TIME is like a river water which flows forward bur never comes back….but in our memories’s river, there are the enchanting remembrances of 50s,60s,70s when and till now we hum the indispensable musical scores created by the great brains of the S-J duo, and they come back again and again as though the duo are telling us that physically they are not with us but their immortal scores will reside in our souls….and as is said in Geeta that the soul never dies and the duo mingled with our souls to tell the story of their successful years when they reigned the film industry in their heydays and till date we are stuck to their songs.. we are obliged to radios, which daily play their songs in one programme or the other…….. AND reverred Hasrat Jaipuri continues that it was the contrast in their temperaments which bound the two and they had respect for each other as the two brothers have, which was evident in their compositions, and till date, when many things are revealed, still it is difficultto find out who tuned which song, such was the similarity in their temperaments to have different orchestration, but the tunes somewhere echoed Shankar and Jaikishan together which the then music directors too agreed and had respect for each other….. HASRAT continues that when Raj saab was going to London to process ”Sangam”, he wanted to take all of us, but we just cud not think of going because of work pressure. Thereupon, JAI asked Shankar and all of us to go with Raj saab assuring that he wud hold the fort here. NEXT time came whan Ramanand Sagar wanted to take us to Paris for his film, Shankar said that u people go with Sagar, and i will manage here. and even in later years when their individual reputation came under doubts, there was a lot of give and take. On Shankar, Hasrat goes on that he was the fastest composer of our time. He cud compose a beautiful tune in a matter of minutes. He was a spontaneous composer to whom tunes came in a torrent…..both lived for music….and if there was one Jaikishan so there was one Shankar and both were like two knots of a musical rope……..to continue………
We all are die-hard fans of Shankar-Jaikishan because we all know in our hearts that they were the best………there is no doubt it….. just listen to their melodies….only after their arrival, for the first time film industry realized that film-music can be a parallel industry. Purists like Raju Bhartan have always scoffed at their music, dismissing it off as too popular or pedestrian but for us S-J and film-music is synonymous. Not only Raju Bhartan but Lata and Aasha have also started campaigning against S—J and OP. Nayyar respectively to promote Madan Bhayya , Hridaynath and RDB as if no music-director existed on this earth. There is a huge racket operating in the film industry to discredit S-J and their achievements. But genuine listeners are not fools. It was Barsaat who took Lata to dizzy heights. Followed Awaara, Shree 420, Aah, Patita and many other S-J marvels. From `Jiya Beqarar hai to `O Bananti Pawan Pagal‘, Lata couldn’t have done better.
Lata,in all her concerts, interviews, interfaces, she would never refer to Shankar-Jaikishan as if S-J would need the promotion from an ungrateful wench……she saw to it that no credit ever went to S-J. These are great artists with small hearts. But to be a complete artist, you have to be a good human being as well.
I believe that from hindi film music melody went out with the the 60’s. What I have seen is a slow corrosion of `theka’, `taal’ and `sur’ which began in 70’s…now music is only jarring to the ears and nothing else.
OP Nayyar always maintained a dignified silence and never run down his rivals. Very recently an ape called himesh reshamiya said that Mukesh had a nasal voice. OPN never succumbed to such cheap remarks though he could have spilled the beans on asha in a most uncharitable manner. lata also tried to run down ‘main ka karoon ram’ after the record sold like hot cakes and she got a fat sum in royalty. Then she fought with Raj Kapoor, Shankar and then Md. Rafi because none of them pandered to the queen bee like attitude of hers. Even today she tries to act and behave like Queen Victoria.
Injustice to S-J would not be tolerated anymore. Aap is muhim mein akele nahin hai…..hum saare log aapke sath hain
Bollywood loses lyricist Verma Malik of popular songs of the 1970s & 1980s. He passed away peacefully on Sunday evening at his residence in Juhu. Verma Malikji had written the lyrics for many popular songs in the 1970s and the 1980s, was born on April 13, 1925 in Ferozepur, Pakistan.
