Anand D. Theke is a Hindi Film Music devotee and a rhythm enthusiast who plays the tabla. For decades he has been enchanted with the rhythms of SJ and has written this article as a tribute. He would like to thank Pune Life Style for providing the web space and also thank you for having read this article. Do write in to Anand directly! Rhapsodies in Rhythm The inimitable Dholak rhythms of Shanker Jaikishan
‘Andaz Mera Mastana’ is what Shanker Jaikishan (SJ) seem to say in every beat of their songs! In this path breaking article, Anand D. Theke presents THE rhythm guide for the discerning Hindi Film Music (HFM) Fan. A fascinating exploration of the rhythms, which are the very heartbeat of hundreds of SJ songs with a special focus on the dholak. And this certainly is a delectable treat for the true music and HFM aficionado.
Some tips … Keep your SJ song CDs loaded as you read this. Often, you might get lost in the song and would need to take some effort to return to the point made here! One simple technical point in the terminology of dholak – theka is the central rhythm pattern and a laggi is an inspired improvisation.Over to Anand D. Theke, as he makes a grand beginning in the true, characteristic SJ style! …
It is 1960. SJ have firmly established themselves as the No.1 Music Directors in the Hindi Film Industry. As the 50s unrolled, SJ have matured as composers, and now find that their exploits are the talk of millions!They launch into the next decade with a showcase extravaganza – A. Andaz Mera Mastana – Dil Apna Aur Preet Parayee (1960) Download the sample track here 180 KB onlyA. ‘Andaz Mera Mastana’ begins with the enthralling 100 second plus introduction … which uses the 100 plus SJ orchestra to its limit … trumpets, saxophone, cello, piano, guitar, violins … you name it … in fact, every instrument renders the atmosphere …with its own colour ..and then the ghungroos … and then the piano …and then the accordion flaunts itself … to introduce Lata with aplomb … and as Lata sings the opening lines … Andaaz Mera Mastana … accompanied by bongos … listen to the mukhda carefully …
Andaz Mera Mastana …
the bongos lend an ebullient rhythm …
Maange Dil Ka Nazrana …
the bongos continue …
Zara Soch Ke Aankh Milana …
the bongos continue …
Ho Jaaye Na Tu …
the bongos continue …
the dholak makes a~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~spectacular, splash of an entry …to accompany Lata & the chorus throughout the song!
Now, watch out for the next line – ‘Mera Dil Kaha Hain’ … and listen to the laggi!Now this line gets repeated a total of four times in the song – once at the beginning and then after every antara. And everytime there is a diferent laggi under it … four different laggis are played on the same line every time it occurs!Of course, all fit snugly into the words and the melody of the line. And these laggis are repeated over the song, keeping Lata and the chorus in vibrant company!For most listeners, this complexity is not evident at all!In fact, check it for yourself – when you listened to Andaz Mera Mastana, did you find that your fingers had unconsciously caught up with the rhythm on the nearest playable surface? Millions have found that to be the case, and it is here that unknowingly SJ have caught you in their magical rhythm spell! It is almost as if one has given SJ that pat on the back … well almost!
All SJ have done is that a fairly inricate, complex rhythm pattern has reached your ears and sounded so friendly, so simple, that it straight makes a place in the heart! Simple, ain’t it? Well, ask any contemporary musician or music director to recreate even a little of this magic! And that was the secret of SJ! High quality, complex compositions became simple enough for the common person to appreciate! That is genius! It is because though SJ may have departed … their work remains as alive as ever!
Shanker Jaikishan – The Rajkumars of Hindi Film Music (HFM)For the uninitiated, here is a quick background to Shanker Jaikishan and their oeuvre.
Shanker Jaikishan (SJ) began their illustrious career in 1949 and for just over two decades, this duo stormed the world of Hindi films with a brand of music that has a few parallels in the history of Hindi Film Music.
SJ conjured their magic by harmoniously blending various musical elements. First of all – the melodies were sweet and simple. Legends like Lata, Rafi, Mukesh and Manna Dey rendered these melodies and the value they added is evident; Hindi Film Music may perhaps never outgrow that kind of impact.
SJ’s formidable orchestra enhanced and embroidered the melodies with complex contras and interludes and the result is for generations to behold – intricate, ornate tapestries of songs!
With SJ wielding the baton, many instruments earned a distinction – the accordion, mandolin, violin, flute & cello among others developed an unmistakable identity.
And finally there were the SJ rhythms! Ebullient, bold and delivered with exceptional panache, the rhythms lent SJ compositions a unique pace and a distinct cadence which added unprecedented value to the images on screen and created THE mood in the listeners mind and heart ! In fact, like their songs, the rhapsodies of rhythm that SJ conjured, have successfully outlived the images and are the focus of attention in this article.
