Remembering Jaikishan on his birthday, 4-11-2011 : Tumse Achcha Kaun Hai!

The Hindu : FEATURES / FRIDAY REVIEW : Tumse Achcha Kaun Hai!.

Tumse Achha Kaun Hai

By Deepak Mahan

Shankar Jaikishan – the name itself is so lyrical and inspiring that none is surprised that the music director duo created some of the greatest songs ever for Hindi film screen. If Shankar was named after the great Hindu deity of dance and Jaikishan’s name was the very embodiment of God of music, such a lethal combination of blessed talent had to be conjurers of exemplary notes. Obviously, when they captured the music lovers’ imagination and hearts with mesmerising array of melodies it didn’t surprise anyone since it was always expected of their formidable ability.

If Naushad exuded classical charm, Sachin Dev Burman exemplified the Himalayan tranquillity and O. P. Nayyar executed nature’s countless rhythms, then Shankar Jaikishan (SJ) duplicated various colours of the seasons in their enticing compositions. From high brow symphonies to rustic ballads, they had enthralling masterpieces to bind every listener’s heart in delightful ecstasy. Their years at the great Prithvi Theatre made them understand how music could be utilised to heighten the dramatic elements and this intrinsic talent of using sound to convey subtle emotions won them mass adulation without difficulty.

What compels attention in most SJ creations are the intricate and elaborate introductory pieces that not only set the mood and tone but also became tour-de-force of the melody. Though SJ conducted huge orchestras, they always ensured that the distinctive sounds of different instruments came forth with immaculate clarity without distorting the harmony of the overall composition. Listen to the harmonium crescendo before Mohammed Rafi creates nostalgia with “Yaad Naa Jaaye” (“Dil Ek Mandir”) or the sitar, violin and piano notes chiselled within a humming chorus prior to Rafi’s evergreen “Ye Mera Prem Patra” (“Sangam”) and you realise how the operatic preludes arrest our attention even before the words come into play.

Instrumental interludes

Similarly their instrumental interludes between verses were a treat to hear as they were set to enhance the evocative appeal of the image on screen. Remember how the violins meander around accordion notes to augment Sadhana’s pristine beauty and Lata Mangeshkar’s voice in “Tera Mera Pyaar Amar” (‘Asli Naqli’) or the way saxophones enhance Mukesh’s romantic aura in “Ae Sanam Jisne Tujhe” (‘Diwana’). The list is long and difficult to mention within the confines of a small article but suffice to say that several music directors tried to master this art but couldn’t reap the same results.

If Nayyar created unforgettable rhythmic patterns from stray objects, then SJ gave life to many established rhythms like foxtrot, waltz and teen taal (16 beat tempo) with their dexterous use of bongo drums, dholaks, octopads and congos. Within the limited scope of a song sequence, SJ designed wonderful patterns of sounds that not only helped raise the quality and mood of the song but also exhibited their irrepressible virtuosity. Described as “ultimate composers” by Nayyar, the talented duo even composed elaborate Hindustani classical ragas on prominent western instruments and vice versa with astounding success. Though their popular numbers are well entrenched in public memory, it must be stressed that they were the pioneers of fusion music and their exceptional non-film disc “Raga Jazz Style” was its finest example. Judging from the overseas response to their exquisite English number by Usha Uthup in “Bombay Talkies” to the accompaniment of tabla, flutes and sitar, one can say that they could have certainly ‘rocked’ the western world if they had so desired. For greater proof, visit and see why their “Jaan Pehchaan Ho” (“Gumnaam”) and “Dekho Ab To” (“Jaanwar”) songs are such smashing hits amongst western listeners!

Raj Kapoor may have played an integral role in establishing SJ but it is a fallacy to credit him for all their success. Even excluding the RK films, the sheer range of their musical compositions and success is breathtaking with such diverse films as “Daag”, “Seema”, “Halaku”, “Basant Bahaar”, “Humrahi”, “Sasuraal”, “Amrapali”, “Asli Naqli”, “Arzoo”, “Dil Ek Mandir”, “Junglee”, “Professor”, “Love in Tokyo”, “Suraj”, “Brahmachari”, “An Evening in Paris” and several others that cannot be listed for want of space. In fact, apart from Raj Kapoor’s super stardom, SJ also played a big hand in establishing Shammi Kapoor and Rajendra Kumar and many of their films actually ran to packed houses only because of SJ’s enchanting musical bouquets.

