Shankar Singh Raghuvanshi was born on the 15the October in 1922, in Hyderabad, and grew up with two passions. Wrestling and music. Shankar was basically a very committed person, by nature, and was very simple in his life style, one single passion, which drove his entire life. After his initial, days at Hyderabad, he reached Mumbai,where he meets PrithvI Raj Kapoor and is employed with PrithvI Theatres as a musician.
Initially he was a rhythm specialist, tabla and dholak ; but his urge for music; his inclination and ability to learn different instruments made him, a master of music. As his life began, and evolved with what ever happened in his life, as if some supreme power was writing his “life’s script”. And when your life’s script is written by that supreme “writer” , the there is no looking back.
His first movie, Barsat, with RK banner, was a real blockbuster in every sense of the term. Barsat has 11 songs, 7 of which were composed in Bhairavi raga, and another initiative was having Lata Mangeshkar, a fairly up and coming singer, then, to sing 10 songs, for all the characters; Nimmi, Nargis and Cuckoo..This trend was unheard of But then Shankar was not meant to do the usual, he was born to break the trends and stereo types.
Barsat was followed by Awara , Badal, Nagina and Kalighata in 1951. What a score, Awara was India’s first major International Hit, reaching USSR, and other Eastern European Countries and the title song Awara Hun becoming a cult song, till date. Awara also had the first 3-in-1 song, dream sequence ; tere bina aag yeh chandini, ye nahi hai nahi hai zindagi and ghar aaya mera pardesi..which remains matchless for its musical excellence.
Badal, Nagina and Kalighata were movies outside RK banner, and each one had some superb numbers. Badal began the new association with the great film maker Amiya Chakravorty, which lasted very long, and gave some exceptional music.
I feel, I should take a look at SJ’s association with various film makers and actors, and see how they contributed in the journey of their which lasted for more than 3 decades..
I would begin with RK films which gave them the break and the association lasted for 2 decades, till Kal aaj Aur Kal. SJ -RK worked in Barsat, Awara, Aah, Shree 420, Boot Polish, Jis Desh Me Ganga Behti Hai, Sangam, Mera Nam Joker and Kal aaj aur Kal. This journey was very fruitful and gave some outstanding melodies. But, they got their first Filmfare Award for this banner in their near last movie Mera naam Joker. Among these movies, it is difficult to pick one over the other, to be better, than other, each move was a masterpiece. Sangam, and Jis Desh Me Ganga Behti were really phenomenal in their variety and intensity.
This association was followed by Amiya Chakravorti”s association; which gave some really immortal movies. Badal, Daag, Katputhli, Patita, Badshah and Seema . this association gave really great music. Katputhli in my opinion was the best, and so was Daag which was Dilip Kumar and SJ’s first movie.
Then I would talk about Hrishikesh Mukherjee, though he was not a producer but was a SJ loyalist and gave some superb musicals. Aashiq, Anari and Asli Naqli . Each of these movies was a musical block busters.
Sohanlal Kanwar; was another film maker who was a big SJ loyalist. His friendship and loyalty is miles ahead of Raj Kapoor, who did not hesitate to drop them as a hot potato, at the first sign of distress; though it was his failure, than SJ’s. Sohanlal Kanwar, worked with SJ in Pehchan, Beimaan, Sanyaasi, Seema, Paapi Pet Ka Sawal..and may be any other lesser known one. Pehchan and Beimaan gave them a Filmfare Award. Sanyaasi was a big musical blockbuster.
Here on wards I would discuss about SJ’s contribution and combination with actors, then After Raj Kapoor, comes Shammi Kapoor, and Rajendra Kumar. These three actors account for more than majority of super hits from their studios. Shammi and SJ gave the following hits.. begining from Ujala in 1959 to Chote Sarkar in 1970s, which was Shammi’s last major movie as a hero. Ujala, Junglee , Janwar, Boy Friend, Sinagpore ,Dil Tera Deewana, Rajkumar, Budatameez, Professor, An Evening In Paris, Brahmachari, Prince, Tumse Accha Kaun hai, Jane Anjane and Chote Sarkar. Brahmachari gave them their Filmfare award as best actor for Shammi and Best Music for SJ.
This was followed by Rajendra Kumar, who actually built his career and rode his success on a vehicle named SJ. Aas Ka Panchi began their journey and they gave, Sasural, Zindagi, Sasural, Suraj, Humarahi, Aman, Aarzoo, Ayi Milan ki Bela, Dharti and Aan Baan. Aarzoo and Suraj gave them their best musical score winning them their best successes.
Vyjayantimala, is one actress with whom, SJ gave some exceptional music begining from Patrani, Rajhat, Katputhli; Rangoli, New Delhi, Sangam, Zindagi, Aas Ka Panchi, Chotisi Mulaqat, Prince , Pyar Hi Pyar, Amrapali.. How many hits did these two gave .. superb.. Katputhli, Amrapali, Sangam, Suraj, Patrani, Rajhat, and how many more.
Shankar, to me was the real force behind building this brand, SJ, as he was the senior Partner, as Jai was only 17 when Barsat, began and Shankar was already thick into fim music as he was already an assistant to Husn Lal Bhagatram and Ramm Ganguli, before Barsat. His mastery on various instruments and genres, and his knowledge of dance gave him an edge over many other contemporaries
He was a true MAN, never let his friends down, stood upto his friends, and more than 100%committed to his craft, and profession. He never said a word aganst his detractors never a word against any betrayors. His words would have shattered many lifes and reputations like that of the reigning playback singer or the big showman, who chickened out when it mattered the most. he rose like a collossus in the face of all minnows around him.
In my book Shankar is the Mozart of Hindi film Music who built a new Empire for himself and lived like one all his life. His style and class, shattered many a repuatations and created a new style through clones like Kalyanji Ananadji and Lakshmikant Pyarelal..As they say Plagiarism is the best complement.
Shankar, stands out as the BIG Hear ted Composer, who had no parallel, will never have one. RIP Shankarji.. You are immortal in your fans hearts. Your second innings is yet to begin.