Monthly Archives: May 2013

THE HINDI FILM MUSIC EMPERORS ; SHANKAR-JAIKISHAN (SJ) : An in-depth review which amply illustrates why SJ were the real rhythm kings rather than OP or RD.





(Don’t forget to watch the “you tube” site at the bottom)

Shankar-Jaikishan (SJ) are known to be the most versatile composer-duo, the Hindi film Industry was ever blessed with! SJ were the pioneers in popularizing Indian film music not only in India but also overseas. Who can forget the immortal songs like `Awara hoon’,  `Ghar aya mera pardesi’ and  `Mera joota hai japani’? These are the compositions that made Raj Kapoor a superstar and made every one to take notice of Hindi film music around the world. `Awara hoon’ and `Mera joota hai Japani’ are still a rage in Middle East, Africa, Russia and China.

They were the only music directors who were presented FILMFARE AWARDS BY THE THEN EGYPT’S PRESIDENT REV. ABDUL GAMMAL NASSER IN 1962-1963 who was on the official visit to INDIA – long live the music of S-J THE TOPPERS OF HINDI FILM MUSIC.

S-J were the first music-composers to understand, realize and demonstrate the important role, which the orchestra can play in enhancing the overall impact of the song. They revolutionized the use of orchestra and interlude music of songs and made these as integral and inseparable parts of their compositions rather than using these as mere fillers, as was the practice before their advent on the horizon of Hindi film music. That is why prelude, interlude and background music of many of their songs is as notable, hum-able & melodious, as the tune of the main song. Quite often, their songs cannot be reproduced impressively without playing their interludes.

Due to their vast knowledge and command over various forms of music (classical, folk, oriental, western, to name a few) Shankar-Jaikishan could do full justice to any film irrespective of the theme & subject of the film! They amply demonstrated this by creating memorable music for themes as diverse as `Basant Bahar’ & `Amrapali’ on one hand, `An evening in Paris’ & `Brahmchari’ on the other hand & like `Teesri Kasam’ on an entirely different front. Needless to say, irrespective of the success or failure of the film commercially, their music invariably came out a success.

 While SJ are widely known for their memorable and immortal melodies for various films of Raj Kapoor (Barsaat, Awara, Sri 420, Chori-Chori, Anari, Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti hai, Sangam, Mera Naam Joker) Shammi Kapoor (Jungli, Professor, Dil Tera Deewana, Brahmachari, Janwar, Budtameez, An evening in Paris, Pagla kaheen ka, Jawan Mohabbat, Prince, Jane Anjane) and Rajendra Kumar (Zindagi, Dil ek Mandir, Dil apna aur preet parai, Ai Milan ki bela, Arzoo, Sasural), they also gave hit music for several of the movies  of other matinee idols like Dev Anand (Asli Naqli, Love Marriage, Jab Pyar Kisise Hota Hai, Pyar-Mohabbat),  Manoj kumar (Haryali aur Rasta, Pehchan, Sanyasi) and Jitendra (Mere huzoor), to name a few. They were the ones to give Shammi Kapoor the `Yahoo’ image with their revolutionary songs `Yahoo, chahe koi mujhe jungle kahe’ and `Ai ai ya karun main kya suku, suku’. Rajendra Kumar was called  `Jubilee’ star, since all Rajendra Kumar films with music by SJ celebrated jubilees! As you know when “BARSAT” album was released in 1949 as SJ’s first legendary musical mark. At that time under the famous director MEHBOOB KHAN had “ANDAZ” album created by NAUSHAD, that expected to be a big hit. But then because of BARSAT’s huge success, MEHBOOB KHAN told NAUSHAD “OUR ANDAZ ALBUM IS COMPLETELY WASHED AWAY BY BARSAT”. This is the real testimony given by MEHBOOB KHAN about SJ. SJ WERE THE ONLY MUSIC DIRECTOR THEY CHARGE MORE MONEY FOR THEI MUSIC THEN THEIR LEADING HERO IN THE FILM.

