Legend Madan Mohan’s Untold Tales - Part II

In our last issue we read how young Madan Mohan had a penchant for music. This obsession for music concreted further when Madan’s family for a brief spell moved from Iraq to Chakwal, a small village in Pakistan, where Madan was exposed to the fine nuance of music through his grandfather Hakim Yograj and his younger brother, Prakash who discussed in detail about music compositions such as ragas and taals. Further Madan’s mother was a poet and an ardent lover of music. All these had a mystical effect on the young Madan and by the age of seven Madan began singing bhajans and kirtans at religious gatherings and community functions. Soon he began to be regarded as a singing prodigy. 

Listen to Madan Mohan Songs on Raaga.com

Since Chakwal did not had good educational facilities Madan’s father moved to Mumbai and became a partner at Bombay Talkies with Himanshu Rai and Devika Rani its owners. 

To quench Madan’s thirst for music his father brought him a radio and within days young Madan was adept at tuning the radio. He would listen to songs with utmost attention and at a tender age was able to grasp ragas and taals, however, complicated and reproduce them with amazing skills. His talent for music was even appreciated by AIR (All India Radio) and he became a regular child singer at AIR. 

Listen to Madan Mohan Songs on Raaga.com

On one hand Madan excelled in music; on the other hand he was doing brilliantly at studies too. He completed his Senior Cambridge Examination from Bombay's St. Mary's High School and wished to plunge into films but his father had other plans. He wished Madan to join Army and serve the nation. Hence Madan was given admission in Colonel Brown's Military High School, Dehradun much against his wishes. Being an obedient son, Madan completed his training in military and joined army in 1943 and was stationed in Bangalore for nearly two years.

Madan was just 19 years when he joined army. As he was an avid lover of music and a good singer, hence he soon became popular among the army mess and entertained jawans by not just singing popular movie songs but used to even organize musical programme to entertain the jawans, who applauded and danced to his music, thus forgetting their woes and pains. 

Madan Mohan’s stint in army was brief as soon after World War II ended in 1945, Madan Mohan quit Army and joined A.I.R. as programme assistant at the Lucknow broadcasting station. Thus giving shape to his dream to become a music director one day. 

NOTE: In our next issue read Madan Mohan’s journey from A.I.R. to Bollywood.