Tag Archives: composer

What Pyarelal-ji has to say about Shankar-Jaikishan in one of his interviews

What Pyarelal-ji has to say about Shankar-Jaikishan in one of his interview..few excerpts..

Arun Bajaj


“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.”

When Lata Mangeshkar saved a song and the day

Still from the movie
Still from the movie
Lekh Tandon’s historical biopic ‘Amrapali’ (1966) was India’s official entry for the 39th Oscars in the Best Foreign Language category. It didn’t go far because, as its 84-year-old director explains, Indian cinema didn’t have any standing in the world arena then. But years later, his costume designer, Bhanu Athaiya, became the first Indian to win an Oscar, sharing the award with John Mollo for another biopic, ‘Gandhi’ (1982).Back in the ’60s, to ensure that Vyjayanthimala looked the part of a royal courtesan from 500 BC who later becomes a disciple of Buddha, Bhanu visited the Ajanta caves to find references in the frescoes. While art director M R Acharekar found his inspiration in a centuries-old stone temple in Mysore.

“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.

He also recalls the first song that almost didn’t happen because when Raj Kapoor learnt on the morning of the recording that Shankar-Jaikishen had given ‘Kaate na kate raina’ to Tandon, he refused to part with it saying he had decided to use it in ‘Mera Naam Joker’ (1972). Cancelling the recording would be an inauspicious start so Lata Mangeshkhar urged the composers for an alternative. They had one mukhda, ‘Jao re jogi tum jao re, yeh hai premiyon ki nagri, yahaan prem hi hai puja’. “Lataji called for a harmonium and sat down with Shankar-Jaikishan to set it to tune while Shailendra was sent off to write the antaras,” says 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.

Courtesy :

Feature entitled ‘Saat Suron Ka Saath’ written by Harish Tiwary of Madhuri (ALL EPISODES)

