Monthly Archives: January 2009

Shanker: He was the total Musician – Raju Bharatan



Raju Bharatan met Shanker at a special piano demonstration for him in the composer’s room . Later Shanker took him to his Famous music room at Mahalakshmi, where this total composer, with the aid of certain musicians, recreated the whole art of SJ’s scoring. From the tape of that memorably live soiree emerges this per-sonalised piece on Shanker on the occasion of the master composer’s seventh death anniversary, falling on April 26. Articles Compiled By Hemant Parikh. From Screen, 29April,1994.[This piece has been taken from’.gx=1&.rand=1i7o6lcjs34jc  post no.44 date December 18, 2002 reproduced by Mr. Ali Rashid on Yahoo’s Shankarjaikishan Group]


He had invited me to his seaface home he was in his cosy music room there. He was at the piano, the man who composed Geet gaata hoon main gungunata hoan main for Kishore Kumar to put over On Vinod Mehra in “Lal Patthar”. Right now, he was evoking from the piano his “Sangam” notes of Dost dost na raha. He was, another seven-letter name for sangeet. He was the numero uno of the Shanker-Jaikishan duo.


Jaikishan’s ocean-view home was just a mile away on the Marine Drive front. There was Jaikishan’s left hand that naturally went to the piano. Here it was Shanker’s right hand that naturally went to the piano. Imagine Shanker’s right hand on the piano and Jaikishan’s left hand on the piano and have the entire format of our popular you music at your finger-tips!


Shanker had been dogmatic on one point that he would demonstrate the art and craft of composition to me only on the piano. “How much of the real composer in me can you possibly get to savour on the harmonium’” Shanker had asked. “Mind you, I myself played the harmonium in SJ’s Yeh na thi hamari kismat in “Main Nashe Mein Hoon”. Even so the harmonium re-mains a limited instrument where it comes to unfolding your art. On the piano, by con-trast , can zoom with my notes. Here, let me demonstrate how by playing one of my pet compositions. . .


And Shanker proceeded to play finesse and flair from “Yahudi”, Yeh mera diwana pan hai. When I sing it as Yeh mera diwana pan hai, what I mean is Sangeet mera deewana pan -hai! explained Shanker. “In fact, I was lolling in that cot there and gazing at the ceiling when the idea came to me in a flash. Swiftly getting up, I came to this piano here and those first notes as Yeh mera deewana pan hai. They were dummy

words, of course, but Shailendra said they were fine, they fitted the situation pat, when he later came to write-to-tune. I had completed the tune on the piano with my own Mukesh in mind, that’s why I was put out when it was suggested it should be Talat Mehmood for Dilip Kumar playing “Yahudi”.


“In vain did I press my point, for the consensus was in favour of Talat. Only I new how I had given the tune shape and substance with Mukesh’s vocals in mind. In the end, seeing I was not satisfied, it was decided the whole thing would be a toss-up. My joy new no bounds as the spin of the coin favoured Mukesh. But now Dilip Kumar playing “Yahudi” was unhappy he had set heart on Talat. I had nothing against Talat, it was just that I had composed the number for Mukesh. So I earnestly requested Dilip Kumar to come to the songs recording next afternoon, but only after one, when we would be ready from the take Dilip Kumar wanted to come earlier but, I was quietly insistent, for only I knew how besura Mukesh could sound at the rehearsal stage! By the time Dilip Kumar came at 1.30, we were set and raring to go.

And the resonance with which Mukesh came over in Yeh mera diwana pan  hai made Dilip Kumar come over and embrace me. It was One of the most fulfilling moments in my life.”


Now I had Shanker talking, but he had laid down this condition that I would not probe whose tune it was: Jaikishan’s or his. I tried a subtle approach to overcome this SJ barrier. “Fine, you have told me how you won over Dilip Kumar” I said, “but what about the time you had a job convincing Raj Kapoor about the theme-song of “Shree 420″‘


The very vigour which Shanker, at this point, descended on the piano was a give-away as to who had composed Mera joota hai Japani.


“Sounds wonderful now it’s proved a hit on Raj Kapoor in “Shree 420”, noted Shanker, “but what a struggle I had here, Mera joota hai Japani is in Bhairavi, here let me show you how. I make a point of its being  in Bhairavi because it’s the fashion to attribute this raag in SJ’s repertoire to Jai. Oh, Jai too composed some wonderful tunes in Bhairavi, I concede that, but in the end it remained a shared legacy. “But we were on how Mera joota hai Japani came to be composed. As was my practice, I had prepared five tunes for the theme-song situation. I had already struck an equation with Raj Kapoor in the matter of creating theme-songs. So I was quite confident my very first tune would be okayed.”


