By Romesh Dalal
JEENA ISSI KAA NAAM HAI
A LEGENDARY LYRICIST – SHAILENDRA
(My HOMAGE to our beloved & one of the Greatest Lyricists SHAILENDRA, Bollywood ever had in its history. What an exciting career he had during his life span. I hope you feel the same way the way I feel, after readiing this article).
Shankardas Kesarilal Shailendra, popularly known by his pen name Shailendra, was a popular Indian Hindi literature and Bollywood lyricist
· Born: August 30, 1923, Rawalpindi, Pakistan
· Died: December 14, 1966
· Children: Five children including Shaily Shailendra
· Awards: Filmfare Awards for Best Lyricist, National Film Awards for Best Feature Film.
· Nominations: Filmfare Awards for Best Lyricist
Shailendra was born in Rawalpindi on 30th August 1923 as Shankardas Kesrilal Shailendra. He was the eldest of the four sons of Parvati Devi and Sri Kesarilal. During his childhood days his family moved to Mathura from Rawalpindi, for good but the accidental death of his mother after the shift caused a deep shock and pain for Shailendra, which almost turned him an atheist. Being eldest son in the family Shailendra had bigger share of responsibility that force him to join the Indian Railway in government organization for secure life. However,Poetry was his first love but family situation forced him to take up a job of a railway mechanic. He used to work in the railway workshop at Parel (Mumbai). His colleagues would later recall amusedly how they thought of him as a ‘crazy’ man ‘wasting’ his time writing and reciting some ‘meaningless’ poems! How they were to know that the same man would later proudly proclaim through his song:
Kaam Naye Nit Geet Banana,
Geet Banake Jahan Ko Sunana,
Koi Na Mile To Akele Mein Gaana!
Career as a lyricist
Shailendra started his career as a welder with Indian Railways. His job brought him to Mumbai (Bombay) in 1947. He started writing poetry since pre-independence and till his untimely passing away in 1966.
MUSHAIRA CONNECTION: Shailendra’s poetic zeal and passion appealed to a young then filmmaker called Raj Kapoor who was in the audience of a “MUSHAIRA” where Shailendra recited his patriotically charged poem “Jalta Hai Punjab”. Raj Kapoor was overwhelmed with his poetry recital. Coincidently at that time Raj Kapoor was making his first film “AAG (1948)” under RK banner. During this “MUSHAIRA”, a young man introduced himself to Shailendra as Prithviraj Kapoor’s son and asked him to write a song for his film “Aag”. “Shailendra was reciting ‘Jalta Hai Punjab’ and it matched the theme of Partition in “Aag”. However, Shailendra said to Raj Kapoor, “I don’t sell my poetry” and he flatly refused his offer. Shailendra being a member of the left wing IPTA (Indian People’s Theatre Association) was wary of mainstream INDIAN CINEMA, so that also influenced him to decline Raj Kapoor’s offer. But Raj Kapoor kept his offer open saying that he could approach him any time if he ever changed his mind. However, after Shailendra’s wife became pregnant, he needed some financial help urgently. Shailendra went to meet Raj sahib at his Mahalaxmi office & asked him if he could lend him 500. Raj Kapoor instantly gave him the money with grace.Shailendra promised to return it soon by instalments.
As time passed, the birth of Shailendra’s first child Shaily and worsening financial situation finally forced Shailendra to forego any reservations about writing film-songs. So Shailendra decided to approach Raj Kapoor who was in the process of making his second film “BARSAAT”. So Shailendra decided to use accuse of returning 500 to Raj Kapoor, but Raj Kapoor refused to accept. Then, Shailendra asked Raj Kapoor during that meeting, “Is your offer still open?” Raj welcomed him to his fold with open arms. At this time, Raj Kapoor needed help for his film Barsaat (1949). There were two of the film songs had not been written yet for BARSAAT so Raj Kapoor requested Shailendra to complete these two songs: “Patli Kamar Hai” and “Barsaat Mein”. Shailendra fulfilled Raj Kapoor’s wish and he immediately wrote ‘Barsaat Mein Tumse Mile Hum’, the first title song of Hindi film. This event ultimately turned into a beautiful partnership and a memorable friedship between them. As you know that the music for Barsaat was composed first time by Shankar-Jaikishan, as music director. The songs of BARSAAT were composed so special that made Shailendra instant a huge favourite lyricist of the Hindi Film Industry.