CourtesyShrikant Deshpande



1st Page of  Feature  entitled 'Saat Suron Ka Saath' written by Harish Tiwary of Madhuri
1st Page of Feature entitled ‘Saat Suron Ka Saath’ written by Harish Tiwary of Madhuri
2nd Page of  Feature  entitled 'Saat Suron Ka Saath' written by Harish Tiwary of Madhuri
2nd Page of Feature entitled ‘Saat Suron Ka Saath’ written by Harish Tiwary of Madhuri
3rd Page of  Feature  entitled 'Saat Suron Ka Saath' written by Harish Tiwary of Madhuri (2ND EPISODE)
3rd Page of Feature entitled ‘Saat Suron Ka Saath’ written by Harish Tiwary of Madhuri (2ND EPISODE)
4TH  Page of  Feature  entitled 'Saat Suron Ka Saath' written by Harish Tiwary of Madhuri (2ND EPISODE)
4TH Page of Feature entitled ‘Saat Suron Ka Saath’ written by Harish Tiwary of Madhuri (2ND EPISODE)
5TH  Page of  Feature  entitled 'Saat Suron Ka Saath' written by Harish Tiwary of Madhuri (3RD EPISODE)
5TH Page of Feature entitled ‘Saat Suron Ka Saath’ written by Harish Tiwary of Madhuri (3RD EPISODE)
6TH  Page of  Feature  entitled 'Saat Suron Ka Saath' written by Harish Tiwary of Madhuri (3RD EPISODE)
6TH Page of Feature entitled ‘Saat Suron Ka Saath’ written by Harish Tiwary of Madhuri (3RD EPISODE)
7TH  Page of  Feature  entitled 'Saat Suron Ka Saath' written by Harish Tiwary of Madhuri (4TH EPISODE)
7TH Page of Feature entitled ‘Saat Suron Ka Saath’ written by Harish Tiwary of Madhuri (4TH EPISODE)
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8TH Page of Feature entitled ‘Saat Suron Ka Saath’ written by Harish Tiwary of Madhuri (4TH EPISODE)
9TH  Page of  Feature  entitled 'Saat Suron Ka Saath' written by Harish Tiwary of Madhuri (5TH EPISODE)
9TH Page of Feature entitled ‘Saat Suron Ka Saath’ written by Harish Tiwary of Madhuri (5TH EPISODE)
10TH  Page of  Feature  entitled 'Saat Suron Ka Saath' written by Harish Tiwary of Madhuri (5TH EPISODE)
10TH Page of Feature entitled ‘Saat Suron Ka Saath’ written by Harish Tiwary of Madhuri (5TH EPISODE)
11TH  Page of  Feature  entitled 'Saat Suron Ka Saath' written by Harish Tiwary of Madhuri (6TH EPISODE)
11TH Page of Feature entitled ‘Saat Suron Ka Saath’ written by Harish Tiwary of Madhuri (6TH EPISODE)
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12TH Page of Feature entitled ‘Saat Suron Ka Saath’ written by Harish Tiwary of Madhuri (6TH EPISODE)
13TH  Page of  Feature  entitled 'Saat Suron Ka Saath' written by Harish Tiwary of Madhuri (7TH EPISODE)
13TH Page of Feature entitled ‘Saat Suron Ka Saath’ written by Harish Tiwary of Madhuri (7TH EPISODE)
14TH  Page of  Feature  entitled 'Saat Suron Ka Saath' written by Harish Tiwary of Madhuri (7TH EPISODE)
14TH Page of Feature entitled ‘Saat Suron Ka Saath’ written by Harish Tiwary of Madhuri (7TH EPISODE)
15TH  Page of  Feature  entitled 'Saat Suron Ka Saath' written by Harish Tiwary of Madhuri (8TH EPISODE)
15TH Page of Feature entitled ‘Saat Suron Ka Saath’ written by Harish Tiwary of Madhuri (8TH EPISODE)
16TH  Page of  Feature  entitled 'Saat Suron Ka Saath' written by Harish Tiwary of Madhuri (8TH EPISODE)
16TH Page of Feature entitled ‘Saat Suron Ka Saath’ written by Harish Tiwary of Madhuri (8TH EPISODE)
17TH  Page of  Feature  entitled 'Saat Suron Ka Saath' written by Harish Tiwary of Madhuri (9TH & LAST EPISODE)
17TH Page of Feature entitled ‘Saat Suron Ka Saath’ written by Harish Tiwary of Madhuri (9TH & LAST EPISODE)
18TH & FINAL  Page of  Feature  entitled 'Saat Suron Ka Saath' written by Harish Tiwary of Madhuri (FINAL  & LAST EPISODE)
18TH & FINAL Page of Feature entitled ‘Saat Suron Ka Saath’ written by Harish Tiwary of Madhuri (FINAL & LAST EPISODE)

