Photo & citation by
Lakshmi K. Tummala
Photo & citation by
Lakshmi K. Tummala
That sad Wednesday afternoon, a little after he died, the radio sang :
“Aye mere dil kahin aur chal
gham ki duniya se dil bhar gaya
dhoondle ab koi ghar naya“.
It was Shailendra’s own lyric from `Daag’. He, too, had just told his weary heart : “I am full of the world’s sorrows. Let me seek a new home!”.
At the nursing home where he lay, we, his close friends, tried vainly to hold back our tears. Twenty years is a long time to know anyone, particularly in the film industry where “friendships” are made and broken easily, too easily.
Twenty years ago, we – a small group of people – had started from nothing. We had dreams, and nothing else, to sustain us. We had stood together, to the surprise and possibly dismay of many, and together we had worked out a common destiny. And today, without warning, death has laid an icy hand on one of us.
“Dhoond le ab koi ghar naya.”. He had done it.
For “Teesri Kasam” his own production, he had written :
“Sajan re jhoot mat bolo, khuda ke paas jana hai, na haathi hai na ghoda hai, vahaan paidal his jaana hai.”
True enough. We all have to go on foot. There will be no elephants to carry us, no horses, no Impalas. Poets have to go there when the call comes and ordinary men too.
But do the poets of the world, true creative artistes, really die?
Born and brought up a man of the people, Shailendra remained that all his life. His lyrics, like he himself, were simple, and had depth. And what a variety! He could dash off a frothy love lyric, he could compose a deeply philosophical poem. He wrote of sadness, gaiety, resignation, despair, hope.
“Ye poorab hai, poorab wale, har jaan ki keemat jaante hain“, he said, in the theme song of `Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai’. That was the pariot. “Awara hoon“, he sang, in a manner at once, light-hearted and serious. The song became world famous. And it was the same patriot who laughingly wrote “Mera joota hai Japani” in `Shri 420′.
When Shailendra joined our fold – at the time of Raj Kapoor was making “Barsaat” – it was with two lyrics he had ready – “Barsaat mein humse mile tum” and “Patli kamar hai“. He said goodbye to the R.K. Banner, again with two lyrics, for “Mera Naam Joker”. In between, from his work done not only for us – Shanker and myself – but for other composers, I can name scores of lovely lyrics, songs which have been on everyone’s lips.
By the way, Shailendra has written lyrics for all films for which my partner Shanker and I have composed the music with the exception of `College Girl’ and `Aarzoo’. In the latter film, he didn’t work with us because he was ill.
Shanker and I met Shailendra for the first time twenty years ago. Raj Kapoor introduced us at his office which was then at Famous Studios, Mahalaxmi. Shailendra had a job in the railway workshop at Parel. He wrote poetry in his spare time. One of his poems – “Jalta hai Punjab” – moved Raj Kapoor so much he wanted to put it in `Aag’. But Shailendra was then not keen on contributing lyrics to films. He later changed his mind and joined us for `Barsaat’.
The last time I ever saw him in good health was at Rajkamal studios about a month ago where I was doing some back-ground music recording. And you know what he was saying? Despite all the difficulties he had experienced in producing `Teesri Kasam’ he wanted to launch another film!
In the early days, Shailendra was living in a one room tenement at Parel. After `Barsaat’, my partner had been offered our first contract outside R.K. ( the film was Mr. Dalsukh Pancholi’s `Nagina’) and wanting to persuade Shailendra to write the lyrics, I visited him for the first time at his home. Like us, he was quite needy then, but his work caught on quickly and he became much sought after. His address had a few changes – from somewhere, Parel, to `Rim Jhim’, his own home at Khar, but all along the man himself never changed.
He was intelligent, very gentle, full of knowledge and very sensitive. His love of poetry and literature was paramount. Tagore was an early favourite as also Khalil Gibran. He was always nice company, whether you were discussing poetry or politics. He was very emotional and wept when something moved him. When he was composing a lyric, he would walk restlessly about the room. He loved writing on the beach. From the early days, he smoked incessantly – I wish he had been more careful.
He was young – only 43. Why did he have to go that early and with so much mental suffering?
In the music room of Shanker-Jaikishan at our homes where he was so welcome, there will be a void. There will be a bigger void in our hearts.
“Dhoond le ab koi ghar naya…”.
Goodbye, my friend.