“It was the theme-song of “Shree 420”, so I had given it everything in my composing armour. I played my first tune, no response whatsoever from Raj Kapoor. I played my second tune, again no response. Third time lucky I had to be, I reasoned, as I played my next tune, again no reaction from Raj Kapoor! I was in a cold sweat now, this was the first time a theme-song tune was going to the fourth stage. And I well knew that two inferior tunes of the lot formed numbers four and five! Add to that the fact that I was a total mental blank that day after those five tunes, having put every bit I had into the selections. “It was with great hesitation, therefore, I played my fourth tune as..”


And here Shanker turned to the piano to add: “This is how I played that fourth tune to Raj Saab( Imagine listening Mera joota hai Japani): Dunder-dunder-dunder-dunder dunder-dunder-dunder-dunder dunder-dun-der-dunder-dunder dunder-dunder dunder-dunder dunder-dunder -dunder-dunder … And Raj Saab pounced on it, saying it was exactly what he wanted! That crooked smile of Raj Saab’s as I wiped my brow I will remember for life.”


“Why’ I asked. “If those fourth and fifth tunes, too, had failed, would Raj Kapoor have asked Jaikishan to play the theme-song’. “No, way” said Shanker, “the theme-song at RK, with SJ, was my responsibility, so the reason I wiped brow was for something totally different. The point is, not Jai, but I would have had to produce five fresh theme-tunes next day! Produce from where’ I had exhausted my stock that day itself, since I reserved nothing but the best for Raj Kapoor. Don’t’take me literally, of course. I would have come up with five more fresh tunes next day, I am merely trying to communicate to you perplexed state of mind when that third tune, too, stood rejected.”


“Maybe the first three tunes were rejected because they were not in Bhairavi”, I suggested. “They weren’t in Bhairavi, come to think of it. But the total musician never thinks of the raag while composing. He plays in Sur and raag just flows. So I can’t go along with you on the point that Mera joota hai Japani, as it finally emerged, because it was in Bhairavi. I maintain that my first three tunes were good, very good. But then I only looked at the tune Raaj Saab had an exact visual idea of what he wanted. And he just seized that fourth tune from my custody the moment I struck the right note, as he audio-visualised it”.


“What about Ramaiyya vastavaiyya’ I asked, nothing Shanker had momentarily forgotten all about not identifying a tune as his. “Oh, Ramaiyya vastavaiyya, that’s an interesting question. For, after the Mera joota hai Japani theme song, the most important situation in “Shree 420” was Ramaiyya vastavaiya. How graphically Raj Saab had told me that situation to me! The tune he told me, had to have a sweep and a cadence like nothing heard in an RK movie before. The tune, Raaj Saab had told me must bring the Bombay bustee to vibrant life. Only towards its end, he added, would Mukesh be joining in –we now know Raj Kapoor chipped in with Maine dil tujh ko diya, but, at that point, even the tune was not ready, leave alone the words.


Incidentally, I always prepared the tune first and then got words written by Shailendra. Letting the poet write the song first, I had discovered, led to his penning the song-lyrics in the same monotonous metre. No, I don’t agree this, my reverse style of tuning, placed a limitation on Shailendra’s poetry. The Ramaiyya vastavaiyya tune came first, yet did Shailendra’s poetry suffer in any way’ No! the words for me represented the portrait, the tune the frame. Once the framework was ready in the form of my tune, the portrait, the song- lyric, could always be fitted in, exactly to size.”


It is a job keeping Shanker on the sound track you want, the man knows so much he wanders most interestingly, mind you -from one musical crescendo to another. Gently bring him back to Ramaiyya vastavaiyya, asking which of his five tunes clicked here.


“Ha, you have me back where you want me, Raju,” laughed Shanker. Ramaiyya vastavaiyya came to be tuned immediately after Mera joota hai Japani. Let me be honest and admit that I, normally full of confidence, was nervous here. After all, Mera joota hai Japani came through the hard way, so who new what lay in store. Therefore”

revealed Shanker (turning instantly to the piano), “as a naturalised Andhra I put my own dummy words and played the first tune like this to Raj Saab: Ramaiyya vastavaiyya ramaiyya vasta-vaiyya. And, lo and behold, that very first tune, which I had played with my dummy Telugu words of Ramaiyya vastavaiyya was instantly picked up by Raj Saab!


