Panchals belong to the southern part of Gujarat and are considered to be extremely skilled as artisans. I have no means to know whether Jaikshan Dayabhai Panchal belonged to this specific category. But, his skill at harmonium compels me to believe that he could assemble and reassemble all the reeds of the instrument with consummate passion and create stunning melody. For a long time I thought that instrument used in musical preludes and interludes in “Awaara Hoon” and “Andhey Jahan Ke Andhey Raaste” was Accordion. It was only few years later (around mid-50s) I learnt the effect was created by deft use of Harmonium. That was the time I also learnt that Jaikishan started his musical journey with this instrument. Did he carry goddess Saraswati’s blessings? I am inclined to think so because as I heard those songs over and over again, I was more and more convinced about the underlying divinity in those compositions. No wonder Jaikishan along with his partner Shankar reigned supreme in what is known as golden era of music.
Jaikishan’s creativity in composing background score is part of Bollywood folklore. It is believed that he would count a few numbers on his finger for a particular scene and compose music. In fact, he was known to complete background score for entire film in three days flat (with only three hour, 930 am-1230 noon, sitting each day). Till date nobody has a clue to his genius in this specialised area of film production.
Jaikishan was fun-loving and humane. He shared cordial relations with industry and had a special bond with Shammi Kapoor. In an interview in 2009 Shammi Kapoor narrated how hurt Jai (as he called him affectionately) felt when a particular hero of late 60s refused to accept his composition Aaj Kal Tere Mere Pyar Ke Charche, because it was not compatible with his image. Shammi Kapoor consoled Jai and assured him that he will gladly use it in his ongoing project Brahmchari. This gesture made Jai feel overwhelmed, Shammi Kapoor reminisced.
For industry tragedy struck twice in a space of five years. First Shailendra in 1966 and then Jaikishan in 1971. Chord of divine melody was snapped by cruel Fate. Good times don’t last forever. No wonder it signalled beginning of the end of golden era of film music !