Contrary to the popular belief that SJ mainly created popular light-music-oriented songs, if one counts the total number of their classical-music-based songs, one realizes in amazement that they also played a very significant role in taking the Indian classical music to the masses. The success of their classical-music-based songs too is un-paralleled such as in Basant Bahar (`Sur na saje kya gaun main’: Manna Dey, `Bhay bhanjana vandana sun hamari’: Manna Dey, `Badi der bhai kab loge khabar more Ram’: Rafi, `Main piya teri tu mane ya na mane’: Lata), Seema (`Manmohana bade jhoothhe’: Lata, `), Amrapali (`Jao re jogi tum jao re`: Lata), Mere Huzoor (`Jhanak jhanak tori baje payaliya’: Manna Dey), Love in Tokyo (`Koi matwala aya mere dware’: Lata), Jane Anjane (`Chham Chham baje re payaliya: Manna Dey), Sanjh aur savera (`Ajahun na aaye baalma sawan beeta jaye’: Rafi-Suman Kalyanpur), Beti Bete (`Radhike tune bansari churayi’: Rafi), Lal-Pathhar (Re man sur mein ga: Manna Dey-Asha Bhonsle), Chori Chori(Rasik balma: lata ), Mera Naam Joker (Kate na kate Raina: Manna Dey- Asha Bhonsle) and numerous others.

To say that Shankar-Jaikishan understood the taste of the masses would be an understatement; on the contrary, they shaped the taste of the masses to their own innovative will, by their charming, age-less melodies. They created hit after hit so consistently that their films made silver/golden jubilees, quite often solely on the strength of their music. Their music catered to classes and masses alike; while most of their `popular’ compositions were `classy’ in content, their more `classy’ compositions had surprising `mass-appeal’. NO other music composers have so much variety as Shankar-Jaikishan. They hold the record for maximum number of (9) FilmFare Best music awards, which remains an unconquered feat up till now!

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. Jaikishan loved raga “BHAIRAVI” that made him to name his daughter also “BHAIRAVI”.

“When I look back, I increasingly realize that if Gods could descend to the earth and bless us what else could they do but what Shankar Jaikishan did? Forget that they were humans … look at them for their work. Shankar was the form of Shiva with his damru from which emanated the finest rhythms and Jaikishan the Krishna whose flute enchanted us with the finest of melodies.”

If you read the story about Prof. Balasaheb Bhide…. What a Devotee of the Shankar Jaikishan music.
 One has to read his story about “Pune Life Style visits the musical world of Prof. Balasaheb Bhide” where it is memorialized his love for SJ music.



A tribute to their artistry came when their song “Jaan Pehchan ho” sung by Mohammed Rafi from their 1965 movie `Gumnam’, was included in the opening scenes of the Hollywood movie `GHOST WORLD’ released in 2005 (i.e. full 40-years after the creation of the song by S-J!). Prelude of “Baharo phool Barsao” was used in song of English album by JEM.  Hollywood movie “The guru“ too included a SJ song from Sasural. Even when I think of one of the great directors and actors Sohrab Modi who made many historical movies but he got real recognition by his movie “RAJHATH” due to its extra ordinary music and songs created by Shanker–Jaikishan. What a great pair of musician I have never witnessed after their departure from the Bollywood.

To say that Shankar Jaikishan led and others followed would be an understatement. If Laxmikant Pyarelal emulated their dressing style, Kalyanji Anandji imitated their compositional style for the first five years. Anu Malik, Anand-Milind, Nadin-Shravan, and A R Rahman of our times built a lot of their standing on ‘adaptations’ of S-J tunes.

