As Shankar Jaikishan fans, we have all heard and read a lot about their knowledge and talent in music, their name and fame, their fundraising for great causes, from all sources available. But, very seldom do we hear about their inner character that defines the great human beings they were.
Many South Indian movie makers had the utmost admiration and respect for SJ who composed for their movies with huge success. Every one of them commended upon their professionalism and work ethics. Once SJ signed a contract, the producer could be rest assured that the work will get done on time and will meet with expectations beyond his imagination.
It is true that they commanded a very high remuneration for their work, but they never demanded it. It was the producer, who was desperate to have them sign for him, that hiked their fee. With SJ in his project, it was a breeze for the producer to have the lead actor and actress get on board. The high fee received for their work was shared generously with their musicians. There were times when a producer would sign SJ with a deposit and, later, meet with financial difficulties. Being very considerate of the situation, SJ would still complete their work and wait patiently to be paid whenever the producer was able to.
In a span of 38 years, from Barsaat to Gori, Shankar Jaikishan scored music for 185 movies. They worked with 67 lyricists, 46 male singers and 45 female singers. Throughout their career, SJ introduced several musicians, singers and lyricists to the music industry. It was through their encouragement that their assistant, Dattaram, turned into a full-fledged composer. With their hands full, they had also encouraged producers to sign Kalyanji-Anandji and R.D. Burman for their movies.
The composer duo maintained a great camaraderie with their peers and always had a good word for their work. Many a time, SJ would call up a fellow composer to congratulate on his/her work which you seldom see in the industry. Even after Jaikishan’s demise, when things were going against him, Shankar never uttered a word against the “defectors” and “backstabbers.”
The above mentioned virtues of Shankar Jaikishan are what made them superior to their peers, not only in their work but also in their character. Their policy was to, “Live and Let Live.” They will always be remembered for their benevolence.
Shankar composed music for more than 170 movies in his career spanning 39 years , starting from Barsat in 1949 till Gori his last movie. His brand Shankar Jaikishan won 9 Filmfare Awards and how many movies celebrated jubilees is not available. I am sure, the number must be more than 60.
As composer , Shankar was very particular about having rich orchestra, perhaps an habit he picked up from his patron film maker Raj Kapoor, who visualized movies larger than life. To substantiate my point, I wish to cite the example of a few songs from Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai.
Here is a movie, Shankar felt had no scope for music at all, and later scored one of their finest albums for a movie shot mostly in a dacoits den. This movie has 9 songs, and each song is such a rich experience in audio experience. This movie was released in 1960, which means the recording was done before that.
With such primitive recording equipment and facilities, they created such priceless gems, that one fails to visualize what magic they could have created in modern times.
Let’s take a look at the songs :
1 . Mera naam raju gharaana anaam..Movie opens with this song, shot in the vast expanse of Ganga in Haridwar . Just listen to the orchestra, melody and the energy. What a way to open the movie.
2.Begani Shaadi Mein Abdulla Diwana: Here is a fun song which has almost become a popular idiom. Absolutely energetic music and fun filled flow of melody.
3. Hoton pe Sachaai rehti hai: Here is one of the finest songs which portrays the ethos of what India is all about. The prelude for this song begins with a rich play of dafli..and then begins the song on a quite note..picks up with use of Sitar which pull at your heart strings..
4. Kya hua ye mujhe kya pata jaane kyun…A super energetic dance number for Padmini and Chanchal..what can I say about this song. Accordion and rhythm with bongos and percussion of maracas,
5.Ho Maine pyar kiya hoye hoye kya zulm kiya: Here is another very high voltage sensuous number, picturised on Padmini.
6. O Basanti pavan pagal : This pathos number has exceptionally rich orchestra especially, in the end, when Raj Kapoor returns and Padmini dances in front of Goddess Bhavani..My God, simply unbelievable and beyond words .
7. Hai aag hamare seene mein: This is a song with perhaps the maximum number of leading playback singers in one song. Full of energy and a flow which goes up in scale as it progresses. The use of rhythm and mandolin notes is exceptional, to say the least.
8. Pyar Karle nai te phaansi chad jaayega: Here is a classic song which sums up the essence of the story which preaches surrender of arms, and leading a life of honour. Simple and very touching song.
9. Aa Ab Laut chale: This song is the mother of all large screen songs. So much has been written about its orchestra and chorus, that I need not add anything more.
This is music, which elevates a simple story to the skies and makes it a super duper hit.