From then onwards, Shailendra was to become the permanent member of the famous R.K. musical quartet Shankar, Jaikishan, Hasrat Jaipuri and Shailendra! This group of talented artists was to remain together for years and make some of the greatest songs. Shailendra worked mainly with Shankar with responsibilty for almost all the theme songs for R.K. movies. Through this association, they gave us so many evergreen songs like “Barsaat Mein Hum Se Mile Tum, Mera Joota Hai Japani, Awara Hoon” and “Dost Dost Na Raha”. Shailendra’s relationship with Raj Kapoor always remained very special. Later on, even in his heydays when Shailendra was commanding then whopping 10,000 rupees per song from others, he worked on a fixed, monthly salary of 500 for R.K. films.
Shailendra’s poetic genius was in his ability to convey deepest of thoughts in simplest of words. It was amazing because here was a man penning a film song, which had its own commercial demands, most of the times juggling to mold his words to suit an already conceived tune and in spite of these constraints he was almost always able to create something which was not only musically stirring but which also shone with literary brilliance. Vivid imagery and intensity of expression in his lyrics made a profound impact on a sensitive mind of filmgoers.
Shailendra always considered that His Life Was A Song
The team of Raj Kapoor, Shailendra and Shankar-Jaikishan went on to produce many more hit songs. The song “Awara Hoon” from the 1951 film “AWARA”, written by Shailendra, became the most appreciated Hindustani film song outside India at the time. After this huge success, in the days when music composers would recommend lyricists to other producers, Shankar-Jaikishan promised Shailendra that they would recommend him around to other film producers as Shailendra needed more work for his financial security. But Shankar-Jaikishan didn’t keep their promise. That made Shailendra very disappointed but as a reminder to Shankar-Jaikishan, he sent them a note with the lines,
Chhoti Si Yeh Duniya,
Pehchaane Raaste Hain,
Kahin To Miloge,
Phir Poochhenge Haal
Shankar-Jaikishan immediately realized what that message meant and instead having said sorry, turned these lines into a popular song at the later stage. The song was featured in the film Rangoli (1962), for which the producer Rajendra Singh Bedi wanted to sign up Majrooh Sultanpuri as the lyricist. However, Shankar-Jaikishen insisted on Shailendra and the producer had to oblige.
Apart from music composers Shankar-Jaikishan, Shailendra also shared a rapport with other composers such as Salil Chowdhary (Madhumati), Sachin Dev Burman (Guide, Bandini, Kala Bazar), and Ravi Shankar (Anuradha).
Also other than filmmaker Raj Kapoor, he shared a rapport with filmmakers such as Bimal Roy (Do Bingha Zameen, Madhumati, Bandini), Dev Anand (Guide and Kala Bazar), Amiya Chakrabarty (Patita, Daag, Seema) and many others.
Shailendra’s father hailed from Bihar. This U.P. Bihar cultural influence was to show later in his many folk-style film songs that gave way to Shailendra to create the origins of:
Chadh Gayo Paapi Bichhua (Madhumati),
Sajanwa Bairee Ho Gaye Hamar (Teesari Kasam), and
Ab Ke Baras Bhej Bhaiya Ko Babul (Bandini)
This Bihar culture and connection also inspired Shailendra to make a film about that influence. So in the mid-1960s, Shailendra invested heavily in the production of the movie ‘TEESARI KASAM (1966)”, directed by Basu Chatterjee with starring Raj Kapoor and Waheeda Rehman. The film won the “National Award for Best Feature Film”. However, the film was a commercial failure. That was the biggest fall for Shailendra, eventually affecting his health and wrecking him financially. Raj Kapoor who had worked free for the film and Mukesh were his only supporters in those dark days. Once, Waheeda Rehman told this incident that when Shailendra was struggling with his financial problem during making of ‘TEESARI KASAM”, one day Shailendra came to see Waheedaji and said he could not pay for her acting. Waheedaji felt very bad for Shailendra. Shailendra had tears in his eyes. It was heartbreaking for her to see a man cry. She told him not to talk about the money. Waheedaji loved the film “TEESARI KASAM” and particularly loved the song “SAJAN RE JHOOT MAT BOLO”.