One of the other shades of the character of the legendary duo was that they had encouraged a number of singers both male and female, at an era when the other Music Directors preferred only Rafi and Lata. They have composed songs for Subir Sen, “ Dil mera ek aas ka panchi” in the film Aas ka panchi-1960, Suman Kalyanpur, “Dil ek mandir hai,” in the film Dil Ek Mandir-1963, Manna Dey, “Yeh Raat Bheegi Bheegi” in the film Chori Chori-1956, Asha Bhosle, “Mur Murke na dekh Mur Mur ke” in the film Shri 420-1955, Sharda, “Titli Uri” in the film Suraj, 1966, Mukesh, “Yeh mera diwanapan hai” in the film Yahudi, 1958, Talat Mehmood, “Koi nahi mera is duniya mai” in the film Daag, 1955, Kishore Kumar, “Zindagi ek safar hai suhana” in the film Andaz,1971. The songs were complimented with brilliant orchestration, which had added lights to the composition of the giant.

Shankar Jaikishan also recorded with almost all the popular singers of the golden era including Mohd Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Mahendra Kapoor, Manna Dey, Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Suman Kalyanpur and Mukesh. Of these, Mohd. Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar, Manna Dey, Suman Kalyanpur, and Mukesh had most of their popular songs recorded with Shankar Jaikishan as compared to other music composers.

Besides the above mentioned established singers, Shankar Jaikishan also worked with other notable singers like Geeta Dutt, Begum Akhtar, Mubarak Begum, Subir Sen, Sharda, Sulakshana Pandit, Anuradha Paudwal, Aarti Mukherji, Preeti Sagar, Krishna Kalle, Suresh Wadkar, Chandrani Mukherji and Hemlata. They also recorded English songs for the film “Bombay Talkies” in Usha Uthup’s voice. Jaikishan loved raga Bhairavi, which he used in many of his popular songs.

Shankar usually teamed up with lyricist Shailendra while Jaikishan preferred to work with Hasrat Jaipuri.

The other aspects of their creation include blending the Indian flavour with the foreign tunes wherever the films were picturised. Best examples can be the song “Sayonara sayonara” in the film “Love in Tokyo”, 1965, had Japanese orchestration, the other being “Raat ke humsafar” in the film “An Evening in Paris”, 1967, had French flavour. Besides their use of few instruments showed the class of their own, Accordion in “Sub kuch sikha Humne na siki hoshiari” in the film Anari, 1959, Saxophone in “Ai sanam jis ne tujhe chand sa surat di hai” in the film Diwana, 1967, Synthesized Harmonium played by V. Balsara in “Awara Hoon” in the film Awara, 1951.

One of the reasons why Shankar Jaikishan did not get the acknowledgement of providing immortal tunes in that era is because it could not be identified as which song is composed by Shankar and which song is composed by Jaikishan. Otherwise Naushad was awarded with Dada Saheb Phalke for his brilliant contribution to Indian music, Majrooh Sultanpuri also received the same award in the lyricist category, Shankar – Jaikishan was deprived of that honour. The other reason may be that they had worked with Raj Kapoor for the longest period and most of the credit of the unforgettable tunes were taken away by Raj Kapoor himself. An archive should be created for the rich and classical creations of Shankar Jaikishan where the works can be preserved for future generations to take inspiration from.

Shankar Jaikishan produced an album “ Raga Jazz Style” where they experimented

Raga Todi

Raga Bhairav

Raga Malkauns

Raga Kalavati

Raga Tilak Kamod

Raga Mian Ki Malhar

Raga Bairagi

Raga Jaijaiwanti

Raga Mishra Pilu

Raga Shivranjani



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.

Harmonium: V. Balsara

Chonak: Ganpatrao Mohite, Haribhai.




They made the best use of Violin in songs and Movie background music. Jaikishan is considered the master in giving the Movie background music.

SJ also experimented of many different type of musical instruments including FLUTE (Pannalal Ghosh), Piano, organ, Accordion, harmonica, piccolo, clarinet, oboe, saxophone, bassoon, trumpet, trombone, tuba, Harp, Xylophone, & Bagpipes. They used each musical instrument so effectively that no other musician could use it successfully. They were the master of RAGAS, JAZZ, Rock & ROLL, CLASSICAL, FOLK MUSIC,  & POPULAR MUSIC.

