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Master Sonik and ‘Dono Ne Kiya Tha Pyar Magar’ song – Birth anniversary special

On the accomplished music composer’s 94th birth anniversary, we revisit an old gem of a song from the forgotten film Mahua (1969).

Sonal Pandya

Manoharlal Sonik (aka Master Sonik), one half of the duo known as Sonik-Omi, was born on 26 November 1923 in Sialkot, Punjab (now in Pakistan). As a young boy, Manoharlal Sonik had an accident that left him blind, but that did not deter him from embarking on a career in music.

Dad’s fingers were always tapping a beat: Author Seema Sonik Alimchand

Sonik learnt Indian classical music from Pandit Amarnath (older brother of music composers Husnlal-Bhagatram) and came to Bombay in 1948 to join the film music scene. He worked with several top composers like SD Burman, Roshan, and Hemant Kumar and later became Madan Mohan's music arranger and chief assistant.

In the 1960s, he collaborated with his much younger nephew Omi and they became independent music composers with Dil Ne Phir Yaad Kiya (1966).

Manoharlal Sonik with Ameen Sayani
Photo: Seema Sonik Alimchand

They created several hits and compositions in films like Aabroo (1968), Sawan Bhadon (1970) and Dharma (1973), but here we look back at an old gem composed by the duo that requires revisiting.

Written by Qamar Jalalabadi, the mournful song ‘Dono Ne Kiya Tha Pyar Magar’ saw Mohammed Rafi at his absolute best. Though the film Mahua (1969), directed by Bibhuti Mitra, is not that well known today, the song remains unforgettable.

The film, starring Shiv Kumar and Anjana Mumtaz along with Dulari, Murad, Ulhas and Premnath, had a story that spanned lifetimes. Shiv Kumar and Anjana played lovers who are separated by ill circumstances.

The song ‘Dono Ne Kiya Tha Pyar Magar’ came just before Rafi’s downturn in the 1970s when the pairing of Kishore Kumar and Rajesh Khanna was on the rise. Sonik-Omi were amongst the few music composers who had recorded with Rafi before his death.

Master Sonik’s daughter Seema Sonik Alimchand says that the song is one of their best “though all songs of the film Mahua were super hits. Mohammed Rafi and Sonik-Omi were very close, especially due to the Punjabiyat of film music in those days. Both came from Pakistan. I remember biryani and meat ka aachar coming to our house from Rafi saheb’s home during Eid.”

She also spoke to Bhupinder Singh about the song and Sonik-Omi's music. Singh remembered that Master Sonik had a treasure trove of music knowledge contained within him. He also said Sonik devised a supreme violin piece, with 40 violins sliding at the same time, and inserted these pieces in many of his compositions. The musicians would get goosebumps when they played these in the studio.

Seema also interviewed Omi who told her that one of the lines from the song, ‘Maine tere liye re jag chhoda, tu mujhko chhod chali [I left the world for you, and you left me]' was translated from a Punjabi folk song. The duo altered the beginning of the song with inspiration from the folk tune. The rest of the song was composed by the duo in their Linking Road sitting room. 

Watch and listen to the song here: