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Tribute to Shanker by Sharda

do jism ek jaan’ – SHANKAR-JAIKISHAN – by Sharda, singer from the yesteryears

april 26, 2017, april 26, 2017, On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the passing away of composer SHANKAR (of the famous composer duo Shankar-Jaikishan), remembrances by noted singer Sharda Rajan about her association with the ace composers.
and (in another ‘note’) a review of the compositions and the thought behind them by Prof. Suhaaschandra Kulkarni, a learned scholar, versatile musician, composer, can be called one of the ‘Authority’ to elaborate S-J’s music…

(Both the articles were published in leading Marathi daily ‘Loksatta’ Sunday edition dt 22/04/12, on occasion of Shankar ji’s 25th Death Anniversary.
link –
original Marathi transcription : Prasad Sanwatsarkar.
English translation : Chandu Kale)


‘do jism ek jaan’ – SHANKAR-JAIKISHAN

It’s now 30 years since Shankar ji passed away. Time flies so fast, but the magic Shankar-Jaikishan created is still as robust as it was 68 years ago.

It is really astonishing to see the variety Shankar-Jaikishan managed to bring into their music. And since I sung under their baton, I was able to study their music. Take any song: you can easily create 25-30 more songs from its various parts. The counter-melody, side parts, changes in chords – take any factor, whether comedy, happy, mischievous, sad, emotional or Ragdari-based, they have allocated a special personality to their songs. I can think of no one else who has done this. Technology was not as advanced as it is today. If it were, I am sure Shankar-Jaikishan would have created even more wonders. That era had so many eminent composers, who all had their own specialities, Naushad ji with his Bihari and UP lilts, Madan Mohan ji with his ghazals … each one followed their own path. But Shankar-Jaikishan were the only team who managed to score well in all.

Shankar ji’s own knowledge of music was boundless. One almost felt that as soon as his hands touched the harmonium, there were so many new pieces created, even the skilled arranger Sebastian used to be baffled how to write them. Then some chosen were strung together to form a big piece. Big orchestra was something Shankar ji brought into Hindi film music.

I think Shankar ji was not just a musician, but a magician. Music flowed through his veins, in fact he was music personified.

I had never really considered music as a career. I was from a South Indian Brahmin middle class family and could never think on these lines. But I did like music and I started liking Hindi film music. There were no tape recorders and we never even had a radio, so we used to go to restaurant to listen to songs. But eventually, whenever I went shopping with my mother, I used to stop on the way when I heard some song on the radio and wouldn’t budge until the song was over.

After some years, our family moved to Teheran. Raj Kapoor i had visited Teheran to promote his ‘Jis Desh mein Gangag Behti Hai”. I used to sing songs from the radio, just as a hobby and people liked it. Raj ji heard me in a party and the connoisseur liked my singing. He invited me to Mumbai. I left Teheran and went to RK. Studio. They tested my voice and Raj Saab told me to go and meet Shankar Jaikishan. I went and met Shankar ji. He heard my voice and gave me further training. Three songs of mine were recorded for ‘Mera Naam Joker’. I was, of course, overjoyed. But later on, I don’t know what the pressures were, none of them was included in the movie.

My first hit song was of course ‘Titli udi’ from Sooraj, which fetched me an award, Shankar-Jaikishan got a Filmfare award and Shailendra ji who wrote the words, got the award for lyrics. Since this was my first song, Shankar ji had asked Shailendra not to use any difficult words for this new singer. So the song is simple, but majestic. I did not imitate anyone. It was a simple straight song, that’s perhaps why it reached the listeners’ hearts. In film songs, voice ‘acting’ is important, to show the singer’s feelings. My second song ‘Woh pari kahan se laoon’ (Pehchan), the song from ‘Shatranj’ “Bakamma badkamma ikkad poto ra’, are fun songs.“Aayega kaun yahan” (Gumnaam), “Duniya ki sair kar lo” (Around the World), “Dekho mera dil machal gaya” (Sooraj), “Le ja leja mera dil” (Evening in Paris) have a happy mood, while “Chale jana zara thehro”, “Jaane bhi de sanam mijhe” (both Around the World) are in a romantic mood, “Jab bhi ye dil udaas hota hai” (Seema), “Tum ko sanam pukar ke” (Deewana) are straight from the heart.

Shankar-Jaikishan got me to sing a wide variety of songs.The experience of my first song was memorable and pleasant. Shankar ji got me to rehearse the song for a few days before, then his rehearsal with the musicians was so perfect, that the recording was a cake walk.

Some composers used to tell their singers to sing exactly as told, but both Shankar and Jaikishan used to allow a degree of liberty to their singers, according to the singer’s voice level. They used to accept the singer’s suggestions if that would improve the effect of the song. I like all their songs, but I personally like ‘Chale jaana zara thehro” the best.

Shankar and Jaikishan were really a duo that was a single soul in two bodies. They never bad-mouthed each other publicly, but since they were not just collaborators but even competitors, that resulted in an even greater variety. This is like a husband-wife team that jointly runs a house, in spite of differences in their natures. Shankar and Jaikishan were poles apart in their natures. Shankar-ji was quick tempered. Jaikishan ji was a glib talker. He was so handsome and naturally his young fans used to mob him. Shankar ji used to treat him like a younger brother.

As to my songs, most of my songs were simple and easy. I asked them why they gave me only simple songs, not any classical-based songs. Shankar ji used to say, “Wait. We will do it when a good composition comes along”. Such a composition did indeed come along, for which I had written the words. “Pyar ka geet hoon, hoton se laga lo mujhko”, but unfortunately it never got recorded.

After Jaikishan’s demise, many started jabbering against Shankar ji. His so-called friends not only deserted him, they even turned against him. Those whom he gave their break, helped with all heart, they turned their backs on him. Those who stayed with him, could only helplessly watch the downfall. Things like friendship in the film industry are nothing but self-interest-driven PR; this is the lesson both Shankar ji and well-wishers like me learned. Shankar ji did recover to some ectent after the shock of Jaikishan’s demise, but I never saw the supremely confident Shankar ji again.

He did sign some movies later on; I was going to sing some songs. One day he called me for a meeting with some producers, but I could not attend due to an already fixed appointment. And the next day, I heard this shocking news. Shankar ji was no more. The shock was devastating.

Shankar Jaikishan absolutely ruled the world of film music, everybody knows that. Whatever the merits or demerits of the movie, their music was honest. Their popularity was so high, at many events, fans used to converge around them, rather than around the hero and heroine; I have witnessed this myself.

One cannot ignore the important share of lyricists Shailendra, Hasrat Jaipuri, arranger Sebastian and others. But their success was the reason for ill-will in many. They were indeed the idol for their fans, but there was a lot of jealousy against them in the industry,

There was a lot of variety in Shankar ji’s work. He still wanted to do a lot of work, but his sudden death cut everything short. On this anniversary of his demise, I can only say that we will continue to enjoy the immortal music of Shankar ji, but the real tribute would be to preserve this unique treasure and ensure that it reaches as many in the future generations as possible…

– Sharda Rajan

The songs of Barsaat were instrumental in Lata Mangeshkar’s climb to the top as a playback singer.

Mehboob’s Andaaz (1949) made Raj a top star and in the same year it was the passionate romance Barsaat which really reckoned Raj Kapoor as a director of much merit. Barsaat, a runaway hit, also brought to the limelight new music directors Shankar-Jaikishen, lyricists Shailendra and Hasrat Jaipuri and the actress Nimmi. The raw passion between Raj Kapoor and Nargis in Barsaat shot with a beautiful almost poetic use of light and shade drove audiences wild. The music of the film was hummed across the nation and along with Andaaz and Mahal that year, the songs were instrumental in Lata Mangeshkar’s climb to the top as a playback singer. In fact Raj Kapoor’s musical sense and feel for rhythm and involvement in music sittings have ensured the highest quality of music in his films.

The fifties saw Raj Kapoor’s greatest work as a Producer‑Director besides establishing himself as one of India’s biggest ever film stars along with Dev Anand and Dilip Kumar-the Trimurthi! Awaara (1951), the tale of a vagabond was perhaps his greatest triumph and was released in Russia as Bradyaga to unprecedented success. It’s dream sequence with huge statues set amongst the clouds to the strains of Nargis dancing to Ghar Aaya Mera Pardesi is a cine-east’s delight even today! With Awaara, Raj Kapoor created the Chaplinisque tramp, an allegory for the innocent state of mind of the post Independent Indian. This image was used once again in Shree 420 (1955) tracing the corruption of an innocent soul who comes to the city to make his living. In fact. many of Raj’s other films look at the naove simple hero used by a cruel and corrupt society like Anadi (1959).

After his break up with Nargis (their last film together was AVM’s Chori Chori (1956) though she did do a in Jaagte Raho (1956). Chori Chori was directed by Anant Thakur and produced by AVM Film company from Madras. This could explain why the film was based in the South as the hero and heroine travel all over the countryside from Madras to Bangalore. Chori Chori was inspired by Frank Capra’s 1934 comedy-It Happened One Night starring Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert. This kind of comedy was a genre that was extremely popular in the 1930s till the grim realities of World War II made their presence felt. Comedies generally worked on the battle of the sexes as the hero and heroine gave it to each other before finally falling in love. Their bickering and fighting with each other as they exchanged barbs and double entendres is what constituted the fun element of the film.