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 day-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 Film, Year
Nanhe Munne Bachche Boot Polish, 1953
Mera Joota Hain Japani Shree 420, 1955
Pyar Hua Iqraar Hua Shree 420, 1955
Woh Chaand Khilaa Anari 1959
Main Rikshawalla Chhoti Bahen 1959
Main Rangila Pyar Ka Raahi Chhoti Bahen 1959
Tune Mera Dil Le Liya Shararat 1959
Rikshe Pe Mere Tum Aa Baitho Dil Tera Diwana 1962
Jane Mera Dil Kise Dhoond Raha Hain Laat Saheb 1967
Parde Mein Rahne Do Shikar 1968


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 dampened 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 somber!

 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’.

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 kanji 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’.

shanker-subir sen-jaikishen

In today’s world of synthesized sounds, the rhythms created by SJ and their team continues 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 layperson, which 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 – Shankar, Jaikishan, Dattaram, Sebastian and all those musician masters. It is a humble attempt to recognize these rhythm players & their body of work, which remains with us as a treasure of unforgettable rhythms.

Music Maestros: remembering Shanker-Jaikishan – MUST SEE

 Jaikishan statue unveiling


Singer C H Atma, music directors Shankar-Jaikishan
Singer C H Atma, music directors Shankar-Jaikishan

The Impact of musical instruments on their songs is un-imaginable.

Diwana – Tumhaari Bhi Jai Jai Hamari – Mukesh

Instrument effect – clarinet


Dil ka na karna aitebar film Halaku

Instrument effect – guitar – violin

Awara Hoon – Raj Kapoor – Awaara – Mukesh – Shankar Jaikishan –

Instrument effect – Accordion – guitar


Lapak Jhapak tu–Boot Polish

Instrument effect – Tabla


Raat Gayi Fir Din – Boot Polish – Asha – Manna Dey

Instrument effect – TUN TUNIU


Aaj Kal Mein Dhal Gaya – Sunil Dutt – Beti Bete

Instrument effect – violin


Rafi & Lata – Tum Bin Saajan, Barse Nayan – Gaban [1966]

Instrument effect – violin, tabla, & sitar


‪Aa neel gagan tale pyar hum karein (Lata, Hemant)


Unke Khayal Aaye Toh – Raj Kumar, Hema Malini, Rakhee Gulzar, Vinod


The following site contains the complete list of Shankar Jaikishan Music Scores – inAlphabetical List (1301) Scores


To cull a short list of their monumental songs would, therefore, be well nigh impossible. It’s, quite simply, awesome: from Raj Kapoor’s Barsaat, with which the duo made its debut, in 1949, Basant Bahar, Shree 420, Awaara, Boot Polish, Anari, Halaku, Chori Chori, Sangam, Junglee, Love In Tokyo, Professor, Yahudi, Mera Naam Joker to Kal Aaj Aur Kal. You’d choose your pick — all supremely vintage-modern stuff.


This prompted me to think about some of the trivia facts about SJ. Each one of these facts could spawn a thread!

