Late legendary filmmaker Yash Chopra had used tunes that were over 28 years old for his 2004 release, Veer-Zaara, shared Sanjeev Kohli, son of the late celebrated composer Madan Mohan.
The film starring Shah Rukh Khan, Rani Mukerji and Preity Zinta was released 16 years ago on this day. The film, a Diwali 2004 release, went on to become a superhit.
Yash Chopra wanted an old-world score for the film, which was set 22 years earlier. He had sittings with various composers but felt it was not working. In a chance moment, Madan Mohan’s son Sanjeev Kohli mentioned that his late father had left behind some unused/rejected dummy compositions. Yash Chopra and his son Aditya Chopra heard them and immediately decided that Veer Zaara would have music by the late maestro.
“Veer-Zaara for me was the realisation of a dream that I could never believe would ever come true. When my father, the late composer Madan Mohan, passed away in 1975, he was only 51 years old. A lot of music was still to be created, a lot of tunes yet to be shared with the world, a lot yet to be achieved,” Kohli recounted in the book “Veer-Zaara, The Memoirs Of A Love Legend”.
Kohli added: “He was widely acknowledged as a great composer but big banners, films with big stars and popular awards always eluded him, and in fact this hurt him deeply. The tapes remained safely kept away, though, over the years, they were suffering damage and with technological developments, they would soon be obsolete.”
It was in 2003 that one day the filmmaker told Kohli that he decided to direct another film, one that needed old-world music that was away from western influences.
“Instinctively, I blurted that I had some old-world melodies on tape, now not heard for 28 years. He seemed excited at the idea and very surprised that I had never mentioned this before. His son, Aditya Chopra was scripting the new film. Adi was a man of today and needed commercially acceptable songs. There was no place for nostalgia and emotions here. Only Yashji and Adi knew what they needed. I didn’t.”
The song “Tere Liye” was based on a rejected tune for the song “Dil dhoondta hai” from the 1975 film, “Mausam”.
Javed Akhtar, who made his debut as a lyricist in Silsila, worked again with Yash Chopra over two decades later in this film. Legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar was 75 years old at the time, and she sang the songs as these tunes were originally composed by Madan Mohan decades ago, for her to sing.
Sanjeev Kohli said that the songs took a year to record and open up about how Yash Chopra was keen to have Lata Mangeshkar sing in the album.
“Yashji was clear that only Lataji would sing the female songs and that thrilled me because all Madanji tunes were made only for Lataji and it would have been incomplete if she did not sing them. But at the same time it concerned me. It would be so challenging for her to sing for Madanji again after 30 years.
“She was keeping indifferent health and people could be unfair in passing judgement on her. But she found an inner strength to sing as only she can.”
Kohli was excited when his father’s compositions received a great response.
“With ‘Veer Zaara’, every fantasy of mine came true in one stroke. Madanji’s tunes formed the soundtrack of one of India’s biggest and most successful films, created by India’s most successful producer and director, Yash Chopra. The top stars of today, Shahrukh Khan, Preity Zinta, and Rani Mukherji, formed the cast of this film.
“And what a coincidence that Amitabh Bachchan and Hema Malini danced to his tunes again and once again his songs were on the top of the charts for almost an entire year, and he finally won many popular awards,” Sanjeev Kohli stated.
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