The failing health resulting from tensions associated with film production ‘TEESARI KASAM” and anxiety due to financial loss, coupled with alcohol abuse, ultimately that led toShailendra’s death in 1966 at the age of 43, reportedly without leaving a will. Before his death, a strange event destined to happen to Shailendra while on his way to get admitted in hospital, Shailendra and his wife stopped over at Raj Kapoor’s cottage where the showman reminded Shailendra that he was still to complete the theme song for Mera Naam Joker “Jeena Yahan, Marna Yahan, Iske Siva Jana Kahan”! As Shailendra was responsible for preparing most lyrics for RK production “Mera Nam Joker’, including the theme song for this film that was not completed by Shailendra.
On December 14, 1966, Shailendra left the world for his final journey. Because of untimely death of Shailendra, the theme song for “Mera Naam Joker” could not be finished in time. Raj Kapoor then invited Shailendra’s son Shaily Shailendra who also became a lyricist, to complete the theme song “Jeena Yahan, Marna Yahan, Iske Siva Jana Kahan”. Shaily Shailendra in fact was barely 17-years of age at that time. Shailey Shailendra accepted the challenge and finally he completed the theme song. Whatever you wish to call it but this song “Jeena Yahan, Marna Yahan, Iske Siva Jana Kahan” still ranks as one of the all time greats.
The contemporary lyricist Gulzar stated at many occasions that Shailendra was the best genius-lyricist happened to the Indian film industry.
RISING BOLLYWOOD LYRICISTS IN EARLY ERA
IPTA (Indian People’s Theatre Association), which began as a protest movement & played a crucial role in the Indian Freedom Struggle, it produced a lot of famous poets like Sahir Ludhianvi, Majrooh Sultanpuri and Shailendra. In reality, they all came from IPTA into Bollywood films. Shakeel Badayuni did not come from IPTA, though he was already writing for films. The other three lyricists played the most important role in the major evolution of lyrics for films.
Shailendra was the best among them, as he understood films as a medium distinct from poetry and theatre, perfectly. However, Shakeel Badayuni and Majrooh Sultanpuri were very popular and wrote excellent GHAZALS but their language and vocabulary with a heavy URDU base remained the same in most of the films. On the other hand, Shailendra would give a regional flavour to his lyrics to suite the film story. Shailendra would write songs for stories from the South, would have a feel of the South; if the film story was set in U.P. style, Shailendra would write songs in Bhojpuri or Avadhi. Same way if the film story was set in the Northern India style, Shailendra would write songs in pure Hindustani or Urdu as per demand. The only other poet who came close in following Shailendra style was Sahir Ludhianvi. Sahir Ludhianvi merged his poetry and social conscience in film songs, but he totally refused to write for the film medium. He only wrote what he wanted to present in songs. When we think of all these lyricists, Sahir Ludhianvi is the only poet whose poetry became successful because of his lyrics, and not because of the musical tune or platback singer. This is very rare for the Bollywood films where this type of phenomenon of a lyricist succeeding on his own terms, happened only with Sahir Ludhianvi.