The key character in this battle of the sexes would be the heiress. She was often dizzy, saucy, flighty who fled from homes, jilted bridegroom at the altar and generally carried on with total disregard for the existence of breadlines and unemployment. Thus she was used humorously in such films as an object of contempt and ridicule. Of course by the end of the film not only does the hero snag the heiress but through him she is also humanized to see normal life and normal people quite unlike herself. And when she has to escape with the hero when her father’s detectives land up there is by behaving normal, as the normal wife of the normal hero. And during the film the hero takes on the weight of becoming the very image of the people revealing them in the process of revealing himself to the haughty, upper class heroine.

Chori Chori is a typical example of what constitutes a road film. While a popular genre in Hollywood, India has never really embraced this format and the efforts have been few-Bombay to Goa (1972) or Dil Hai ki Maanta Nahin (1992) which incidentally was also a remake of It Happened One Night and Roman Holiday combined.

Perhaps this is so because the road is an enduring theme in American culture. The road movie I in this regard like the musical or the Western, a Hollywood genre that catches peculiarly American dreams, tensions and anxieties.

Nargis is a revelation in the film as the dizzy heiress. She proves she can play screwball comedy as effectively as she could her intense dramatic roles. It is a fine perfomance with her sense of comic timing spot on. See her as the puppet in the Jahaan Main Jaati Hoon song. It is Nargis’s sense of razor sharp timing that offsets her inability. She carries off the song sequence excellently by her expressions. Raj Kapoor of course had born comic talent. He is absolutely perfect in the role of the impoverished journalist Sagar. Chori Chori marks yet another land-mark in Raj Kapoor’s illustrious acting career.  Pran does his familiar bad man turn with relative ease. They are more than strongly supported by the comic element of the film-Gope, Johnny Walker and Bhagwan.

Chori Chori represents some of the finest work of Shankar-Jaikishen in their entire career. The evergreen musical score with lyrics by Shailendra and Hasrat Jaipuri ensured Shankar-Jaikishen their first ever Filmfare Award for Best Music. The film has brilliant songs with each song better than the other. First and foremost are the two all time great Lata Mangeshkar-Manna Dey romantic duets Yeh Raat Bheegi Bheegi and Aaja Sanam Madhur Chandni Mein Hum. With Mukesh trying his hand to be an actor this was the phase when Manna Dey briefly sang as the voice of Raj Kapoor in films like Shree 420 and Chori Chori.

As one hears Manna Dey one cannot but think sadly that the film industry never really gave this great singer his due. He was always regarded a poor second to Rafi, Mukesh, Kishore, Talat or Hemant Kumar which is a pity because Manna Dey was such a fine singer with an extremely strong classical base himself. Lata Mangeshkar of course leaves her stamp on the film with perhaps her greatest sad song ever-Rasik Balma. It is perhaps technically the best composition of the film and the emotion and pathos with which Lata renders this song is unbelievable. Only such a gifted singer could give such expression to words like Lata could

While Raj Kapoor continued to explore social issues-Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai (with Padmini & Pran) (1960) or complex human relationships-Sangam (Raj-Rajendra Kumar-Vyjayantimala) (1964) there is a marked difference in his treatment of the heroine who became a sex object with a high accent on her physical attributes! Reverting back to the Chaplinisque image, Kapoor made his magnum opus Mera Naam Joker (Raj-Kapoor, Dharmendra, Rajednra Kumar, Dara Singh, Manoj Kumar, Padmini, Simmi, Sonia Sahni, Pran, Rishi Kapoor) (1970) about the circus-joker who laughs on the outside and cries within and though absolutely brilliant in parts (particularly the first chapter of the adolescent hero discovering love and sex) the film, a highly self indulgent exercise flopped miserably at the box office shattering him.

slice taken from

It was Shankar-Jaikishen who gave me a break and made me sing a whole repertoire of songs.

For the nonagenarian legendary singer Manna Dey, who has mesmerised the audience the world over with his lilting voice, the announcement of being chosen for the coveted Dada Sahab Phalke award came as God’s gift.

For the nonagenarian legendary singer Manna Dey, who has mesmerised the audience the world over with his lilting voice, the announcement of being chosen for the coveted Dada Sahab Phalke award came as God’s gift.

“It’s very flattering, the government, thinking it is right to confer the award on me.It came as a pleasant surprise. It’s Gods gift, I accept it with all humility,” Manna Dey said.

“This, however, I attribute it to the great music makers of the industry,” the veteran singer said.

