Hindi film music composer Daan Singh passed away of liver
complications in Jaipur at the age of 78 on June 18, 2011.
He was like a fast-traversing, low intensity meteor that just showed
up and sped away very very quickly. You wonder why. During my several visits to Jaipur in the last two years, I did make the odd attempt to meet up with him (courtesy fellow music aficionado Kushal Gopalka), but no meeting happened, either because once he wouldn’t take any calls, next time, they said he was out of station, and the last time, he was quite unwell, so in no mood to meet or talk.
I would have loved to ask him about his meteoric passing through the Bollywood music skies, etc but now its too late. Now here was a man who descended upon the Bombay film music scene in 1964, the year meant for the release of his first music offering: Bhool Na Jaana. Sadly for him, the film was not released, and Bhool Na Jaana was forgotten. But he did make nice melodies in the film with Manna Dey going patriotic in Bahi hai jawaan khoon ki aaj dhaara..uttho zindagi sarzameen ne pukaara and Mukesh rendering the six-beat dadra, Pukaaro mujhe naam lekar pukaaro.. mujhe tumse apni khabar mil rahi hai. And Geeta Dutt doing the wonderful jhaptal-braided shehnai-laced, Mere humnasheen, mere humnavah, mere paas aa mujhe thaam le.
Came 1969, and the Aradhana onslaught drowned every other melody so there’s no chance that people would recall songs from a Helen-Dara Singh film called Toofan. However, Daan Singh’s music was appreciated enough to get him some attention. In this film went Mukesh and Asha, Humne to pyaar kiya, pyaar pyaar pyaar, and then there was the Asha gem Laaga mohe ab ki baar. Then next year (1970) Daan Singh gave some wonderful songs in My Love.
In My Love, Mukesh sang two super songs penned by Anand Bakshi: The ghazal Zikr hota hai jab qayaamat ka, tere jalwon ki baat hoti hai, as well as this one which was festooned with Manohari Singh’s saxophone, Woh tere pyaar ka gham, ik bahaana tha sanam.
And that’s it, Daan Singh’s career ended. And the mystery behind his quick departure remains unsolved. Till someone can throw some light on that, we can offer only a frail tribute to one more talented musician, who remained undiscovered by the majority of us.
Manek Premchand enjoyed a long stint as a celebrated music host at WorldSpace. He is also a well-known film historian and has penned two books, Yesterday’s Melodies, Today’s Memories, and Musical Moments from Hindi Films. He is currently writing his third book.