‘For me, he was the king of music’
Oct 24 2013 , Mumbai
Since then I have had the privilege of working with Manna da in a number of films, including Mithun Chakraborty-starrers, Kismat and Suraksha. In one of the films Manna da and Kishore da were both there. Those were great and unforgettable experiences. He was a music maestro in every sense of the term and an outstanding singer. But I am lucky to have had known him personally from close quarters and believe me, he was a great human being with so much of humility and an incredible sense of humour.
Whenever I met him he would always make the atmosphere positive and vibrant. He never made me feel that I was meeting, or for that matter, directing a singer of Manna Dey’s quality and calibre. He was at equal ease and comfort with classical songs, comedy songs, climax songs, qawwali and even songs and in different languages. He used to sing them with elan, touching the hearts of millions of music lovers across the country. To me, he was not just an artist, but the king of music.
I know he was ageing and was not keeping well, but still it used to give all of us some comfort that Manna da was there. Recently, I had done a programme on a television channel, wishing and praying for his speedy recovery. I have no doubt whatsoever that as long as there will be melody, tune and rhythm, as long as people listen to music, no one can take Manna da away from us. In our “Jalsaghar” he will always be there as the most precious chandelier.