“My faith in my composing ability stood restored. For Ramaiyya vastavaiyya was a far more difficult situation to compose for than Mera joota hai Japani. In Mera joota hai Japani, you could be freewheeling, Raj Saab or the screen would take care of the rest. In Ramaiyya vastavaiyya, the key turn in the story -line had to emerge from my tune.


Yet I got it right the first time, so I had reason to feel proud. ” I thought I knew Raj Saab’s mind well by the time I came to compose Mera joota hai Japani, it turned out I didn’t. I had doubts about my insights in to Raaj Saab’s mind in the case of Ramaiyya vastavaiyya, it turned out my doubts were misplaced. May I add that, like in the case of Yeh mera diwana pan hai, Shailendra preferred to retain my dum-my punchline of Ramaiyya vastavaiyya. “But it makes no sense,” I pointed out. “It will when you see it on the screen,” said Raj Saab seated by Shailendra’s side.


“How come Ramaivya vastavaiyya too, is in Bhairavi ‘” I asked. Shanker looked stumped. But recovered to note: “Yaar, take it as a sign that I know my Bhairavi as well as Jai did. But seriously, the tune comes first, the raag after.


“Even in the case of the tune you played as soon as I entered this room’” I asked, “The tune you were playing on this piano as I entered was Dost dost na raha, Isn’t that, too, in Bhairavi’ I give up”, said Shanker, “you are the first patrakar to pin me down on this raag matter. All I can say is SJ always looked upon Bhairavi as a sada-suhaagan raag.


Our idea was to create a style of Bhairavi totally different from the Bhairavi of Nauhad. Judge how we changed the entire pattern of Bhairaviin films with Mohabbat ki dastaan and Suno chhoti si gudiya ki lambi kahani. But aren’t those two tunes from “Mayurpankh” and “Seema” the Bhairavi of Jaikishan’ I queried mischievously.


“There’s no such thing as a Shanker Bhairavi or a Jaikishan Bhairavi”, retorted Shanker, retaining his cool, “there’s only an SJ Bhairavi. “I have put him on the defensive, which is the last thing I want, so I say, leadingly, “Shanker Saab, who but you could have orchestrated Pyar hua ikraar hua (in “Shree 420”) and Sub kuchch seekha hum ne (in “Anari”). Whether you care to admit or not it is easy for a musically trained ear to spot out your instrumentation, your orchestration as more ornate, as more rich, in style and content alike. To my ears, Shanker, and Shanker alone, could have orchestrated Jaao re jogi tum jaao re the way it came over in “Amrapali” on Vyjayanthimala.”


Jaao re jogi tum jaao re was some tune, wasn’t it’ “reminisced Shanker, “Dance music is the toughest to orchestrate, the integration has to be split-second here. Yes, I rejoice in the style of orchestration I brought to Pyaar hua ikraar hua, Sub kuchch seekha hum ne and Jaao re jogi tum jaao re. As for Vyjayanthimala in , “Amrapali” from the beginning the arrangement was that I would do the dance section of SJ’ s music. I took it on since I was a dancer myself.”


“In Krishna Kutty’s troupe, wasn’t it’” I said, If I remember right, There was a toda, Vyjayanthimala, as the heroine of “Patrani”, disputed. Whereupon you assumed perform-ing attire and danced it out on the sets to show her how it could be done. “True’” said Shanker, “But that’s not to say I taught an accomplished dancer like Vyjayanthimala something, I merely showed her how it had to be done for my music.”


“This business of showing performers how to do their jobs, weren’t you taking on too much, was it not resented’” I asked.


“But why should it be resented’” enquired Shanker, “Remember, something resented only when the person showing you how does not know the job. And I new music and dance inside out, so I could tell them exactly what to do. But for this knowledge and background, you just couldn’t have got what you call SJ’s distinctive orchestral integration. I myself play the Piano, the Dholak, the Tabla, the Accordion and of course, the Harmonium.”


“That’s why, whether the instrumentalist be Shivkumar Sharma, Hariprasad Chaurasia, Ramnarain or Rais Khan, he has to play exactly what I want for precisely the length I want. They are very good players in their chosen field, that’s why they are being paid extra well to play. But to play exactly what I want. Nobody dictates to me. If a composer knows his job, nobody can dictate to him.”