If this is not larger than life, then what is! This is not the only movie, there are 10s of such great movies with simply out of the world music !!
behnon aur bhaaiyon, maine yeh geet dulhan ki bidaai ka unke maike ke ghar se samjho ke bajaaya tha. Kyunke, Pallavi meri bhatiji ke samaan hai. dekhiye unke chacha jo hain Jaisingh Mariwala woh mere saath school mein paDhaa karte the aur bilkul bhaai ki tarah the. Aur behnon aur bhaaiyon Khaas Sangeet Ke Sitaaron Ki Mehfil ke is program ke liye maine Pallavi ko yahaan bulaaya hai taaki woh Jaikishan ke baare mein biwi ki nazar se kuch bataaye. AS: to Pallavi, sabse pehle yeh bataao, Jaikishan se mulaaqaat tumhaari kaise huyi aur kahan? PJ: Woh ji huyi thi ‘cricket match’ ke dauraan AS: ‘Cricket Match’ ke dauraan? PJ: haan ji AS: achchha achchha, kaunsa ‘match’ tha bhai woh? PJ: woh to abhi mujhe yaad nahin hai AS: nahin? PJ: ‘I think’, main sab kuchh bhool gayi thi. bhool gayi AS: yaani, pehle milan ka yeh yeh anand tha ki aur kuchh yaad nahin hai haan? PJ: jee haan AS: achchha yeh bataao ki aage baat kaise baDhee? PJ: bas, us ‘time’ to kaafi ‘known personality’ the. Geet Mala ke dauraan vagerah, hum log saare ‘fans’ the unke AS: achchha! PJ: main aur meri saheliyaan, to wahaan pe koi unhe jaanta tha, unhone ‘introduce’ kiya aur hamaara ‘music’ ka shauk humein leke gaye unke ‘recording’ pe AS: ‘recording’ dekhni thi aapko? PJ: haanji bahut ‘interest’ tha waise AS: to aap kaun se ‘studio’ mein dekhi thi ‘recording’ aur kaun si geet thi? PJ: woh us zamaane mein Famous Studio mein karte the ‘recording’ AS: achchha gaana kaun sa tha? PJ: gaana tha “mujhko apne gale laga lo ae mere humrahi” AS: arre waah waah waah aur phir unhone gale laga liya! PJ: Rafi saahab .. (both laugh together). us ‘time’ to nahin AS: achchha uske baad shaadi mein kitni der lagi aur gharwale jo the tumhaare woh raazi nahin ho rahe the? PJ: nahin, woh bilkul ‘against’ the. kyunki ‘different backgrounds’ ho gaye the. ‘Film people’ itne ‘accepted’ nahin the. AS: achchha achchha achchha. to phir shaadi huyi kaise? PJ: bas kar lee shaadi. ‘elopement’. (Both laugh together) AS: ‘Very good, Very good’. achchha chalo, shaadi ho gayi ab hum ek zaraa sa ‘jump’ lete hain aur pahunch jaate hain tumhaare ghar pe, Marine Drive pe baDaa hi Khoobsoorat ghar hai. tum donon wahaan rehte the aur kayi baras saath guzaare. aur main hamesha dekha karta tha tum dono ki joDi bahut achchhi lagti thi, bahut Khush rehte the dono. PJ: Shukriya AS: kuchh mujhe bataao Jaikishan ke baare mein, tumne unhe ek patni ki nazron se kis tarah dekha? kaise the woh? ghar mein bartaav kaisa tha unka? PJ: bahut hi milansaar AS: bahut hi milansaar! PJ: bahut hi Khayaalwaale, bahut hi dildaar AS: achchha PJ: bahut hi ‘straight’ kism ke aadmi AS: achchha achchha PJ: jaise bhagwaan us zamaane mein is ‘type’ ke insaan ko banake, woh jo khaaka to woh hi phenk diya tod diya. aise log abhi bante nahin AS: kya baat hai, dekhiye, behnon aur bhaiyon, biwi ho to aisi. PJ: ‘husband’ ho to aise! AS: lekin kaam unke paas itna rehta tha, ke parivaar ke liye kabhi samay milta tha unko? PJ: kaafi mil jaata tha, kyunki jaasti karke woh ghar se kaam karte the, ‘composing’ vageraah AS: achchha PJ: savere Hasratji aaya karte the ghar pe 9 baje. AS: achchha jis tarah Shankar ‘music room’ mein ‘rehearsal’ vagairah kaam karte the? PJ: Jaikishanji ghar se karte the aur ‘producers’ vagairah bhi aaya jaaya karte – ‘Story sessions’, yeh woh. aur khaali ‘recording’ ke waqt pe..” AS: Wahaan jaana paDta tha PJ: haan. wahaan jaana paDtaa tha. ‘Otherwise he was very close to the children’. bachchon ke saath bahut lagaav tha, bahut …” AS: kitne bachche the tumhaare? PJ: teen AS: teen bachche hain na. do beTe ……..” PJ: do beTe aur ek beTi hai. beti ka naam unhone apne ‘favorite’ raag pe rakha – Bhairavi AS: aur beTe? PJ: baDe ka naam hai Chaitanya, chhoTe ka naam hai Yogesh. AS: achchha aur inmein se kisi ko gaane ka shaukh hai? PJ: sunne ka shauk hai. gaate hain. achchha gaa lete hain, lekin ‘professionally they don’t want to enter the …’ AS: achchha achchha achchha. kuchh aur bataaogi Jai ke baare mein? PJ: unka ‘nature’ aisa tha, ‘I mean’ ki jo bhi hamaare ghar pe aata tha jaise koi sawaal leke aata tha, Kyunki woh kabhi Khaali haath nahin gaya ghar se. aur shaayad unki wohi achchhaayi abhi tak hum logon ko ‘protect’ kar rahi hai, ‘his family looking after, goodwill’ jo banaayi thi unhone. AS: aur main hamaare sabhi sunnewaalon ki taraf se aur apni taraf se bhi, Pallavi yeh zaroor kahoonga, ki hum sab tumhaare saath roye the, bahut dukhi huye the, jab woh itni kam umar mein chale gaye. sirf 39 umar thi unki.
