in-one music system. Now I have second thoughts about it. Even though an M. Phil in English I am hearing "audiophile" for the first time.

I also happen to read your blog only today. An avid listener of Carnatic music I have my own reservation on your topic of "Music and religion". Why in the first place you want to pull away music from religion?

You have quoted "Jimi Hendrix" and I think you have contradicted it. Religion is not something that ascribes to worshiping a form, I think it is a way of life, it is a state of mind. The Tamil word "Samayam" just means "Pakkuva paduthal" and no way associated with Gods.

I think the decision of seeing God in Music and Music in Music is best left to the listeners and the musicians. Once Bombay Jayashriji in her experience said that she was singing "krishna Ni begana" . A listener was literally moved to tears and when the concert ended she come to Jayshriji and asked Hoe long she had an devotee of Krishna? For only a devotee can sing like that ?. Jayashriji replied that she was just concentrating on the rendition of song, the ragam and sruthi and nothing else.

My opinion is music in general in particular has been a vehicle to reach God. The same jayashriji has sung a Vednayagam pillai song, which has a christian tinge in nadanamkriya. When I was hearing it for the first time I thought it was a song on some hindu God later I realized that it was christian. Bur I throughly enjoyed it.
In fact I am drawn towards sufis only after listening to sufianas.
Music is beyond religion. There is no need to cleanse it away better let us leave to the listeners.

You should have heard of javalis and padams which are super erotic some are not sung in public performance, as said by some musicians. Thumris are erotic in nature and I believe they are the best form of expression.

Music is a vehicle; one boards it to reach one's destination. If one wants to take the spiritual route let them. The bus stops at all places.
Why don't you write an article on Music Director Jayachandran who I think is doing a good job.
It is because of you I have just signed in a blog on my own.
I never knew you have created ads. Some of them are my favourites the Alukkas ad.
Have you read Charu Niveditha’s review of Naan kadavul in Uriymai March issue? He was very acidic on Illayaraja’s music score. It was a review of his Music rather than the movie itself. What’s your view?
Never knew you have created ads. Some of them are my favourites the Alukkas ad.
It is because of you I have just signed in a blog on my own.
with regards,


Dear Mr. Sivanandan
Thanks for that interesting mail and thanks for being a regular reader of my writings.
Good to know that you read Uyirmmai regularly. Glad to hear that you like my writings alongside Charu’s. Charu is a good friend of mine who is writing for last 25 years. Where as, I started writing on a regular basis only in 2005. Charu is a very popular writer but I am no fan of his writings. I disagree with him in most of his stands. But no one can dispute the fact that Charu Nivedita is a fearless writer.
Though I write much about popular music my writings are not intended to be populist. As of now music is the only subject I write about. You are right when you said I have written about Salil Chowdhury and Manna Dey. But I have not written anything about the vintage actress Madhubala. As you know she was not a singer or musician but her smile was no less than pure music!
Glad you liked the article on Hi-Fi music systems. The reader response is very good on that article. The playback sound of music is one thing we all ignore. Hope more and more people understand the importance of listening music with quality sound. Visit
http://www.hifivision.com/ and you may end up in finding Audiophiles from Trichy, who will be able to guide you more on practical HI-FI home audio.

If you have read my article
Music and It's Religion carefully with an unbiased mind of a music lover, you must have found the answers for all your questions in that article itself. But you have ‘reservations’ and preset notions. Your reservations on my article are not as an avid Carnatic listener but as a religious person. Let me ask you a counter question. Why you want Carnatic classical to be always attached to the religion?
Carnatic classical is a great musical form but it never got its due in the global platform because of it’s overt religious leanings. It has ended up as the devotional music of one particular religion and failed to create an impact on the newer generations. So there is a need to explore the possibilities of creating a non religious area for Carnatic music to take it to the global listeners and to the forthcoming generations. Otherwise it will be extinct soon. All religions used and still using music as a propagation tool! All I am saying is don’t keep it totally for you and your religion but give it also to the wide secular world out there.

