To be honest, I remember Madan Mohan more as a father than as a composer. He kept us far away from the recording studios. Perhaps because he was disillusioned by the music industry.
He was a very affectionate father, but strict. He wanted his children to have a normal childhood. He wouldn't allow my brothers or me to hang around the music sessions. But we did cheat a bit. On holidays, we'd insist that nothing would keep us from the recordings.
Today, I feel he craved much more appreciation than he actually got. I can't help feeling bitter about the frustrations that my father had to go through, hiding his hurt behind a smile.
Since I've been a part of the music business for 20 years myself, I find more and more people returning to Madan Mohan's music. In Meri Pasand, the TV programme which I produce featuring the favourite songs of celebrities, one of the seven songs is always a Madan Mohan composition. The invitees select the song of their own choice, and not because Madan Mohan was the producer's dad.
It has even become fashionable for music directors to associate themselves with the name of Madan Mohan. Whenever Khayyam or Naushad give an interview, they make it a point to mention his name. O.P.Nayyar has gone on record to state that the Lata Mangeshkar-Madan Mohan combination remains unparalled. For young composers like Jatin-Lalit, it's the in thing to say Madan Mohan was one of the greatest composers.
In Meri Awaz Suno, the participants often want to render Madan Mohan songs. And I wonder why people didn't express their appreciation when my father was alive. He would tell my mother that he didn't get his dues from the film industry. The biggest banners never came his way. All the hotshot stars and directors like Raj Kapoor and Dev Anand were his close friends... Raj Kapoor had offered him Satyam Shivam Sundaram. But I don't know what happened.
What I do know is that my father had an ego. Maybe that came in the way. Jaikishen had died and Mera Naam Joker had flopped. Raj Kapoor was making Bobby. After that, he wanted my father to do Satyam Shivam Sundaram. My father probably died before the deal could be finalised.
Raj Kapoor, Suraiya and my father were childhood friends. Suraiya and my father would sing together on All India Radio. My father would feel very hurt when his songs would become hits but the films would flop. If he had done better films with better film-makers, his compositions wouldn't have been underrated.
Today everyone loves his songs but they don't feature in any of the lists of the 50 musical movie hits of all time. Some of the best songs of my father were picturised on second-rung heroines. Like Woh bhooli dastaan on Anita Guha in Sanjog. Or on Priya Rajvansh, who was considered a bad actress. Though Chetan Anand was one of my father's best friends and loyal supporters, I don't think t