SJ used dholak, dholaki, tabla, bongo and congo as their main percussion instruments. In addition, they used instruments such as taasha and ‘chandu’ as well. Cymbals, khanjiri and maracas provided ample side rhythm support to the lead instruments. And SJ were such masters in using ALL of these that one could dwell on each of these instruments in their own right at length!
This exploration focuses on the the dholak whilst trying to keep some of the others in focus too!
Even before SJ broke upon the scene, a few venerable music directors like Ghulam Haider, Ghulam Mohammed, Shyamsunder etc. had established the dholak as a main accompaniment instrument for Hindi film songs. One can almost seperate the transformation, before SJ, the instrument was used with a distinct and conventional Pujabi flavor, its main purpose being to provide just an adequate support to the melody. Variations of the core theka, if any, were far and few between. Even their contemporaries, notably ‘rhythm king’ O.P.Nayyar or even Naushad, confined themselves to this established framework of dholak playing. SJ changed all that!
Let us move to specific examples … Listen to the weighty theka which accentuates the feel behind these songs which are actually soft, slow paced numbers!
Ek Bewafaa Se Pyaar Kiyaa (Awara 1951)Use Mil Gayee Nayi Zindagi (Halaku 1956)Aansoo Ki Aag Leke Teri Yaad Aayee (Yahudi 1958)Mere Sapne Mein Aana Re, Sajana (Raajhath 1956)
The dholak not only provides a very weighty percussion support; in all these SJ melodies, the dholak actually lends a touch of sheer beauty through laggis and variations; after any pause the beginnings are different and distinctive, the joints between thekas and laggis are subtle & swift; little wonder, they sound seamless because incredible as it might seem – they actually are!
With every film, SJ were making significant contributions to the realm of dholak playing for HFM, even adding some of their own creations in original thekas and firmly establishing their own style of dholak playing.
And SJ continued to shower the Hindi Film Music space with such rhythm fireworks! A resplendent range of laggis, laggis which insidiously resided in the very heart of the main rhythm patterns. And almost every time when the dholak came into the song it did so with great style! Often, it would launch after a pause, or at the beginning of the every mukhada.Most dholak players would be content with a ‘Ta tirkit taktaa’ type of construct for such a place, but not SJ’s dholak players. They had their own innovative variations here too. Let us turn to another SJ classic as an indepth example in the soulful, heart-wrenching … B. Tera Jaana, Dil Ke Armaanonka Lut Jaana – Anari 1959 For best results, it is strongly recommended that you listen to the song, if you are not doing it already! (Apologies to repeat this … but it is important) In all probability, you would find yourself flitting between reading and listening! And that is exactly what happens all along this SJ beauty – the theka gracefully keeps giving way to the melody and creates the backdrop. When the melody recedes to create the melancholy mood, the theka only emerges again to take centrestage … that pattern repeats throughout the song! Download TWO sample tracks here! One zip file! 797 KB.. The core ‘weighty’ theka which is interspersed throughout the song and holds it all together is … “Dhig dha dhig taa Tik taa dhina”. The song begins with a brief prelude of violins and an emphatic iano playing in a combination and they quickly gain in intensity to create a sombre mood … Lata Mangeshkar comes in with … Tera Jaana …
The dholak theka begins on the na with a damp Dhig!
Listen carefully … as Lata sings Tera Jaana … the dholak joins in on the na with the Dhig which is itself dampened and stressed! That helps significantly to carry through the melody as well as creates the mood right from the word go! Now as Lata takes off on the words ‘Koi Dekhe …’, a laggi “Dhig, dha dhig taa, Dhig, taa tik taa” comes in line with the flow of the words!
Tera Jaana is also one song where the interludes have almost become legendary! Most SJ fans remember little nuances and often sing them out too! Tera Jaana also stands out as a rare example of violin interludes being remembered and hummed! Now another characteristic SJ style was to have interludes, which were of a completely western flavour! In the case of Tera Jaana, it is the violins at various pitches and the guitar which strums along, and do not miss the shehnai and flute coming in small tender ‘pieces’, but ever so sweetly, to create a touching pathos …As you listen to the song, carefully savour the interlude before the second stanza (Jab Jab Chanda Aayega …) the mandolin comes in here and as the violins and the guitars create the mood, dont miss the bells … and the grand orchestration seems to give way to Lata with that fleeting piece of the shahnai!