Sebastian D’ Souza – The Great Musician, The Great Arranger

Ask who is Sebastian D’Souza and you may get as many answers as the number of people who venture to give it. Footballer ?,Electrician ? School teacher ? Fr.. Sebastian??
anything but music arranger.
Sebastian D’Souza is easily the most prolific arranger in all of Indian film music. Spanning a career from 1952 – 1974 much of it with the famed duo of Shankar Jaikishan Sebastian created scores for over 125 films and over 1000 songs.. No musical arranger of popular American music let alone Hollywood films of that period can match his output. Sebastian should have been in the Guiness book of  secords.Instead a search on google hardly throws up his name.
Volume of output apart, for sheer imagination and variety of orchestrated music Sebastian stands head and shoulders above them all. Sebastian had an imagination not equaled by the same men on whom books have been written and whose names occupied the marquee in the same period Sebastian’s development of harmonic concepts extended across a wide range of Indian, Latin and western instruments to create a unique effect.
While Anthony Gonsalves started that trend, Sebastian carried it on enlarging and embellishing the concept He is largely responsible for changing the entire harmonic structure of the hindi film song to create an extremely listenable full body of sound behind the voice of the singer .And hence a major influence on that era. If you thrill in the songs of that period from ‘Aawara’, ‘Boot Polish’, ‘Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai’, ‘Sangam’,,’Mera Naam Joker’ all from the RK banner and want to hear them over and over again it is invariably because Sebastian was the hidden hand behind their creation.
It is said that Mukesh who playbacked Raj Kapoor had Sebastian select the instruments, provide the counterpoint in Shankar Jaikishan’s melodic structure and create the music behind the star crossed lover portrayed by Raj Kapoor Together with him and his rhythmic partner Dattaram the SJ duo created history. Raj it is said, was close to Sebastian and was present in every recording because Raj believed that what Sebastian did was key to his role. Take away that background music from the RK films and you will plunge into a huge void. Till the late 40s, background music to the singers voice was merely a narrow range of instruments playing the same tune as sung by the singer.There was no concept of counters, fills or cadences. Rhythms employed were very limited. The effect was sonorous. Beginning the 50s, Anthony and Sebastian changed that all.
And how did that happen? Brought up on a staple diet of operas and symphonies of Mozart, Schubert, Haydn,Tchaikovsky which he absorbed, Sebastian employed harmonic variation with telling effect on to hindi film music. Sebastian came to Bombay in search of work from across the border post 1947 and stumbled into hindi films. Before that he was a big band leader in hotels from Allahabad to Mussorie to Lahore where he earned a name for leading the most popular orchestra of that time at the Stiffles hotel.
Starting as a violinist he moved up rapidly. O P Nayyar gave him his break as an arranger with C H Atma’s “Pritam Aan me lo” and later in the film ‘Aasman’. With O P he forged a super relationship and what followed is still on many lips ;the songs and the music from ‘Aar Paar’ ( Sun sun sun sun jalim’), Mr & Mrs 55’( Udhar tum hasin ho idhar dil jawa hai’), Howrah Bridge (‘ Mera naam chin chin choo,chin chin choo’) and so many more….each a classic not equaled fifty years after their time. Creativity such as this is genius and geniuses are sometimes known to be irregular, erratic and difficult with time being their first victim. Not so with Sebastian who was known to be regular, consistent, methodical and disciplined. With strong writing skills, he invariably created and translated what was going in his head into written scores on the spot in the studio for the orchestral sections and the soloists and adjusted them while rehearsing. Usually, one song took a day .But it is said that on one occasion Sebastian
created 5 songs in a day traveling to different studios across the city .
But these are just snippets. Take another glance at his history sheet .Consider these; ‘Aaja sanam, madhur chandni mein hum’;,’Yeh raat bheegi bheegi’ from Chori Chori. ‘Teri yaad dil se bulane chale hum’ from ‘Hariyali aur Rasta’. ‘Dost dost na raha’ from ‘Sangam’, ‘Aae malik there bande hum’ from ‘Do Aankhen Bara Haath’, Aaja re.. pardesi’ from Madhumati.’Aansoo bahri hain yeh jeevan ki raahen’
From N Dutta’s Chandni ki Deewar’ listen closely to Talat’s song ‘Ashkon ne jo paya hai’. The violins play in three sections, embellished by a vibraphone and cellos behind Talat’s voice. The sadness of the lyric is captured in one of the most poignant violin solos in the annals of hindi film music.
It is said that Jaikishan was so taken up with Sebastian’s counters and fills he put together all of those and hey presto he had created a brand new song. Sebastian worked tirelessly till 1974. The advent of Bhappi Lahiri and styles of that kind did not call for his skills. A self effacing man who spoke less and did more, he quietly retired to Goa and began a new life teaching children, away from the stars and the greats whom he had helped create .Little did the children whom he taught quietly, know that they had the wisdom and experience of an all time great. Shocked they were, when journalists, musicians and aficionados of the music world would descend on Sebastian’ s modest home to sit at the feet of the man and reminisce. As the children grew up they were amazed that he was the same person behind all those wonderful songs.
When he died, he instructed that no money be spent on his funeral and all that was saved should go to charity; such is the modesty of greats. Sebastian left behind a rich musical legacy which will live into generations after his time. As so often happens to modest, silent and quiet achievers in India, he received no honours from the city of Bombay where he lived created and worked but a belated award from his home state of Goa


