Music composer Omi passes away

The veteran composer found fame in the 1960s along with his uncle, Master Sonik.

Sonal Pandya

Music composer Om Prakash Sharma passed away yesterday morning in Mumbai. He was 77.

Sharma, better known as 'Omi', had been admitted to a private hospital after complications caused by a fall. He suffered cardiac arrest on Wednesday night and never recovered.

Sharma had teamed up with his uncle, Master Sonik, and the duo, known as Sonik-Omi, composed several film albums in the 1960s.

Sharma was born in Sialkot, Pakistan, in 1939 and moved to India after Partition. He came to Mumbai with his uncle in 1950 and worked his way up from singing in the chorus to become an assistant to music composer Roshan on Barsaat Ki Raat (1960) and Taj Mahal (1963). Master Sonik, despite his disabilities, thrived as an arranger to Madan Mohan.

Sonik-Omi got their first break with Dil Ne Phir Yaad Kiya (1966), starring Dharmendra and Nutan. Their super-hit music featured popular numbers like ‘Aaja Re Pyar Pukaare’, ‘Main Suraj Hun Tu Meri Kiran’ along with the title track.

They are also remembered for their association with Mohammed Rafi with memorable tracks, ‘Har chehra yahaan chand hai har zarra sitaara’ from Aabroo (1968) and the qawwali ‘Raaz ki baat keh doon toh jaane mehfil mein phir kya ho’ from Dharma (1973).

Omi’s nephew Hitesh Sonik assisted Vishal Bhardwaj on several of his films and is the music composer of Pyaar Ka Punchnama (2011), My Friend Pinto (2011) and Stanley Ka Dabba (2011).

After Master Sonik died in 1993, Omi composed music only intermittently. His last soundtrack was for the Telugu film, Biwi No 2 (2000), starring Nagarjuna and Tabu.