And we reach … Jab Jab Chanda Aayega …Come to the flute-interlude before the line “Main Rokar Rah Jaoongi” and that is when the laggi begins. It carries through this line and surprisingly, on the next line “Dil Jab Zid Par Aayega” switches back to the core theka on the cue of “Dil’!
Main Rokar Raha Jaoongi
Dhig, Dha Dhig Taa, Dhig, Taa Tik Taa
Dil Jab Zid Par Aayega
Dhig Dha Dhig Taa Tik Taa Dhina
Moreover, the changes between the theka and the laggi just do not always follow the traditional usage of a joining piece. With SJ rhythms, you have to expect the unexpected! And there is more!
After this stanza, listen to the theka accompanying the final ‘Tera Jaana, Dil Ke Armaano Ka Lut Jaana’.It unexpectedly falls silent around ‘Lut’, only to be taken over by the laggi on the ‘na’ of ‘Jaana’!
Literally, on the other hand, a subtle ‘takey titkit’ bit facilitates the change from the theka to a small swift play on the baaya at the end of ‘Ban Ke Taqdeeron Ka Mit Jaana’!
It is this unpredictability of what to expect and when, taken together with the very weighty playout of the theka and the laggis that make this song’s dholak accompaniment, a treat for the sensitive listener.
Yet another example of the dholak accompaniment to a sad, slow paced song is the title song of Dil Apna Aur Preet Parayee. There are surprisingly, no fireworks here, but the theka is so sweet and soul-stirring in itself, it does more than carry through the melancholy of Lata’s rendering. “Ye Hariyaali Aur Ye Raasta’ also fits into this category of sad songs with grave theka accompaniment.
OK! So this very weighty theka goes with the sad and melancholy, right? That is what most people would come to believe! SJ establish that beyond any doubt and then bounce back and throw all their weight to get you in a swinging mood in “Ye To Kaho, Kaun Ho Tum, Kaun Ho Tum” (Aashiq 1962) using this very weighty theka! Raj Kapoor actually dances to this theka on screen and many film buffs too had to do likewise in theatres!
SJ’s dholak really comes into its own on those numerous fast paced, swinging songs many of which Lata Mangeshkar rendered majestically. Most of these accompaniments, intricate as they were, were extempore and therefore it is rather difficult to discern a pattern amongst them.
However, the discerning ear can still find a certain framework can:
1. Begin with the core theka …2. Break off into a laggi, usually on the third line of the opening of the song3. Have a few more laggis into the song’s opening (mukhda). It gets repeated after each stanza and within the stanza, as it fits well into the flow of words.4. Swift transitions between the theka and a laggi, on many occasions introduce those ‘silences’ as in the Tera Jana example5. Fill in the gaps between lines with dholak chaati (daaya) interlude, 6. Finally, break off after a pause with a small piece that stands out in itself !
Also remember that characteristic trade mark dampening of the first beat (the one of sum) of their theka playing for dholak.
Let us now take up another classic example fromthe SJ repertoire which also highlights our framework above.
C. Main Piya Teri Tu Maane Ya Na Maane – Basant Bahar 1956 Download the sample track here! 535 KB OST flute!Many Hindi Film Music Fans believe with Basant Bahar, SJ did a Naushad! Or actually matched or even surpassed him! And what better ‘jugalbandi’ for music buffs when such masters treated them to this quality of music!
The song itself is a classic bhajan kind of a composition in the preferred raag of SJ – Bhairavi! A musical ode to Krishna – the song has the flute of Pannalal Ghosh ‘singing’ a duet with Lata Mangeshkar. (Many believe it is the sound of God!) And the dholak is there all along, lending a cadence to every melodious overture of devotion! Somewhere along the way, a sense of the erotic comes in and one key cause of it is due to the dholaks blending both moods! Listen to this laggi ‘Tirkit taghenta naak” gushing all over this song!
On screen, this song too, has those patent one minute SJ preludes, but this time it is with the sublime long flute piece … the violins pick up the final notes from the flute to announce the entry of the dancing heroine … Lata comes in with Main Piya Teri … a soft almost tender and yet earnest note …And as she ‘states’ Main Piya Teri’ the dholak surges all over with the theka “Dhik dhatik ta Dhadhi”.and the flute wafts in … clearly in a mood to serenade! As we move to the third line … Lata implores the Lord with the line ‘Kaahe Ko Bajaaye Tu Mithi Mithi Taane’ … the dholak breaks off into a laggi “Dhadhag da Dha tin naak.”Look at the interludes … especially the flute pieces … which have ‘Tirkit taghenta naak” all over it!And the variations continue! The first line of the stanzas, ‘Murali Ki Lai Ne Dil Mera Chheena’ has the core theka, but on ‘Raag Uthaye Maine Raag Uthaye’ has the ‘Dhetta gadhaa, Dheta kataa’ laggi!When the mukhda line of Main Piya Tera repeats in the stanzas, ‘Dhin, dhagid Dhig tinaa ta” laggi takes over!