He had penned Aaj meri Yaar ki Shaadi Hai, which is still popular and a marriage anthem today, besides Yashoda Ka Nandlala. He has also penned Hai hai yeh majboori for Roti Kapda aur Makaan (1974), Do bechaare for Victoria No. 203 (1972), Tere sang pyaar mein for Nagin (1976), Ek taara bole from Yaadagar (1970), Kaan mein jhumka chaal mein thumka for Saawan Bhadon (1970) that were classics and immensely likable and popular.
He had also received Two filmfare Awards for Pehchan and Be-imaan
Malikji first began writing by penning bhajans. He was also an active freedom fighter and wrote many patriotic songs. After partition, Malikji moved to India and began writing songs for Punjabi films. Actor Director Manoj Kumar gave him the first break when he wrote Ek Tara Bole for Yaadgar, which was a great hit and had Bollywood noticing him. And since then there was no looking back as he went on creating some of the most memorable classics that fans even hum today.
His close friend music director Pyarelal of the Laxmikant-Pyarelal duo reminisces that he was sorry to hear about Malikji passing away. He was a simple man, a calm person, happy and proud of his work he had done. He was unique in a way that he could blend shayari and folk songs very well. Bollywood is very grateful for his contribution to Indian cinema.
Thirty years ago, on September 12, 1971, the hyphen between Shanker and Jaikishan became a symbolic appendage as Jaikishan Panchal died, broken by the split with his partner. But the magic in their melodies never ceased. And S-J and their songs live on because of the hyphen and not the hype that certain other composers are privileged to enjoy.
To fall into the trap of separating the Shanker compositions and contributions from Jaikishan would be to demean this hyphen that was the keynote of their magic. The world knows that, thanks to their origins and backgrounds, they did tend towards a particular angle of their fantastic oeuvre, but they were far from being like an office with two autonomous departments. The hyphen said it all — one was incomplete without the other.
Says a close associate of over 20 years, “It’s only broadly true that Shanker handled the classical or in-depth songs, and Jai the light-weight ones. There are exceptions galore. Each one was involved till they split on every song, regardless of who first came up with the basic tune. For this reason, it is also inaccurate to say that Jai worked only with Hasrat, and Shanker with Shailendra. The real divide existed there — Shailendra wrote the meatier songs, Hasrat the romantic ones.”
Shanker Singh Ram Singh Raghuvanshi, was born in 1922 in Punjab. His father had settled in Andhra Pradesh, and Shanker trained as a dancer, and even worked with the famous Krishna Kutty. He mastered the tabla (which he would play in a local temple there), pakhawaj and other instruments, and when he came to Mumbai he joined the troupe of dance-master Sohanlal and Hemavati (the late Sapru’s wife) as a tabla player.
Jaikishan, born 1929 in Bulsar, Gujarat, was the son of the court-singer of the Raja of Dharampur. Blessed with great looks, Jai came to Mumbai to become a hero, and in his struggling phase even worked as a time-keeper in a central Mumbai factory.
The first meeting between them is said to have taken place in the Santa Cruz office of a famous film director, where both began to chat with each other as they waited. Shanker told Jaikishan that he was playing the tabla at Prithvi Theatre, and since Jai had revealed that he played the harmonium as well, he suggested that he too try for a job there. Thus did the RK chapter silently begin, a chapter that was to rewrite the future of film music.
Working as musicians on Prithvi’s plays, the duo enhanced their skills and learnt the ropes. Ram Ganguly was the in-house music director, and when Raj Kapoor launched his first film Aag, Shanker and Jaikishan had become assistants. Their unofficial contribution to the score of Aag was so high that Raj Kapoor’s close relative, Vishwa Mehra, who had been keenly observing things, spilled the beans to Raj. The actor-filmmaker promptly dropped all ideas of repeating Ram Ganguly in his new film Barsaat, and a new era began.