Combination of Shankar Jaikishan with Mehmood and Rafi

 Contributed by: Shri Souvik Chatterji


Shankar Jaikishan had always been known to set trends and not follow any existing system created by the other compositions. SJ used Lata to her limit in Barsaat in the late 40s, during a time when the other female singers like Noorjahan, Suraiya, Samshad Begum, Rajkumari were also prominent in singing playback songs in bollywood films. SJ never stuck one single team and that was one of their secrets of success in bollywood films. In respect of Mehmood, it was a tradition for most of the composers to use Manna Dey to sing for Mehmood, most of which were very very successful. SD Burman used Manna Dey to sing “duniya bananewale” in the film Ziddi for Mehmood, where he used Rafi to sing the songs for Joy Mukherjee like “bolo bolo, aye dildaar”, etc. RD Burman used Manna Dey to sing the songs “sawaariya” and “ek chaturnaar” in the film Padosan for Mehmood. LP used Manna Dey to sing “o mere maina” in the film Pyar Kiye Ja, for Mehmood. There are numerous other examples where Manna Dey was used by the composers to suit Mehmood. Shankar Jaikishan had something else in mind. He used Manna Dey in very serious classical songs like “sur na saje” in Basant Bahar, emotional songs like “tu pyar ka sagar hai” in Seema, or folk songs like “chalet musafir” in Teesri Kasam. When it came to Mehmood, SJ experimented with Rafi, and those songs probably are considered the most successful songs of Mehmood in his entire career. The song “ajahu na aye balma sawan bita jai” in the film Saanjh Aur Sawera, picturized on Mehmood, stands out as one of the most classically oriented compositions of SJ for Rafi. The song had both appeal for the mass and also the class. The song “hum kale hai to kya hua dilwale hai” in Gumnaam, became a trademark song of Mehmood. Rafi almost reproduced the style of dialogue throwing of Mehmood in the song and it appeared to the masses that the song was sung by Mehmood himself. SJ used Rafi to sing the song “mai rickshawala” in the black and white era in the film Choti Bahen, during a time when Mehmood’s image was not created. Mehmood almost made people cry in the film and the credit goes to Rafi’s emotions in the song. In the film Zindagi, Rafi’s song for Mehmood titled “ghungharwah mora cham cham baje”, became big hit. The other hit songs of Rafi for Mehmood composed by SJ include “o gori chalona hans ki chaal”, “zindagi mujhko dikhade raasta”, “mai hoon jaani tera”etc. Rafi’s presence was felt in the films Beti Bete, Bhai Bhai, etc. where Mehmood had prominent roles and SJ composed the music of those films. Even the song “bakhma bakhma” in the film Shatranj became successful. Even in the duets that were sung for Mehmood, SJ created a new trend in allowing Suman Kalyanpur to sing some of the songs with Rafi or Sharda to sing some of them, in addition to Lata who had sung around 440 duets with Rafi during the golden age. The songs and the films of the legendary combination of Shankar Jaikishan, Rafi and Mehmood should be restored for their filmic appeal and versatile creations.

** ** ** **


I am grateful to Mr. Souvik Chatterji who has written this article specially for this blog. —-sudarshan pandey

……Making memorable music with the technology available today is understandable, but creating a timeless masterpiece with limited resources is what great music is all about! — Shashi Kapoor

“Shanker Jaikishen were the best thing to happen to film music”


 “Wouldn’t call myself a music buff, but I do enjoy listening to good music. As a young lad, I would walk into this music store       called Rhythm House    in   south   Mumbai to pick up records. Actually, I could not afford them, but I would quietly buy them on my brothers’  Raj Kapoor or Shammi Kapoor’s account!

 Shashi Kapoor on Shanker-Jaikishen

I’ve always loved listening to a variety of music, From the vocals of a Western classical singer like Frankie Lane to Indian classical singers like Bhimsen Joshi, Girija Devi and Begum Parveen Sultana, to Hindi film music. But, my favourite piece of music would be by the duo Shankar-Jaikishen, who I think were the best thing to have happened to Hindi film music. Even a maestro like Naushad once mentioned that the two were not musicians, but magicians!