Manna Dey, who initially trained under his uncle Krishna Chandra Dey, and then honed his singing under the tutelage of stalwarts like Ustad Aman Ali Khan and Ustad Abdul Rahman Khan, attributes the honour to music composers like Shankar-Jaikishan, Madan Mohan and Sachin Dev Burman “who made me sing the way I sang.

Remembering the struggle that he went through when he came to the city of dreams, Mumbai, in 1942, the 91-year-old singer said in those days, he was singing bhajans and finding it very difficult to get a break. “It was Shankar-Jaikishen who gave me a break and made me sing a whole repertoire of songs.”

Recalling his experience with musical hit Sur Na Saje, Kya Gaon Mein, he said, “There were a host of objections to me singing the song, but Shankar-Jaikishen insisted that I render the song since it was composed keeping me in mind. The song created waves, I am eternally grateful to the duo for that.

“As a playback singer, I was belittled by producers. The actors in those days had a great say in the choice of singers they wanted for their films. It was humiliating and tough but then it was a passing phase,” Manna Dey added.

Sharing his beautiful moments during the making of the song Ye Raat Bheegi Bheegi from the famous film Raj Kapoor, Naris starrer Barsaat, the singer said, “Can you believe Raj saab and Nargisji enacted the whole song for me while I was rehearsing the song, to get the right feel.”

The duo also enacted the one of the most popular romantic hit of all times, Pyar Hua Ekraar Hua Hai, for him while he was practising the song, he said.

Describing Raj Kapoor as an actor with a great sense of music, Manna Dey said, “I cannot think of anybody who was as capable of handling a song as Rajji.”

Talking about his contemporaries, Manna Dey referred Mohammad Rafi, as “God’s own man with no vices”, and added, “He was very friendly and encouraging to me. I consider him as a pioneer in playback singing, who literally lived the songs, he sang.”

“Kishore Kumar, though not classically trained, had a great voice, could improvise beautifully and had his own unique style. I learnt a lot from Lata, Rafi and Asha both as singers and persons,” he said.

On the film music of today, he said, “Where will you get composers like S D Burman, Shankar Jaikishen or Madan Mohan. Manna Dey, however, praised singers like Sonu Nigam, Udit Narain, Shreya Ghoshal and Sunidhi Chauhan. “Sonu, I think is very good,” he added.

On music talent shows like the Sa Re Ga Ma, Manna Dey said, “I do not think much of these shows. They are too young to be skyrocketed like that. I really do not think it is right for their parents to push them into it so early in life, music is a penance not a race.”

The veteran singer who does his riyaz (music practice) for one-and-a-half hours daily, said, “It is food to me. As Shakespeare rightly said if music be the food of love, play on.”

Married to a Keralite, Sulochana, whose love for Rabindra Sangeet brought them together in Mumbai, he said, “She not only used to sing Rabindra Sangeet but also spoke and wrote Bengali much before she married him.”

The music icon, who has two daughters Shuroma and Shumita, said, “Though Shuroma sings beautifully, it is Shumita who has recorded two-three cassettes of Bengali music.”

For those who want to opt for film music as a profession, Manna Dey asserts that they must learnt it under the guidance of a guru or a Ustad.

“They cannot just take it up in an amateur manner,” he added.

President Pratibha Patil will confer the country’s highest honour in Indian cinema on the singer for his contribution, in New Delhi on October 21.

Source :

Pt. Narendra Sharma : A daughter remembers.



February 28, 2013 marks the birth centenary of noted poet and lyricist Pt. Narendra Sharma.On this occasion, Lavanya Shah, Pandit ji’s daughter shares with us some facts and personal memories of her illustrious father. Thanks, Lavanya ji.

Pt. Narendra sharma

by Lavanya Shah

Like a child that climbs out of the womb of Earth and stands in awe witnessing the glorious golden Sun rays, sparkling on the highest peak of majestic Everest and remains transfixed that is the feeling flooding my tiny heart as I sit and write and remember my father, late poet Pandit Narendra Sharma.

His contribution is immense. It is spread over six decades on all the modern mass media communication avenues like Books, Films, Radio, Television and now the World Wide Web via YouTube, Facebook, etc.

For me, I confess, that my Papa was our family’s ‘Jyoti ~ Kalash’! He

remains life -giving, illuminating SUN energizing and inspiring me in spite of life’s pitfalls. I hope, his immortal poems and songs will inspires us all today and forever. So, I dedicate the song ‘ Jyoti – Kalash Chalke’ in his fond memory.

Song Link :1

We all know him for his Hindi songs but he was also an expert astrologer, Ayurvedic healer, as well as human encyclopedia on Indian History, Culture and Philosophy.

