When anyone reaches the dizzying heights in their career, gain unheard of national and international fame, and win stupendous fan following from the common man to stalwarts in the entertainment and political world like Shankar Jaikishan did, it is but natural for their peers to feel a twinge of jealousy. Their contemporaries and media spun all kinds of fictitious stories about SJ to gain attention. Some in the music industry wanted to dismantle SJ from the “pedestal” their fans put them on and the media wanted to sell their product. The public was so fascinated by the composer duo’s persona and would take anything and everything written about the duo and believing it. SJ were so busy in their work that they hardly ever gave any interviews which would have helped to set the record straight.
It was said that SJ were arrogant and did not spare time to give interviews to the press. This is far from the truth. The reason was that SJ were extremely busy and they hardly ever had the time. Thus, the little time that they had was spent on their personal interests. Shankar, the consummate musician that he was, spent all his spare time composing tunes, learning to play new instruments and meeting with classical musicians who were of great interest to him. Jaikishan, on the other hand, was a social butterfly. With his handsome looks and successful career, he was always surrounded by friends and fans. Being a “party animal,” he was always spotted at social events where he was the center of attraction.
That Shankar was rude, crude and uncouth cannot be more false. He may not have been highly educated, but he was a man of honor. Being a thorough professional, he always delivered his assignments on time and, thus, could never tolerate tardiness and irresponsibility. He reprimanded those who were not, which left him in their bad books.
Nothing is as far from truth as Shankar Jaikishan being dropped from movies because of their high remuneration. As their popularity grew, so did their number of assignments. At the top of their career, in 1971, SJ were the busiest in town with nineteen movies on hand and couldn’t take on any more assigments. This was true with producers like Sridhar, L. V. Prasad, P. Gangadhara Rao, S. S. Vasan, T. Prakasa Rao from the south who were actively making movies and very bady wanted SJ to compose music for their upcoming movies. But the composers were swamped with work and couldn’t oblige. Movie making is a high risk gambling. Films are financed at twenty five percent interest rate and, as it gets closer to release date, the interest rate sometimes jumped to thirty percent too. With this factor involved, the producers couldn’t afford to wait for SJ to be free to work for their movies. So, they opted for other music directors who were ready to work for them at a fraction of the remuneration and meager orchestra which reflected in their run of the mill work.
Another fallacy about SJ is that after the demise of Jaikishan, Shankar was a spent force and couldn’t meet the expectations of their fans. The fact is, not only did he complete all the nineteen movies signed for 1971, he even went on to compose music for forty two more movies, single handedly. This is proof that there were many producers who believed in his talent and that the maestro still had the mettle left in him. At the peak of their career, SJ were paid five lakhs for a movie. With Jai’s death, some producers felt that they should cut that amount to half since it was only one composer doing the job. This resulted in a lower budget and fewer musicians to work with in his orchestra which had a negative effect on the compositions. The main reason for the failure of some of SJ’s later movies lies in the mediocre actors, poor story line and screen play.
That Shankar had a fascination for Sharda and preferred her to Lata and, therefore, switched to the former for female songs was never the case. From their very first movie to the last, SJ chose their singers keeping in mind the lyrics and the actor for who the playback was done. There are many movies in which both Lata and Sharda sang as per requirement of the characters. However, Lata felt threatened by Sharda’s popularity and SJ’s support of her which lead to the former holding a grudge against him. She later returned to the SJ camp to sing many more songs. Yet, Shankar maintained the same regard for the singer till his end.
People may have said and done what they wanted to thwart SJ (Shankar)’s career, but they couldn’t erase their fame and name to this day. SJ reign supreme in the hearts of their fans!
Their popularity added value to anything written about them which made good business for media.
Thank you Lakshmi for this beautiful article.
It was SJ’ who gave RK’ his success. His international fame came from, Awara and it’s famous title song. RK’ s fil…See More
1.Post Jai’s departure how many of films of Shanker were successful at box office other than Sanyasi or may be Do Jhooth though I have my own doubts over the latter?And compare this with number of SJ films which used to be SJ(Silver Jubilees)in earlier times .
Forget Silver Jubilee they were mostly financial disasters.
2.Shankar was no more in list of successful MDs..forget top MDs post 1971.
3.Shankar was reduced to second,third or even lower rung MD like Usha Khanna,Sapan Jagmohan,Madan Mohan,Naushad ,Ravi,etc who too were on slide down journey after attaining peak of their career.
4.If any one scan Binaca(Cibaca later) Geetmalas of post 1971 era,quite of count_on_your_finger songs of Shanker featured in its weekly slots while in their hey day they used to have more than 50% of progrmamme’s songs from their films.
5.Most of films done by Shanker belonged to B and C category producers.Top nd A Class prooducers avoided him.So did top class actors and actresses who always preferred top notch MDs like L.P.,K.A.R.D.B Bappi Lahiri,Rajesh Roshan etc.Shanker was never a consideration for selection.