          The duo who began their career with Prithvi Theatre by giving music to plays, started out on their own with Raj Kapoor’s second home production Barsaat. From Barsaat to Awara,  from Nagina to Andaz to Beimaan, they have given memorable music. But, my favourite track is the music of Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai I remember the songs were recorded in a small, ill-equipped studio in Taardeo. There were about 100 chorus singers, several violins and this orchestra all packed into the studio sans the hi-tech technology available now. Still, each song was recorded in three to four hours. Also, at that time there was only a one time mixing, compared to the dozen tracks which are mixed today. Yet, the result was mind-blowing! It was my favourite record then, but I enjoy it even more today. The title song ‘Jis Desh Mein….’still reverberates in my ears. I am mesmerised by “Aa Ab Laut Chale”, the duet sung by Lataji and Mukeshji. This song stirs my soul even today.         

          Playing with my grandchildren keeps me busy when I am at home. It’s only when I travel in my car that I put on a CD. And it’s invariably the track of Jis Desh……Making memorable music with the technology available today is understandable, but creating a timeless masterpiece with limited resources is what great music is all about!


Photo & article by Courtesy : Dr. Raj Senani


The inimitable Dholak rhythms of Shanker Jaikishan – By Shri Anand D. Theke

Anand D. Theke is a Hindi Film Music devotee and a rhythm enthusiast who plays the tabla. For decades he has been enchanted with the rhythms of SJ and has written this article as a tribute. He would like to thank Pune Life Style for providing the web space and also thank you for having read this article. Do write in to Anand directly! Rhapsodies in Rhythm The inimitable Dholak rhythms of Shanker Jaikishan