Throughout this SJ classic, when the mukhada repeats after every antara, it features a very subtle interplay of the daaya and baya. Do not miss that! A song that truly enchants and like the sangam of Radha & Krishna, the dholak rhythms simply dissolve in the meoldy!
D. Haaye Tu Hi Gayaa Mohe Bhool Re – Kathputli 1957Kathputli was a score which had SJ innovating at their best!The title song came in two versions. The fast version was sweet and yet the slower version of the song remains as some kind of landmark – most people just cannot make out what that composition is and yet it stands out as an extraordinary piece of work! You can catch some shades in common between these songs especially their rhythms.’Haaye Tu Hi Gayaa Mohe Bhool Re’ also has that one and a half minute preludes.And it has a very unusal beginning … a medley of various instruments … which create an energy of its own … listen to the song carefully because it is here that you can listen to the silences of the dholak!The key rhythm characteristic of this SJ gem is in the transitions! Watch out for the points when the dholak switches from a theka to a laggi and it is difficult to make out that the switch is made! And the switch is made through ‘poignant silences’ or rests!Catch that moment in the mukhda itself … when the dholak switches from “Mohe Bhool Re’ to ‘Main Hoon Tere Jeevan Ki Raagini’.
The stanzas of this song have a galaxy of variations!On the first line of the stanza, ‘Tere Naghme Taare Bankar, Chamke Sab Ke Pyaare Bankar, the core theka plays …… and over the flute interlude that follows the dholak DOUBLES the pace to continue in that mode through the rest of the stanza only to conclude on the sum after cutting the pace to HALF!And when the mukhda line comes in again – ‘Haaye Tu Hi Gaya’ the ‘Tikdha tirkit Takta tirkit’ construct gives it company!
In the second stanza the first line of the stanza ‘Phir Se Aisa Raag Suna De’ gets the core theka, only to be followed by a ‘Dhettaagadha Dhettaakataa” laggi on the first ‘Jhoom Uthey Yeh Hum Gham Ke Maare’. When you listen to this song do not miss the ‘kradhin tirkit taktaa tirkit’ which is splashed over all breaks!
Kathputli has rated as one of SJs finest scores for a film. And in all the big popular hit songs, Haaye Tu hi Gaya is often lost by many fans! However, this rather unusual gem of SJ too is a song which brings credit to Sj for the superlative composition and arrangement! Make it a point to listen to it! Highly recommended for the true blue SJ & HFM fan!
E. Aate Jaate Pehloo Mein Aaya Koi – Yahudi 1958Now this song begins with a crackling bongo and that crackling sound becomes a motif for the dholak to embroider this SJ tapestry! As the song unfolds …Aate Jaate Pehloo Mein Aaya KoiMere Dil Batla Na Chhupa …and we come to the third line …
The magic of the dholak in this song really takes off here!
Aaj Se,Main Tujhe,Dil Kahoo,Ya Dilruba …
Listen to the dholak …as it breaks off into a beautiful laggi here!
Teri Sunoo Aur Sunti RahooMain Apni Tadap Chhupa LooPhir Bhi Kaha Tak Sabr KarooMain Khud Ko Kitna Samhaloo?
The first two lines of the stanza are, both adorned with different laggis.On ‘Phir Bhi Kaha Tak Sabr Karu’, the fascinating ‘Dhigdhati Naakadhin’, comes in!And watch out this very laggi is played on the closing of ‘Mere Dil Batlaa Naa Chhupaa’.The second stanza Mast Nazar Tu Ne Yeh Kya Kiya … has the same fascinating pattern repeated.
And now let us expect what is unexpected what else can one do with SJ? As we go to the last stanza … Tera Tassavur Tera Hi Gham Labon Pe Tera Tarana … The core theka is playing here … but now …’Neend Se Bhi Ab Kehti Hoon Main’ has another beautiful rippling laggi giving saath!
And on the final line try and catch this silence …
Tu Unko Khwab Mein LanaThe dholak suddenly falls silent and gives way on na!
A subtle, racy ‘Dhig dhitta Tak dhitta’ joins in with the mukhada and repeats for the last time in the song. ‘Mere Dil Batla Naa Chhupa’! And did you notice that all the Aa Aa Aa Aa Aa Lata refrains have a cheerful bongo and of course the mandolin ‘playing’ along?