  1. 1.        Asrani can be seen in the first row of chorus in the song, “Ab kahan jayen hum.” in’Ujala.’ He also appears in the movie, “Hare Kaanch ki Chudiyan” but we always think of his debut as “Umang”
  2. 2.        Subhash Ghai lip-synched on several songs partially in ‘Umang’ but also “sang” the Rafi song completely in the same film, “Baabul kaun ghadi.”
  3. 3.        Jaya Bhaduri never had the opportunity to sing a song of SJ. However, Jaya acted on the Asli Naqli song “Tujhe jeevan ki dor se” in Guddi with Dharmendra.
  4. 4.        Amitabh never had the opportunity to sing a song of SJ. But Shankar’s favorite dummy words “Tandana Tandana.” became a mukhda of his (LP) song where he mimicked Mehmood. “Tandana Tandana.” words were first heard in “MayurPankh” and later in “Gumnaam”
  5. 5.        “Gumnaam” becomes the only film ever that had music influenced by a Hollywood film and that influenced a Hollywood film in return! The two films are “Charade” and “Ghost World” respectively.
  6. 6.        “Gumnaam” had Mehmood singing “Bhai Battoor”, which later became a song in Padosan. Mehmood also sang “Lal ghoda..” in “Shatranj” which became a full-fledged song in “Kunwaara Baap”
  7. 7.        “Ram Teri” song “Sun Sayba..” is influenced by “I love you..” from “Sangam”
  8. 8.        The tune for “Jaane kahan gaye woh din…” was first heard in background music of “Jis Desh mein…”
  9. 9.        Tune of “O BASANTI PAWAN PAGAL” can be heard in movie “AWARA”.
  10. 10.    The Goan tune for “Na maagoo sona chandi..” was first heard in background music of “Awara.” It was played just before the song “Dum bhar jo udhar moonh phere”
  11. 11.         “Jaaon kahan bata ai dil” from “Chhoti Bahen” was influenced by the title music of “New Delhi”
  12. 12.         “Mora nadaan balma” from “Ujala” was influenced by the title music of “Mayurpankh”
  13. 13.         “Kisiki muskuraton pe” from “Anari” was influenced by the background music of “Shree 420”
  14. 14.         “Sambhal ke karna..” tune from “Ek Phool Char Kaante” was used in the background of “Golmaal” by RD-Burman very often. SDB also used a tune from the same movie in “Chupke Chupke”
  15. 15.         Besides Rajendra Kishan who wrote lyrics for “College Girl,” SJ also utilized the service of lyricist Deepak in “Boot Polish” when Shailendra was alive.
  16. 16.         Though Shailendra was associated with Shankar, it was Hasrat Jaipuri who wrote the lyrics in Shankar’s solo venture, “Street Singer” produced by Chandrashekhar. Hasrat Jaipuri also appears in the movie. Shankar did so under the pseudonym, Suraj. The other movie he composed music for, under this name was the Marathi, “Tee Mee Navhech.”
  17. 17.         Jaikishan appears in “Main Sundar Hoon” with Anand Bakshi, his only film with SJ.
  18. 18.         Gulshan Bawra appears in two songs of SJ in “Beimaan” and “Jungle Mein Mangal.” He did not write lyrics for these movies but wrote lyrics for other SJ films like “Chori Chori,” (new) “Jaane Anjaane,” and “Aan Baan.”
  19. 19.         Neeraj acted on the song “Paise ki Pehchan..” in the film “Pehchan” and also wrote the lyrics for the same.