‘Andaz Mera Mastana’ is what Shanker Jaikishan (SJ) seem to say in every beat of their songs! In this path breaking article, Anand D. Theke presents THE rhythm guide for the discerning Hindi Film Music (HFM) Fan. A fascinating exploration of the rhythms, which are the very heartbeat of hundreds of SJ songs with a special focus on the dholak. And this certainly is a delectable treat for the true music and HFM aficionado.
Some tips … Keep your SJ song CDs loaded as you read this. Often, you might get lost in the song and would need to take some effort to return to the point made here! One simple technical point in the terminology of dholak – theka is the central rhythm pattern and a laggi is an inspired improvisation.Over to Anand D. Theke, as he makes a grand beginning in the true, characteristic SJ style! …
It is 1960. SJ have firmly established themselves as the No.1 Music Directors in the Hindi Film Industry. As the 50s unrolled, SJ have matured as composers, and now find that their exploits are the talk of millions!They launch into the next decade with a showcase extravaganza – A. Andaz Mera Mastana – Dil Apna Aur Preet Parayee (1960) Download the sample track here 180 KB onlyA. ‘Andaz Mera Mastana’ begins with the enthralling 100 second plus introduction … which uses the 100 plus SJ orchestra to its limit … trumpets, saxophone, cello, piano, guitar, violins … you name it … in fact, every instrument renders the atmosphere …with its own colour ..and then the ghungroos … and then the piano …and then the accordion flaunts itself … to introduce Lata with aplomb … and as Lata sings the opening lines … Andaaz Mera Mastana … accompanied by bongos … listen to the mukhda carefully …
Andaz Mera Mastana …
the bongos lend an ebullient rhythm …
Maange Dil Ka Nazrana …
the bongos continue …
Zara Soch Ke Aankh Milana …
the bongos continue …
Ho Jaaye Na Tu …
the bongos continue …
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~Deewana …
the dholak makes a~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~spectacular, splash of an entry …to accompany Lata & the chorus throughout the song!
Now, watch out for the next line – ‘Mera Dil Kaha Hain’ … and listen to the laggi!Now this line gets repeated a total of four times in the song – once at the beginning and then after every antara. And everytime there is a diferent laggi under it … four different laggis are played on the same line every time it occurs!Of course, all fit snugly into the words and the melody of the line. And these laggis are repeated over the song, keeping Lata and the chorus in vibrant company!For most listeners, this complexity is not evident at all!In fact, check it for yourself – when you listened to Andaz Mera Mastana, did you find that your fingers had unconsciously caught up with the rhythm on the nearest playable surface? Millions have found that to be the case, and it is here that unknowingly SJ have caught you in their magical rhythm spell! It is almost as if one has given SJ that pat on the back … well almost!
All SJ have done is that a fairly inricate, complex rhythm pattern has reached your ears and sounded so friendly, so simple, that it straight makes a place in the heart! Simple, ain’t it? Well, ask any contemporary musician or music director to recreate even a little of this magic! And that was the secret of SJ! High quality, complex compositions became simple enough for the common person to appreciate! That is genius! It is because though SJ may have departed … their work remains as alive as ever!
Shanker Jaikishan – The Rajkumars of Hindi Film Music (HFM)For the uninitiated, here is a quick background to Shanker Jaikishan and their oeuvre.
Shanker Jaikishan (SJ) began their illustrious career in 1949 and for just over two decades, this duo stormed the world of Hindi films with a brand of music that has a few parallels in the history of Hindi Film Music.
SJ conjured their magic by harmoniously blending various musical elements. First of all – the melodies were sweet and simple. Legends like Lata, Rafi, Mukesh and Manna Dey rendered these melodies and the value they added is evident; Hindi Film Music may perhaps never outgrow that kind of impact.
SJ’s formidable orchestra enhanced and embroidered the melodies with complex contras and interludes and the result is for generations to behold – intricate, ornate tapestries of songs!
