Monthly Archives: April 2012

Amazing Accordions: A tribute to Shankar Jaikishen — A Report by SJ Fan

By: Sunil Dandekar <>

Copied from : shankarjaikishan group on Yahoo

A person travels from Hyderabad to Pune to attend a 3 hour musical program in Pune. Another one from Kolhapur does same thing and catches the night bus back. Many others flock to the theatre preparing for a late night with a full working day ahead. The hall is full. Many have come not for entertainment but for offering figurative flowers to a maestro having left us 25 years back.

I am writing this long article with the similar sentiments. It’s a labour of love for me. It might be a long winding rambling of a bore for some, but might be snippets of a vanishing era for few others.

The program was Amazing Accordions. Occasion was 25th death anniversary of Shankarsaab. The artists are Enoch Daniel, Suhaschandra Kulkarni and Anil Gode. Enoch Daniel (ED) probably needs no introduction. He worked with Shankarsaab in the later part of SJ’s musical journey. Suhaschandra Kulkarni (SK) pioneered orchestras in Pune. He is a famed accordion player. Anil Gode is a self taught accordion player, who heard ED playing accordion in 9th standard, was hooked and borrowed money from his cousin to buy his first accordion as he had no parental support for all that nonsense. And he rose enough to stand shoulder to shoulder with likes of Enoch and Suhaschandra. All of them are seasoned sages of music. ED just completed 80, SK is 70+ and AG must be in his sixties.

Being a fan of SJ, accordion always had a special place in my heart. If saxophone makes my soul soar to heights, accordion keeps me firmly rooted to the ground bewildering me with the magic of life. I have heard SK playing accordion in his stage shows in my school days. There is some kind of magic in the visual appeal of accordion. The player seems to be pushing the air on one side and then spinning out spools of musical yarns on the other side, like varicoloured cotton candy.

The hall was sold out; testimony to the still lingering flame of love for the masters. Grey or gleaming heads dominated the crowd. Youngsters were few. Time is unforgiving.

Was the program perfect? No. The show started half an hour late. It was quite apparent that the group had not had many rehearsals together. Some songs did not flow. Interludes failed to start in time for few songs. The brilliant pieces of accordion were not played to the dot. That is the risk attempting very popular songs. The songs are hard etched in the brain. Slightest mistake appears phenomenal. Enoch Daniel sir made quite a few mistakes. His fingers were also not as nimble as others. I say that and mentally chide myself for being such a fastidious wise ass. The man is in eighties, standing ramrod straight and carrying the heavy instrument around like its nothing, when people of his age sit out in balconies, with decayed minds and ravaged bodies. Nothing to occupy their minds but the petty complaints about children and grandchildren.

Suhaschandra Kulkarni was brilliant. Anil Gode was more than adequate.

The program started with a small clip of Lata. She said that she and SJ started their musical careers at the same time in 1947. Because of that they enjoyed a special bond. There were misunderstandings and petty squabbles but the inner warmth never died. She said that SJ changed the face of Hindi film music as soon as they arrived on the scene. Earlier the music was dominated by Punjabis and their style. SJ created a style of their own.

If I were to write about all the songs played in the program and also all the comments that the artists made, this write up would scale up to a small book, so I have chosen to mix the comments and list of the songs played.

AG: Baat Baat main rutho na..

AG : Aai ga Aai ga…

Arun Nulkar who took us through this journey, asked Anil Gode, what were SJ to you as a person. The guy said, very simply and humbly, that they made his life. I lived playing their songs. What can I say more? He was asked whether he met his idols anytime in his life? Anil Gode said, when they were at the top they had first Goody Sirwai and then Sumit Mitra. I was a struggler in those days. No way I could scale those heights.

ED : Mera Juta hai Jaapani

ED : Yaad kiya dil ne

ED : Aa ja Sanam

These songs were not delivered well. In Aa ja Sanam, the brilliant pieces in the original were not executed to the kind of perfection that is expected from a person of ED’s stature. Also could not keep pace with the rhythm at quite a few places.

Arun Nulkar asked ED, that you have played for SJ in movies like Raj Kumar, Love in Tokyo. Can you tell us in short what made SJ what they were? He replied with a wry smile ‘About SJ nothing can be said in short’ The very fact that we are playing in front of a packed house 60 years after some of the songs were composed is perhaps the only short summary of what SJ were.

SK : Dil Tera Diwana hai sanam.

SK : Kaha ja rahe the… (Love Marriage)

SK played even the opening sher of Dil Tera Deewana on the instrument. The racing song brought demands for encore. But SK demurred saying that the song is so forceful that it drains him. Can not repeat it with the same vigour. He was asked why has he been a life long disciple, fan or whatever you may call it of the duo. He said you don’t listen to their songs, they carry you along. It was only because of them that I was inspired to a career in music.  And after the first brush I could think of nothing but their music. It’s so vast and deep. They unknowingly launched many music careers. Many revered them from distance like Eklavya and made their lives. He also said that SJ music was simple but there is a difference between simple and ordinary. Their songs were simple and extraordinary.