A Devoted Lyricist Known Through Songs
Shailendra was a progressive poet & emphatically established himself as a lyricist with a difference. His simplicity of expression made his songs immortal. For the subsequent films, he wrote lullabies (‘LOREES’), songs of love, lyrical sagas on pain of parting, philosophy of life, poetic devotions (BHAJANS) and on different aspects of humane. Besides, he wrote all the title songs for R.K. films till ‘Mera Naam Joker’. Shailendra wrote virtually all types of songs pouring therein some captivating thoughts and expressions.
Some of the popular songs written by Shailendra include:
- “Awara Hoon” – Awaara
- “Ramaiya Vastavaiya” – Shri 420
- “Mud Mud Ke Na Dekh” – Shri 420
- “Mera Joota Hai Japani” – Shri 420
- “Pyaar Hua Ikraar Hua” – Shri 420
- “Aaj Phir Jeene Ki” – Guide
- “Gata Rahe Mera Dil” – Guide
- “Piya Tose Naina Laage Re” – Guide
- “Kya Se Kya Ho Gaya” – Guide
- “Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega” – Sangam
- “Dost Dost Na Raha” – Sangam
- “Sab Kuchh Seekha” – Anari
- “Kisi Ki Muskurahaton Pe” – Anari
- “Dil Ki Nazar Se” – Anari
- “Khoya Khoya Chand” – Kala Bazar
- “Ajeeb Dastan Hai Yeh” – Dil Apna Aur Preet Parayi
Other well-known & popular songs written by Shailendra include:
· Nanney munney bachey teree muthee mein kya hei (Boot Polish)
· Chhun chhun kartee aayee chiriya (Ab Dilli Door Nahin)
· Munna baraa pyara, ammi ka dulara (Musafir)
· Ik aaye ik jaaye musafir-Duniyan hei ek saraaye (Musafir)
· Hein subse madhur wo geet jinhe (Patita)
· Andhe jahaan ke andhey raaste (Patita)
· Mitti se khelte ho baar baar kis liye (Patita)
· Haye re wo din kyun na aayey (Anuradha)
· Janey kaisey sapnon mein so gayee akhian. (Anuradha)
· Dua ker gamein dil, khuda se dua ker (Anarkali)
· Aaja abto aaja, meri kismet ke kharidaar ab to aaja (Anarkali)
· Roun mein saagar ke kinarey (Nagina)
· janey waley ho sakey to laut ke anaa (Bandini)
· Ab ke baras bhej bhayia ko babul Sawan mein leejo bulay re (Bandini)
· Dharti kahe pukaar ke, Geet bichha le pyaar ke (Do Bigha Zameen)
· Dunian na bhayey mujhe apna bana le (Basant Bahaar)
· Sur na saje kya gaoon mein (Basant Bahar)
· Ghar ajaa ghir ayey badraa sanwaria (Chhotey Nawaab)
· Koyee lautaa de merey beetey huyey din (Door Gagan Ki Chhaon Mein)
· Poochho na kaisey meiney rein bitayee (Meri Soorat Teri Ankhein)
· Dunian walon se door, ja lney walon se door (Ujala)
· Kahaan ja rahaa hei tu ae jaaney waley (Seema)
· sajnaa barkhaa bahaar aayee (Parakh)
· Naanee teri mornee ko mor le gayey (Masoom)
· Chhota sa ghar hogaa badlon ki chhaon mein (Naukri)
· Do din ke liye mehmaan yahan (Badal)
· Jhan jhan payal baje, kaise gaoun geet khushi ke (Buzdil)
· Mere dil ki dharkan kya boley, kya boley (Anhonee)
Thus the list of such heart throbbing verses is endless!
