By Rajan Narayan

 

SHANKAR THE SANGEET YOGI
Where can one begin to write anything about this diminutive man built like a wrestler , serious as a yogi with a tough exterior, and as soft and sweet as a leechi..juicy and succulent which can enhance the flavour of any dessert to which it is added and delicious as stand alone. He combines with an equally diminutive but irresistibly charming companion with matching passion for music.
Together they emerge as Shankar Jaikishan the biggest brand ever to have worked in Hindi Film Music “ Na bhooto na bhavishyo” ( neither in past nor in future) They get their first movie fairly early for two rank outsiders in an Industry which is a closed group, where very few can enter without struggle. Call it providence , that they landed in Bombay and began to work with Prithvi Theatres , their alma mater.
This gave them access to Prithviraj Kapoor and his family , especially Raj Kapoor who was an actor / filmmaker as young as Shankar with equal passion to create something new and entertaining in Hindi Films..Destiny put them at a situation where they were to work together for Raj Kapoor’s second movie Barsat, after his debut movie( as filmmaker ) Aag had failed at BO.
Raj Kapoor offered Shankar to score for Barsat, on recommendation by Prithvi Raj Kapoor who had seen his talent and passion in his plays. Shankar was assisting Ram Ganguli at Prithvi Theatres and RK films as well. This was the moment of reckoning for a young Shankar who had dreamt of scoring music for a movie, and opportunity came knocking at his door.
Anyone else would have grabbed the offer without a second thought. But then this man was no ordinary run of the mill musician, he was Shankar Singh Raghuvanshi a man destined to write a new history in Hindi cinema. He placed a condition that he will score but with Jaikishan as his partner. What happened later is part of the folklore.
Barsat was a success, the kind of which was never seen before in Hindi cinema. Music of Barsat opened new avenues for music companies to explore Hindi film music as serious business vertical. Ten songs nine of which were sung by Lata Mangeshkar a new singer at that time, whom Shankar had seen at Husnlal Bhagatram’s studio and was thoroughly impressed with her talent.
Barsat had made a resounding entry of Shankar Jaikishan as composers, and Hasrat Jaipuri and Shailendra as lyricists. This team of four young men , with burning desire to leave their impression as none had ever done. This was their first movie and none of them knew where their journey was destined to be, and at what level will they leave this Industry.
It will be an exercise in futility to list out their successful movies as this forum is well aware of each minute detail. What needs to be discussed is their USP (unique selling proposition). What made their music so popular and consistently appealing for over two decades till the time, God began to end this team one after another.
1. Position when they entered : Prior to their arrival Hindi music had come a long way from the first talkie in 1931 to 1949. Many composers like Rai Chand Boral, Pankaj Mulik , Khemchhand Prakash Gulam Hyder , S N Tripathy , Anil Biswas, C Ram Chandra and Naushad … a few more had created immensely interesting and highly evolved music. They introduced many new concepts, and had taken film music to new levels. Each one of these composers are highly respected composers who came with years of regimented training of classical music Indian and Western s well.
2. New Syntax by Shankar Jaikishan : Shankar Jaikishan had learnt and imbibed contributions by all these greats. But they did not walk the same path which these greats had walked. They created something none of these had greats had done. They did not stick to the classical grammar and syntax of classical composition. They broke all the rules without compromising the essence of Indian music and its appeal.
3. What was New: Their songs were a mix of a few ragas which were very close to one another in a superficial level. Someone with knowledge of syntax of each raga can pitch in with the mix of ragas they used..like a mukhda in one raga and antara in another one..and many such innovations.
4. Fusion: They were immensely influenced by Western symphony and its style of background score for the harmony which was the essence of Western Classical music. Whereas melody was the essence of Indian Classical music. Shankar Jaikishan were successful in fusing the two and created their new brand of music which was “ Brand Shankar Jaikishan”
5. Target Audience: The composers prior to Shankar Jaikishan were immensely trained talents in classical music and their target audience were listeners who knew and understood classical music or some form of folk music of certain regions. But Shankar Jaikishan came without any formal training from any school of music, they were learning from life, nature and every source in the universe. That is the reason their songs did not sound radically different, but always felt like one was familiar with these songs, but did not know where they came from, but appealed immensely to the common and the pundit alike. Their music came from their heart and reached the listeners heart..and stayed put forever.
6. Composers for films: their music was never created to showcase their knowledge of music, it was made to suit the situation, story, period and character. They never differentiated who they were scoring for. Their music was their best regardless of the stature of producer, banner and actor. They scored classics for the smallest actors as well.
7. Innovations: One of their specialties was use of onscreen actors voice in the songs which made the song unique and interesting, like Madhubala and Premnath in Badal..to an endless number of songs..all of them hits.
8. Reinventing themselves: Once Shankar Jaikishan skyrocketed with their debut movie they kept on reinventing their music to stay ahead of competition and left them to catch up with the leaders..
9. Sync with Lyrics: Their music was such that, a listener could connect regardless of the knowledge or understanding of lyrics..and this was proven by the unprecedented success of Awara and Shree 420 which is as popular all over the world.
10. Background music: They were such innovators, who managed to hide and store their creations in the background score of movies which they used in later movies. A viewing of their old movies will make you jump with joy when you hear some popular songs in earlier movies….
11. Worked with the best Artists: Another reason for their excellence is their urge and eagerness to work with the best artists in business. Shankar Jaikishan always chose the best musicians . Right from their assistants Dattaram and Sebastian to Panna Lal Ghosh..Ali Akbar Khan, Manohari Singh, Rais Khan, Goody Sarvai, Kishore Desai, Sumeet Mitra..and many more..This helped them to create the best..and nothing else..