The leaders, never the followers
To say that Shanker-Jaikishan led, and others followed would be no exaggeration. In every aspect of film music, they were the pioneers and the trendsetters.
Orchestration – Form and sound
S-J introduced cerebral orchestration to film music, eliminating the monotonous thekas that ruled till then. It was they who gave Lata Mangeshkar an identity, and it was they as assistants to Ram Ganguly in Aag, and later as composers of Barsaat, who influenced Mukesh’s self-discovery as a singer with his own stamp, and not as the Saigal clone he was all the way till Andaz.
With Ab mera kaun sahara (Lata) and Main zindagi mein har dum rota hi rahaa hoon (Rafi), S-J showed the world that the sad song could be rhythmic too. The music-makers of today, caught in the rhythm-n-beats trap, are not doing anything exactly revolutionary when they compose the sad Tanhayee (in the recent Dil Chahta Hai) to fast beats!
In a world gone mad with hype, S-J have been of late sidelined in the R.D. wave. Says a music analyst, “Much is being made of R.D. Burman bringing in the Western touch to film music. Shanker and Jaikishan did this more than a decade before him. They may not have introduced Western music to Hindi films, but it was they who pioneered so many of the compositional and vocal styles, and orchestral innovations from the West that others, including Pancham, subsequently followed. S-J were always the leaders.”
Though Shanker was the more learned man of the two, it was Jaikishan who was more instinctive, and thus more variegated. Together they broke all the rules that prevailed at their entry, and replaced them with their own. Awara signalled Hindi cinema’s first significant dream sequence in the double-song Tere bina aag yeh chandni and Ghar aaya mera pardesi, a compositional and orchestral revolution at that time. Today, every third song is a ‘dream’ sequence shot in any corner of the globe!
To sum it up, Shanker-Jaikishan established a distinct form to film music — as different from folk and classical-based styles, and when R.D. Burman and A.R. Rahman broke their traditions in 1972 and 1993 respectively, it was only to gradually return by compulsion to the wholesome model that S-J have designed, as 1942-A Love Story and Lagaan have proved.
The art of selling
The all-fresh sound of Barsaat washed away the competition in 1949. Jiya beqaraar hai, Tirchhi nazar hai, Barsaat mein tumse mile hum, Hawa mein udtaa jaaye and O mujhe kisise pyar ho gaya, all became cult songs in an 11-track, all-hit score. Record sales touched an all-time high, thus spot-lighting for the first time the potential of Hindi film music as a commercial force on its own. Redefining the parameters of popularity, S-J rose meteorically, scoring a fantastic high with their second film Nagina, which preceded Awara in 1951. By this time, the other composers around realised that they had to toe the line and match their exacting standards — or lag behind.
Unlike the top tune-smiths of today, Shanker-Jaikishan never took their success for granted (L-P emulated this too) or used their position to usher in unhealthy trends. Shanker — crude, tough, forceful — never broke away from his classical roots. When sceptics scoffed at what they could do when they replaced Naushad on distributor demand as composers of asant Bahar, S-J proved the criticism completely off-target as they delivered a score as riveting and certainly more original than Baiju Bawra. Badi der bhayi (Rafi), Nain mile chain kahaan (Lata-Manna Dey), Ketaki gulaab juhi (Manna Dey-Bhimsen Joshi), Duniya na bhaaye mujhe (Rafi) and Bhay bhanjaana and Sur na saje (both Manna Dey) unleashed a classical force that few have equalled since.
For almost two decades, Shanker and Jaikishan moulded public tastes, and struck the perfect balance between populism and classicism. In fact, S-J made it a point to incorporate a classical or semi-classical number in many a formula entertainer, like Mere sang gaa gungunaa (Suman/Janwar), Chham chham baaje re payaliya (Manna Dey/Jaane Anjaane) and Kaise samjhaaoon (Suraj).