  20. 20.         Neeraj and Hasrat Jaipuri teamed together for SJ in the film “Dil Daulat Duniya” for a song. Later they also wrote all the lyrics for all songs of “Jungle mein Mangal.” The results weren’t great. I like the song “Tum Kitni khoobsoorat” They also wrote lyrics for Usha Khanna’s “Paani mein jale mera gora badan..” in “Munimji” (1973).
  21. 21.         “Kismat Ka Khel” had a Lata song with dummy words that sounded like “Echo Echo.” Years later, Shankar used similar words in a song in “Naari” which happened to be the only SJ song sung by Yesudas (with Amit Kumar), “Neeche zameen, upar gagan.”
  22. 22.         Director Prayaag Raaj yelled “Yahoo..” in the “Junglee” song whereas Shankar was responsible for “Ayaya Sukoo Sukoo..” Prayag Raaj later acted in “Bombay Talkie and also directed “Insaniyat” starring Shashi Kapoor and Madhu.
  23. 23.         Dattaram lip-synched for the song, “Tum mere pyar ki.” from “Bombay Talkie” acting as a playback singer.
  24. 24.         SJ were responsible for Usha Iyer’s first film songs in “Bombay Talkie” and this was about two years before her success in “Hare Rama Hare Krishna.”
  25. 25.         Ustad Ali Akbar Khan played the sarod in “Suno Chhotisi Gudiya ki.” Pannalal Ghosh played the flute in “Main piya teri..” Hazara Singh played the electric guitar in “Tera teer….”, Manohari played the saxophone in “bedardi Balma.”
  26. 26.         Bappi Lahiri’s father Aparesh Lahiri sang an SJ song in “Badshah” (I have not heard this one).
  27. 27.         Famous classical singer Bhimsen Joshi sang a jugalbandi in “Basant Bahar” with Manna Dey.
  28. 28.         Anuradha Paudwal, Alka Yagnik, Chandrani Mukerjee, Sharda, Dilraj Kaur all sang “Ari o sakhi..” for SJ together in “Kaanch ki Deewar.” Lead Stars Sanjeev Kumar, Smita Patil and Shankar all died within months after the release of the movie.
  29. 29.         “Gaya Bachpan..” from “Ankhon Ankhon Mein” was the last song recorded by Jaikishan.
  30. 30.         The movie “Preetam” has title music that is the same as that of “Mere Sanam” of OP Nayyar. The movie was released just a few months after Jaikishan died. Does anyone have an idea why? The producer of the movie was Bhappi Sonie.
  31. 31.         The first SJ movie without a Lata song was “Boot Polish.” It was also the only movie of SJ with RK without a Mukesh song!
  32. 32.         Aarti Mukerjee sang a song for SJ in “Boy Friend” in 1960 and the next SJ song that she sang was in 1974 for “Neelma.”
  33. 33.         Joy Mukerjee had SJ music only in two movies: “Love in Tokyo” & “Love in Bombay”
  34. 34.         The first RK Films movie to win a Filmfare Award was ‘Mera Naam Joker,” the last SJ movie of SJ with Raj Kapoor was the hero!
  35. 35.         Om Prakash, the actor, directed the Raj Kapoor starrer “Kanhaiyya” produced by his brother, Pachhi. Pachhi also produced “Around the World” and “International Crook” in which Om Prakash got to sing songs on screen!
  36. 36.         SJ had the privilege of composing music for the only complete original color film starring Madhubala, “Jwala.”
  37. 37.         The first color film for which SJ composed music was “MayurPankh” starring Kishore Sahu.