You fail to say how I have quoted Jimi Hendrix and contradicted. The very meaning of Jimi’s words is ‘I have music and I don’t need any other god or religion’. He was a secular musician who rejected religion and god in total and music was his way of life.
To my knowledge the word "Samayam" in Tamil means religion or time. You mean to say that when someone says ‘Saiva Samayam’ he means Saiva pakkuvap paduthal? Hard to believe! Samayam got no such meanings in any Tamil dictionaries or lexicons.

Ok. Let us assume that there is a meaning as pakkuvap paduthal. Do you mean to say that religion is doing that? More than 90 percent of the people of the world are believing in some or the other religion without any 'pakkuvam'! Are religions making believers good people? Religion is the root cause of most of the evil prevailing in this world. Do you know that more people got killed in religious atrocities than in wars?

You are saying that let people do what they want to do! If they are ignorant about something, let them be like that! If so, what is the need of learning and knowledge? What is the need of writers and philosophers in the society? That is not indeed the right way to look at things.
The taste for music is a natural instinct of man like any other emotion. It can never be cultivated. But religion is a totally cultivated add on which comes from your parents and from your society. So please don’t mix up something natural and something totally artificial.
There are more people in the world who moved to tears listening John Lennon’s Imagine than listening Bombay Jayshri’s ‘Krishna nee Begane Baaro’. It is just the raagam, sruthy and above all the expression in singing what moves the listener. Not the lyrics written on fictitious characters like Krishna or Rama or Jesus Christ.

You say you need a vehicle to reach god. Many others say god is there in every bit of you, or you yourself are god! There are only contradictions like this in the matters of god and religion. Why you need a vehicle reach god? If there is a god he will reach out to you.
For me Vednayagam pillai’s songs and Purandaradasa's krithis are all the same. Songs with devotional lyrics! I will hear only the Nadanamkriya in them. I will not bother about the lyrics.
You say you are getting drawned to Christianity or Sufism through devotional music but you refuse to get drawn to universal humanity through secular music. Universal humanity is without any barriers but gods and religions are proven to be the worst enemies of it.

Have you tried to understand the meaning of the Telugu lyrics of the Padhavarnam, Yentha Ninne (Khamas) or the Javali, Nee Matalu (Purvikalyani)? They may not be devotional in nature but based on religious situations and characters.
And about them being erotic and not sung in public performances, what is your take on the sheer pornographic temple sculptures of our country? Will you be able to take your children there! Sex and devotion to gods are the flip sides of the same coin! And for your information, all the Thumris are not erotic in nature.

For me music is not a vehicle or a bus to go anywhere. It won’t take me to any destination. Music is an emotion. It will make me at peace with myself and with others. When Religion divide people, Music unite people. No one got killed in the name of music but millions got killed in the name of superstitions like religion and god.

You mean M Jayachandran of Malayalam? He may be a knowledgeable musician but his compositions lack soul. Being knowledgeable and being creative are totally two different things. Many of his hits are rip offs of Baburaj and Devarajan songs. Will never be able to forgive him for the horrible remixes of Salil Chowdhury’s and M K Arjunan’s songs.

I agree with many points Charu Nivedita put forth in the Naan Kadavul review. I have worked in the creative of Naan kadavul, so I don’t want to comment on his criticisms on the film.

People who work in advertising are highly creative people but like the Bob Dylan song they are ‘complete unknowns’. Good to know that you liked the Alukkas Ad. It is created by Rajiv Menon. I have written the lyric lines of it.