When the songs were fast paced, SJ actually came into their own! The core theka the variations, the silences makes one wonder and realize that ‘Tera Tassavvur, Tera Hi Gham, Labon Pe Tera Tarana’ was something that is really left with us and SJ meant every word of it! Here is a list of 25 SJ gems which are studded in enchanting rhythm patterns and each is an ornament in itself! Mind you the actual bnumber of songs is much longer, we have chosen 25! Listening to these masterpieces is not just entertainment of the highest order but also can be an education!
Song (Film, Year)
Ramayya Vastavayya’ (Shri 420 1955)
Kar Gaya Re Kar Gaya Re Kar Gaya Mujhpe Jadoo’ (Basant Bahar 1956)
Manabhawan Ke Ghar’ (Chori Chori 1956)
Hai Tu Hi Gayaa Mohe Bhool Re’ (Kathputli 1957)
Bagad Bum Bum Bum’ (Kathputli 1957)
‘Dil Mein Pyar Ka Toofan’ ( Yahudi 1958)
Meri Jaan Meri Jaan’ (Yahudi 1958)
Tera Jalwaa Jisne Dekha’ (Ujala 1959)
Ho Mora Naadan Baalama’ (Ujala 1959)
Andaaz Mera Mastaana’ (Dil Apna Aur Preet Parayee 1960)
Mera Dil Ab Tera O Saajana’ (Dil Apna Aur Preet Parayee 1960)
Tum Roothi Raho’ (Aas Ka Panchhi 1961)
Sau Saal Pehle’ (Jab Pyar Kisise Hota Hai 1961)
Kashmir Ki Kali Hoon Main’ (Junglee 1961)
Din Sara Gujara Tore Angna'( Junglee 1961)
Tujhe Jeevan Ki Dor Se’ (Asli Naqli 1962)
Wo Chale’ (Hamrahi 1963)
Wo Din Yaad Karo’ (Hamrahi 1963)
Bahar Banke Woh Musquaraye’ (Ek Dil So Afsaane 1963)
Tumko Hamari Umar’ (Aaye Milan Ki Bela 1964)
Aaye Re Din Sawaan Ke’ (Gaban 1966)
Maine Dekha Tha’ (Gaban 1966)
Paan Khaye Saiyya Hamaaro’ (Teesri Kasam 1966)
Chalat Musafir’ (Teesri Kasam 1966)
Hare Kaanch Ki Choodiyan’ (Hare Kaanch Ki Choodiyan 1967)
Once you savour music compositions and arrangements of this order, it is not a mystery why SJ were the foremost music directors of their times and left behind templates for others to follow. They innovated and their creations helped them stay at the top. Variations also came through consistently. Like in all other departments, SJ’s dholak players too invented new thekas and rendered them in novel ways too! Clearly, it was team effort of top class mucisians doing what they do best … make good music!Almost all of the dholak songs would be characterised by a variety of laggis spread around at appropriate points along the melody. Invariably, a laggi would be played on the third line of the mukhada. Examples of this are ‘Main Piya Teri’, ‘Aate Jaate Pehloo Mein Aaya Koi’, ‘Tera Jalwa’, ‘Tum Roothi Raho’, ‘Ek Dil Aur Sau Afsane’, ‘Ek Bewafaa Se Pyar Kiya’, ‘Aansoo Ki Aag Leke’. Within the antara, laggis would appear as demanded by the flow of the words and the melody.
A chef might give spicy ‘tadka’ to the daal. Almost in a similar vein, every SJ dholak song features at least one laggi within the antara. Of course, these inspired improvisations appear effortlessly and delectably blend into the song. Laggis would also be played over the interludes between lines of an antara. And more often than not, they would appear over the mukhada and would be repeated at the end of an antara. And this is one element that made songs with simple melodies so memorable and made a home in every heart!
Let us take a DOZEN DHOLAK SJ examples in brief …
We begin with two from Yahudi (1958). 1. ‘Dil Mein Pyar Ka Toofan’ has the theka ‘Dhita Dhindhinak’ resounding all over the song all over the place!And that theka created a tempest … a listener almost finds himself airborne!
2. ‘Meri Jaan Meri Jaan’ ‘Dhig Dhadha Tik Dhadha’ is the core theka.Go to the line ‘Koi kya kare haye, koi kya kare?’ and listen to the long dayaa-alone piece over it!Yet another innovation which made this song simply remarkable for the dholak accompaniment. 3. ‘Haye Tu Hi Gaya Mohe Bhool Re’ has ‘Tigdha tirkit Taktaa tirkit’ or ‘Kradhin tirkit Taktaa tirkit’ as the core theka and this song has many siblings … Main Piya Teri’, ‘Tera Jalwa Jisne Dekha’, ‘Manbhavan Ke Ghar Jaaye Gori’, ‘Dil Ka Na Aarna Aitbaar Koi’, ‘Nache Ang Ang Tere Aage’, ‘Aansoo Ki Aag Leke’, ‘Bhaiyya Mere Raakhi Ke Bandhan Ko Nibhaana’, ‘Begaani Shaadi Mein, Abdulla Deewana’.- all have the stamp of ‘Tigdha tirkit Taktaa tirkit’ or ‘Kradhin tirkit Taktaa tirkit’ as the rhythm refrain!