A unique career spanning almost 22-long years Shailendra has given all of us some of his greatest contributions and a link of those beautiful and evergreen songs, which we will cherish everlastingly. Shailendra in his career span has written 258 songs, which can be broadly divided or bifurcated as follows:
· For Shankar Jaikishan, he has written 190 songs which works to an whopping average of 73.64%
· For S.D.Burman, he has written 30 songs, which works to an average of 11.63%
· For Salil Chaudhari, he has written 30 songs, which works to an average of 11.63%
· Balance of 8 songs were written for other music directors namely C.Ramchandra, R.D.Burman, Roshan, Ravi, Dattaram, Pandit Ravi Shankar and S N Tripathi
· For S.N. Tripathi, he wrote songs for the musical film “Sangeet Samrat Tansen” and for Pandit Ravi Shankar- a beautiful film “Anuradha”
In respect of the singers his total 258 songs are classified as follows:
· Lata Mangeshkar almost 90 songs averaging 34.88%
· Mukesh almost 56 songs averaging 21.71%
· Mohammed Rafi almost 45 songs averaging 17.44%
· Various other singers 67 songs averaging 25.97%+
In his career spanning almost 22-years, Shailendra won 3 Filmfare Awards as a Best Lyricist for:
· 1958: “Yeh Mera Deewanapan Hai” (Yahudi)
· 1959: “Sab Kuch Seekha Hamne” (Anari)
· 1968: “Main Gaoon Tum So Jao” (Brahmchari)
Shailendra has also acted in very small or minor roles in the following films:
· Boot Polish in the year 1954 where he is seen giving his lip movements with Baby Naaz for the Talat Mehmood & Asha Bhosale song “Chalee kaunse desh – tu saj dhajke”
· Shree 420 in the year 1955
· Teesri Kasam in the year 1966
Shailendra produced the following film:
· Teesri Kasam – 1966 starring Raj Kapoor & Waheeda Rehman
Shailendra also wrote the dialogues for the following film
· Parakh – 1960 made by Bimal Roy also incuded his lyrics
Hindi Films with Humane touch created by Raj Kapoor on Shailendra’s songs:
· Kisi Ki Muskurahaton Pe Ho Nisar
· Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai – Title Song – Mukesh
· Jeena Yaha Marna Yaha | Mera Naam Joker
Lyrics of the following song exhibit extreme love and happiness of every human being but in real life how many persons realize this moment – as demonstrated by Waheedaji. FILMGUIDE -Aaj Phir Jeene Ki Tamanna Hai – Lata Mangeshkar
ALL TIME POPULAR – A LEGENDARY LYRICIST
“Awara Hoon” and “Mera Joota Hai Japani” were two songs that won global acclaim and are popular even today. Both songs have been translated in several languages including Russian and Chinese. In fact the song ‘Aawara hoon’ even got a mention in Nobel laureate Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn‘s novel ‘The Cancer Ward.’
Simplicity and sincerity of his expressions made his songs immortal. He had a tremendous sense of music and never did his words fail to fit like hand in glove to the tune. He brought many of his personality traits into his songwriting. His romantic nature expressed itself through songs like “KHOYA KHOYA CHAAND, KHULA AASMAAN.” His fun loving persona showed in songs like “CHAHE KOI MUJHE JUNGLEE KAHE”. His supreme self-confidence peeped through when he said “GARDISH MEIN HOON, ASMAAN KA TAARA HOON, AAWARA HOON”. His patriotic feelings so touchingly came across in “AA AB LAUT CHALE, TUJHKO PUKARE DESH”. His fatalistic thinking gave itself away through expressions like “JIN RAATON KI BHOR NAHI HAI, AAJ AISI HI RAAT AAYEE”.
Shailendra had this peculiar knack for writing simply worded, but very beautiful, poetry. It was a meteoric rise for Shailendra since Barsaat, the movie that launched him. Simplicity was the hallmark of his lyrics in films like Aawara, Shri 420, Boot Polish, Godaan, Bandini, Anuradha, Madhumati, Kathputli, Anarkali Anari, Guide, Andaz, Dil Apna Aur Preet Parai, Sangam to name a few. Shailendra’s genius as a lyricist was to understand the pain of the common man and successfully portray it on celluloid. Raj Kapoor’s common man’s persona was given depth by the sombre poetry of Shailendra. He worked with each and every well-known music director in the Industry, including the first ever Bhojpuri film “Ganga Maiya Tohe Piyari Chhadaibo“, with music director Chitragupta.