Thanks and all the very best for your blog.
Best regards
Ramachandran Panchapagesan wrote to me earlier on Music and It's Religion
I wanted to write in detail disagreeing to most part of the article.
But to my surprise after reading the article couple more times and thinking on that,
I could see the point you are driving to and I had to agree with it.
Though, now my stand point has changed, I have my reservations with the statement.
( might have been made/appreciated by TMK).
This can be done only when it is not left entirely to religion and a proper appreciation of Carnatic music as a medium. As you might already know, there is only one way that an art form arises.
It could be out of the life and culture of a community.
If the life and culture of a community is tightly coupled with the so called religion (I call it way of life), the art forms that arise out of that would have its roots there.
Different genre of music also roots from the difference in culture.
Master used to say that Science without religion is Dangerous and Religion without science is useless. The same way I would say, Music without religion doesn't qualify to be an art.
When you move music out of a religion, it just becomes a technical piece.
And we should not be doing it too. More over, I don't really bother to categorize music to differentiate music on genres & types. After all, for me, music is an universal language that could be understood by one and all on this planet. Its just the silence that people long for and it is the one that is sought out. Any music that can create silence in me is just about perfect. Music creates a silence and takes us in proximity to emptiness. And we are scared of the huge emptiness it creates and we are reassuring ourselves by believing that there is "brahmam" or "god" after that. Just that it is a make belief and we should not be deconstructing it as it by itself is not any harm. The problem with the commercial singers/performers is that they want to increase their market. Religion is becoming a big barrier for them to sell it in many places. So they want to get rid of that. I trust music, though these people are really talented performers, should not be allowed to be tampered around, as per their wishes. People like you who are in to music should be making sure the real picture is painted always and not on commercial interests. I am not blessed with writing skills, to write out my thoughts on this. Some of the sentences might appear rude & raw.
It was not the intention.
I am sorry.
You might have gone through the article that I have attached,
but thought I would just share it with you.
Dear Mr.Ram
Thanks for the letter. Good to know that after repeated reading you could ascertain the focal point of the article. On most of the other points you give emphasis to, are already discussed in the article. As far Osho’s insights on music are concerned, I have disagreements with many of them. Will be adding a page on it soon here. Please read and let me know how wrong I am. Best regards
Harish Sivaramakrishnan, a singer and musician from Banglore writes.
Hi Shaji
Just happened to pass by your blog and I am extremely impressed by your entries and your understanding of music in general. Rarely do we come across such well thought about anecdotes focusing on serious music.
Your post on Madan Mohan echoes the very same sentiment I had, in a much superior way.
Keep up the good work.
Dear Harish
Thanks for reading my blogs and writing in.
Thank you very much for your appreciative comments.
Not only Madan Mohan but Roshan, Gulam Mohammad, Vasant Desai, Jaidev,
Sajjad Hussain and off course Salil Chowdhury were the true geniuses of Indian film music. But they all remained underrated during their life time.
True genius languished behind shadows while mediocrity ruled!
That is the absurdity of life!
Are you still a die hard fan of Hariharan?
I used to be one but I hate almost everything he has done after Kaash.
His stage shows too have become very upsetting and I have made my mind to stay away from them.
Hope you will be in touch.
Best Regards
Anita Iyer , a journalist writes
I was surfing for some Rahman stories and I came through your blog… Must say it was engrossed completely in some of the stories…
Interesting views on reality shows, Rahman’s music, Bob Marley’s short biography, piece on Madan Mohan, Salil Chowdhury etc. You even contribute for some newspapers but alas some of the pieces are in tamil and I cannot read them.
Being a guitarist myself, I like your pieces on music.
Looking forward to read more interesting stuff at your blog!
Parag Sankla, from http://www.geetadutt.com/ writes
Hi Shaji
Greetings of the day.
I happened to see your blog dedicated to playback singer Geeta Dutt ji.
It is an excellent piece of article and many thanks for posting it.
I am proud to let you know that I am involved with the first ever website
dedicated to the singer Geeta Dutt ji.
The website is http://www.geetadutt.com/ and was launched on 23rd November 2008.
Kindly visit the site and do let us know your feedback on the same.
I will be highly grateful if you can provide a link to the site on your blog.
Many thanks and warmest Regards
(On the behalf of all Geeta Dutt fans)
Madan Mohan’s son Sanjeev Kohli writes about the article
How to Evaluate Film Music? Madan Mohan and Naushad