Did Shanker then not know his job after Jaikishan died’ Why was he not able to dictate like in his prime’


He was not able to dictate because the first thing filmmakers did, upon Jaikishan’s death, was to withdraw the 60-piece orchestra facility SJ had always commanded. And minus this big orchestra, Shanker was a musician with his hands tied behind his back.


There were 17 SJ releases in the year 1971, in which Jaikishan died. Out of this, 12 films were released by September 12, 1971, the day Jaikishan died. They were flops for the major part, so Jaikishan had to carry the can for their fate as much as Shanker. But then Jaikishan was no more, only Shanker lived on to see the remaining five films, too, fail in l971. This was the signal for producers to  withdraw the multipiece orchestra facility from Shanker. Sharp-speaking, Shanker had not made too many friends in the industry. So they hit him where and when it hurt most.


It was a pathetic sight to see Shanker reduced to using the musigan as a “surrogate” to give birth, in his 1972 “Seema” avatar to something like Jab bhi yeh dil udaas hota hai jaane kaun aas paas hota hai. The tune proved one point – that Shanker could capture the old SJ magic only if given the spot aid of the multipiece orchestra that was, by 1971, part of his compositional mindset.


In one and only one film was Shanker accorded this multipiece facility without reserve after Jaikishan’s passing – in Manoj Kumar’s “Sanyasi”. Sohanlal Kanwar, as an old faithful, reposed full faith in the man and Shanker lived up to his promise made to me that, one day, he would do a full theme in Bhairavi to expose the myth of who had mastery over this raag.


I was there as Lata Mangeshkar was brought back into Shanker’s “Sanyasi” recording room by Mukesh for Sun bal brahmachari main hoon kanya kunwari. It was a superbly crafted tune and Shanker, taking time off from the middle, came over to whisper to me, wait and watch how I do it again, this time all by myself!”


The “Sanyasi” theme-song, Chal sanyasi mandir mein, was a stunner, lending Hema Malini a new seductive allure altogether. And has there been a better parody of the bhajan than Baali umariya bhajan karun kaise. Recall, too, the catchy motif of Yeh hai Geeta ka gyan. The well-integrated score of “Sanyasi”, masterfully orchestrated, was

proof positive that Shanker still had it in him. All he needed was a comprehending filmmaker.


Raj Kapoor could have assumed that comprehending role afresh when he broke with Laxmikant-Pyarelal after, “Prem Rog”. The way for Raj Kapoor to hit LP at that 1982 “Prem Rog” point, was to bring SJ back into RK, in the persona of Shanker. Indeed, when Raj Kapoor first dropped Shanker in favour of Laxmikant-Pyarelal for “Bobby”, Shanker, naive as they come, had no idea he was out of RK. There was one more big RK film on the anvil and Shanker’s belief was he would be doing that film! Hence his spirited rejoinder: “Let LP come into RK, now Raj Saab will know on the spot whose work is better.”


Note here that Hasrat Jaipuri in 1994 Inteview clearly stated that: “Some tunes of RK’s late “Bobby” and “Prem Rog” were tuned by SJ at their private sittings. It was only Raj Kapoor to remember those SJ type tunes and LP used it” and became Hit thanks to SJ.


Even after losing out on “Bobby,” the man was the picture of confidence. His musical grip, Shanker knew, was intact, so he felt he needed to fear no one. He lost bounce only when told that R.D.Burman, not he, was to do “Dharam Karam”. To be told that this “Dharam Karam” theme of Randhir Kapoor needed a younger style of music associated with RD, was the crowning insult to Shanker. Any score by SJ and RK has

always been a joint endeavour with Raj Kapoor calling the shots. To be told now therefore that, in effect, SJ’s tunes for Randhir Kapoor’s “Kal Aaj Aur Kal” tunes, like Bhanwre ki gunjan hai mera dil, Aap yahaan aaye kis liye, Jab hum hange saat saal ke and Tik tik tik tik chaltei jaaye ghadi, were not trendy enough for the “Kal Aaj Aur Kal” youth theme of Randhir Kapoor was a wrench. After that, Shanker was never the same ebullient RK music man again, though he kept saying, “I still believe Raj Saab will send for me one day.”


That one day never came, but the day came (April 26, 1987) when Raj Kapoor materialised an Doordarshan to pay his Shraddhanjali tribute to Shanker. There were tears in Raj’s eyes. But those tears remained perched on the eyelids. Those tears refused to come down because they were tears of remorse. Remorse for the man who had helped Raj Kapoor set RK on its musical feet with the able aid of a protege called

Jaikishan Panchal. Shanker Singh had left his native Punjab to settle in Andhra so as to be able to create Ramaiyya yastayaiyya for Raj Kapoor. And Raj Kapoor has jettisoned Shanker when he needs RK’s psychological back-up most.