DAAG – Amiya Chakrabarty Production:
Shankar-Jaikishan were the music director of this film. All songs of “DAAG” were ready except one main song Shankarji was expecting from Shailendra. Shankarji gave enough time to Shailendra to complete the song. But when Shankarji notice more than expected delay in finishing that song so Shankarji gave warning to Shailendra. As a last resource, Shankarji asked Shailendra to take help of Dattaram. So Shailendra and Dattaram decided to go in a peaceful place so that Shailendra could concentrate on finishing that song. They decided to go to the famouse “HANGING GARDEN” in Mumbai, near chowpaty. Shailendra started thinking and writing words of the song while Dattaram was watching Shailendra. When that song started taking to shape, Shailendra noticed that he was running out of ink in his pen. He did not know what to do. Finally Shailendra and Dattaram thought about something. Dattaram started looking for burned cigarette butts and burned matchsticks so that Shailendra could use them for writing purpose as ink substitute. Finally the song was completed and presented to Shankarji. Shankarji was over joyed and finished the recording of that song. That song was ”Ae Mere Dil Kahin Aur Chal” which proved to be a super hit of that film.
KALA BAZAR: – When S.D.Burman commissioned Shailendra to pen the songs for “Kaala Bazaar”. He had delivered all songs for that movie except one. It was a song that S.D.Burman had already composed the music to…all Shailendra had to do was immerse himself into the situation of the song, hum the tune to himself and of course write the words of the song down! But Shailendra could not complete it in time. Knowing that this one unfinished song was becoming a big deterrent in the completion of the movie, S.D.Burman summoned his son, Rahul Dev Burman to his rescue. Rahul had already been assisting his father on many film score as his chief music assistant. Now Rahul Burman was in charge of the last song to be completed by Shailendra. Shailendra needed more time but Rahul refused to do that.
Finally it was late in one evening and Shailendra had run out of accuses and places he could take Rahul Dev Burman to write this song. Shailendra decided to return back home, with Rahul. On the way, he decided to stop at the JUHU beach and both of them set off walking on its sands. At a point, Shailendra sat down and Rahul settled in next to him. Shailendra looked up at the sky…it was an empty, cloudless sky, a night when even the moon had decided to play truant. Shailendra took out his notebook and began verbalizing his thoughts loudly. “Aasmaan Khula Hain, Chaand Bilkul Hi Kho Gaya Hai…hmm”. And then in a burst of inspiration, he wrote the first two lines of the song, “KHOYA KHOYA CHAAND, KHULA AASMAAN.” Then looking at Rahul Dev Burman with a mischievous smile continued writing, “AANKHON MEIN SAARI RAAT JAAYEGI…TUMKO BHI KAISE NEEND AAYEGI.” The first para of the song, the mukhda of the song was ready. After this momentous breakthrough, Shailendra was on song…literally and he wrote, not two, not three…but four more paragraphs to the song. And thus the last song was completed.
When the movie Kaala Bazaar was released, the song “Khoya Khoya Chaand” became the rage throughout the nation. Dev Anand on whom it was picturized, now had women swooning over his walk, besides his dashing good looks. As Shailendra revealed in its success, he silently acknowledged the role R.D.Burman had played in its creation. He knew now that besides talent and inspiration, sometimes what it takes is just some good, old-fashioned doggedness.