Many children were given unique names like Vihaan (Dawn), Yuti (Union), Lavanya (Grace = me :), Kunjam (Cuckoo), Sopan (chapter or ascent = My Son). Some rare names given by him include Vividh – Bharti, Manjusha, Bela Ke Phool, Hawa Mahal , Gajra, etc. for AIR , the name Dilip Kumar to Yusuf Khan & NAVKETAN for Dev Anand’s Film Production company.

A gifted child, ‘Narendra‘ was born on February 28th,1913 in village Jahangirpur, Tehsil Khurja of district Bulandshahar U.P. in a Bharadwaj Brahmin family. He lost his father Purna Lal Sharma when he was merely 4 years old and was raised lovingly by Uncle Ganpat Tau ji & Ma Ganga Devi.

A child prodigy, Narendra named thus by an uncle (a fan of Tagore) entered straight into class 7 th and was a top student in his class and favorite of Teachers. Passing Intermediate from Khurja, he joined Allahabad university and did his Masters in English Literature & Education.

The Sangam city of Allahabad introduced the budding poet to giants of Hindi literature like Niralaji , Mahadevi, Pant, Bachchan, Kedar Nath , Shamsher & many others. Narendra’s book of poems ‘Shool – Phool’ was released at age 20. With tuitions and editorial duties (he was sub-editor of Abhyudaya Hindi Daily Newspaper) he completed his studies. After graduating, he taught English & Hindi poetry at Benaras Hindu University. Then he joined the All India Congress Committee at Allahabad as Hindi Secretary to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and later as Hindi Adhikari in Feb 1955.

Narendra Sharma’s poems written in his youth, depicting love and longing and splendour of Nature steadily turned patriotic as India reached its tryst with Destiny. During AICC work he was imprisoned on direct ordinance of Viceroy and jailed without trial by the British. The patriot had august company of Menon, Kriplani, etc in Devli Detention Camp, and Rajasthan & Pune Jails. He did fast unto Death for 14 days and was force fed in order to keep him alive and released early. Mother Ganga Devi remained hungry for 1 week and awaited her son’s arrival at home.

Novelist Shri Bhagwati Charan Verma ( Chitralekha fame) arrived and asked the patriot to come


away with him to the film city of Bombay to join Bombay Talkies under Devika Rani. Thus began the journey of a young man born near the Ganga to go towards the Arabian Sea where destiny introduced him to Susheela Godiwala, his wife to be from a Gujrati family. They got married on May 12th 1947. Their home at Shivaji park Matunga was a hub of artistic and creative activity with the likes of Panna Lal Ghosh, Pant, Anil Biswas, Dr Safdar Aah Sitapuri, Ramand Sagar, Chetan Anand, Vijay Anand, Dilip Kumar , Amrit Lal Nagar etc as regular guests.

MS Subbulaxmiji sang the Mangal-Geetam when my mother Smt. Susheela Narendra Sharma entered as a newly married bride and Sri Amritlal Nagarji’s wife Pratibhaji made Susheela stand on huge brass platter, filled with Kumkum filled water and she stepped like a Laxmi entering a home. Suraiyaji, the famous songstress, also sang songs to welcome the Bride! Other Guests in Baraat were famous Cine – stars like Sri Ashok Kumar, Dilip Kumar, music director Sri Anil Biswas, Bansuree vadak Sri Panna Lal Ghosh, director brothers Sri Chetan Anand & Vijay Anand , the famous Chhayawadi poet Sri Sumitra Nandan Pantji , Sri Ramananda Sagar ji , Urdu poet Safdar ” Aah ” sahab abd many other from Bombay Talkies and Hindi literary & film circle. Art fraternity, was also represented in large number as my mother Susheela was a Fine Arts graduate from Haldenker ‘s Institute . Their wedding card had an Easel shaped like a Lotus Leaf and a pen was inserted in the middle in form of a brush!

Narendra Sharma’s poetry blossomed along with his many film songs as years rolled on. The Progressive Patriotic tone eventually embraced the core values of humanity and paraphrased words from Indian philosophy with fascinating use of many rarely used meters in his later poems. So much so that his fellow poets said, ‘The Goddess of Poetry Mata Saraswati turned shy as a young maiden stood up from her White Lotus seat and took on the robes of Mother India and the poems of Narendra became heavy with the age old wisdom of the vedas and became extremely difficult ‘

Narendra Sharma confessed in a foreword from his Book ‘ Pyasa – Nirjhar ‘ (Thirsty Brook), “my earlier poems were the krishna paksh (waning Moon cycle) and my later poems are the transition towards Shukla Paksha (Waxing Moon)” ( Shukla paksha refers to the bright lunar fortnight or waxing moon in the Hindu calendar. [Shukla (Sanskrit: शुक्ल) is Sanskrit word for color white]