With SJ wielding the baton, many instruments earned a distinction – the accordion, mandolin, violin, flute & cello among others developed an unmistakable identity.
And finally there were the SJ rhythms! Ebullient, bold and delivered with exceptional panache, the rhythms lent SJ compositions a unique pace and a distinct cadence which added unprecedented value to the images on screen and created THE mood in the listeners mind and heart ! In fact, like their songs, the rhapsodies of rhythm that SJ conjured, have successfully outlived the images and are the focus of attention in this article.
SJ used dholak, dholaki, tabla, bongo and congo as their main percussion instruments. In addition, they used instruments such as taasha and ‘chandu’ as well. Cymbals, khanjiri and maracas provided ample side rhythm support to the lead instruments. And SJ were such masters in using ALL of these that one could dwell on each of these instruments in their own right at length!
This exploration focuses on the the dholak whilst trying to keep some of the others in focus too!
Even before SJ broke upon the scene, a few venerable music directors like Ghulam Haider, Ghulam Mohammed, Shyamsunder etc. had established the dholak as a main accompaniment instrument for Hindi film songs. One can almost seperate the transformation, before SJ, the instrument was used with a distinct and conventional Pujabi flavor, its main purpose being to provide just an adequate support to the melody. Variations of the core theka, if any, were far and few between. Even their contemporaries, notably ‘rhythm king’ O.P.Nayyar or even Naushad, confined themselves to this established framework of dholak playing. SJ changed all that!
Let us move to specific examples … Listen to the weighty theka which accentuates the feel behind these songs which are actually soft, slow paced numbers!
Ek Bewafaa Se Pyaar Kiyaa (Awara 1951)Use Mil Gayee Nayi Zindagi (Halaku 1956)Aansoo Ki Aag Leke Teri Yaad Aayee (Yahudi 1958)Mere Sapne Mein Aana Re, Sajana (Raajhath 1956)
The dholak not only provides a very weighty percussion support; in all these SJ melodies, the dholak actually lends a touch of sheer beauty through laggis and variations; after any pause the beginnings are different and distinctive, the joints between thekas and laggis are subtle & swift; little wonder, they sound seamless because incredible as it might seem – they actually are!
With every film, SJ were making significant contributions to the realm of dholak playing for HFM, even adding some of their own creations in original thekas and firmly establishing their own style of dholak playing.
And SJ continued to shower the Hindi Film Music space with such rhythm fireworks! A resplendent range of laggis, laggis which insidiously resided in the very heart of the main rhythm patterns. And almost every time when the dholak came into the song it did so with great style! Often, it would launch after a pause, or at the beginning of the every mukhada.Most dholak players would be content with a ‘Ta tirkit taktaa’ type of construct for such a place, but not SJ’s dholak players. They had their own innovative variations here too. Let us turn to another SJ classic as an indepth example in the soulful, heart-wrenching … B. Tera Jaana, Dil Ke Armaanonka Lut Jaana – Anari 1959 For best results, it is strongly recommended that you listen to the song, if you are not doing it already! (Apologies to repeat this … but it is important) In all probability, you would find yourself flitting between reading and listening! And that is exactly what happens all along this SJ beauty – the theka gracefully keeps giving way to the melody and creates the backdrop. When the melody recedes to create the melancholy mood, the theka only emerges again to take centrestage … that pattern repeats throughout the song! Download TWO sample tracks here! One zip file! 797 KB.. The core ‘weighty’ theka which is interspersed throughout the song and holds it all together is … “Dhig dha dhig taa Tik taa dhina”. The song begins with a brief prelude of violins and an emphatic iano playing in a combination and they quickly gain in intensity to create a sombre mood … Lata Mangeshkar comes in with … Tera Jaana …