GUIDE: Hasrat Jaipuri was supposed to write all songs for “Guide” & S.D.Burman was composing music for this film. While recording, S.D.Burman did not like a word in one of the songs. So S.D.Burman requested Hasrat Jaipuri to change that word. Hasrat Jaipuri was very stubborn so he refused to change that word. Both had a huge argument that forced S.D.Burman to drop Hasrat Jaipuri completely from the film “GUIDE”. That made S.D.Burman to summon Shailendra to join “GUIDE” team to write songs for the film GUIDE for Nav-Ketan production. Vijay Anand was directing this film so he was describing the movie situation to Shailendra so that he could write songs. Vijay Anand had a habit of sitting with writers or lyricists through out during their preparations. Same way while Shailendra was writing “Aaj Phir Jeene Ki Tamanna Hai, Aaj Phir Marane Ka Irada Hai”, after writing two lines of that song, Vijay Anand was sitting next to him so he questioned Shailendra, “Kyu Jeene Ki Tamanna Hai Aur Kyu Marane Ka Irada Hai, Ek Din Me Aisa Kyu?” That thought provokedShailendra and finished two more paragraphs to complete the song. Still this song had a strange ending. Dev and Vijay Anand had already left for Udaipur to shoot “Guide”. S.D.Burman recorded “Aaj Phir Jeene Ki Tammanna Hai”, and the song was sent to the location in Udaipur, Dev Anand didn’t like it initially but changed his mind when during the shoot it became a hit with the unit members. This is how Shailendra created this evergreen song for the movie.
Shailendra wrote memorable lyrics for S.D.Burman. He was S. D. Burman’s most favourite lyricist.
I remembered that during one of the interviews with Actor Dev Anand, a film reporter asked Dev Anand why he chose Shailendra for GUIDE rather than Sahir Ludhianvi, who was Nav-ketan favourite. Dev Saab replied that he happened to meet Shailendra on a flight and Shailendra expressed his desire to work with him on Nav-ketan production of GUIDE. Dev Saab readily agreed because apparently Sahir Ludhianvi and S.D. Burman were not on good terms at that time. So Dev Anand agreed to take Shailendra till the relationship between Sahir Ludhianvi and S.D.Burman patched-up. Shailendra’s songs in GUIDE were key for Dev Saab’s career.
During the making of RK’s “JIS DESH ME GANGA BEHTI HAI”, Hasrat Jaipuri raised a question to Raj Kapoor that why Shailendra always gets the honour to write theme songs for the RK Films. This made Raj Kapoor a little uncomfortable because he was respecting Shailendra and Hasrat Jaipuri equally. Raj Kapoor thought about it then he asked Shailendra & Hasrat Jaipuri to prepare the title song for his new production “JIS DESH ME GANGA BEHTI HAI”. Once they-both submitted their title songs, the RK team started analyzing their songs. The end result was the selection of Shailendra’s song ”Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai” unanimously as a title song. Hasrat Jaipuri heartily agreed that that was a better song and right choice.
Shailenra was a very close and good friend of Gulzar. Gulzar wrote once that during his early career, he was not interested in joining the Bollywood. Shailendra being his good friend forced him to join the Bollywood. Gulzar Saab also said that it was only natural for him to end up working in film industry, given the amount of time he used to spend with Shailendra.
There was also a very interesting other event focusing on Shailendra. During the making of BANDINI in 1963, S.D.Burman and Shailendra had some sort of a tiff and Bimalda needed a lyricist for his film BANDINI. Because of the uncomforting feeling between S.D.Burman and Shailendra, Shailendra requested Debu Sen (Bimal Roy’s Assistant) to get Gulzar Saab to write the songs for the film. Though Gulzar was working with Bimal Roy’s unit but he was not prominent as lyricist in those days. In reply, Gulzar Saab declined but eventually Shailendra forced him, being his close friend, to write songs for the film Bandini. Shailendra’s scolding to Gulzar had the desired effect that is how Gulzar wrote “Mora Gora Ang Lai Le”. Bimal Roy wanted Gulzar to write other songs for Bandini as well, but S.D.Burman was reluctant to work with the new lyricist for that film. As Shailendra was not a part of this film and S.D.Burman felt Shailendra’s presence important, so finally he approached Shailendra. Because of the scuffle they had, Shailendra was not happy to work with S.D.Burman but in the end, out of respect to S.D.Burman he agreed. But Shailendra set a condition to S.D.Burman that he should be paid double the amount of on going rate for writing songs at that time. S.D.Burman agreed to this. Shailendra prepared all the song for the film except one song. Shailendra also wrote the theme song of Bandini “O Jaane Waale Ho Sake To Laut Ke Aana”. The rest is the history in making for the film “BANDINI”.