4. ‘Dil Apna Aur Preet Parayee’ both the mukhada and the antara begins with a restrained ‘Tak tirkit Tak tirkit’. Or in ‘Tum Roothi Raho’, we find the simple but effective ‘Taktaktak Taktaktak”!
5. Let us now consider one of the most exciting examples … Let us begin with the simpler version which we get in ‘Din Saara Guzaara Tore Angana’.Listen to the ‘Dhirdhirgat Dhirdhirgat’. When and where? You cannot miss it! Simply unmistakable!6. And now go to ‘Kashmir Ki Kali Hoon Main’ where you will meet the same old ‘Dhirdhirgat Dhirdhirgat’ in a truly pulsating form!And towards the end of the song … ‘Dhirdhirgat Dhirdhirgat’ changes its form to ‘Dhirdhirgat______ Dhirdhirgat Dhirdhirgat’ [a (1_+ 2) variation]to launch the mukhda … ‘Kashmir Ki Kali Hoon Main’ and takes the listener completely by surprise!Many SJ songs … ‘Bahar Banke Woh Musquaraye’, ‘Surat Hasin, Lagata Hai Diwaana’ and ‘Maine Dekha Tha Sapanon Mein Ik Chandrahar’ have the same ‘Dhirdhirgat Dhirdhirgat’ in a simple [1+1+1] format! Check it out!
7. Let us take yet another example from Gaban – just to listen to the dholak baya!’Ehsaan Mere Dil Pe Tumhara Doston’.Violins begin this song in characteristic SJ style and Rafi goes solo with the first line of the mukhda,and when he repeats the mukhda just watch the dholak baya come in playfully! And listen to that baay throughout this number! Little wonder that the SJ fan too reciprocates the gratitude that rafi exudes through the song!8. ‘Ghar Aaya Mera Pardesi’ from Awara is possibly one of the exemplary songs for having a wonderfully brilliant theka and a range of laggis all around. Although strictly not a dholak song (for it was a dholaki song), the recording of this song was stalled for hours because no one – Raj Kapoor, SJ and their entire team was happy with the rhythm accompaniment. Someone suggested the name of a dholaki player called and Lala Gangawane was ushered in called – a tall strappling man carrying a little dholaki walked into the studio well past midnight! As SJs assistant and the man in charge of their rhythm section Dattaram has mentioned “Lalabhau poured out his heart in the song, he played every possible variation, every possible nuance and the result was pure magic”. Do listen to this song once as it mingles with Lata, the mandolin and the chorus as well as the range of instruments!
9. When you listen to another SJ classic – ‘Baat Baat Pe Rootho Na’ which too has extraordinary dholak accompaniment, make it a point to catch the laggi “Dhin taak taa dhin Dhi taak taa dhettaa” played over the last line of every antraa for e.g.,”Jeevan Safar Mein Sukh Ho Ya Dukh Ho, Rona Padega Akele”. 10. Now ‘Manbhavan Ke Ghar Aaye Gori’, presents another fascinating imporvisation! After every antara when the line ‘Hame Na Bhoolaana’ the dholak effortlessly breaks into a double paced laggi!
11. ‘Dil Ka Na Karna Aitbaar Koi’ has ‘Dhitta ge tin, Titta ge dhin’ as the core theka construct. OK? Now years later over the ‘Tumhari qasam tum bahut yaad aaye’ & ‘Sau Saal Pehle’ has the same construct repeated!12. ‘O mora naadan baalma’ Come to the line ‘Na jaane ji ki baat, o hoi, na maane ji ki baat’ and catch the the dayaa-alone play over that line. It is simply astounding! Two LP songs immediately come to mind … Hasta Hua Noorani Chehra and Ooi Maa Ooi Maa Yeh Kya Ho Gaya … now is this what you call inspiration?Such variations were ‘routinely’ deployed by SJ so to speak … so much so that professional musicians working in the film ndustry today confes that it is simply impossible for the to even emulate such a feat!
The ‘Dhigtak Dhigi dhagi’ chapter!
