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  • Writer's pictureJawaradio

The unsung Madan Mohan's in 2000's Veer Zaara

Updated: Oct 23, 2021


Madan Mohan Kohli, born on 25th June 1924 largely addressed as “The Ghazal King” by his admirers. A renowned music composer who made us fall in love with his incredible compositions and songs. He has been one of the most melodious singers and top-notch music directors that the music industry has ever witnessed.

He was born on 25th June 1924 in Baghdad where his father Rai Chunilal was working as an accountant general with the Iraqi police forces. He refused to take any sort of assistance from his father and believed in striving to become a self-made man. His first steps into the world of music got him the opportunity to record ghazals, penned by Behzad Lucknawi. Then finally the time came when he got to sing a duet with Lata Mangeshkar in 1948. This was just the beginning for the talented artist to scale up the heights.


In 1950, Madan Mohan hit the silver screen as a Music Composer and dazzled everyone with his artistry. Over the time frame of 25 years, he composed music for almost 700 songs. Madan Mohan was best associated with his breathtaking gazals and classical songs. The duet of lata Ji and Madan Ji was cherished by everyone and became an indispensable part of the industry. The songs of films like Ankhein, Ada, Madhosh, Shabistan, Khubsarat, and many more still tune to our ears, while some were still finding their way to get recognition. This was so until his unsung compositions fell in the hands of Yash Chopra.


In 2003, it was another usual day, but for Yash Chopra, something productive was going in his Mind. He told Sanjeev Kholi, son of Madan Mohan Kholi and CEO of Yash Raj Films that after 6 years, he has decided to direct another film. He wished to have old songs and lyrics which had a cultural touch, that has now gone off track these days. He further told Sanjeev that despite having meetings with music composers, he couldn’t land up at a conclusion. To this, Sanjeev said that his father has left some unheard/unexploited dummy compositions. The idea was acceptable to Yash Chopra and Sanjeev was given the responsibility to observe as many old songs he could and play the selected ones to them.

With rigorous search and analysis of 3 month period, Sanjeev presented the 30 dummy tracks to Adi and Yash Chopra. Meanwhile, many thoughts were racing through his mind as to whether he is doing justice to his father or if there was a need to bring him in between. While Yash Chopra and Adi Chopra gave a nod to him and told him that they have found what they were looking for. Efforts were being done to make these old melodies sound to reach the younger audience. On the other hand, Madan Mohan’s admirers and fans were equally taken care of as they will not feel good if they found these songs too modish. A balance between the old and young generation was being worked out keeping in mind the soul of the song.

No doubt, it was a challenging task to systematize things in one direction. Engaging in an emotional journey for Sanjeev Kohli, he was ready to face any hurdle. Yash Ji stuck to lata Mangeshkar singing the female songs. It was about 30 years later that lata Ji was uniting with the tunes of Madan Mohan. A good time gap and the health issue of lata Ji made the task more challenging. But she was very positive about it and sang in her magical voice. As she proceeded with the recording part, she could recount their good old days of composing songs together.

The eminent singers Sonu Nigam, Udit Narayan, Roop Kumar Rathod, and Gurdas Mann were the chosen ones for the male voice. At one point in time, allegations were doing the rounds that Sanjeev Kohli is misleading people about his father’s tunes. This is when Yash Ji and Sanjeev decided to produce a CD-” Making Of The Music” in a way that the source could blend into the final song.

Sanjeev Kohli told “When the track Main Yahan Hoon, Yahan Hoon was recording, he felt as if his father is tuning in his melodious voice, which made his self-confidence boost even higher.

It took about a year to wind up the recording process. The songs received an overpowering response and created magic among all the music lovers.

Lata Ji said “I am filled with gratitude to associate with Madan Ji’s compositions after 30 years. Today when I am in a recording room I feel as if Madan Ji is standing right next to me. Those who love Madan Ji will be delighted to hear his melodies after a long time and he will come alive within us once more".

Yash Ji added “ The biggest challenge for us was to recreate that charm of Madan Ji in the present day scenario. And I will give the biggest credit to Sanjeev Kohli, who didn’t take this as normal work but as a mission with due diligence and austerity. Even today people get goosebumps after hearing Madan Ji and Lata Ji’s voice. The young generation can connect to his songs, the songs that have India’s melody and its basic roots. And I did not doubt that these songs will surely create divine among people.

Sanjeev Kohli finally got his dream fulfilled, “Veer Zara made every vision of mine come live at one blow. The top stars were the part of the film produced by India’s most successful and talented director Yash Chopra Ji. Madan Ji's songs were once again on the top of the charts. He was finally honored with back-to-back awards -IIFA, Bollywood Award, and Sangeet award -all by popular audience votes". He further concludes “I observed foreigners tuning to the melodies of Madan Mohan. I saw my father’s name on advertisement boards at Leicester Square and Broadway. When recalling all my hardships, I realize it is these hardships that made my dream come true even if it took 30 years. It was worth struggling."

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