As a diehard fan, who has no knowledge of any classical music or ragas..these are the highlights I could think of and which appeals to me as a common “ Kaansen” a listener..and people like me were their target audience . People like me are in millions and millions all over the world..and hence they commanded a following never seen before.

As they scaled one peak of success after the other with they knew it was God’s intervention and they remained grounded all their life, humble to the core, and always on the forefront to shoulder any responsibility for any community service like fund raising for nation.

The most tragic part of their journey was that Shankar who started this team and brand was left all alone as all his friends and fellow partners in this journey one after another.. First it was Shailendra 1966 and Jaikishan 1971..he was left broken and shattered after these two big losses which no one could ever replace.

But this diminutive man who was taller than Himalayas never gave up. He carried on with the banner till his last breath..He came as a faceless and nameless person but left with a name which will be written in Golden Letters in the history of Indian Film Music along with his inseparable Jaikishan..a man who like Shankar came from the lowest strata of the society and left like a king in 1971, when his last journey was attended by thousands of his fans who braved heavy rains..for their price charming..

God is really great, Shankar who was a private person, got a private exit from this world and Jaikishan who was a public figure went with a sea of humanity following his last journey.

Shankar was nothing without Jaikishan as much as Jaikishan was a zero without his elder brotherly Shankar..Together they are and will remain the best to have walked on this earth and the biggest brand of Music India has ever created.

The man lived and died with a mission expressed by Shailendra…

sat suro ke sato sagar, sat suro ke sato sagar
man ki umango se jage, man ki umango se jage
too hee bata
too hee bata mai kaise gau behri duniya ke aage
behri duniya ke aage

jina nahi aaya mohe abb toh chhupa le
jina nahi aaya mohe abb toh chhupa le
charno me, charno me tere charno me, charno me