Amongst all the SJ dholak theka innovations it is the zesty ‘Dhigtak Dhigi dhagi’ which has somehow defied boundaries of space and time! Commonly known as Dattaram theka, after the person who created it, SJ used it wonderfully in several of their songs. Actually, the theka can be seen to evolve over a period of time. The theka seems to have come into its own after SJ began using it abundantly over the years! And so did many other music directors! Check out the development over a decade and a half!
10 SJ songs based on Dattaram Theka
Nanhe Munne Bachche
Boot Polish, 1953
Mera Joota Hain Japani
Shree 420, 1955
Pyar Hua Iqraar Hua
Shree 420, 1955
Woh Chaand Khilaa
Chhoti Bahen 1959
Main Rangila Pyar Ka Raahi
Chhoti Bahen 1959
Tune Mera Dil Le Liya
Rikshe Pe Mere Tum Aa Baitho
Dil Tera Diwana 1962
Jane Mera Dil Kise Dhoond Raha Hain
Laat Saheb 1967
Parde Mein Rahne Do
This theka captivated the imagination of many composers till the disco theka came in the late 70s. However, even today, the Dattaram theka continues to provide support for melodies in films and even advertising jingles right in the 21st century! Download the SJ medley track here!
Let us quickly take a survey of the other rhythm instruments of SJ and of course the tabla deserves priority.
SJ’s used tabla together with the dholak in some slow paced songs. This combination seemed to be aimed at bringing to the fore the sharp chaati sound of the tabla, while the dholak provided the low pitched bayaa support. Listen to this fascinating combination in ‘Din Saara Guzara Tore Angana’ (Junglee 1961), ‘Tumko Hamari Umar Lag Jaaye’ (Aaye Milan Ki Bela, 1964) and ‘Tumhari Kasam Tum Bahut Yaad Aaye’ (Gaban, 1966).
Left to itself, the tabla would usually provide a fully filled-in theka to the song. Consider two songs to ring out this contrast. ‘Unke Sitam Ne Loot Liya’ (Kaali Ghata, 1951) has the rather insipid, simple waltz-like tabla theka. Come 1956 and ‘Aaja Ke Intezar Mein’ from Halaku gets a filled-in tabla. The same filled-in tabla is there in ‘So Ja Re So Ja Mere’ (Kathputli, 1957) as well. A different version of the filled-in accompaniment is seen in ‘Ja Ja Re Ja Balamawa’ (Basant Bahar 1956).
When the rhythms of SJ created the mood and ambience for a song it often happened so subtly that most listeners experienced the impact without realizing what was happening in the beats in the background and how. Take the example of ‘Na Chhedo Kal Ke Afsane’ (Raat Aur Din, 1967). The character on screen is inebriated and the tabla keeps to off- beat steps, underlining the stupor of the lady. The theka their tabla keeps in ‘Lakho Taare Aasman Mein’ (Hariyali Aur Rasta, 1962) is unique and an extension of the filled-in playout form it always followed. When SJ used the Jhaptaal too they have used it in a variety of contexts: ‘Tumhare Hain Tumse Dayaa Maangte Hain’ (Boot Polish, 1953), ‘ Kahan Jaa Raha Hain’ (Seema, 1955), ‘Bhay Bhanjana Vandana Sun Hamari ‘ (Basant Bahar, 1956), ‘Mujhe Tumse Kuchh Bhi Na Chahiye’ (Kanhaiyya, 1959) and ‘Masoom Chehara’ (Dil Tera Diwana, 1962).
It will be an understatement to say SJ gave bongo and congo their own places of pride in the context of Hindi film music. Most of their songs, including their Dholak songs would have an interlude on bongo or congo. Notable amongst these are ‘Baat Baat Mein Rootho Na’, ‘Aaja Sanam Madhur Chandni Mein Hum’, ‘Dil Mein Pyar Ka Toofan’, ‘Tera Jaana’, ‘Dil Apna Aur Preet Parayee’, ‘Mera Dil Ab Tera O Sajana’, ‘Kashmir Ki Kali Hoon Main’.
Take a song like ‘Sab Kuch Seekha Hum Ne’ (Anari). The bongo-congo combination is accompanying this remorseful number at a furious pace. However, the beats are dampenmed and they create the backdrop for Mukesh’s soulful rendition of the song. Many an amateur player in their enthusiasm, get stumped with this song, because their rhythm accompaniment gets ebullient rather than sombre!The bongo-combination would follow the changes in pitches of the music when played with a prelude or interlude. Apart from ‘Sab Kuchh Seekha Hum Ne’, a few examples where this stood out are ‘Dhadakne Lagta Hai Mera Dil’, ‘Tera Jalwa’, ‘Chheda Mere Dil Ne’ (Asli Naqli), ‘Kashmir Ki Kali’.
