Manohari Singh

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Manohari Singh
Also known asManohariDa
Born(1931-03-08)March 8, 1931
Kolkata, Bengal Presidency, British India
OriginIndian Gorkha
Died13 July 2010(2010-07-13) (aged 79)
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
GenresDuo Composition, Classics
Occupation(s)Music director, Music arranger, saxophonist
InstrumentsAlto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Trumpet, Flute, Piccolo, Clarinet, Mandolin, Pan Flute, Harmonium, Bansuri, Recorder
Years active1942-2010

Manohari Singh (8 March 1931 – 13 July 2010) was an Indian music director, saxophonist and was the main arranger of seminal film composer R. D. Burman. He along worked with Basudeb Chakraborty as music composers, the duo also popularly known as Basu-Manohari.

Early life[edit]

Manohari Singh was born in a Nepalese family in Kolkata. His father and uncle used to play in brass bands. In 1942, he joined the brass band at Bata Shoe Company, Bata Nagar in Kolkata, under its Hungarian conductor Joseph Newman. When Newman left in 1945 to join HMV, Manohari followed. From classical music, he started playing Hindi and Bengali songs for the HMV orchestra, since Newman arranged music for many composers like Kamal Dasgupta, S D Burman, Timir Baran and Ravi Shankar. He also played flute and piccolo at the Calcutta Symphony Orchestra. Through fellow musicians such as Francisco Casanovas, conductor at the Symphony Orchestra and band-leader at Firpo's Restaurant, George Banks, trumpet player at the Grand Hotel, and others, Manohari was introduced to the Calcutta nightclub scene. He had already tried his hand at the English key flute, the clarinet and the mandolin, but now he decided to learn the saxophone in order to be able to play at nightclubs.[1]


When the conductor Joseph Newman left HMV in 1950 to settle in Australia, Manohari moved on to play at Firpo's with his own band. Urged by the music director Salil Chowdhury, Manohari decided to try his luck in Mumbai, moving there in 1958. His first break in the Hindi film industry was in 1958 with Sachin Dev Burman, as a saxophonist for the movie Sitaron Se Aage. He went on to play with many other music directors, his strongest association being with R.D. Burman, for whom he played the saxophone in many compositions. In addition to playing the alto saxophone, Manohari Singh was also the music assistant and arranger for R. D. Burman.

Memorable Hits[edit]

Among other notable works, Manohari played on the well-known hit "Gaata Rahe Mera Dil", composed by S.D. Burman, from the movie Guide. He also played for songs in the movie Chalte Chalte and Veer Zaara. He also released an album titled Sax appeal containing saxophone renditions of various Hindi movie music tracks[2] Manohari Singh was said to deeply cherish his gold-plated Selmer saxophone (bought in New York City in 1969) and tried to avoid getting even his own finger-prints on it.[3]


Manohari Singh was felicitated at the Yashwantrao Chavan Natya Gruha (auditorium) on 19 March 2006, on the occasion of his 75 birthday.[3] He was also awarded with "Memorable Contribution to Music Award" at the Tata Indicom Radio Mirchi Music Awards function held on 27 March 2009.


Manohari Singh died after a Cardiac Arrest on 13 July 2010 in Mumbai.[4]

Selected filmography[edit]

Santaan-1989 - Nepalese Movie Kanyadan- 1991- Nepalese Movie

Memorable Nepali songs[edit]

Movie Year Released Song Singers
Kanyadan Nepalese Movie 1991 Dhiki-chyau dhiki-chyau ghwaar ghwaar jaanto Sushma Shrestha, Deepa Narayan Jha (Gahatraj)
Gaau swor kholera didi ra bahini (aka Teej ko rahar aayo baree lai) Sushma Shrestha, Deepa Narayan Jha (Gahatraj)
Kopilaa maa ranga chadhyo ful haansa thaalyo Asha Bhosle
Yeti dherai maayaa diyau, baanchne rahar badhna thaalyo Asha Bhosle, Prakash Shrestha
Duniyaa laai tadhaa chhoda, aafnai mann laai roja Prakash Shrestha
Najaau na malaai chhodee, mukha modi, dil todi, chyaante mayalu Prakash Shrestha Sushma Shrestha
SantaanNepalese Movie 1989 Kahawase aaibe Raam-Lachhuman Prakash Shrestha, Sushma Shrestha, Udit Narayan,

Deepa Narayan Jha(Gahatraj)

Piratii ko kitaab maa naulo paanaa thapchhaun Prasaad Shrestha (not to be confused with the more popular Prakash Shrestha) Sushma Shrestha
Chha bhane maaya chhapakkai laaideu, chhaina bhane maayaa mohani fukaaideu Prakash Shrestha Deepa Narayan Jha (Gahatraj)
Ishara nai nabujhne timlaai ma ke bhanu? Deepa Narayan Jha (Gahatraj)
Himaal laai saakshi raakhi aau mitho baachaa garaun Prakash Shrestha Deepa Narayan Jha (Gahatraj)
Garbha ko peeda, janma ko marma, Mutu mai khopera, Udit Narayan,


  1. ^ Iyer, Shankar. "the Charming Pied Piper: Manohari Singh". Swar Aalap.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 9 May 2006. Retrieved 7 April 2006.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link).
  3. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 11 March 2007. Retrieved 7 April 2006.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "R.D.Burman's close associate Manohari Singh dead". Thaindian News.

External links[edit]