Experiments and innovations were the name of the S-J game as they blended a qawwali — Jab ishq kahin (Asha-Mubarak Begum) — with Western packaging in Arzoo mischievously (a Jai speciality), ‘renovated’ Naushad’s Hamin se mohabbat (Leader) as the enduring Ae phoolon ki rani in the same film, and made singers try out styles associated with Western rock as in Aiyaya karoon main kya suku suku (Rafi/Junglee).
Their carefully-orchestrated (pun intended) PR kept them in focus all the time, and their personal affairs made as much history as their melodies. That brings to mind the buzz that S-J won more awards than anyone else because they made the necessary ‘arrangements’.
The hype over their split in the mid-60s, the reasons ascribed to it and the spotlight on their lifestyles (especially Jai’s flamboyant one with pretty girls hovering around him like butterflies) are a part of music lore.
Shanker-Jaikishan also updated the status of the composer in Bollywood. Reportedly the first composers to charge a lakh for their music way back in the 50s, they charged a hefty Rs 10 lakhs (they had split and they got Rs 5 lakhs each) for Ramanand Sagar’s 1965 tear-jerker Arzoo. Their hi-profile lifestyles and images had even made Kalyanji-Anandji and Laxmikant-Pyarelal model their sartorial preferences self-confessedly along S-J lines!
And the respect and clout they commanded can never be equalled by today’s hotshots — despite the controversies and tall hoardings. The magical name Shanker-Jaikishan was enough to sell and assure ISI music standards — their faces were not needed, though they were sometimes there.
Range and capacity
Admittedly S-J were overwhelmingly inclined towards Rafi, Lata, Mukesh and Manna Dey, and maybe Shanker delivered all those hit solos and duets with Sharda (Suraj, Pyar Mohabbat, An Evening In Paris, Around The World, Duniya, Diwana, Jane Anjaane et al) only because he was infatuated with her, and wanted to prove a point, but S-J delivered hits even with singers considered commercial no-no’s, like Subir Sen (Kathputhli, Marine Drive) and Mubarak Begum (Hamrahi). Bhupinder recently revealed that after giving him a song in Raat Aur Din, Jaikishan had promised him an active role in their music. “Had Jai lived, my career would have taken a different course,” said the singer.
S-J were the first composers to sign six films or more at a time, something unthinkable in their generation. Once again, they saw to it that their quality did not suffer. Rather, and to the complete amazement and grudging admiration of their competition, the result of their ‘mass-production’ was the awesome variety. For example, their 1966 releases were Amrapali, Budtameez, Love In Tokyo, Suraj and Teesri Kasam.
As for their individual roles in music, one historian notes the interesting fact that Shanker and Jaikishan had a secret pact between them — that Shanker would do the classical compositions, and Jaikishan the background score. Jai’s background music skills will always remain a legend in musical circles. His compositions magically fitted the scenes to a second, even without the timer that every other composer needs.
All of them have adapted or lifted tunes, but Shanker-Jaikishan had the minimum percentage, stated Pyarelal once. S-J were past masters at re-working their own, and even their associates’ tunes (see the Leader-Arzoo example above) if they felt that the full potential of the basic melody had not been realised. Invariably, the new song was quite ahead in calibre and popularity from the source. And even in their copies, a lot of cerebration went in, as in Dil usse do (Andaz), which they adapted from a Beatles hit. What came across in the final take was a quintessential S-J song.
On the other hand, their songs have remained ‘sources’ for future songs for several composers. Rajesh Roshan and Anand-Milind re-worked Kisine apna banaake mujhko (Patita) in Kishan Kanhaiya and Dhanwaan respectively. L-P’s Kaate nahin kat te (Mr India) takes inspiration from a S-J mukhda in Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja (1961). Raam-Laxman, Jatin-Lalit, Nadeem-Shravan, Anu Malik and finally A.R. Rahman (Muqabala inspired from Pyar hua ikraar hua) are those who have delivered some of their hits, based on S-J creations made decades ago.