It all began when Shankar Singh Ramsingh, as a young teen, dropped out of school and went on in search of a career in music. Having a formal training in the tabla, Shankar joined a theater group headed by Satyanarayan and Hemavathi. The group travelled far and wide, entertaining music lovers, and ended up in Mumbai, the entertainment capital of the country. With his insatiable desire to perform on stage, Shankar soon landed a job at Prithvi Theater founded by Prthvi Raj Kappor. He would play the tabla for the shows and do all kind of odd jobs around. ” Papa Ji” as Prithviraj Kapoor was fondly referred to. He soon met Jaikishan Dahyabhai Panchal, his business partner and bosom buddy, and the rest as you know is “history.”
Together with Jai, Shankar created, Shankar Jaikishan, the most successful banner in the history of Indian music industry. Theirs was an unique relationship that lasted all their life. Their minds worked on the same wavelength to create the most beautiful and memorable music. They had a long association with lyricists Shailendra and Hasrat Jaipuri. But, after a stupendous career, they lost Shailendra and within a few years, Jai also passed on. This shattered Shankar altogether. The creative genius lost his soul, but kept the banner running for sixteen more years against turbulent conditions created by some negative forces in the industry. He weathered all storms and, finally, in 1987, Shankar too breathed his last, leaving a lasting legacy built lovingly with Jaikishan.
Photo courtesy: Shankar Anella, grand nephew of the legendary Shankar.
Dinesh Shankar Shailendra writes under his DIRECTOR’S CUT series
From 1949 onwards, Raj Kapoor’s discoveries, Shanker, Jaikishen, Hasrat and Shailendra were one of the most formidable teams ever in the history of Hindi film music…. They were literally ruling the music industry. Some of the films they did, were not very successful at the box-office…. but almost every song they composed was a hit !
Their passion towards their work was unmatchable… Even if they were not recording, they would meet… sometimes, get out of the confines of their music room and go off to National Park or Aarey Milk Colony…. sometimes to Khandala or Lonavala for a long drive…..spend a few hours together and return…. Occasionally, Lata Mangeshkar would accompany them too…. BUT, amidst all the fun they would have, their brains would be ticking all the time… A word spoken, a sound heard, they would be alert at all times, immersed in their work….
Creative minds hardly ever rest…
On one such trip to Khandala, the ‘gang’ stopped at a tea-stall… Shanker noticed that the boy serving tea was an Andhraite…. Shanker had spent his early years in Andhra…. He called out to the boy….. ” Ramaiyya…. vastavaiyya….”…. it apparently means ” Ramaiyya…. come here” in Telugu…. Shailendra, seated beside him, could not resist chipping in with a rhyme…. ” Maine dil tujhko diya…” Shanker liked the sound of it… he started humming… ” Ramaiyya vasta vaiyya. Ramaiyya vasta vaiyya…” Pat came Shailendra’s rejoinder… in the same tune… ” Maine dil tujhko diya….” They exchanged glances…. it was sounding good !!! Jaikishen started beating out a rhythm on the wooden table…the ‘antara’ was being worked on… Gulping down their tea in excitement, they raced to the car…. they were rushing back to Bombay…. along the way, Shailendra was lost in thought, fitting in the words for the verses. It was getting better by the minute….They drove straight to R K Studios and barged into Rajsahab’s ‘cottage’…… They sang the song ( whatever they had made till then )….. he said… ” Just what I wanted… “
GAME ON !!!