Dear Shaji,
I thank you for your mail sending me the blog which you have written on my father.
I thank you for your appreciation of his work and you have indeed made lot of efforts to get as many details as possible.
I am sure your article would have sparked off some reactions. But there are so many views and opinions on such subjective issues.. I keep away from such controversies.
All were talented.. Some more...
All had a lifetime.. Some shorter, some longer...
All achieved... some in their lifetime.. Some beyond.
I am always proud that till today, as you rightly say, Madan ji is among the top 3 names always taken among composers by all aficionados and certainly by music enthusiasts.. Despite 75% of his songs not having yet been heard by many people as they faded in obscurity because of the films.
But yes, its the public that matters most and decides who they love most.. And what they like to hear
Well.. That’s fate!
You have my best wishes.
Dear Sanjeev
Thanks a lot for the words of encouragement.
I think the taste of public is driven and controlled by so many factors. When the best is not available for them (or not reaching them), they will get settled with whatever available. But no one can hold back or cover up genius for a long period. Madan ji’s music will always remain close to our hearts.
Like millions of his other ardent admirers, your father’s music stands for a lot to me and I am always doing my humble bit to relive his music.
I am eager to watch the video you made on Madan ji.
Will mail you again after watching the cd.
Best regards
Venkatesh from Muscat
writes about the article on Ilayaraja

Dear Shaji,

I was recommended to your site by writer Jeyamohan and started reading your informative articles.
Being an ardent fan of Ilayaraja, I hope you would very soon write (critically) in detail about Maestro's music.


Dear Mr Shaji,

Thanks a lot for the nice article on Ilayaraja in the Tamil section.
I would request you to write a technical analysis on his
songs, whenever time permits.

With best wishes,

Dear Mr.Venkatesh

The article on Ilayaraja was originally published in the Times of India Tamil Malar (2007).
There are many write ups already available with the technical analysis of his work like the ‘Classical Ilayaraja’. Moreover I am not competent enough to technically analyze music. All my articles are written from the perspective of an involved and discerning listener.
Thanks for your interest in my writings.
Keep visiting my blog and do write to me again.
Thanks and best regards
Lalitha Nair writes
Hi Shaji,
While youth are on the race of making a career and accumulating wealth,
it was a pleasant surprise to see your blog .
I personally felt your attempt to take bloggers for a "walk back" to time.
Best wishes.
Manoj Kabre from Bangalore writes on Music by Salil Chowdhury
I happened to see your site and was quite impressed with it,
specifically your write ups on Salil Chowdhury.
I am also an ardent listener of him and would like to share
more on this common subject of our interest.
Is there any website where we can download the songs of this great musician?
Do let me know
Manoj Kabre
Hi Manoj
Thanks for visiting and writing in.
Please keep visiting and commenting on the articles.
Check out
for Dada's songs
Surinder, a hardcore Madan Mohan enthusiast writes to Sanjeev Kohli

Shaji is doing commendable work and when you see him, please say my thanks.
1. His very first paragraph sums up what I have said all along. There is no mistaking about the genius of the Great Madan Mohan.
2. He also refers to Ghulam Mohammed and we have said, several times.
3. That Lata did not include SD Burman and Naushad is no surprise at least to me.
4. SD Burman & Naushad have rightfully and humbly stated that they have never did, as good work, as did the Great Madan Mohan in 2 songs of Anpadh.
5. Ego is a good thing. It is self recognition and a man as great, as the Great Madan, has every right to have an ego - that is HIS RIGHT.
6. Should you happen to meet Shaji over this invitation - please mention from my side not to use the word WAS in relation to the Great Madan Mohan. The Great One is alive and well and can be reached through me any time. Madan Mohan is, the God of Indian Music and God is always IS and never was. I have no more tears to shed over this the extreme superiority of the Great Madan Mohan, nor does the Great One require me to worry about Filmfare's lack of knowledge.

