Remembering Shankar on his birthday


Today (15th October 2016) is the birth anniversary of Shankar of the famous duo of composers, the great “Shankar-Jaikishan” !

Shankarsingh Ramsingh Raghuvanshi was born on this day of the year 1922, who later grew into a youth very much inclined to music. His childhood was spent in listening to Bhajans with great interest in the various temples in his locality. It was here, that the seeds of music were sowed in his impressionable minds. It seems that this very thing became a hindrance in his academic progress later on, and, we should thank God for that.

Before 1949, that is, before the release of “Barsat”, a true musical bonanza, Hindi film music was in a state of monotony which offered music of fixed genres based on classical elements. The music compositions had hardly any cheerfulness, delight, and liveliness, though mostly melodious in the vintage form. This caused a sort of boredom to the general public or the masses, who did not understand the musical merits of classical elements and intricacies in such compositions.

With ” Barsat “, Shankar with his too young partner Jaikishan, changed this scenario of monotony and repetitive music in HFM overnight, and what happened in next four decades is just history now known to everybody, and not to be mentioned here. Thus, Shankar became the pioneer and father of modern Hindi music that many music composers of the next generation are following till this day.

Today, on Shankar’s birth anniversary, let me share this somebody else’s extremely good and factually written article on the duo’s unity in works, uniqueness and timelessness of their compositions, their profile and glory in HFM.

I liked this article more than many others on SJ, because herein the writer has mentioned how difficult and futile it is to decide which song is by Shankar and which by Jaikishan, giving the example of indistinguishable waters of two streams after they have merged into a confluence !!

Here it is :

” There are many music director duos in Hindi film world. we have Laxmikant-Pyarelal, Kalyanji-Anandji, Amar- Utpal, Nadeem-Shravan, Jatin-Lalit, Shyamji- Ghanshyamji, Husnulal-Bhagatram, etc etc…. But, there is one and only Shankar- Jaikishan. Even today listeners guess about their style of creating music, discuss about their distribution of work, speculate and fight about which song is composed by whom, take sides, sometimes sympathise with Shankar and try to justify his behaviour, his downfall, if it can be called that, praise Jaikishan…. but, ultimately, all of them end up talking about Shankar-Jaikishan.
There is a lot of curiosity, controversy regarding anything Shankar-Jaikishan, because, they are a phenomenon, which even today remains unconquered and not properly comprehended.
Take the songs of chori chori, the all time favourite. People say this is a Jai song and that is a Shankar song. Ultimately listening to each song is a unique experience. People may have their individual favourites, but, one cannot with certainity say this song is less than that song. This applies to songs like all line clear and sava lakh ki lottery too.
Take another case… Junglee… that film which changed the contours of Hindi film music forever. Yahoo is a clear favourite but then ehesan tera clearly stands out and apart. Ayyayyo sookku cannot be so easily discounted. So also is the case with kashmir ki kalihu main, jajaja mere bachpan and nain tumhare majedar. How to comprehend and explain this variety and undercurrent unity in each of these songs? They each have a separate life of their own… but, can not exist without each other. Herein lies the speciality of Shankar-Jaikishan songs.
In all Shankar-Jaikishan songs right from their first film upto roughly 1969, we can observe this unique phenomenon. Their songs have a life of their own. Thogh they are a part of the film, the songs of Shankar-Jaikishan go beyond the film, actors and singers and enjoy a unique status all their own.
mera joota hai japani, from shree 420, is sung by Mukesh, written by Shailendra, picturised on Rajkapoor. Infact, this song consolidated his image as a tramp. But, this song will be enjoyed and heard again and again not because it is a Mukesh song, not because of shailendra, not because of Rajkapoor. This is the greatness of Shankar Jaikishan songs. They will be liked for what they are.
When one hears, ye mera deewanapan hai, it rings a bell in recesses of the heart. We enjoy and remember the song and sing along. We forget that it is a Mukesh song, Dileepkumar song. We just enjoy for the sheer melody, music and the heart tugging lyrics. Together all these have a profound effect, the full meanig of which is diffucult to comprehend. That is the effect of Shankar Jaikishan songs.
This is the case with all songs of Shankar-Jaikishan. That is why, people discuss about Shankar-Jaikishan and want to attribute songs to individuals, when one feels that the songs of Shankar-Jaikishan are truely the works of a benign devine intervention.
There are many conjecturs about how they went about their work.
Some say, that in the early stage itself they divided the work among themselves. They composed separately and came together only for Rajkapoor films. Some say Shankar composed mostly songs of Shailendra and Jaikishan those of Hasrat. But this is not a hard and fast rule, for, Shankar also tuned Hasrat songs and Jai those of Shailendra. So, no one can say with certainity which song is composed by whom, though some so called knowledgeable persons say as if they have seen them do it, that, this is a Jai song and that is a Shankar song.
Some even go to the extent of saying that they can identify Shankar song and Jaikishan song from a mile and give a list of Shankar songs and Jaikishan songs.
But, when, one hears Shankar-Jaikishan songs it becomes apparent that there can never be a Shankar-only song and Jaikishan solo song. When two separately flowing rivers intermingle then it will be difficult to separate and distinguish waters of both rivers independently. So is the case with Shankar Jaikishan songs. Right from Barsat to Gori, their songs are Shankar-Jaikishan songs and never, solo songs.
Gori is supposed to be the last film of Shankar Jaikishan. As per the book, Sath Suronke Sath, gori hai kalayiya song was created by enoch daniels and this song was not listed as a Shankar Jaikishan song in the book. We the producer of the film said on record that the first song Shankar created for the film was gori hai kalayiya!!
how to account for this?
When one hears the song gori hai kalayiya, the stanzas remind you of the stanzas of sun sahiba sun of Ram teri ganga maili, which is known to be a Shankar Jaikishan song created for a shelved film Ajanta. Shankar is a person who never takes somebody else’s song and uses it as his own. Most of his fights with producers were because of their interference with his work. He left a Dharmendra production for this very reason. At that time he was almost out of work. Such an uncompromising person Shankar was. It is also well known that most of the times Shankar resented intervention of Jaikishan in his tunes, while, he has many a times suggested and made Jaikishan follow him. This also sighted as one of the reasons for jaikishan going solo. Hence it is not only unimaginable but totally impossible that shankar would allow somebody else to create a song and make it his own.
This clearly illustrates the false propaganda and prejudices that surround the creations of this great music director team of Shankar Jaikishan. It is in this backdrop that I want to analyse and show that songs created by Shankar Jaikishan can never be anyone’s songs. They all are whether created before or after Jai, are all Shankar Jaikishan songs.”

Contributed by:

Hemantkumar Pawar


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