The only grace mark to which Shankar qualifies is for_
1.He kept SJ banner afloat.
2.He was never without assignment for films unlike LP and KA who went filmless on departure of one of team partner
3.He did not beg for film like LP did in their near famine days.
4.He lived a dignified life till end without making compromises on money issues.
5.He was an egoist right from day one and remained so till last,did nor beg or borrow but lived the way he was accustomed to.
1. Since Jai was a savvy businessman, Shankar had him deal with the producers. So, it was Jai who signed the nineteen films in 1971 and died an untimely death which put the entire load on Shankar. Despite feeling his lowest after losing Jai and the producers drastically slashing the budget, Shankar fulfilled every assignment on time in a very professional manner. I gave the reasons why the films did not fare well in the later years.
2. It is a known fact that people with a vested interest did everything from keeping SJ songs played on the radio to removing them from record shops. The music is what drew moviegoers to the theaters. When the songs aren’t heard as enough, they will not be known.
3. If Shankar was reduced to second, third or lower rung, how come he was in continuous demand with the producers? I am surprised you compare Shankar with the others. We all know who played dirty politics to have him removed from big banners. But, his loyal producers stood by him through thick and thin.
4. The media was influenced by the bigwigs in the music industry in every which way. Thus, danced to the tune. Binaca Geetmala is no exception.
5. Number 3 answers this.
Glad to see you generously gave some ‘grace marks’ for this master maestro.
Far from true.
My son , in his late twenties adores S-J, so do his friends..
It’s another matter that the younger generation loves their songs without sometimes realising that those are S-J creations..
A Radha Mangeshkar, daughter of Hridaynath, when doesn’t tire of saying upfront that S-J are her absolute favorite composers, only vindicates the fact..
Does it need to be stressed that she belongs to the current generation?
There is no way even younger generation can escape the magical spell of S-J brand of melody..!
Bappi Lahiri ?
Give us another..
Please type Sjfa 2016 on the search bar.
Regarding your first 5 Negative points about him doing undergrade films, It can be said that he had to oblige his producers who were almost friends. Shankar’s immediate recordings after Jaikishan’s death was for film Door Nahin Manzil…………Please pick one song which you can label a Mediocre composition. Then came Jungle Mein Mangal, leave other songs, but can you find anything bad about, “Tum Kitni Khoobsoorat ho” ? Aaj Ki Taaza Khabar was a film of different genre. There is no wrong with his music………But these films did not click at box office. Not fault of Shanker, they were not publicised for financial weakness. In the meantime he got several assignments, like Naseeb Ki baat, Jugal Jodi, Baby India, Waqt Ka Sikander (a multi starrer of those days) and several other films. You might have lost faith in him, but there were producers which have faith in him and were signing. He got Dharmendra’s dream project ‘Bichchhoo’ and most probably you might have read how and in which situation he had to quit the project which Dharmendra himself dissolved.
The big thing was that he had nothing left to prove nor there was any to challenge his creativity which certainly went against him.
When one of his great admirer asked him why he was doing all these films, he had replied, ‘khaali baith ke kya karoonga’ Yes certainly he was doing several films half heartedly because he was deprived of his size orchestra which was his forte. Suppose a fighter has been given less arms and ammunition and expected to win the war.
BUT, But, wherever he got free hand he produced wonderful music…………Sanyasi, Chorni and Dil, Daulat Aur Duniya are burning examples to prove that the musician in him was as energetic as it was in his previous days. But the bad thing and bad time was after him, that is why except Sanyasi which has mediocre story, rest two films with great story and great acting by Nitu Singh (Chorni) and great pair Rajesh Khanna+Sadhna and fantastic acting by Ashok Kumar and Omprakash with very soulful story did not click on box office. If you can, please watch these films yourself and decide whethere there was anything wrong with any department in those films………………
It is very easy to find lacunae in someone’s work but if you see the factors behind it, as a true SJ fan, you cant criticise like that……..
But you have again given 5 Positive points to him and they cover up his 5 negative points sir ji. But as a helpless SJ fan who always takes pride for them, your feelings are right.
There is a strong school of thought against Shankar, who believe it Jaikishan was the star.
These people forget that Jaikishan was 17 when Barsat was made.. Shankar built the brand..and mentored Jaikishan and together these two composers created magic for more than two decades.
Such prejudices have always existed with all the great artists.
Shankar was a supreme talented and composer who was complete in all respects. His compositions were like symphonic…he embellished his songs like a bride…
Well, freedom of thought expression are fundamental..and will always be respected..
Shankar Jaikishan were an inseparable composers, who has a divine connect, and never needed any certificates on their talent, creativity..
They will remain the best….. composers best friends who complemented each other…
As great Composers they remained on top and always attracted highest detractors….which is an evidence of their greatness….