Once again, Sanjeev thanks and please express my gratitude to Shaji. Do wish him well.
– Surinder
Dear Shaji,
I do have a very special relationship with the Great Madan Mohan. This has been going on since about 1955, when I first heard his - Basti Basti Parbat Parbat - Mohd Rafi in Railway Platform. Something did happen at that moment. The next movie of HIS that I saw was Bhai Bhai in 1956. After these two movies, something kept telling me that I know Madan Mohan. The name never did come to me a new composer - I just knew him.

From then on, it was simply a question to get to know HIM better over the years.
I have a similar devotion for Lata Mangeshkar. For me, this lady is the ONLY singer and very few other singers do anything for me. Raj Kapoor, Lata Mangeshkar and Madan Mohan are the 3 individuals, who have brought perfection into my life. Both Lata & Raj Kapoor did get plenty of awards in their working lives; hence I am comfortable with their contribution and reciprocation from Filmfare etc. The Great Madan Mohan did not get his due.

About 1996, I had an LP record of Heer Ranjha in my hands. At the back of it there is a black & white picture of Lata : Chetan Anand and the Great Madan Mohan, in a light suit and spectacles with a heavy black frame. I saw a certain pain on his face - don’t ask me how - we have a connection, which is granted to me by the Great Madan Mohan. That pain of his and the frustration I saw, got into me and I never got over it. I would constantly think of HIM and the pain in me got worse, to a point, that all I would see in front of me is the Great Madan Mohan.

Short of going insane, I had to do something. By a stroke of luck, I found Sanjeev Kohli; I wrote to Sanjeev and he did respond very affectionately. This would be about 2001. Since then, Sanjeev and I have communicated regularly. The highlight of my communication with Sanjeev has been that Sanjeev granted me a personal meeting on Tuesday April 22 2008 in Bombay. We met the whole Kohli family. This was a landmark in my life in my worship towards the Great Madan Mohan.

I would admit that my pain has been a little less since I met the Kohli family. The ladies in the family, the Great One's Grandson only know about HIM, but the two brothers Sanjeev and Sameer are full of knowledge and it was sheer thrill to meet the Kohli family.

A little bit about me - I am a Punjabi, married to a Gujarti lady from Bombay. We have 3 children and two grandsons. As a young couple, we moved to London, England in 1962 and then to Canada in 1976, where we currently live. Getting to listen to Indian music in the Sixties and Seventies was hard and expensive. I met a true music lover Harshad Kotecha in London and he had a massive collection of 78 RPM records. I would borrow a few at a time and record them. One record in there was - Hame' Ho Gaya Tum se Pyar Bedardi Balma - Lata & the Great Madan Mohan - Madhosh.

So that, I can give you a deeper insight on what my viewpoint is, I do have to tell you how my worship started for Lata Mangeshkar :-
1. I was passing through a street in Jullunder at age 20 in 1958. On a street radio, I heard the song - Meri Veena Tum Bin Roye - Lata in Dekh Kabira Roya. This song is so perfect that both Lata and the Great Madan Mohan surpassed perfection and themselves.
2. Lata sang one song in the Movie Patanga - Jane Wale Toone Mere Dil Ki Dunia Loot Lee, music C. Ramchandra. This song got stuck in my head same as the 1st one.
3. Ghir Ghir Ke Ayi Badariya - Sajanwa Na Ja - Lata in Ek Thi Ladki - Music Vinod. It took me 34 years to find this song and find I did.
Lata is perfection and her association with the Great Madan Mohan brought the lady into a pattern that became past perfection. Now to the Great Madan Mohan :-
1. I rate Meri Veena Tum Bin Roye, as the best song ever made by anyone.
2. Tum Pyar Karo Ya Thukrao - Lata in Dekh Kabira Roya is No:2.
3. Then the Great One made music for the movie Samunder, about 1958 :-
Chain Nahine Aye, Kahan Dil Jaye - Lata
Aaja Kahin se aaja Dil Ka Karar Le Ke - Lata - This is not a song, but magic beyond magic.
Anything the Great One made from his very first movie - Ankhein - has always been a cut above everyone else - No questions in my mind.