A Saint Poet in the tradition of our Bhakt Kavi Tulsi, Narsimh Mehta & Tukaram , poet Narendra Sharma remained young at heart till his last breath. He understood the changing social scene and the changing modern mind. Thus, he and Mr. Pai were first to introduce Ramayan and Mahabharat via Indrajaal comic strip for children.
 Poet Narendra Sharma who conceived, planned, programmed and named ‘Vividh Bharati’ trying his hand with the recording machine as the Chief Producer of Vividh Bharati, Akashvani_ALL India Radio.
pic courtesy :Lavanya Shah and Poet Narendra Sharma MemorialSinger Late Shri Mukesh ji recorded Ram Charit Manas under his supervision for HMV. Among many other private albums penned by Pt. Sharma are Prem Bhakti Mukti and Ram Shyam Gun Gaan. The inaugural song for 1982 ASIAD Games atNew Delhi, ‘Swagatam Shubh Swagatam’; the inaugural song for Vividh Bharti composed by Pandit Ravi Shankar; ‘Nach Re Mayura’ composed by Anil Biswas and sung by Manna Dey; two of legendry Subrahmaniyam Bharti’s poems ,’Swasti ~ Shri’ & ‘Jaynaad’ and Kannada poet Shivruddrappa’s poem ‘Purush sukta’ in Hindi as ‘Nav Bharat Purush’; ‘Surdas A Minstrel of Shri Krishna’; Tagore’s poem ‘Shei din dujone’ transformed as ‘Nain Deewaane, ik nahin maane , kare man maani maane na ‘ in Suraiya’s lilting sweet voice; and Marathee Kavi Shri Tambe’s poem in Hindi emerged as ‘ Madhu mang na mere madhur meet’ sung by Shri Sudhir Phadke for Doordarshan in a LIVE telecast from Mumbai are among the many of Pt. Sharma’s gems that glitter on.

Nineteen books of poems like the most famous Prawasee Ke Geetm (Songs of a Traveler), Hans – Mala, (Garland of Swan), Rakt – chandan ( on Gandhiji ), Agni – Shasya (Child of Fire), Kadlee – Van, Draupadi , Uttar Jai, Bahut Raat Gaye etc. and short stories like Arti ki Thali, Kadvi Mithee Baatein, and innumerable radio plays, essays, film songs, dance ballets (for Sachin Shankar : Mermaid & Fishermen), etc. have been compiled in the 16 volume Pandit Narendra Sharma’s Sampoorna Rachnawali.

His guidance for Durga Sapt Shatee ‘ sung by Anuradha Paudwal ; concepts like MAHABHARAT T.V series & title songs like ‘Satyam Shivam Sunderam ‘ and ‘ Atha Shree Mahabharat Katha’; his speeches to graduating students at IIT Powai , Mumbai on Indian alphabets, OM symbol and many others; Essays on topics like History of Hindi Film Music & ‘Hindi Sahitya ka Itihas ‘ etc. remain with us. Do please see this link:
Geet Ka Safar : Sahitya se Film tak :
Today when I remember Papaji, many moments stumble out of my memory. I have written about them at this link:


Courtesy :

Shankar Jaikishen : Range of their talent


Monica Kar

Monica Kar

Perhaps the oldest established of the three composer duos, Shankar Jaikishan got their break in Barsaat in 1949. Having worked under the very first composer duo of Hindi films, Husnlal-Bhagatram and, later, with Ram Ganguly, these two had no conventional education. Perhaps it would be correct to say that the generation of listeners born in the early ’60s were a lucky bunch who grew up on a cocktail of the compositions this duo created!

Shankar Jaikishan (Pic: Google Image Search)

There are many websites devoted to their music, millions of fans who have, perhaps, a better handle on the intricacies of their music. Perhaps musicologist Manek Premchand’s arrow hits closest to bull’s-eye when he talks about them “Keeping one eye on newness and the other eye on simplicity. Trying variations, reversing taals, reversing the start of the sthayi into avroh. Using counter-melody, taking the saxophone here, positioning the accordion elsewhere. But with all this, never losing focus of the fact that the songs just had to be listener-friendly. S-J didn’t want to compose complex melodies that were made for the sangeet gharanas. They wanted to make, and always managed to compose, tunes that you and I could listen to and sing and enjoy long after they themselves had left the film scene. This they achieved so well.”