  38. 38.         SJ composed music for several films shot on foreign locations and provided music to suit the mood: Sangam, Pyar Mohabat, Naina, Dharti, An Evening in Paris, Love in Tokyo, International Crook, Singapore, Around the World, Saazish…. International Crook was shot in Alaska.
  39. 39.         SJ composed music for the first 70mm film in India: “Around the World.”
  40. 40.         “Dream Girl is coming” was what the posters said when “Sapnon Ka Saudagar” was about to release. SJ were amongst those who chose her for the role.
  41. 41.         The last SJ film to have multiple songs played on Binaca Geetmala was “Sanyasi.”
  42. 42.         “Krishna Krishna” is the only mythological film for which SJ composed music.
  43. 43.         Shammi Kapoor heads the list of SJ leading men. Rajendra Kumar comes a distant second. Vyjayanthimala heads the list of SJ leading women.
  44. 44.         The only Dev Anand song sung by Kishore Kumar for SJ was “Dooriyan Nazdikiyan” in “Duniya.”
  45. 45.         “Zindagi Ek Safar hai suhana..” from “Andaz” has three voice versions: Kishore Kumar, Asha Bhonsale and Mohd Rafi.
  46. 46.         Hemant Kumar’s daughter Rano Mukerjee sang a few songs for SJ in the mid seventies in “Saazish,” “Resham Ki Dori,” and “International Crook.” The song that she sang for 
”International Crook” was not used in that film but instead found its way in the film, “Eent ka Jawab Patthar.” The song was “Poochha jo pyar kya hai..” with Kishore Kumar.
  47. 47.         The film “Dur Nahin Manzil” was first assigned to Roshan who died. Later SJ were signed for the same and Jaikishan died during its making. Suman Kalyanpur had sung the title song for Roshan. She also sang for SJ in the film: “Bezuban dil shor na..” The heroine was originally Nutan. She had acted in producer Hari Valia’s earlier venture, “Laatsaab” but due to a misunderstanding with Sanjeev Kumar, she stepped out and was replaced by Bindu’s sister (and Laxmikant’s sister-in-law) Reshma.
  48. 48.         Mohd Rafi sang two non-film English songs for SJ. They were uploaded on the site earlier.
  49. 49.         SJ’s first HMV LP Album had a picture of them with their two 1959 White Impala cars with fins and also their Filmfare awards.
  50. 50.         HMV had released a Lata LP in which all songs were composed by SJ. The songs included: “Bol ri Kathputli..” “Mohabat ki Daastan..” “Jeevan ke do rahe pe khade..”
  51. 51.         Anuradha Paudwal did a cover version of Lata songs for SJ for T-Series. Later, HMV released a cassette with almost the same original songs.
  52. 52.         Almost all SJ films were from HMV. SJ’s first movie album to be released for Polydor (now Music India) was “Love in Bombay.” “Archana” was also on Polydor. “Chorni” was with INRECO.
  53. 53.         There is a Chowk (street junction) called “Shankar Jaikishan Chowk” close to Eros Theatre in Mumbai.
  54. 54.         Some of the lead dual roles in SJ films: Shararat – Kishore Kumar, An Evening in Paris – Sharmila Tagore, Bhai Bhai – Sunil Dutt, Chhote Sarkar – Shammi Kapoor, Mehfil – Sadhana, Atmaram – Shatrughan Sinha, Yakeen – Dharmendra, Garam Khoon – Vinod Khanna.
  55. 55.         Some non-Hindi words in SJ songs:

Kali Ghata: Il ya Belle…

Shree 420: Rammaiyya vastavayya…

Singapore: Rasa Sayang re…

Junglee: Yahoo!…

Sangam: I love you…

Love in Tokyo: Sayonara…

Pyar Mohabat: Hooray Hooray..

Aman: Puru sato Japan..

Shatranj: Badkamma Ikkad po tora..

Garam Khoon: Penelope…

Eent Ka jawab Patthar: Comment allez vous…

  1. 56.         SJ may have the highest mukhdas of their songs later converted to movie titles:”Lal Dupatta malmal ka””Raja ki aayegi baraat””Tumse achha kaun hai””Kashmir ki Kali””Aa gale lag jaa””Aan Milo Sajna””Tumko na bhool payenge””Kuch kuch hota hai””Nain mile chain kahan””Aaja Sanam””Aa ab laut chale””Phir bhi dil hai Hindustani””Main Ashiq hoon baharon ka””Mujhe meri biwisi bachao””Kaun hai jo sapnon mein aaya””Bol Radha Bol””Buddha Mil Gaya””Dil ke Jharonke mein””Gustakhi Maaf”
  2. 57.         Lata Mangeshkar and Jaikishan were both born in 1929. Shankar was elder.
  3. 58.         MadanMohan, Deven Verma, Satish Wagle were Jaikishan’s very close friends and they met regularly at Gaylord’s near Churchgate, Mumbai. MadanMohan can be seen in key roles in Satish Wagle’s “Pyar Hi Pyar” and “Yaar Mera.”
  4. 59.         SJ utilized Rafi and Mukesh for all three Kapoor brothers: Raj Kapoor had a Rafi song in “Ek Dil Sau Afsane” & “Mera Naam Joker” Shammi Kapoor had a Mukesh song in “Ujala” and “Singapore” Mukesh sang one song for Shashi Kapoor in “Insaniyat”
  5. 60.         SJ had Mahendra Kapoor playback for Dev Anand in “Roop Ki Rani CHoron Ka Raja” (Yes, I have the video of the movie. It’s a fact!)
  6. 61.         Sushama Shreshta was introduced by SJ in “Andaz” and also sang in “Seema” She later sang as Poornima. Ramesh Sippy and Salim-Javed of “Sholay” fame also started with “Andaz.”
  7. 62.         SJ were signed for the following movies originally: “Bobby,” “Seeta Aur Geeta” I remember clearly having seen ads to that effect in Screen. Unfortunately, I did not save those issues.
  8. 63.         Guru Dutt had one only movie as a lead actor with SJ: “Sanjh aur Savera” But his younger brother had a close relationship with SJ: Shikar, Chanda aur Bijli, Umang, Yaar Mera and Resham Ki Dori.
  9. 64.         Besides Dattaram and Sebastian, SJ also had other assistants like Sonny Castellino (Awara), Dheeraj (Sanyasi), Enoch Daniels (Kaanch Ki Deewar, Gori, Krishna Krishna
  10. 65.         SJ composed background music for a documentary at the peak of their career in 1967. The docmentary was “Everest” and narrated the expedition by Nawang Gombu’s team. Incidentally, this team included Dr Telang as a team doctor.
  11. 66.         Shatrughan Sinha sang “Mera Joota hai japani” at a function in 1972 under Shankar’s supervision.
  12. 67.         Sudha Malhotra sang the “Chori Chori” duets with Manna Dey during the 1957 function for 1956 FF awards.
  13. 68.         Shankar composed Indian classical tunes for AIR Delhi in the late seventies.
  14. 69.         Shankar liked Hitchcock film music. 
  15. 70.         Shankar was a master at playing several instruments. He could play the piano, the harmonium, the sitar, and the pakhawaj with ease. Born in Punjab, he migrated to Andhra Pradesh at a very young age. He had been a dancer in Krishna Kutty’s troupe.
  16. 71.         Jaikishan was a master harmonium-player.
  17. 72.         Shankar-Jaikishan approached Raj Kapoor, who was on a lookout out for new composer for Barsaat. Kapoor had noticed them as musicians earlier.
  18. 73.         Coming to their working style, the duo mostly composed the tune first, since they felt it prevented monotony, as poets tended to write songs most of the time to just two or three metres.

  19. 74.         Lyricists Shailendra and Hasrat Jaipuri were masters at writing in-depth lyrics to S-J’s tunes, and the composers worked with them mostly. For a couple of films they worked with lyricist Rajinder Krishan. Most of the time Jaikishan tuned with Hasrat, and Shankar with Shailendra.
  20. 75.         Shankar-Jaikishan were on the RK Films pay-roll even when another composer did an occasional film.

  21. 76.         They were awarded the Padmashri in 1969.
  22. 77.         As S-J, they did 121 films, and later Shankar did about 30 films more.
  23. 78.         The duo released a non-film record, Raga Jazz Time in the 60s and composed Hindi songs and the background score for the English film Bombay Talkie (1971).
  24. 79.         Their music boosted the careers of Raj Kapoor, Nargis and Rajendra Kumar, and gave the ‘Yahoo’ image to Shammi Kapoor.
  25. 80.         Through their songs popularized instruments like the violin (‘Jaane kahan gaye who din…’ – Mera Naam Joker), the piano (‘Dost dost na raha…’ – Sangam, ‘Dil ke jharaonkhe mein…’ – Brahmachari) and the accordion (‘Awara hoon…’ -Awara).
  26. 81.         Way back in 1965, S-J charged a record-breaking rupees five lakhs making them the highest-paid music directors ever.


 Shri Suresh Thakur, a SJ fan and visitor has drawn attention to few factual errors which are as under :

(quote) A small correction , you have mentioned songs O shama mujhe pook de as from Hariyali aur rasta and O sanam tere ho gaye hum as from Ashiq, the first one is from Ashiq and the second one is from Ayi Milan ki Bela .(unquote)