Talat Mehmood has sung many a song in our Country. His best definitely is :-
Meri Yaad Main Tum Na Ansoo Bahana - The Great Madan Mohan used strings at the start of this song, which is sheer magic - Movie Madhosh.

Mukesh - While he has several good songs to his credit, his best has to be - Preet Laga Ke Main Ne Yeh Dhan Paya - The Great Madan Mohan used electric guitar in it superbly. Movie Ankhein.

I do have to state that Mohammed Rafi's best is Basti Basti Parbat Parbat - Railway Platform, followed by - Yeh Duniya, Yeh Mehfil - Great Madan Mohan created this in Heer Ranjha. Sameer, the Great One's younger son told me that his dad is very fond of this particular song in Heer Ranjha.

The Great Madan Mohan took out the best of an unknown singer - Meena Kapoor and created - Mori Ataria Pe Kaga Bole - Movie Ankhein.

Suraiya, I am told was great friends with the Great One. There is a superb song by her in the movie Khoobsoorat - In Chand Sitaro Se Poocho, created by the Great One.

There can be very little said about the PERFECTION, the Great Madan Mohan brought out in Lata Mangeshkar - Listen to the score of movie Chirag. There is a song in it - Bhor Hote Kaga Pukare Kahe Raam, Kon Pardesi Ayega More' Dham - Once again, this is magic created by the Great Madan Mohan and superbly presented on the screen by Aasha Parekh.

Aasha Bhosle had a live show in Calgary 1996, with Amit Kumar. Amit is another jewel, just like his father. Aasha mentioned that the Great Madan Mohan called her for an evening meal, inwhich he prepared Bhindi Mutton - His speciality and then introduced her to the song - Jhumka Gira Re in the movie Mera Saya. I do rate this song by Aasha Bhosle to be her best.

In 1958, the Great Madan Mohan provided music for the movie Adalat with Nargis. There is a song in there - Dupatta Mera Malmal Ka - Geeta Dutt and Aasha Bhosle - Total Magic created by the Great Madan Mohan. This song is the best of these two ladies, as was Geeta Dutt's - Ae Dil Mujhe Bata De - Bhai Bhai.
Aasha Bhosle has been known to have complained to the Great One that she did not get enough work through HIM. The Great Madan Mohan's reply was that her best to date was Jhoomka Gira Re and HE is the one who provided that opportunity to her.

With this, I have to state that the best of all major singers, as mentioned above was created by Madan Mohan. Even Kishore Kumar and Hemant Kumar, superb singers in their own rights, gave their very best in Zaroorat Hai & Le Le Dard Paraya respectively, under the direction of the Great Madan Mohan. Same goes for Manna Dey - Kaun Aaya Meri Man ke Dware - Dekh Kabira Roya.

God Bless you, Shaji and I am deeply honoured to have been given your time to contribute.

Surinder K Ahluwalia
Suresh Warrier, a classically trained singer comments on the article,

Dear Mr. Shaji,

I went thru the blog. It’s really interesting and informative. Congrats for compiling such a good page.
When you say Mehdi Hassan as the God of Ghazal, please do not forget Talat Mahmood, about who even Mehdi says the god of Ghazals. Once Mehdi in person told me a story that in his early days when he performed a few Talat numbers, apart from the remuneration for that night’s program, the audience just threw currency on to the stage and at the end of the show when the tips alone collected up to Rs. 16,000. This was sometime in early sixties at Karachi. An Indian ghazal singer is so famous in Karachi, after 15 years of partition.
It is so difficult to reproduce his music and that is why today’s young crowd does not know him much.
Suresh W.

Ps. I started listening to Mehdi Hassan when I was a school student and I went and met him when he came to Kottakkal for treatment a couple of years back.
Dear Mr. Suresh Warrier
Thanks for visiting my blog and writing to me.
This is an interesting piece of information about Mehadi saab and Talat.
Talat had a different voice and style which is very soulful indeed.
I love many of his songs but I don’t see him equal to Mehdi Hassan in Ghazals.
Best regards