SHANKAR THE SANGEET YOGI
Where can one begin to write anything about this diminutive man built like a wrestler , serious as a yogi with a tough exterior, and as soft and sweet as a leechi..juicy and succulent which can enhance the flavour of any dessert to which it is added and delicious as stand alone. He combines with an equally diminutive but irresistibly charming companion with matching passion for music.
Together they emerge as Shankar Jaikishan the biggest brand ever to have worked in Hindi Film Music “ Na bhooto na bhavishyo” ( neither in past nor in future) They get their first movie fairly early for two rank outsiders in an Industry which is a closed group, where very few can enter without struggle. Call it providence , that they landed in Bombay and began to work with Prithvi Theatres , their alma mater.
This gave them access to Prithviraj Kapoor and his family , especially Raj Kapoor who was an actor / filmmaker as young as Shankar with equal passion to create something new and entertaining in Hindi Films..Destiny put them at a situation where they were to work together for Raj Kapoor’s second movie Barsat, after his debut movie( as filmmaker ) Aag had failed at BO.
Raj Kapoor offered Shankar to score for Barsat, on recommendation by Prithvi Raj Kapoor who had seen his talent and passion in his plays. Shankar was assisting Ram Ganguli at Prithvi Theatres and RK films as well. This was the moment of reckoning for a young Shankar who had dreamt of scoring music for a movie, and opportunity came knocking at his door.
Anyone else would have grabbed the offer without a second thought. But then this man was no ordinary run of the mill musician, he was Shankar Singh Raghuvanshi a man destined to write a new history in Hindi cinema. He placed a condition that he will score but with Jaikishan as his partner. What happened later is part of the folklore.
Barsat was a success, the kind of which was never seen before in Hindi cinema. Music of Barsat opened new avenues for music companies to explore Hindi film music as serious business vertical. Ten songs nine of which were sung by Lata Mangeshkar a new singer at that time, whom Shankar had seen at Husnlal Bhagatram’s studio and was thoroughly impressed with her talent.
Barsat had made a resounding entry of Shankar Jaikishan as composers, and Hasrat Jaipuri and Shailendra as lyricists. This team of four young men , with burning desire to leave their impression as none had ever done. This was their first movie and none of them knew where their journey was destined to be, and at what level will they leave this Industry.
It will be an exercise in futility to list out their successful movies as this forum is well aware of each minute detail. What needs to be discussed is their USP (unique selling proposition). What made their music so popular and consistently appealing for over two decades till the time, God began to end this team one after another.
1. Position when they entered : Prior to their arrival Hindi music had come a long way from the first talkie in 1931 to 1949. Many composers like Rai Chand Boral, Pankaj Mulik , Khemchhand Prakash Gulam Hyder , S N Tripathy , Anil Biswas, C Ram Chandra and Naushad … a few more had created immensely interesting and highly evolved music. They introduced many new concepts, and had taken film music to new levels. Each one of these composers are highly respected composers who came with years of regimented training of classical music Indian and Western s well.
2. New Syntax by Shankar Jaikishan : Shankar Jaikishan had learnt and imbibed contributions by all these greats. But they did not walk the same path which these greats had walked. They created something none of these had greats had done. They did not stick to the classical grammar and syntax of classical composition. They broke all the rules without compromising the essence of Indian music and its appeal.
3. What was New: Their songs were a mix of a few ragas which were very close to one another in a superficial level. Someone with knowledge of syntax of each raga can pitch in with the mix of ragas they used..like a mukhda in one raga and antara in another one..and many such innovations.
4. Fusion: They were immensely influenced by Western symphony and its style of background score for the harmony which was the essence of Western Classical music. Whereas melody was the essence of Indian Classical music. Shankar Jaikishan were successful in fusing the two and created their new brand of music which was “ Brand Shankar Jaikishan”
5. Target Audience: The composers prior to Shankar Jaikishan were immensely trained talents in classical music and their target audience were listeners who knew and understood classical music or some form of folk music of certain regions. But Shankar Jaikishan came without any formal training from any school of music, they were learning from life, nature and every source in the universe. That is the reason their songs did not sound radically different, but always felt like one was familiar with these songs, but did not know where they came from, but appealed immensely to the common and the pundit alike. Their music came from their heart and reached the listeners heart..and stayed put forever.
6. Composers for films: their music was never created to showcase their knowledge of music, it was made to suit the situation, story, period and character. They never differentiated who they were scoring for. Their music was their best regardless of the stature of producer, banner and actor. They scored classics for the smallest actors as well.
7. Innovations: One of their specialties was use of onscreen actors voice in the songs which made the song unique and interesting, like Madhubala and Premnath in Badal..to an endless number of songs..all of them hits.
8. Reinventing themselves: Once Shankar Jaikishan skyrocketed with their debut movie they kept on reinventing their music to stay ahead of competition and left them to catch up with the leaders..
9. Sync with Lyrics: Their music was such that, a listener could connect regardless of the knowledge or understanding of lyrics..and this was proven by the unprecedented success of Awara and Shree 420 which is as popular all over the world.
10. Background music: They were such innovators, who managed to hide and store their creations in the background score of movies which they used in later movies. A viewing of their old movies will make you jump with joy when you hear some popular songs in earlier movies….
11. Worked with the best Artists: Another reason for their excellence is their urge and eagerness to work with the best artists in business. Shankar Jaikishan always chose the best musicians . Right from their assistants Dattaram and Sebastian to Panna Lal Ghosh..Ali Akbar Khan, Manohari Singh, Rais Khan, Goody Sarvai, Kishore Desai, Sumeet Mitra..and many more..This helped them to create the best..and nothing else..

As a diehard fan, who has no knowledge of any classical music or ragas..these are the highlights I could think of and which appeals to me as a common “ Kaansen” a listener..and people like me were their target audience . People like me are in millions and millions all over the world..and hence they commanded a following never seen before.

As they scaled one peak of success after the other with they knew it was God’s intervention and they remained grounded all their life, humble to the core, and always on the forefront to shoulder any responsibility for any community service like fund raising for nation.

The most tragic part of their journey was that Shankar who started this team and brand was left all alone as all his friends and fellow partners in this journey one after another.. First it was Shailendra 1966 and Jaikishan 1971..he was left broken and shattered after these two big losses which no one could ever replace.

But this diminutive man who was taller than Himalayas never gave up. He carried on with the banner till his last breath..He came as a faceless and nameless person but left with a name which will be written in Golden Letters in the history of Indian Film Music along with his inseparable Jaikishan..a man who like Shankar came from the lowest strata of the society and left like a king in 1971, when his last journey was attended by thousands of his fans who braved heavy rains..for their price charming..

God is really great, Shankar who was a private person, got a private exit from this world and Jaikishan who was a public figure went with a sea of humanity following his last journey.

Shankar was nothing without Jaikishan as much as Jaikishan was a zero without his elder brotherly Shankar..Together they are and will remain the best to have walked on this earth and the biggest brand of Music India has ever created.

The man lived and died with a mission expressed by Shailendra…

sat suro ke sato sagar, sat suro ke sato sagar
man ki umango se jage, man ki umango se jage
too hee bata
too hee bata mai kaise gau behri duniya ke aage
behri duniya ke aage

jina nahi aaya mohe abb toh chhupa le
jina nahi aaya mohe abb toh chhupa le
charno me, charno me tere charno me, charno me

Shankarji we can never forget you, and do miss your presence..I am sure you are entertaining the Gods up there..!

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