Maybe Raj Kapoor was not quite his own master after the gigantic losses piled up by, “Mera Naam Joker” and “Kal Aaj Aur Kal”. But that could not mitigate Raj’s sense of guilt in this tele-moment of traumatic thanks-giving to Shanker.


Those penitent tears finally dropped from Raj Kapoor’s eyelids. Those tears were for Raj Kapoor, perhaps, a pearly reminder, of the elaborate dream sequence Shanker had composed for “Mera Naam Joker”, a dream sequence to beat the “Awaara” dream sequ-ence. A dream sequence that had failed to became a screen reality because, by that “Mera Naam Joker” stage, Raj Kapoor had run out of the resources needed to picturise it.


Shanker’s one wish was that I should accompany him to his Famous music hall at Mahalakshmi for him to recreate for me the aura of that “Mera Naam Joker” dream sequence. That day, too, never came. I could get only an inkling of that dream- sequence number from the way Shanker played it on that peerless piano. And what he played was clinching evidence of the fact that here was the total musician in action. Here was a man who believed that only if he wore a kurta could he create something like Sapnon ki suhani duniyo ko for Dilip Kumar in “Shikast”, only if he wore a suit could he create something like Dost dost na raha for Raj Kapoor’s “Sangam”!


He was a peculiar man, tart of tongue, but soft at heart. Even while being very strict with his musicians, he had the knack of carrying them with him by obtaining for them very generous payment from producers. It was this straight rapport with his musicians that was denied to Shanker when the industry cut his orchestral strength. It was like severing his umbilical cord.


“Shanker-Jaikishani” sangeet died the day the industry tried to dictate to Shanker. Shanker was effective only so long as he was dictating the strength of his orchestra and thereby calling the tune. The total musician was thus a total misfit in the end. As Shanker shuffled off his mortal coil leaving all his nine Filmfare Best Music Director awards behind, Na haathi na ghoda hai wahaan paidal hi jaana hai became his self-composed epitaph .

Death of a Legend In the passing away of Shanker

                    Death of a Legend

In the passing away of Shanker, the country has lost one of its foremost musical craftsmen,  laments NALIN SHAH.

Bahadur Nanji & Shankarji _Courtesy: Shishir Krishna Sharma ji


Music director Shanker burst upon the musical firmament like a meteor with the release of “Barasat” in 1949.When he suddenly died on April 26,1987 his failure and frustrations of the last 15 years were forgotten. What remained was the fond memories of 22 years of total domination over the music world by Shanker together with his partner Jaikishan.

      Shanker Singh Raghuvanshi in real life, Shanker was an expert percussionist from Hyderabad who learned the rudiments of film music from the first composer duo Hus- nalal-Bhagatram. 

    When Raj Kapoor heard Shanker sing one of his compositions ‘Ambuva ka ped hai, wohi munder hai, Aaja mere balamua, ab kahe ki der hai’ he detected a spark of genius in this  young man of 26 and signed him for’ Barsaat’.. Shanker introduced  Jaikishan (from Gujarat) as his musical partner Poet Hasrat Jaipuri who had slogged for six years as a BEST bus conductor in Bombay joined hands to pen his first lyrics’ Jiya beqarar hai, Chhai bahar hai ‘cast in the ‘Ambuva ka Ped hai’ mould. Later poet Shailendra joined the team and with that started a new era in film music.

     Till death did them apart Hasrat and Shailendra became an indispensable part of Shanker and Jaikishan. Once during the making of’College Girl'(1 960) Shanker Jaikishan submitted to the producer’s demand that they have Rajendra Krishna as a lyricist. Hasrat and Shailendra retaliated by refusing to work with S-J again. The latter admitted their mistake and made amends by refusing producer B R Chopra’s film only because he insisted on having Sahir, and not Hasrat Shailendra, to pen the lyrics. 

    Shanker and Jaikishan composed independently and never interfered in each other’s work but divided their remuneration equally irrespective of the number of songs composed by each of them. Hasrat wrote mostly for Jaikishan and Shailendra for Shanker. 

    In the matter of orchestration the duo took the cue from Naushad who had remained their model. As a result under the expert supervision of the Goan musician Sebastian the duo’s orchestral arrangements made their compositions sound more breezy and melodious. Consequently even the creative score of Naushad’s ‘Andaz’ was relegated to second place, after the ‘Barsaat’ melodies in terms of popular appeal.