Within the next few days, this great song was completed….. Raj Kapoor was excitedly telling them how he would shoot it… what he needed….
Raj Kapoor, the director, always used his music and his songs as part of the screenplay and dialogue of his films….. THIS song is a perfect example….
Preceding the song is a sequence in an upmarket Hotel….. The rich are celebrating New Year’s Eve….Nadira is dancing to S-J’s music…. Raj Kapoor, well dressed for the occasion, suddenly finds himself out of place… All around him, people are indulging in revelry…. enjoying the music and the dance…. Raj Kapoor is almost suffocating…. As the music reaches a crescendo, he moves towards the exit…..As he steps out, the music suddenly stops…..
Mohammad Rafi’s amazing ‘alaap’ starts….. continues on Raj Kapoor walking purposefully on the road…. as if in a trance….
The introduction music starts on the people of the ‘basti’… they are celebrating too… The introduction music….. THE INTRODUCTION MUSIC….. sixty years old…..!!!
Play it anywhere even today and people will hum along and recognise this great song ! We see RK….. he is near the ‘basti’ but he is hesitant…. These are the people who gave him so much love and he shunned them in pursuing his dreams of becoming a rich man…..
The song starts… ” Ramaiyya vasta vaiyya, Ramaiyya vasta vaiyya, maine dil tujhko diya, maine dil tujhko diya…… “
A short interlude and the verse starts…. the man sings
” Nainon mein thi, pyar ki roshni, teri aankhon mein yeh duniyadaari na thi….
The girl says
” Tu aur tha, tera dil aur tha, tere mann mein yeh meethi kataari na thi…. “
Man: ” Main jo dukh paaun toh kya, aaj pachhtaaun toh kya…. “
Chorus : ” Maine dil tujhko diya, maine dil tujhko diya…”
Another interlude…. the next verse….
Man : Uss des mein, tere pardes mein, sone chandi ke badley mein bikte hain dil…”
Girl : ” Iss gaaon mein, dard ki chhaaon mein, pyar ke naam parr hi dhadaktey hain dil…”
All these lines, which speak about love being more important than riches, are sung innocently by these poor people…. but we, the audience, know how they fit Raj Kapoor’s predicament perfectly….
But the unselfish director does not show the man’s reactions at all….He wants us to listen to the words ….. imagine for ourselves the pain he must be feeling…
During the interlude, we see RK….he is lost in thought…. a couple of shots of the streets…. Lata Mangeshkar’s ‘alaap’ overlaps…. the camera follows a man on a cycle singing “Ramaiyya vastavaiyya”. At a point the camera stops and the cycle crosses the frame to reveal Nargis sitting alone…she softly sings ” Maine dil tujhko diya…” A sharp cut to the ‘basti’, the loud music and the gaiety…. cut back to Nargis… she sings…
” Yaad aati rahi, dil dukhaati rahi, apne mann ko manaana na aaya humein, tu na aaye toh kya, bhool jaaye toh kya, pyar karke, bhulaana na aaya humein…”
She is tearful…
On the loud chorus, we see Raj Kapoor… as if he has heard her…. He replies…. ” Maine dil tujhko diya, maine dil tujhko diya…”
Mukesh’s voice comes as a relief to the audience….their ‘hero’ has finally realised his folly…. love wins over wealth….he has returned to the place where, despite being poor, the people only believe in love…. they are happy even in those conditions…. The people of the ‘basti’ notice him and are ecstatic…. a sharp contrast in Raj Kapoor’s rich suit and their poor clothes…. but they embrace him and welcome him back with open arms…. they dance in gay abandon during the interlude…. RK sings…
” Rastaa wohi, aur musafir wohi, ek taara na jaaney kahan chhup gaya, duniya wohi, duniya waaley wohi, koyi kya jaaney kiska jahan lutt gaya…. meri aankhon mein rahey, kaun jo mujhse kahey, mainey dil tujhko diya…. “
Lalita Pawar hugs him…
This particular sequence, in my humble opinion, is the most touching part of this song…. Raj Kapoor’s expressions….we actually feel his pain….. On the end ‘mukhda’, Mohammad Rafi’s ‘alaap’ comes over the chorus….Raj Kapoor looks lovingly at Lalita Pawar and smiles a ‘real’ smile….. He has finally found his way back home….. His heart belongs here….
This song, according to me, is one of the most popular songs of all time…. a fine example of how Raj Kapoor, Shanker Jaikishen and Shailendra bonded…. Excellent music, the use of a chorus…. Mohammad Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar and Mukesh, just brilliant ! Shailendra’s words, so appropriate for the layers of emotions, the director, Raj Kapoor wants his audience to feel….
And to think that it all started with Shanker calling out to a ‘chaiwalla’……