Five songs to remember music composers Sonik-Omi by

Om Prakash Sonik, who died on July 7, forged a fruitful partnership with his uncle Master Sonik that produced memorable tunes.

Veteran music director Om Prakash Sonik passed away after a cardiac arrest in Mumbai on July 7. He was 77. Omi, as he was popularly known, was the nephew of the blind music director Master Sonik, and together they formed the noted Sonik-Omi team that provided music in scores of Hindi films for close to three decades. Incidentally, Master Sonik’s 23rd death anniversary falls on July 9.

Om Prakash Verma (he adopted Sonik as a surname later) was born in Sialkot in 1937. In the wake of the Partition, the family migrated to Delhi. There, they were joined by Om’s uncle Manohar Lal Sonik. Manohar Lal, also born in Sialkot, had lost his eyesight when he was only two. But he never let that deter him from his musical ambitions. At the time of the Partition, he was touring with a musical dance party owned by well-known character actor Om Prakash’s brother. In 1948, Manohar Lal decided to move to Bombay to try his luck in the film industry. Eleven-year-old Omi was packed off to take care of his visually-impaired uncle. The age difference between the two was close to 12 years.

In Bombay, Manohar Lal Sonik initially found some work as a singer. He then went on to compose music for a couple of films co-produced by RB Haldia, who had earlier produced Parwana (1947), KL Saigal’s last film. Ishwar Bhakti, where Sonik combined with Girdhar, Haldia’s manager, released in 1951 and Mamta in 1952. Unfortunately, both fared poorly at the box office.

‘Bhor Bhayi’, ‘Mamta’.

The failure of the films seemed to have brought Master Sonik’s career as a music director to a premature end. Characteristically, taking the disappointment in his stride, he started assisting other music directors. He went on to work on a string of musical hits with accomplished composers such as Madan Mohan (Woh Kaun Thi, Haqeeqat, Mera Saaya) and Roshan (Barsaat Ki Ek Raat, Aarti, Taj Mahal), and also newbies like Usha Khanna (Dil Deke Dekho). Intriguingly, in the Nasir Husain-directed Dil Deke Dekho, where Master Sonik is credited with the background score, the opening credits say Sonik, the blind musician.

The perceptive Master Sonik used to compose on a peti (or harmonium) while an assistant, the violinist Alfie D’Costa, took down the notation and communicated it to the musicians. Meanwhile, Omi, after several abortive attempts to succeed as a singer, had started assisting his uncle. In the Raj Kapoor-Nutan starrer Dil Hi To Hai, we see Sonik-Omi credited for the first time. Impressed with their work, the producers of the film, the Rawals, gave them their first break as a music director duo. The title song of the Dharmendra-Nutan starrer Dil Ne Phir Yaad Kiya (1966) became a huge hit and is a staple at ‘Tribute to Rafi’ programmes even today.

‘Dil Ne Phir Yaad Kiya’.

After Dil Ne Phir Yaad Kiya, the duo did two more films with the Rawals – Aabroo (1969) and Ladki Pasand Hai (1971). In between, they tasted major commercial success in the shape of Sawan Bhadon, a film that marked the Hindi debut of Rekha and also introduced Navin Nischol. However, the most remembered Sonik-Omi songs from that period would be an epic Rafi tearjerker from Mahua (1969)...

‘Dono Ne Kiya Tha Pyar’, ‘Mahua’.

…and this all-time classic qawwali from Dharma (1973).

‘Raaz Ki Baat’, ‘Dharma’.

Despite delivering a massive hit like “Raaz Ki Baat”, Sonik-Omi never made it to the big league. Through the 1970s and ’80s, the duo composed music for a string of low-budget and forgettable films with titles like Ram Kasam, Agent 009, Jwala Daku, Pyasa Shaitaan and Chambal Ka Badshah. Buried deep within those listless films are some intriguing background scores and curiosities such as “Kahin Ho Na Mohalle Mein Halla” (a mujra number sung by none other than Shobha Gurtu for Chowki No 11) and this one from Teen Eekay featuring the voice of Omi, the failed singer.

‘Ree Baba Ree Baba’, ‘Teen Eekay’.

Master Sonik passed away on July 9, 1993, after a long illness. After his death, a few films that that been delayed released periodically. Lady Killer (1995), Hind Ki Beti (1996) and Biwi No 2 (2000) disappeared without a trace.

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Advice from an ex-robber on how to keep your home safe

Tips on a more hands-on approach of keeping your house secure.

Home, a space that is entirely ours, holds together our entire world. Where our children grow-up, parents grow old and we collect a lifetime of memories, home is a feeling as much as it’s a place. So, what do you do when your home is eyed by miscreants who prowl the neighbourhood night and day, plotting to break in? Here are a few pre-emptive measures you can take to make your home safe from burglars:

1. Get inside the mind of a burglar

Before I break the lock of a home, first I bolt the doors of the neighbouring homes. So that, even if someone hears some noise, they can’t come to help.

— Som Pashar, committed nearly 100 robberies.

Burglars study the neighbourhood to keep a check on the ins and outs of residents and target homes that can be easily accessed. Understanding how the mind of a burglar works might give insights that can be used to ward off such danger. For instance, burglars judge a house by its front doors. A house with a sturdy door, secured by an alarm system or an intimidating lock, doesn’t end up on the burglar’s target list. Upgrade the locks on your doors to the latest technology to leave a strong impression.

Here are the videos of 3 reformed robbers talking about their modus operandi and what discouraged them from robbing a house, to give you some ideas on reinforcing your home.


2. Survey your house from inside out to scout out weaknesses

Whether it’s a dodgy back door, a misaligned window in your parent’s room or the easily accessible balcony of your kid’s room, identify signs of weakness in your home and fix them. Any sign of neglect can give burglars the idea that the house can be easily robbed because of lax internal security.

3. Think like Kevin McCallister from Home Alone

You don’t need to plant intricate booby traps like the ones in the Home Alone movies, but try to stay one step ahead of thieves. Keep your car keys on your bed-stand in the night so that you can activate the car alarm in case of unwanted visitors. When out on a vacation, convince the burglars that the house is not empty by using smart light bulbs that can be remotely controlled and switched on at night. Make sure that your newspapers don’t pile up in front of the main-door (a clear indication that the house is empty).

4. Protect your home from the outside

Collaborate with your neighbours to increase the lighting around your house and on the street – a well-lit neighbourhood makes it difficult for burglars to get-away, deterring them from targeting the area. Make sure that the police verification of your hired help is done and that he/she is trustworthy.

While many of us take home security for granted, it’s important to be proactive to eliminate even the slight chance of a robbery. As the above videos show, robbers come up with ingenious ways to break in to homes. So, take their advice and invest in a good set of locks to protect your doors. Godrej Locks offer a range of innovative locks that are un-pickable and un-duplicable. To secure your house, see here.

The article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Godrej Locks and not by the Scroll editorial team.