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.