“The other musical duos responsible for promoting my singing career were Shankar and Jaikishan. I am especially indebted to Shanker-ji, for had it not been for his patronage, I would certainly not have attained the heights of success I enjoyed in my career. Here was one man who knew how to bring out the best in me. No other music director, not even Sachin-da, for that matter, took the trouble to do that. Was it because, unlike Shanker-ji, they were unaware of my potential? Is it not a question I am qualified to answer. Sachin-da, for instance, had asked me to sing ‘Upar gagan vishal’ because he wanted to resurrect my uncle’s style of singing through me. Moreover, despite giving my best to his songs, and even after I had made my mark as a playback singer, Sachin –da did not ask me to sing on a regular basis for the films whose music he composed. Shanker-ji, however, was different. He had a clear conception of the range of my voice and began composing some of my popular numbers to exploit it fully. In fact, he was the first music director who dared to experiment with my voice by making me sing romantic numbers. Somehow, he sensed that my masculine style of rendering style of rendering love songs would appeal to the public. And he was not wide of the mark. I, for my part, was always happy to sing for Shanker-ji because of the sheer variety of his tunes. The compositions he especially reserved for me included everything that could be described as light music – as opposed to classical – compromising romantic numbers, wistful songs of farewell, comic songs and devotionals. The precedent set by Shanker-ji would be instrumental in furthering my career with other music directors who, inspired by his success, eagerly came forward with a wide range of compositions for me to sing. Today, I look back on that phase of my singing career as my golden period and if my fans call me a versatile singer, it is entirely due to Shanker-ji’s astute judgement of my capabilities and his initiative in bringing them to the fore.
This duo’s other important contribution to my career lay in their decision to use my voice for songs lip-synched by younger characters in films, a marked departure from the general trend of making me sing playback for older actors. Until then, I had, been accustomed to lending my voice for songs composed either for the character of Valmiki, the old sage of Ramayana, or the actor who played Hanuman and was required to jump around, swinging his long tail. In fact I often found the prospect of going to a theatre hall and watching such characters a trifle awkward, particularly when they lip-synched my voice. Besides, telling friends that I had, indeed sung for Valmiki or Hanuman was embarrassing enough. With Shankar and Jaikishen giving me a different kind of break, however, the situation changed completely. Now, I could proudly tell my friends that the leading character of such and such film would be lip-synching my song. These developments naturally gave my self-confidence a tremendous boost.
As far as I can remember, my very first song composed by Shanker and Jaikishen was for Awara, a film produced and directed by the legendary Raj Kapoor. The duet with Lata Mangeshkar, ‘Tere bina aag yeh chandni’, written by the famous lyricist Shailendra, would mark the beginning of my golden period in playback singing. Then followed, one smash hit after another; ‘Lapak jhapak tu aare badarwa’ in Boot Polish, ‘Dil ka haal sune dilwale’ in Shri 420, ‘Yeh raat bheegi bheegi’ in Chori Chori and ‘Jhoomta mausam’ in Ujaala.
The most interesting feature of Shanker and Jaikishen’s medodies was their sheer novelty and, in that respect, they remain unrivalled. The man on the street enjoyed singing them for fun and their appeal has survived the passage of time. Their commitment to their work was truly commendable and considering their taste and flair for innovation, which they introduced to suit a song’s mood and lyrics, along with the kind of effort that went into their compositions, it is hardly surprising that they should have produced such memorable hits.
It was Shanker and Jaikishen’s last composition for me, ‘Sur na saje’ from Basant Bahar, which would bring the most productive period of my career with them to a glorious close.”
I thought for those of us in the group who have not read the book, it will be of great help. In the book, Manna Dey starts with SDB among the MDs and then comes to SJ. It may be remembered that he started as an assistant to SDB and got his break also from SDB. But having read the above one can understand where he places SJ among the MDs he had worked with.
However, I did not understand how he has written that ‘Sur na saje’ was the last composition with SJ.