`FILMFARE’ – JANUARY 20, 1967
This is courtesy : Jay Subramanyam who composed it on Jan 12, 2009 at 1:54 PM
Dinesh Shankar Shailendra
I am re-posting this piece…
Whenever I listen to this song, it always makes me wonder…. Why on earth did Shailendra and Jaikishen have to go into self-destructive mode…
The world of Music and Poetry would have been richer for a longer period of time…
But on second thought, Will this magic ever die ???
Radhu Karmakar ( Jis desh mein Ganga behti hai )
Raj Kapoor had called Shanker, Jaikishen, Hasrat, Shailendra and Mukeshji to his ‘cottage’ in R K Studios…. He narrated a script to all of them….. As he finished, there was silence…. Suddenly, Shanker banged his cup of tea on the table, shouted out an expletive, ( referring to somebody’s sister ) and stormed out of the cold, smoke-filled room !
Everybody was stunned…. then Raj Kapoor asked Shailendra…. ” Pehelwaan ko kya ho gaya ? Story pasand nahin aayi “? Shailendra followed Shanker out of the cottage…. When he asked Shanker what the matter was, Shanker again let out a volley of ‘gaalis’…… He said….
” Daakuon ki film mein, music ka kya kaam hai ? Banaa lein binaa gaanon ki film…. Humein yahan kyon bulaaya hai…..” ?
Shailendra managed to pacify him and convinced him that there would be songs and music in the film….. Shanker returned and all of them discussed the appropriate situations for songs in the film…. The film, finally had nine songs…. Incidentally, eight were written by Shailendra….
Radhu Karmakar was to direct the film which was inspired by Jaiprakash Narayan’s continuation of the ‘Sarvodaya’ movement….. Getting the hardened dacoits of the ‘Chambal’ ravines to surrender…… join the mainstream and lead a normal life…..
The film was a stupendous success all over India…. Shanker-Jaikishen, Shailendra and Hasrat Jaipuri scored a perfect ” Nine”….. all the nine songs were hits….. Shailendra’s ” Hothon pe sachchai rehti hai ” was nominated for the Filmfare awards, but lost out to Shakeel Badayuni’s ” Husn waaley, teraa jawab nahin ”
The climax of the film is about the simple villager, Raju, finally convincing the gang of dacoits to surrender…. The director uses a song to end his story ….. On one side is Raju walking along with the dacoits, on the other side is Padmini, who has come with the whole Police force…. armed fully…. there is always a chance that they are being led into a trap…
The song itself is BIG….. and the director matches it with great shots….. Raj Kapoor, the producer, gives his director everything he wants to make this song as spectacular as possible….
Undoubtedly, one of the biggest songs recorded around that time, as far as music goes….. Probably a 100 violins…. a big chorus and two main singers…. There were so many musicians that some of them had to be seated on the pavement outside Famous Tardeo Recording Studio….. The studio where Shanker Jaikishen recorded almost all their songs….
The song starts with violins and the brass section creating suspense and drama…. The shots are perfectly in sync with the music….. truckloads of men in uniform….they alight and march…. The loud music suddenly makes way for the soft sound of ‘pizzicato’ ….. the musical term for plucking of strings of instruments like violin, cellos and double bass…… A guitar joins in and the song starts….
“Aa ab lau chalein,
nain bichhaye, baahein pasaarey,
tujhko pukaarey, desh tera….. ”
A beautiful violin run….
The ‘mukhdaa is repeated…. The gang of dacoits starts moving….
The director cuts to a shot of the marching troops…. as they separate, we hear Lata Mangeshkar’s piercing voice…
” Aa jaa re,
aa jaa re, aa jaa…..”
This by itself is one of the most amazing bits of singing in the history of Hindi Film Music…. I have yet to hear someone else do it so perfectly….
We see Padmini running towards the camera…. The men march past her…. another mind-blowing, earth shattering ‘aalaap’ from the great lady…. and she holds the notes perfectly !
Cut to Raj Kapoor…. he sings the verse…
” Sehej hai seedhi,raah pe chalnaa,
dekh ke uljhan, bach ke nikalnaa,
koyi yeh chaahey, maaney na maaney,
bahut hai mushkil, girr ke sambhalnaa…”
The ‘mukhdaa’ is repeated….
We see a frantic Padmini searching for him…. She sings
” Aa jaa re….
aa jaa re, aa jaa…”
The chorus joins in….mandolins end the interlude…
The next verse…
” Aankh hamari, manzil parr hai,
dil mein khushi ki, masst leher hai,
laakh lubhaayein, mahal paraaye,
apna ghar, phir, apna ghar hai…… ”
The ‘mukhdaa’ is repeated….