  By the early ’50s, Shanker Jai- kishan became undisputed masters of all they surveyed with a chain of musical hits such as ‘Nagina’, ‘Awa- ara’, ‘Badal’, ‘Daagh’, ‘Aah’ and’ Patita’.

      While background music was Jaikishan’s forte, Shanker had an edge over him in song compositions. Shanker stands out as versatile compose when we hear the heartrending cry of a ]over in ‘Yaad aai hai’ (Lata -‘Nagina’) and ‘Tere bina aag chandani’ (Lata -‘Awaara’) or soulful melodies in’Koi nahin mera is duniya mein’ (Talat -‘Daagh’) and’ Yeh mera diwanapan hai’ (Mukesh ‘Yehudi’) or light and frivolous numbers such as’Ek do teen aaja mausam hai rangeen’ (Shamshad & chorus -‘Awaara’) and’Lal Chhadi maidan khadi’ (Rafi ‘Janwar’).

     Shanker’s super ability as a composer is evident from the fact that he scored the entire ‘Kali Ghar ‘(except’ Chhum chhananan chhum’) 1953 and’Shri 420′(except ‘Sham gai raat aai’) 1955.’Basant Bahar'(1956), which was originally to be scored by Anil Biswas, came to Shanker instead. It was a god sent opportunity. Shanker exhibited his expertise in classical music with his compositions of the ‘Basant Bahar ‘songs (except ‘Main piya teri’ and ‘Bhaya bhajana’). ‘Amrapali (1966), though a box– office failure, was remarkable for Shanker’s classical compositions (except ‘Neel gagan chhaon men’).



 In sharp contrast to Shanker as a musical craftsman, he was cr- ude and uncouth as a man. His lack of education was pronounced by his foul temper and a bad ton gue. He took morbid pleasure in mocking  chillana … yeh gaana haina baajanaa ‘in ‘Love Marriage’ (1959).

       Nor did he hesitate to ridicule Naushad for accepting the Lata Mangeshkar award (being senior to her in the profession).   Similarly Shanker sought to satisfy his inflated ego by ‘winning’ awards for music. Shanker, by his own admission, tried every questionable means to prove his superiority over Jaikishan and the otehr contemporary music directors. Shanker is known to have cornered thousands of ‘Filrnfare’coupons to get awards for the duo’s mediocre score in’Dil Apna Aur Preet Paraye’against Naushad’s acclaimed masterpiece in ‘Mughal-e-Azam’. 

   Jaikishan, on the other hand was soft spoken, suave and polished in his behaviour. Producers, including Raj Kapoor, preferred to deal with Jaikishan rather than Shanker.

 For the first time in many years Shanker Jaikishan felt their position threatened with the rise of 0 P Nayyar and Laxmikant Pyarelal  Laxmikant Pyarelal. Their togetherness was prompted more by business comp- ulsion rather than a sense of team spirit.

    The rift between Shanker and Jaikishan widened with the entry of singer Sharda in their camp. In spite of the popularity of Sharda’s ‘Titli udi (‘Suraj’1966) and Shanker’s per- suasion, Jaikishan refused to accept Sharda as a singer. As Sharda drew closer to Shanker the duo drew farther apart. Their differences could not be reconciled – this continued upto the death of Jaikishan in 1971.

 In spite of his versatility and dexterity as a composer Shanker was never his old self again.    With the death of Shailendra and Jaikishan something-vital had gone one out of his life. The edge of creativity had blunted. In the remaining 15 years ‘Sanyasi'(1975) was the only significant film he sco- red. Producers found it difficult to deal with him and sodid Lata .The name  “ShanKer Jaikishan’ had lost  most was the fact that even Raj Kapoor had deserted him. There was a flicker of hope that after ‘Bobby’ Shanker would enter the Raj Kapoor camp again to do ‘Param Veer Chakra’. But the film was shelved. After turning to Laxmikant-Pyarelal when Raj Kapoor turned to Ravindra jain, Shanker could not hide his bitterness. After all, Raj Kapoor and Shanker-Jaikishan had grown together. But even in frustration he remained defiant.

     A month before his death when I met him in his empty recording room he reminded me of a tiger who was caged but not vanquished. He moved his fingers expertly on the piano keyboard and proudly recalled the days when Shanker-Jaikishan reigned supreme. He talked enthusiastically about his excellent health and his athletic background. He was looking forward to his forth coming musical tour of America. He was still confident of recreating the old glory some day.