However, the verve of the SJ bongo-congo combination left their impact on milions of listeners … sample these songs to find out … Kahe Jhoom Jhoom Raat Yeh Suhani’ (Love Marriage, 1959), ‘ Dheere Dheere Chal’ (Love Marriage), ‘Hum Matwale Naujawan’ (Shararat, 1959), ‘Duniya Walon Se Door’ (Ujala), ‘Aankhon Mein Rang Kyon’ (Ek Phool Char Katen, 1960), ‘Jab Pyar Kisi Se Hota Hain’, ‘Chahe Koi Mujhe Junglee Kahe’ (Junglee), ‘Aiyaiya sukkoo sukkoo’ (Junglee), ‘Dil Tera Deewana’ (D.T.D.), ‘ Khuli Palak Mein’ (Professor 1962), ‘Yaha Koi Nahi Tere Mere Siva’ (Dil Ek Mandir 1963), ‘Hoshiyar Jaane Wale’ (Rajkumar, 1964), ‘Tere Dil Ke Paas Hi Hain Meri’ (Sangam, 1964), ‘Chehere Pe Giri Julphe’ (Suraj, 1966), ‘Unse Mili Nazar’ (Jhook Gaya Aasman, 1968).
As with the dholak, there were some very innovative styles of pickup after a pause, or at the very beginning. Who can forget the pickup in ‘Sub Kuch Seekha’ and ‘Chahe Koi Mujhe Junglee Kahe’, the unusual ones with slowly released dampings which is also called the bongo slide in ‘Kahe Jhoom Jhoom Raat’, ‘Dheere Dheere Chal’, ‘Khuli Palak Mein’.There were songs where SJ played the congo and dholak or tabla in tandem for an added effect. Examples are ‘Haye Meri Uljhi Najook Nazar'(Aas Ka Panchhi), ‘O Shama Mujhe Phook De’ (Hariyali Aur Raasta), ‘O Sanam Tere Ho Gaye Hum’ (Aashiq), ‘Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega’ (Sangam), ‘Mujhe Tum Mil Gaye Humdum’ (Love In Tokyo).
Almost every song had a significant component of side rhythm comprising of cymbals (jhanj), khanjiri and maracus. And each had its distinct place within the song. The khanjiri and maracus would alternate depending upon the lines within the song: one would play for the mukhada lines, another would come over the antara lines. And each of them played out the beat to the full, creating a kind of filled in pattern that would swiftly follow the changes in the beat of the main percussion instrument, including those switch pieces we heard earlier. Whenever the jhanj played, it would keep a lovely off beat pattern, in sharp contrast to the traditional and worn out style of ‘keeping the beat’.In today’s world of synthesized sounds, the rhythms created by SJ and their team continue to sound fresh and also remain as hallmarks of standards for any composer or musician. Many people ask the question: What is it about the music of the Goden Era that makes it attractive even to the teenager of today? The answer is never simple. One of the answers is in these complex rhythms which despite being complex, went in a package that touched the lay person, who probably never even touched a musical instrument in life but firmly believed that it was the song of his or her heart!
This article is meant to be a tribute to the entire SJ team – Shanker, Jaikishan, Dattaram, Sebastian and all those musician masters. It is a humble attempt to recognize these rhythm players and their body of work which remains with us as a treasure of unforgettable rhythms. Here are the men who made it happen with SJ:
Naal: Ambalal, Lala Gangavane. Vibrophone: Anil Mohile, Kersi Lord, Bujji Lord, Farooq, Dheeraj, Salim. Side Rhythm: Jayanti Panchal, Suresh Pardesi, Suraj, Bhosale, Bhagwan Rao, Manohar, Ramakant More. Tabla: Samta Prasad, Abdul Karim, Shankar, Lala Gangavane, Iqbal, Anna Joshi, Lala Ramsingh Pathare, Govind Sattar, Asar. Dholak: Dattaram, Anna Joshi, Ghulam Mohammad, Abdul Karim, Shankar, Sattar, Punyawan, Pankaj Dube. Bongo-Congo: Cawas Lord, Kersi Lord, Bujji Lord, Leslie, Ramchand, Prabhakar Mashelkar. Pathani Dholak: Miskin Khan. Matka: Raambabu, Sardar Balbir Singh. Duff: Dattaram, Ajit Singh. Khanjiri: Faiyyaz. Drums: Bujji Lord, Leslie Fernenades. Chonak: Ganpatrao Mohite, Haribhai.
COURTESY : PUNELIFE