I admit that I have never been able to classify S-J into any mold. Nor have I been able to explain to myself what it is that defines their music. If I were to put it simplistically, I’d say they are known for a truly unique combination – a teaspoon of classical music thrown in with a pinch of melody, garnished with a lilt – and voila! Another winner! Or their orchestration. Or their simply mind blowing preludes, interludes, postludes…Or… I could go on and on. But when I became enamored of their music, I knew none of this. I knew only that I loved a lot of their songs.  And even though they worked with both Hasrat Jaipuri and Shailendra together in most movies, I have chosen songs written by Shailendra, simply to reduce the variables while trying to display

the range of their talent.SJ, Raj Kapoor, Hasrat, Shailendra

Hasrat Jaipuri, Jaikishan Raj Kapoor, Shankar and Shailendra (Pic: Cinema Sangeet)

In 1963 they had four releases: Hamrahi, Ek Dil Sau Afsane, Asli Naqli and Dil Ek Mandir. All of them with their favorite poets Hasrat Jaipuri and Shailendra doing the honors. I do think it’s important here to note that none of these were RK Films. Let’s see if we can unearth the genius that was S-J using their 1963 releases as a sample of their work.

Here is more than a teaspoon of classical music: Lata’s Mann re tu hi bataa kya gaaun in Hamrahi is the cry of a forlorn heart unable to contain itself and as incapable of sharing her grief. A semi-classical touch with the mellifluous sitar prelude devoid of any other instrument, joined by a few chords and Lata’s piercing address to her “mann” starts the song. In fact after each verse, the comeback to the “mann re” is devoid of any music except these guitar chords in the background. It’s almost as if the “mann” cannot take the weight of any instrument, lest it break completely. Lata’s voice, sans any melody or percussion makes a deeper impact. The tabla, the sitar, the violins, those guitar chords, used so prudently by the duo here. To end with that plaintive cry to the “mann” – just fabulous! Shailendra’s words? Haunting.

Mann re tu hi bataa kya gaaun (Hamrahi, 1963) Shankar-Jaikishan / Shailendra / Lata

To show the melody that their music is so full of, here’s an unusual Rafi-Raj Kapoor combine from Ek Dil Sau Afsane! This duet is a shock to watch for the first time as one doesn’t associate Rafi’s voice with the Showman at all. In complete contrast to the sitar and high notes in Mann re, hear how softly this one starts off! Soft and firm. Not tentative. How attractive the repeating sound of that brush on the drums is throughout the song! A simple love song, this one depends on the waltz beat and meter and the drums to slowly steal your heart. Uncomplicated, yet rich with little touches, like how the drums start up each time the mukhda starts. How the accordion flirts with the orchestra and peeks into each verse.

And Shailendra? He makes you smile here. Notice his play on words in the mukhda? One says “my world is full of you, like a garden is full of flowers.” Complete saturation. The other says “you’re unique for me, like the moon is unique in the sky.” Only one.  A delight of a song that never grows old. You start listening and long after the song is over, you’re still humming, Tum hi tum ho

Tum hi tum ho (Ek Dil Sau Afsane, 1963) Shankar-Jaikishan / Shailendra / Lata and Rafi

Let’s elaborate a little on their ‘eye on simplicity’. The song that instantly comes to mind is one from Asli Naqli sung beautifully by Lata. In a movie that boasted beautifully penned and composed, extremely popular songs like Tujhe jeevan ki dor se, Laakh chhupao chhup na sakega, Chheda mere dil ne tarana tere pyar ka, Kal ki daulat aaj ki khushiyan, this Lata-Sadhana combine comes like the freshest air of dawn, even as it has been filmed at night. A whiff of the purest air there is. A song that combines the jubilation of falling in love with the darr of being in love! Shailendra expressing this as only he can – simply, clearly.  Lata and Sadhana both elevating this simplicity to the sublime.

The heady excitement, with the fear of losing something as valuable as one’s life partner dogging at the heel of this whirlwind of emotion.

Chahat ka hai harsu asar, Tujhko dekhun, dekhun jidhar….
Chalti hun main taaron par, Phir kyun mujhko lagta hai darr…

Hear how S-J create the effect they want.  Do you know that the eye of a storm is quite still? This is how this song feels. The steadiness of this lady’s emotion, so believable because it is so steady; in tandem with the flourish of violins that start off the song! In the interludes, we have that accordion peeping again creating that little anxiety in the waltz-rhythm of the orchestra! The verses, where the orchestra fades to give way to the heartbeat – the tabla. The result?

Kya kaha hai chand ne, jisko sun ke  chandani
har lahar pe jhoom ke, kyun ye nachane lagi

To some, the two waltz songs above may seem similar, but their treatment sets them apart. While the duet is a private whispering of sweet-nothings, the Lata solo above is the sheer joy of being alive and in love with that intoxicating and oh-so-real hint of fear that doesn’t dampen the mood…that feeling of dancing on waves, or stars, remains long after the song is over.