 That ‘some day’ was a dream that did not come true. On the fateful nightof April 26, 1987, Shanker, who had enthralled millions by his music, suddenly died. Early in the morning, the following day, when unsuspecting music lovers were probably humming melodious tunes composed by him. Shanker’s mortal remains were being consigned to flame in the presence of a handful of neighbours and relatives. Shanker’s close friend announcer Kishan Sharma, who was scheduled to meet Shanker in the evening checked his day’s enga- gements. Raj Kapoor and Hasrat Jaipuri were totally unaware of the shock that awaited them later in the day, Shanker’s close confidante Sharda impatiently waited for Shanker in the ‘Famous’ recording room for the recording of a song. It turned out to be an endless wait. 


acrimonious debate about Shankar-Jaikishan

A lot of acrimonious debate has been going on here on a topic that, to be very frank, has been debated ad nauseam for the past forty years or so. In fact I think it has become the norm rather than exception to debate these things whenever anything about SJ is discussed. You are simply not in the reckoning at all about SJ if you don’t flaunt your “knowledge” of identifying a S tune from a J tune or speak with casual familiarity of the rift or split between them. Never mind their music. Knowing what kind of swear words Shankar would use or whether Jai liked his scotch with soda or plain water is what would make you an expert enough to write a book on them. (of course, you have to ensure that you create a controversy about yourself or make a nasty comment on someone even before you put pen to
paper. That is the first
step to get publicity for the book that you are threatening to write.)

I normally don’t wish to join in these discussions simply because for me SJ were always invisible, far off inaccessible characters like all celebrities are to most of us. In fact, when Jaikishan passed away, I had just started going to school but nevertheless remember the incident being discussed by the elders in the family as an important event along with India’s victory at the Oval and the impeding war with Pakistan. Thus in the following months, while looking out for the pictures of General Aurora and Maneckshaw and that of Eknath Solkar diving to take that famous catch to dismiss Alan Knott I started  coming across the picture of S and J as well in various magazines, enough to recognize them later in my life. It was only in my college days in the eighties, by which time the Bappi Lahiris and
others were hammering away to glory that I started to discern the differences between the old and new songs.  And I also understood that even among the old timers, there was something unique about each one’s style with SJ being a class apart. Thus for me it has never made any difference as to who composed what and what they did in their spare time. But since this topic refuses to die down I might as well spew my venom as well.

Let me first list out the popular theories that keep floating around about SJ

a)      Songs with lyrics by Shailendra or lyricists other than Hasrat are S compositions while songs written by Hasrat are J compositions.
b)      Sharda was promoted by Shankar only while Jaikishen was cold to her.
c)       S and J were not seeing eye
to eye from mid 60’s and would take assignments independently, although to satisfy the general public, they kept up a facade of being partners.
d)  Shankar was rough and crude while Jaikishan was suave and debonair.
e)      By late 60’s Shankar was a spent force and post 71 he was a flop or faded away. The reasons given for this are his abrasive behaviour and his obsession with Sharda leading to the inference that he was all along living only in the reflected glory of Jaikishan.

These theories have become so important that normally the worth of a SJ fan is a value that is directly proportional to how much of hot air he can produce by pompously giving his expert comments on these issues.  Never mind the fact that till today nobody has a shred of evidence for anything other than what is available on the net, which in turn would have sourced these
from the gossip columns of magazines. While taken individually, these sound plausible, I have rarely found these to withstand scrutiny when examined against one another.
Off hand, I can think of songs like Jaane Chaman Shola badan, Chale jaana zara tehro, taaron se pyare and a few others which are written by HJ and sung by Sharda. This would straightaway indicate that either (a) or (b) above has to be false. Add to this, films like Andaz where all songs are penned by HJ but you have photos of Shankar directing Sushma Shreshta. You also have photos and video clips of Jaikishan directing Sharda.  Thus the most reasonable conclusion is that possibilities are either (a) or (b) or both are false but it is a certainty that both cannot be true.