One must confess that the contribution of two outstanding lyricists Shailendra and Hasrat Jaipuri has to be etched in gold since they gave life to SJ music and their lyrics created their legend. If Shailendra was brevity personified with philosophical gems embedded in every line, Hasrat was the Urdu poet with romantic sensibilities and their simple poetry from everyday language made SJ music connect instantaneously with the masses. Veteran film critic Raju Bharatan reveals that that most of the times the writers wrote the lyrics to an already prepared SJ tune but such was their mastery that not only would they quickly adapt the metre but also pen easy to decipher words. This is easier said than done and it is fair to say that these two accomplished writers were great assets for SJ music.

Alas, when Jaikishan died young and Raj Kapoor too abandoned the SJ banner, it led to a steady eclipse of business. Though Shankar never lost his magical prowess; his acidic tongue made Bollywood enemies push the SJ name out of the creative arena. Nevertheless, it is safe to predict that centuries later when many composers would have been forgotten, the SJ name would be eulogised for its remarkable, life infusing Shammi-Rafi numbers as they impart immense joy and strength to every human being. There is an immense rejuvenating power in most SJ creations but nowhere are the joie-de-vivre and the exultation of youth more visible and infectious than in the magical bond of Shammi, Rafi and SJ that will live forever. If imitation is the best form of flattery, I still think Rahul Dev Burman’s score for “Teesri Manzil” is the ultimate tribute to the genius of Shankar Jaikishan!

4 thoughts on “Remembering Jaikishan on his birthday, 4-11-2011 : Tumse Achcha Kaun Hai!

  1. Deepakji , I could not but agree with you that it was SJ the great Music creators that gave Raj Kapoor the fame and glory he got . Sufficient to listen to the quality of music that RK films had when he used other MD’s . Further see the difference in effect of songs when you see the film and listen them outside . The songs have their own life and are eternal , some how I find the movie dated and out of place as compared to the songs .
    Movies are forgotten but the songs and music lives for ever such was the magic of the Emperors of Hindi music SJ .
    “Jane wale kabhi nahin aate Janewalon ki Yaad aati hai ” .
    They will be remembered when ever some one will speak of Hidnai film music for all times to come .
    The Lyrics by Shailendra and Hasrat were pearls in the jewelry of music by SJ .


  2. we remember the wizard of 20th century jaikishan who created magical unforgettable tunes on 4th of nov. we all remember and miss him a lot the music of shankar jaikishan was so popular that wheather a film was not hit but their music always remained superhit this was the quality of their music.i remember a song of mohd. rafi jan pehchan ho from the film gumnam in 1965 if we listen this song it appears as the song was composed a few days back there are numberless superhit songs composed by this duo. they always remained at no 1 position. they won maximum number of awards .they were extremely popular in the world they have left such a treasure of melodious tunes which never ends.daulat shohrat jo unko mili woh apne aap main ek misal hai. shankar jaikishan were the first music directors duo honoured with padam shri in the year 1968


  3. I agree with what has been written about the delightful music scored by Shankar Jaikishan. The article of Deepak Mahan is a great tribute to these music legends. Wituout demeaning the other music directors, I have no hesitation in saying that Shankar and Jaikishan will be fondly remembered for their immortal melodies. Whenever I hear the song of this duo it creates vibrant nostalgic effect. Sometimes I wonder how such sweei and melodious tunes can ever be composed by a mortal. The use of each instrument was with a purpose to give desired effect. As Deepak has rightly pointed out about the harmonium crescendo in the song ‘ Yaad na Jaaye’ from Dil Ek Mandir. Or take the case of violin and accordian in the song ‘ Dil ki Girah Khol Do’ from Raat aur Din. Have you ever seen any music director using western instruments for a quwali. It was only SJ who had composed ‘ Jab Ishq wahi ho jata hai’ from Aarzoo with the blend of Indian and Western music. In this song they had taken the help of piano as well. There are many instances where they have experimnted with new ideas but for short of space and time.


  4. Without going into the technical aspects of what makes a good music, the simple fact is that SJ songs are a rich heritage of Indian music especially in the sense that it had great impact on the nation of cinegoers and music listeners. There was certain flamboyance in their music which was amply demonstrated by the combos of SJ-Shammi-Rafi that affected many teenagers and youths like me during the Sixties-Seventies. They were amazing at Classical compositions too which is proven from the tracks of Basant Bahar and Amrapali. Their compositions under RK banner personified the underlying tramp-image of its producer. They could come out with excellent melodies as in Dil Apna Preet Parayi and could be the epitome of love in Yeh Mera Prem Patra Padkar in Sangam. Ah! There’s a lot to say which cannot be done in a comment like this. Without any trace of doubt, the SJ team have contributed significantly to the world of music.



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