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When Madan Mohan sang ‘Naina Barse’ for Woh Kaun Thi?

The versatile music composer recorded the track as a stand-in for Lata Mangeshkar, who was unwell.

Sonal Pandya

The inimitable Madan Mohan scored the music of over 100 films in his 25 years as a composer. The year 1964 was his most successful; he composed eight different soundtracks, each one distinct. They ranged from the ghazal-heavy Gazal to the patriotic Haqeeqat to the super-hit Woh Kaun Thi?

Madan Mohan produced six songs for the mystery thriller directed by Raj Khosla. Three of those, sung by Lata Mangeshkar, were instant hits – ‘Lag jaa gale ke phir ye haseen raat ho na ho’, ‘Naina barase rhimjhim rhimjhim’ and ‘Jo humne daastaan apnee sunaae aap kyon roye?'

The inclusion of ‘Lag Jaa Gale’ and ‘Naina Barse’ were serendipitous to the soundtrack. ‘Lag Jaa Gale’ was initially rejected by Raj Khosla, but returned to the list once lead actor Manoj Kumar championed the song. The other, ‘Naina Barse’ has an interesting back story.

Not many are aware that the accomplished music composer also sang. Early on in his career, Madan Mohan sang several duets with Shamshad Begum, Mohammed Rafi and Kishore Kumar for Ankhen (1950), Shabistan (1951) and Fifty-Fifty (1956). When the shooting for Woh Kaun Thi? began in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, it did so without a recording of the song as we know it.

Lata Mangeshkar, who was under the weather, could not record the song in time. Madan Mohan then stepped up to the plate with his own rendition. The lead actress, Sadhana, mimed singing the song to his voice, not Mangeshkar’s!

Funnily enough, Madan Mohan had composed the tune 12 years earlier. When director Khosla presented the film’s scenario to him, he pressed the urgency of a haunting melody which would set the tone from the beginning of Woh Kaun Thi? Madan Mohan recalled his earlier composition and the formerly forgotten number remains one of his most beloved.

Listen to the alternate version of the song sung by Madan Mohan: http://gaana.com/song/madan-mohan-sings-naina-barse