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 – http://www.readwhere.com/read/34436?src=fb#page/17/1
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…