Seventy years ago he was just like another school satta going boy but today he is the epitome of music. Be it a small segment of just five seconds or a solo of five minutes but the passion and pride with which this gentleman works and gives complete justice to his brass reed instrument with gradually widening tube popularly called as the “Saxophone” is absolutely mind blowing.
The senior most as well as renowned saxophonist in the Indian music industry he is none other than Manohari Singh nicknamed as “Manohari Da” or simply “Dada” who has been bestowed with the Dada Phalke Academy award for his invaluable contribution to cine music as well as O.P. Nayyar Award for his contribution to the Hindi film industry.
Born in Kolkata (March 08 1931) and continuing the legacy of his family of musicians he is known to have set golden standards as a musician, arranger and composer is a consummate master of his craft. What intrigues me is the fact what sets this octogenarian apart from the rest of the crowd with sparkling difference and brimming confidence?
If there were anything that is being controlled by passion for Manohari Singh then it would be his gold-plated saxophone bought from New York in 1969. He makes it certain that he keeps his gold-plated Saxophone away from the dust neat and clean to deliver his work with benchmark of quality.
In Mumbai Dada was invited in the Bombay Lab Studios for the first time to give background music. It was here that was introduced to other leading composers like S.D. Burman, R.D Burman, Laxmikant, Sumant Raj and many others. It was the song Tumhe Yaad Hoga Kabhi Hum Mile The from Satta Bazaar that made Dada become famous overnight. Dada also has an album titled ‘Sax Appeal’ to his credit, which contains the artistic expression of his saxophone. He also had the opportunity to work with Ashok Patki and give his contributions to Marathi Film Industry.
Manohari Singh is also the Mumbai film industry’s last surviving links with members of RD’s original band who played for the saxophonist and mandolin. One must admit that the real musicians behind film songs should be bought in the forefront and be perceptible. Musicians may be working from an area concealed from public view but they too need to be recognized for their work.
Growing popularity of stage shows in recent times has given more visibility and recognition to Dada. It’s not only the talent but the passion that makes him a legend. In spite of being up in age the passion and pride Dada takes in his work generates positive energy and is instrumental in captivating the heart of his music lovers.