The director intercuts between Padmini and Raj Kapoor…. she finally spots him and the dacoits… The Police see that the dacoits are unarmed …. The song ends….
The music is just what only Shanker Jaikishen could have done….. The singing….. Mukesh is great and he keeps it simple…. Lata Mangeshkar does wonders….Shailendra writes simple words that bring home the message…. ” Sehej hai seedhi, raah pe chalnaa….. bahut hai mushkil, girr ke sambhalnaa….” He takes it right to your heart with ” Apna ghar, phir, apna ghar hai….”
Radhu Karmakar has the gang of dacoits on one side and the Police on the other…. The location….. the bare ravines….. But see the drama he creates with the deft camera placing and movements ( Cinematographer : Taru Dutt )
He does full justice to match the music, the words and the singing….
Raj Kapoor and Padmini play their parts to perfection…. But the others match up too ! Nana Palsikar smoking a ‘chillum’…. unaffected…. Pran…lagging behind…. he is unsure…. apprehensive….
I can only think of how Shanker would have reacted after seeing this song on the screen…. Probably banged a tea-cup on the table and uttered an expletive ( referring to somebody’s sister ) !!!!!!
Though No Rafi Fan in India would agree to this authors observation that
“But there’s one song that even the most die-hard Rafi fans might not have heard. This is it.”
Mohammed Rafi was a genius, there are no two ways about it. Bollywood films would have been very different right from the 40s to the 70s had the man decided to do something else. Thankfully, he didn’t and we were treated to gems such as Chaudhvin ka chand ho, Kya hua tera wada and Dard-e-dil dard-e-jigar among many others.
But there’s one song that even the most die-hard Rafi fans might not have heard. This is it.
Known for his soulful songs, we bet this one came as a surprise. The song is called ‘Jaan Pehechan Ho’ and was shot for the 1965 suspense thriller Gumnaam starring Manoj Kumar and Nanda. The 60s were the years of rock and roll, and Shankar Jaikishan’s music was spot on. Shailendra’s lyrics have been skilfully sung by Rafi. The enthusiastic dance by Laxmi Chhaya and Herman Benjamin is not something today’s actors will be able to pull off with the same ease and grace.
Go ahead and listen to it again. We bet you can’t listen to it just once.
Apart from never really realizing that this gem of a song was here all along, another thing you may not know is that the song has a cult status in the west. Don’t believe us? Here’s proof.
The song was a part of the opening sequence of 2001 Scarlett Johansson movie Ghost World. Watch it here.
An Australian band ‘The Bombay Royale’ covered the song. Here’s their cover of it.
The cover was picked up for the first person shooter Far Cry 4 and can be heard when the player reaches the fortress. Don’t know about you, but the music is perfect for shooting at video game characters.
We’re not done. Heineken also used the song for their advertisement.
So, what makes the song such a cult hit? For starters, the song’s psychedelic tunes were made possible because of the use of western instruments. So, west can relate to it more easily. Not to forget ‘Ted Lyons and his Cubs’ did an awesome job with the music. Put this song in a Japanese movie about Yakuza gang wars and it wouldn’t be out of place. Because where else will you find a yakuza boss if not the club. In fact, we can’t think of another song with a more universal appeal than this. Then there’s the crazy dancing. Even the most heartless and dead-inside can’t help but help but shake a leg. Then there are the backup dancers with boy-wonder masks which are quintessentially 60s.
What Pyarelal-ji has to say about Shankar-Jaikishan in one of his interview..few excerpts..
“I love Naushad Saheb’s music, though I don’t agree with his point that one need not look beyond Indian classical music for good music. A composer has to give what the story or the situation of the film demands.
Q. Which composer would you rate as the best in the 1950’s and 1960’s..?
Look, I don’t believe in comparisons. Having said that, I would say that Laxmi-ji and I liked Shankar-Jaikishan the most. We were so fond of them that both of us used to copy all their mannerisms.
Q. What was it that Shankar-Jaikishan had which other composer didn’t..?
You tell me what they didn’t have. Is there a single flaw you can see in them as composers..? Is there any other composer who consistently gave good music in so many films..? Is there a single kind of music they have not made..? If Naushad Saheb composed Baiju Bawra, Shankar-Jaikishan followed with Basant Bahar. What superb music they gave for Raj Kapoor films! In fact, I’ll be honest and say that while we won the best composer award for Dosti in 1964, I liked Shankar-Jaikishan’s score for Sangam better!
