An unparalleled music director, composer, and writer for three decades remembered still for the immortal ghazals he composed for Hindi films.  

Madan Mohan Kohli or popularly known as Madan Mohan was born on the 25th of June, 1924, to Rai Bahadur Chunilal in Bagdad, Madan Mohan spent the early years of his life in the Middle East. Later he moved to Mumbai with his father where he started performing children’s programs broadcast for All India Radio at the age of 11. While a brief stay in Lahore, Madan Mohan received some musical training but he was never formally trained in music. He later attended the Colonel Brown Cambridge School in Dehradun where he completed his training at the age of 17. 

After joining the army and serving in World War II, Madan Mohan returned home to Mumbai to pursue his career in music. Although it did not come easy for him, he joined All India Radio as a program assistant where he met some of the famous artists of the time like Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, Begum Akhtar, Faiyaz Khan, and so on. During this period, he also composed music and scores for All India Radio and also got to sing his first few Ghazals penned down by artists like Dewaan Sharar, and Behzad Lucknawi. Madan Mohan was quite fond of singing and so when he got transferred to All India Radio Delhi, he got to sing his first duet with Lata Mangeshkar. Although these songs never got released, in the meantime he kept working as a composer.  

His first break in the form of Mohammad Rafi in the film Aankhen also marked his long-lasting collaboration with the artist. He also collaborated with Lata Mangeshkar again for the film Adaa and that started his long-lasting collaboration and friendship with the singer.  

Madan Mohan has a gift of creating the most beautiful ghazals into compositions using only a few instruments. Though it is said that even though he was well-known for his immortal ghazals and the depth of feelings in his compositions, his orchestral would sweep people off their feet. Madan Mohan worked with all of the industry’s best artists like Lata Mangeshkar, Mohammed Rafi, Asha Bhosle, Talat Mahmood. He would compose music for actors like Dev Anand, Raj Kapoor, Kishore Kumar, amongst others. 

Some of his famous songs are; the ever-haunting Lag Jaa Gale, Jhumka Gira Re, Mera Saaya Sath Hoga, Tum Jo Mil Gaye Ho, Yeh Duniya Yeh Mehfil, Chod Kar Tere Pyaar Ka Daaman, Teri Aankhon Ke Siva, Aye Dil Mujhe Bata De, Main Teri Nazar Ka Suroor Hun, Do Dil Toote Do Dil Haare, Tum Bin Jeevan amongst others. 

Even though he worked with all the leading actors and artists, he found it difficult to find assignments as artists found his work difficult to master and also because the top actors of the time had a groove with their preferred composers and liked sticking with them. The constant work struggle took a toll on his life and he started drinking heavily. He succumbed to death due to liver cirrhosis on 14th July 1975. His lifelong friends lifted his body – Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra, Rajendra Kumar, and Rajesh Khanna. In 2004 his son used his unused melodies for the movie Veer-Zarra starring Shahrukh Khan and Preity Zinta and Lata Mangeshkar was invited to sing most of the melodies like old times. The album was critically acclaimed and he won IIFA awards 2005 for music direction for Veer-Zarra. 

On the occasion of his 97th birth anniversary, Saregama celebrates the life and works of this legendary composer and director. 

You can now stream and download all your favorite Madan Mohan songs on Saregama Carvaan. Saregama Carvaan is a portal audio player that comes with 5000 evergreen Hindi Songs that you can listen to any time anywhere without any ad breaks or internet connection. It also has other features like Bluetooth, USB, and AUX connectivity.