Music director Omi of Sonik-Omi duo dead

Mumbai, July 7 (IANS) Veteran music director Om Prakash Sonik, or Omi, of the well-known duo Sonik-Omi passed away in a private hospital following a brief illness, a family member said here on Thursday.

A widower, he was 77 and is survived by his son Som and daughter Sudha.

Omi was the nephew of the blind music director Master Sonik and together they formed the noted Sonik-Omi team which provided music to nearly 125 Bollywood movies in the 1950-1980s.

Som said his father had a fall around a month ago which led to other multiple complications and late on Wednesday he suffered a cardiac arrest.

He never recovered and breathed his last around 6.25 am today at the Bharatiya Arogya Nidhi Hospital, Juhu.

Born and raised in Sialkot (now in Pakistan), they moved to India after Partition in 1947 and lived mostly in Delhi.

In 1950, the visually challenged but great singer Master Sonik arrived in Mumbai with his young nephew in tow, hoping to make a career in the film industry which was on the threshold of what was later known as ‘golden era’ of its music.

With many stalwarts already holding sway over the listening audiences, the Sonik-Omi duo faced an uphill struggle, fighting near-starvation at times, Omi even joined in a female chorus group to afford a square meal and the uncle-nephew lived in a tiny slum room on the outskirts of Thane.

In the early 1950s, Master Sonik got a break to direct music for films like “Mamta”, “Mehfil” and “Ishwar Bhakti”, but their music failed to catch the ears of the listeners.

They were reduced to near-paupery and doing odd jobs merely to survive, till a few years later when the late Madan Mohan offered Master Sonik the crucial job of music arranger and the late S. D. Burman also followed suit.

The young Omi also got an opportunity to assist the legendary composer Roshan for films like “Taj Mahal”, “Aarti”, “Barsaat Ki Raat” and many others.

The big break came in 1965 from film-maker G. L. Rawal of Rawal Films, for his new venture, “Dil Ne Phir Yaad Kiya” and the musical track composed by the Sonik-Omi team became a rage.

A couple of years later, Rawal offered them for “Aabroo” whose music also proved immensely popular and Sonik-Omi became a noted name in Bollywood.

Later, they composed music for films like “Mahua” (with the haunting “Dono ne kiya tha pyar magar”), “Truck Driver”, “Mehfil”, “Beti”, “Dharti Ki God Mein”, “Dharma” (the famous qawwali “Raaz ki baat keh doon to, jaane mehfil me phir kya ho”), “Raftaar”, “Umar Qaid”, “Chowki No. 11” (which had the memorable hit number sung by Shobha Gurtu, “Kahin ho na mohalle me halla”) and “Ladki Pasand Hai”.

Over the years, the uncle-nephew pair made a formidable reputation for themselves with compositions in over 125 movies.

While Master Sonik passed away in 1993, Omi continued to compose music and his last musical track was for the film aBiwi No. 2′ in 2000, after which he eased into retirement.

Till the end, he remained active with The Indian Performing Right Society Ltd, which ensures royalties for all performers, said Som.

In the past few years, Omi largely remained away from Bollywood but composed certain non-film and private albums, religious music and other genres of music.

–IANS

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