And he concluded by saying that very early in their career, they had started composing separately. But in spite of their composing separately, they were able to give their music a distinct identity, a brand. That was their greatness.”
“Raj Kapoor had planned a film on Ajanta and Achrekar saab had made 125 designs for him. Experts in London agreed they could be replicated and we replicated some of them,” says Tandon who himself took his album of stills to Yogesh Mishra, an authority on Amrapali, who reassured him that this was how Vaishali and its locals would have looked when Magadh Emperor Ajatshatru waged war, first to further his ambitions and then for the woman he loved. “Those war sequences were filmed by Dwarka Divechi at Saharanpur, with the army supplying the horses and soldiers. Many were actually wounded and one horse had to be shot. It frightened me to see jawans and horses tumbling to the ground,” adds Tandon.
“Shailendra returned to Mahalaxmi Studio after a few hours saying he could come up with just three antaras instead of the usual five. Lataji assured him they were enough and Amrapali got its first song in the shortest time possible,” reveals Tandon.
Tu Pyar Ka Sagar Hai
By Arun Bajaj
When man gets buffeted by destiny, when everything seems to go wrong, when a state of utter helplessness and despair overpowers, then the only recourse which men and women across centuries, countries and communities, have clung to, is Prayer. Their Gods may be different : in colour, shape.,gender,or form but the basic leitmotif in every prayer remains the same: I am helpless, I am despaired, I do not see any light in the tunnel, please rescue me from this darkness of uncertainty and give me strength. Even the greatest atheist of this world in such times sends a small prayer up there; as very often did Khushwant Singh, a certified non-believer, by resorting to Jap-ji beads when one was not looking.
Thus the pre-condition to a prayer, of necessity, is melodramatic to say the least. Occurrence of some bad event, loss of job, death of a dear one, or suffering great humiliation etc are some of the typical movie situations which prepare the ground for beseeching divine help. And if such divine help is summoned with music, accompanied by a good voice, well the chances are He might pay more attention. It is therefore no wonder that Prayers, Bhajans and Aartis form an indispensable fabric in the colourful tapestry of Hindi films.
The ten finest prayer-ditties , according to me, have been the following:
Tu pyaar ka sagar hai from Seema
Ae maalik tere bande hum from Do Aankhen Bara Haath
Tere phoolon se bhi pyaar from Naastik
Itni shakti humen dena data from Ankush
Satyam Shivam Sundaram from Satyam Shivam Sundaram
Sukh mein sab saathi dukh mein na koy from Gopi
Banwari re jeene ka sahara tera from Ek Phool Char Kaante
Jago mohan pyare from Jagte Raho
Allah tero naam from Hum Dono
Om Jai Jagdish Hare from Purab aur Pachhim
From the above Tu Pyaar ka sagar hai stands out in solitary splendor of its own for several reasons. The lyrics are a fluid invocation for a drop of compassion from the ethereal . The metaphor of an injured bird whose wings are weak, wanting to cross the vast sea is symbolic of our fractured and selfish desires which overpower the intellect. The human mind is always insistent to take a long flight to pursue its petty interests with the baggage of ego but the cosmic energy of man , caught in the crossfire, invokes the Unknown by praying: “ Ab tu hi isse samajha”. The subtext of the poetry is very clear : If God’s grace is showered, then that drop of nectar will metamorphose the greedy, and ambitious human mind. But that calls for complete surrender to the divine order and out of this surrender, will generate a sublimity which will cleanse and purify all our mundane desires.
Manna Dey sings this number like an entranced devotee. This song was probably composed keeping only Manna in mind. His deep resonant voice creates the right mood as if one is amidst the scent of joss sticks and flowers. The throw in his voice in the octave is a marvel of auditory pleasure.
The composers Shankar Jaikishan employed a chorus of voices to enhance the musical effect and used unconventional things like cowbells to re-create a temple-like ambience. The tune having all komal swars is from his favourite Bhairavi family and extremely easy to play on any wind instrument.
Once the song is over, the listener feels purged and ennobled. The pettiness of the mind is sponged off. Compassion and love overpowers and may be for few minutes you begin finding the world a good place to live in. Well, that’s what a good song should deliver !
Sebastian D’ Souza – The Great Musician, The Great Arranger