Now, no one can possibly believe that every SJ song is a result of Shankar and Jaikishan simultaneously clutching the same harmonium and
tweaking the buttons together to produce the tune. Even with my zero knowledge in music, I can understand that composing the tune is not the same as the final song that we all hear. Equating them would be like believing that your house is ready the moment the bricks and cement land on your site.  This is where the real partnership or team work lies. One may produce the basic tune and the other may fine tune it only to be refined by the first one and so on till both are satisfied that this is what is needed for the song. Thereafter fitting the lyrics and tweaking the tune again to accommodate the lyrics and the arrangement of the instruments etc would be another exercise by themselves.
Having carried on my profession in partnership for close to 25 years now, I know how we work in our firm. If an appearance before the Income tax commissioner or tribunal is needed, it is always me, but when it comes to an audit, I conveniently look at my partners
to handle it. This does not mean that we go solo and don’t discuss among ourselves what is happening. Nor does it mean that my partners cannot handle tax cases or that I cannot handle an audit.    It is just a case of division of work with the partners resting easy in the knowledge that the other partner is handling it as per the scheme agreed by all. There are also instances when a partner handles an assignment all by himself without really consulting the others. Even this is not really a ‘solo’ effort, since the work would be carried along a set or established pattern which would be a product of past team work. In such cases, the partner would be merely supervising what trusted assistants are doing. These assistants are our Dattarams and Sebastians who would be perfectly aware of what is needed and would prepare the groundwork beforehand.

It is significant that Gregory Booth
in his book has remarked that SJ were perhaps the first studio musicians who ‘industrialized’ the production of songs in factory like set up. It is quite possible that as their team work stabilized, they would have allocated major areas of production of a song according to their strengths with the other partner adding his inputs. And from experience I can also say that a partnership is most likely to break either in the rising curve stage or at the time of facing the inevitable loss of business. In case of SJ if at all there was a split, it should have either happened around mid 50s when they were rising rapidly with both partners getting ideas about striking it rich individually or around 1977 when there was no further hope for Shankar. But by then Jai had already passed away. Mid 60’s appear to be least likely time for a split. Disagreements are bound to be there in any human interaction and in a partnership to some extent it is desirable too.
In fact the very reason why people get into partnerships is to have variety under one roof. If all partners have the same idea about everything then you really don’t need a partnership. You might as well work individually.

Those who say Shankar was a spent force by late 60s are only acknowledging that he was a force to reckon with before that. Does that mean Jaikishan was a dud until then? After all, if the net is to be believed, it was Shankar who was handling the business end, but S himself in an interview has said that J being a typical Gujarati businessman was in charge of finances. So pre-65, why would the crude and crass Shankar carry-on with a junior who was not contributing much? Post 65, if the producers were not comfortable with him, what prevented them from approaching the smart, savvy, party hopping Jai to take over fully? Considering that almost all films of post 65 had songs of Sharda and lyrics by HJ and poets other than
HJ, and assuming at least (a) or (b) above is true, one can only conclude that S and J were equally involved in all these films. So where was the split?

Finally did Shankar flop in the 70s? If you were to judge him by the standards that he himself had set earlier, then I would say yes. But the question is who did anything great post 75? What was the grand achievement of the Naushads and O.P.Nayyars during that time? Even Rafi, Mukesh and Lata were spent forces by then and leaders like LP, RDB and KA were giving more of mediocre stuff than anything great. Shankar didn’t give anything inferior to what the rest of the pack gave.  So judging by industry standards of that time, I wouldn’t say Shankar failed either.

Balu   Balu & Anand Chartered
http://www.balunand.comJanani Janmabhoomishcha Swargadapi Gareeyasi – Being near to your mother in your motherland is better than being in paradise


Hi All!
Ungrateful People from the Hindi Film World are shying away from relating themselves with Shankar-Jaikishan, Even people who once were on mercy of these great music makers to make their career shine with their music are now mum and not want to remember the duo for their contribution. BUT WE THE FANS OF S-J WILL NOT FORGET THEM. The flag of Shankar-Jaikishen will remain on high in the sky, till we the fans are here.
COME and have a trip of several sites created by fans of S-J. Come to the right side of this blog and have a nice journey in the world of the King of Music – SHANKAR-JAIKISHAN

Shankar Jaikishan : The Incessant Shower of Exuberant Melody


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WELCOME!!! to the World of  Shanker-Jaikishen’s  memories. The duo who ruled the Music Scenario of Hindi Film Music with their debut film Barsaat for continuous 20 years like Emperors of Melody are still now most listened but less mentioned.  It is a humble effort to spread information about them, their films and music to their die hard fans. You will find rare articles, photos, stories, anecdotes about them here.  Since Lyricists Shailendra and Hasrat Jaipuri were their inseparable parts, this blog is also a memorabilia of Fab Fours SJSH (Shankar-Jaikishan-Shailendra-Hasrat).