“Shanker Jaikishen were the best thing to happen to film music”


 “Wouldn’t call myself a music buff, but I do enjoy listening to good music. As a young lad, I would walk into this music store       called Rhythm House    in   south   Mumbai to pick up records. Actually, I could not afford them, but I would quietly buy them on my brothers’  Raj Kapoor or Shammi Kapoor’s account!

 Shashi Kapoor on Shanker-Jaikishen

I’ve always loved listening to a variety of music, From the vocals of a Western classical singer like Frankie Lane to Indian classical singers like Bhimsen Joshi, Girija Devi and Begum Parveen Sultana, to Hindi film music. But, my favourite piece of music would be by the duo Shankar-Jaikishen, who I think were the best thing to have happened to Hindi film music. Even a maestro like Naushad once mentioned that the two were not musicians, but magicians!

          The duo who began their career with Prithvi Theatre by giving music to plays, started out on their own with Raj Kapoor’s second home production Barsaat. From Barsaat to Awara,  from Nagina to Andaz to Beimaan, they have given memorable music. But, my favourite track is the music of Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai I remember the songs were recorded in a small, ill-equipped studio in Taardeo. There were about 100 chorus singers, several violins and this orchestra all packed into the studio sans the hi-tech technology available now. Still, each song was recorded in three to four hours. Also, at that time there was only a one time mixing, compared to the dozen tracks which are mixed today. Yet, the result was mind-blowing! It was my favourite record then, but I enjoy it even more today. The title song ‘Jis Desh Mein….’still reverberates in my ears. I am mesmerised by “Aa Ab Laut Chale”, the duet sung by Lataji and Mukeshji. This song stirs my soul even today.         

          Playing with my grandchildren keeps me busy when I am at home. It’s only when I travel in my car that I put on a CD. And it’s invariably the track of Jis Desh……Making memorable music with the technology available today is understandable, but creating a timeless masterpiece with limited resources is what great music is all about!


Photo & article by Courtesy : Dr. Raj Senani