He was asked why he chose the particular song from love marriage as against ‘Kahe jhum jhum’ or other songs. He said many of SJ’s songs even if sung by a single artist were actually duets. This Kahan ja rahe the is actually duet between Rafisaab (saab mine) and the accordion. There are no other composers like them, who delivered songs like this. And during his performance he did give a feeling of that song being a duet.

SK got to know Shankarsaab very closely in the waning part of his career. He said after Jay’s death Shankar felt very lonely. They had a very intense ongoing ‘khunnas’ among them. Jay ne ye gaana suna to woh kya kahega was always at the back of Shankar’s mind when he composed something. And Shankarji ne aisa banaya to main kyun nahin bana sakata was at the back of Jaikishen’s mind.

‘Dil ke jharoke main’ sounds like a typical Shankar composition, but it is actually Jay’s, with a khunnas to do what Shankar did best, better than him. Shankar once commented to Suhaschandra that after Jay’s death he felt lost. Not only because of having lost a friend, but also because of missing the rivalry. Abhi kiske liye kaam karoon? Sun ne wala kaun hai?

AG : Hum hai to chaand aur taare.

The accompaniment on rhythm and keyboards was awesome. Rhythm section was managed by Vivk Bhat, Padmakar Gujar and Abhijit Bhade. Keyboards were manned by Nikhil Mahamuni and Mihir Bhadkamkar. Did not catch the names of acoustic guitarist and the bass guitarist. But accordions were like bright red colour making all instruments recede in the drabness.

ED,SK, AG  : Jiya o jiya

ED,SK,AG : Har dil jo pyaar karega..

Then there were clips of Rishi Kapoor, Vaijayanthi Mala and Randhir Kapoor. All of them said that SJ’s music made RK films what they were. Rishi Kapoor said that the music machine of SJ was so organized that SJ and Shailendra and/or Hasrat and the artists would assemble in the studio for the take at around 9. They would wrap the song in flat 3 hours. By 12-12.30 they would have drinks and lunch at Gaylord and then go home to sleep it off.

When Rajkapoor narrated the story of Jis Desh main, Shankar commented, ‘Are is main humko karne ko kya hai? Is main to sab daakoo aur Patthar hai. RK told him “are ek tum hi to ho jo in daakoo aur pattharomain ras bhar sakte ho..”

In “Har dil jo” , incredible as it may sound, the 3 artists played the 3 stanzas and the vocal expressions of the three singers were actually mimicked by the playing styles. The little over the top singing style of Mahendra Kapoor was beautifully rendered by AG.

AG : Manjhil wohi hai pyaar ki.

In this song the piano work was excellently rendered by Nikhil and Mihir.

ED : Woh chaand khila

SK : Jab se balam ghar aaye

ED : Bol ri kathputali

Before SK presented his next song, Arun asked him, why is he choosing this particular song to play on accordion, as he had never heard it being played on accordion. SK replied that it is to express my reverence and gratitude to the maestros. When something is around we tend to forget what it means to us. For few things we appreciate them when they are around, but miss them more intensely when they are gone. It is with the same feeling of loss about that bygone era, I am offering this song as a tribute. And then he played ‘Tera Jaana…”. And how did he play it! Lata’s beautiful harkats in the song particularly at ‘koi dekhe……” was (superlatives…superlatives…) expressed with delicate feather touch finger movements. If there is something akin to a Kodak moment for aural experiences, it was for me. Fortunate to be around.

AG : Sub kuchh sikha…  (mind blowing…Banal but true..)

AG, SK : Barsaat main hum se mile…

AG: Kahe jhum jhum…

AG:ED:SK : Ajeeb daastaa

AG:ED:SK : Aji aisa moka…  (SK was matchless with his true to record execution of the prelude.

The last song was the everlasting grim reminder to everybody, Jeena yahan marna yahan’ .

It was sheer excess. The in your face interludes, the melancholy tune, the countermelodies all conspired to make us feel sad but at the same time elated by the beauty of the sadness.

Phew. Quite a long write up. But wanted to record all the raw emotions and comments as faithfully as I could.  As the witnesses to the magic moments of hindi film music fade away, the puny attempts to capture the pugmarks of the giants in the dust of time must have some value.

So drained after this that do not want to proof read and polish and push in some learned words around.

Tail Piece:

I have always noticed, when we attend such music programs, that the normally pushy, ‘me first’ Indians become paragons of politeness on such occasions. In the interval, in the huge queues in washrooms, a person actually motioned me to go ahead. Probably music pushes the darkness of boorishness, that has come to haunt us transiently.  And essentially that is what music is all about.


Sunil Dandekar