Tera mera pyaar amar (Asli Naqli, 1963) Shankar-Jaikishan / Shailendra / Lata

By far, the most popular, the most classical-based album that S-J came up with in 1963 remains Dil Ek Mandir. A movie that could have just remained a tearjerker had it not been for its fine music and some wonderful performances that elevated it a notch. Meena Kumari, Raaj Kumar and Rajendra Kumar, all in their best tragic costumes. What elevates the story is the character of not only the doctor, his sacrifice, but the acceptance of this doctor’s role in his wife’s previous life by the husband, in my very humble opinion. Meena Kumari as the quintessential Indian wife, deeming her husband her devta is in her element. S-J give her two solos as the wife, both undying compositions. One that reveals a little of her struggle to accept this man as her husband, having loved another – a Hasrat Jaipuri-penned poem that adds a little shade to her cookie-cutter character, and is therefore a personal favorite.

Hum pyar ke gangaajal mein *balam ji* tan-mann apna dho baitthe

Panchhi se chhuda kar uss ka ghar tum apne ghar par le aaye
Ye pyar ka pinjra mann-bhaaya, hum jee bhar-bhar kar muskaaye
Jab pyar hua iss pinjre se, tum kehne lage azaad raho
Hum kaise bhulayein pyar tera, tum apni zubaan se ye na kaho
Ab tum-sa jahaan mein koi nahi hai, hum to tumhare ho baitthe
Tum kehte ho ke aise pyar ko bhool jao, bhool jao…

The addition of that ‘ab’, whether done to balance the meter or intentionally, is a stellar touch.  I confess- what endeared this song to a younger me was that phrase, so niftily tucked into the meter – the younger me actually waiting for the second verse to hear the balam ji-part! Sometimes it’s a small thing that leads to undying love – it doesn’t always have to be something grand! 🙂

Hum pyar ke gangaajal mein *balam ji* tan-mann apna dho baitthe.

The other, Ruk jaa raat, ttheher ja re chanda, beetey na milan ki bela, written by Shailendra, an audio-visual treat, is an entreaty and a commitment all at once. An entreaty for the night to last forever. A commitment to the husband that no matter what the morning brings, her bond with him will remain eternally.

Kal ka darna, kaal ki chinta, do tan hain, mann ek hamare
Jeevan-seema ke aage bhi, aaungi main sang tumhare…

The repetition of this last sentence, almost in a whisper without instrumentation, is a brilliant touch in a composition that is replete with violins, the piano, even a faint shehnai, and a beautiful tabla.

Hasrat Jaipuri writes a beautiful piece of poetry in the title song, giving a pure heart the stature of a temple, composed so beautifully with the high notes, sung with confidence by Rafi and Suman Kalyanpur. Ahh! What ideals we grew up with! These were songs that inspired way more than Moral Science lessons ever could.

Even in a feast full of satisfying courses and dishes, there is often times one that will top the others, even if by a hair’s breadth. Here it is the Rafi-crooned regret that makes my hair stand on end each time I hear it. Not only his voice and Shailendra’s poetry, but S-J’s treatment of both. Starting so unusually with a bulbul tarang that leads into the most unusual sound of the accordion – or is that an organ?-two completely opposing sounds here! The bulbul tarang is usually employed to express excitement, joy, or at least movement. The sounds of the organ/accordion here are foreboding, as if spelling doom! More than enough to get your attention toward this Raag Kirwani offering. The sound of the very same organ/accordion ends this song, maybe to denote that nothing has changed – the memories remain, as does the love. Rafi’s voice full of unshed tears, regrets, memories and a love that will not be forgotten. Shailendra’s words, unparalleled, his imagery of days past as birds that he wishes he could cage and feed pearls, keep close to his heart – Uff!

Yaad na jaaye beete dino ki (Dil Ek Mandir, 1963) Shankar-Jaikishan / Shailendra / Rafi

Is it any wonder that yaad na jaaye beete dino ki? When melody awakened us and melody put us to sleep. When life was maybe not as exciting as it is today, but it was rich. With the talent, the passion and the commitment of people like these film makers, actors, these composer duos, singers and these poets.

Such mein…din jo pakheru hote…seene se rehta lagaye….

Premchand, Manek (2003). Yesterday’s Melodies Today’s Memories. 2nd edition. Mumbai. Jharna Books.

Monica Kar

About Monica Kar

Monica Kar has her BA in English Literature from the University of Delhi. She now lives in St. Charles, Missouri, USA, where she wears many hats. While she has worked in Publishing, Retail, Education and Construction in various roles, she has been a free-lance editor since 1987, and is currently part time editor with Learning and Creativity-Silhouette Magazine. In 2015 she started writing about her first passion – Hindi film songs of the Golden Age for an online music group. She welcomes suggestions and critiques on her writing as it makes her learn and grow as a writer.

This article is taken from
it is part of a piece written to honor the music of 1963