Incidentally there was one meaningful, philosophical song written by Shailendra for Raj Kapoor, which could be recalled today. Shailendra would begin a song with attractive opening words, “Awara Hoon” and then follow these up with verses of serious thought. He did that with the film“Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai” for writing the song, “Mera Naam Raju Gharana Anaam, Behti Hai Ganga Jahan Mera Dhaam”. Look at the depth in the first stanza of that song:
“Kaam Mera Nit Geet Banana,
Geet Bana Ke Jahan Ko Sunana,
Koi Na Sune To Akele Mein Gana,
Kaviraj Kahe, Na Yeh Taj Rahe,
Na Yeh Raj Rahe, Na Yeh Raj Gharana,
Preet Aur Preet Ka Geet Rahe
Nahin Loot Saka Hai Koi Yeh Khazana…”
How true it is that Raj is gone; Shailendra is gone; Shankar & Jaikishan are gone; & Mukesh is gone as well. But their songs are still there, ever green and ever fresh in our memory and will continue to entertain and inspire generations to come, more so because when compared with the trash we listen to today those songs seem to dazzle with unmatchable glitter and splendor.
It is quite ironical that for the man who loved life so much, the spectra of death always haunted him. He was obsessed by death. There was no fear involved, but a kind of helplessness drew him towards it. His producing “Teesri Kasam” caused him several heartaches and it was also the ultimate cause of his death.
Shailendra considered his life as his real poetry. He used to derive inspiration from his walks along Juhu Beach (Mumbai) every morning. He wrote songs for almost all occasions of life, let alone ordinary situations. Those lyrics were vibrantly alive, in the sense they went far beyond the context of the film situation for which they were intended, & lived on long after the film itself had elapsed from our memory. There is a Shailendra song for any emotion, any situation, from birth to death, such was his versatility. His songs with rich human values will keep his memories lingering on in our lives. Maybe that’s what he meant when he wrote these lines in ANARI –
Kisi Ki Muskuraahaton Pe Ho Nisaar
Kisi Ka Dard Mil Sake To Le Udhar
Kisi Ke Waaste Ho Tere Dil Mein Pyar
Jeena Issi Ka Naam Hai…..
Mana Apni Jeb Se Fakeer Hain
Phir Bhi Yaron Dil Ke Ham Ameer Hain
Mitte Jo Pyar Ke Liye Woh Zindagi
Jale Bahar Ke Liye Woh Zindagi
Kisi Ko Ho Na Ho Hamein Toh Aitbar
Jeena Issi Ka Naam Hai …..
Rishta Dil Se Dil Ke Aitbar Ka
Zinda Hai Hameen Se Nam Pyar Ka
Ke Mar Ke Bhi Kisi Ko Yad Aayenge
Kisi Ke Aansuon Mein Muskuraayenge
Kahega Phool Har Kali Se Bar Bar
Jeena Issi Ka Naam Hai…..
Kisiki Muskuraahaton Pe Ho Nisar.
When we think of Shailendra’s contribution to Bollywood, only this can be said: “The background music with simple instruments used by Shankar-Jaikishan gave sufficient distance to the lyrics, made the whole arrangement most appealing, EVER GREEN and a MODEL for the new generation. Shailendra was the best lyricist and only Sahir Ludhniavi can come close to him.”
Shailendra is gone but he is still shining on Bollywood like the SUN. He taught us simplicity that is reflected in his poetry claiming, “Genius is the ability to reduce the complicated to the simple”.
I admire & salute to Shailendra “ as a simple, caring, compassion, Selflessness, grace, brave human being and so much more but each one at a higher degree than others. It takes a lot to make a good human being. It is good to be in the company of good people because they infest their ways towards you. That is what I call it “JEENA ISSI KA NAAM HAI”.