The dholak theka begins on the na with a damp Dhig!
Listen carefully … as Lata sings Tera Jaana … the dholak joins in on the na with the Dhig which is itself dampened and stressed! That helps significantly to carry through the melody as well as creates the mood right from the word go! Now as Lata takes off on the words ‘Koi Dekhe …’, a laggi “Dhig, dha dhig taa, Dhig, taa tik taa” comes in line with the flow of the words!
Tera Jaana is also one song where the interludes have almost become legendary! Most SJ fans remember little nuances and often sing them out too! Tera Jaana also stands out as a rare example of violin interludes being remembered and hummed! Now another characteristic SJ style was to have interludes, which were of a completely western flavour! In the case of Tera Jaana, it is the violins at various pitches and the guitar which strums along, and do not miss the shehnai and flute coming in small tender ‘pieces’, but ever so sweetly, to create a touching pathos …As you listen to the song, carefully savour the interlude before the second stanza (Jab Jab Chanda Aayega …) the mandolin comes in here and as the violins and the guitars create the mood, dont miss the bells … and the grand orchestration seems to give way to Lata with that fleeting piece of the shahnai!
And we reach … Jab Jab Chanda Aayega …Come to the flute-interlude before the line “Main Rokar Rah Jaoongi” and that is when the laggi begins. It carries through this line and surprisingly, on the next line “Dil Jab Zid Par Aayega” switches back to the core theka on the cue of “Dil’!
Main Rokar Raha Jaoongi
Dhig, Dha Dhig Taa, Dhig, Taa Tik Taa
Dil Jab Zid Par Aayega
Dhig Dha Dhig Taa Tik Taa Dhina
Moreover, the changes between the theka and the laggi just do not always follow the traditional usage of a joining piece. With SJ rhythms, you have to expect the unexpected! And there is more!
After this stanza, listen to the theka accompanying the final ‘Tera Jaana, Dil Ke Armaano Ka Lut Jaana’.It unexpectedly falls silent around ‘Lut’, only to be taken over by the laggi on the ‘na’ of ‘Jaana’!
Literally, on the other hand, a subtle ‘takey titkit’ bit facilitates the change from the theka to a small swift play on the baaya at the end of ‘Ban Ke Taqdeeron Ka Mit Jaana’!
It is this unpredictability of what to expect and when, taken together with the very weighty playout of the theka and the laggis that make this song’s dholak accompaniment, a treat for the sensitive listener.
Yet another example of the dholak accompaniment to a sad, slow paced song is the title song of Dil Apna Aur Preet Parayee. There are surprisingly, no fireworks here, but the theka is so sweet and soul-stirring in itself, it does more than carry through the melancholy of Lata’s rendering. “Ye Hariyaali Aur Ye Raasta’ also fits into this category of sad songs with grave theka accompaniment.
OK! So this very weighty theka goes with the sad and melancholy, right? That is what most people would come to believe! SJ establish that beyond any doubt and then bounce back and throw all their weight to get you in a swinging mood in “Ye To Kaho, Kaun Ho Tum, Kaun Ho Tum” (Aashiq 1962) using this very weighty theka! Raj Kapoor actually dances to this theka on screen and many film buffs too had to do likewise in theatres!
SJ’s dholak really comes into its own on those numerous fast paced, swinging songs many of which Lata Mangeshkar rendered majestically. Most of these accompaniments, intricate as they were, were extempore and therefore it is rather difficult to discern a pattern amongst them.
However, the discerning ear can still find a certain framework can:
1. Begin with the core theka …2. Break off into a laggi, usually on the third line of the opening of the song3. Have a few more laggis into the song’s opening (mukhda). It gets repeated after each stanza and within the stanza, as it fits well into the flow of words.4. Swift transitions between the theka and a laggi, on many occasions introduce those ‘silences’ as in the Tera Jana example5. Fill in the gaps between lines with dholak chaati (daaya) interlude, 6. Finally, break off after a pause with a small piece that stands out in itself !
Also remember that characteristic trade mark dampening of the first beat (the one of sum) of their theka playing for dholak.
Let us now take up another classic example fromthe SJ repertoire which also highlights our framework above.
C. Main Piya Teri Tu Maane Ya Na Maane – Basant Bahar 1956 Download the sample track here! 535 KB OST flute!Many Hindi Film Music Fans believe with Basant Bahar, SJ did a Naushad! Or actually matched or even surpassed him! And what better ‘jugalbandi’ for music buffs when such masters treated them to this quality of music!
The song itself is a classic bhajan kind of a composition in the preferred raag of SJ – Bhairavi! A musical ode to Krishna – the song has the flute of Pannalal Ghosh ‘singing’ a duet with Lata Mangeshkar. (Many believe it is the sound of God!) And the dholak is there all along, lending a cadence to every melodious overture of devotion! Somewhere along the way, a sense of the erotic comes in and one key cause of it is due to the dholaks blending both moods! Listen to this laggi ‘Tirkit taghenta naak” gushing all over this song!
On screen, this song too, has those patent one minute SJ preludes, but this time it is with the sublime long flute piece … the violins pick up the final notes from the flute to announce the entry of the dancing heroine … Lata comes in with Main Piya Teri … a soft almost tender and yet earnest note …And as she ‘states’ Main Piya Teri’ the dholak surges all over with the theka “Dhik dhatik ta Dhadhi”.and the flute wafts in … clearly in a mood to serenade! As we move to the third line … Lata implores the Lord with the line ‘Kaahe Ko Bajaaye Tu Mithi Mithi Taane’ … the dholak breaks off into a laggi “Dhadhag da Dha tin naak.”Look at the interludes … especially the flute pieces … which have ‘Tirkit taghenta naak” all over it!And the variations continue! The first line of the stanzas, ‘Murali Ki Lai Ne Dil Mera Chheena’ has the core theka, but on ‘Raag Uthaye Maine Raag Uthaye’ has the ‘Dhetta gadhaa, Dheta kataa’ laggi!When the mukhda line of Main Piya Tera repeats in the stanzas, ‘Dhin, dhagid Dhig tinaa ta” laggi takes over!
Throughout this SJ classic, when the mukhada repeats after every antara, it features a very subtle interplay of the daaya and baya. Do not miss that! A song that truly enchants and like the sangam of Radha & Krishna, the dholak rhythms simply dissolve in the meoldy!
D. Haaye Tu Hi Gayaa Mohe Bhool Re – Kathputli 1957Kathputli was a score which had SJ innovating at their best!The title song came in two versions. The fast version was sweet and yet the slower version of the song remains as some kind of landmark – most people just cannot make out what that composition is and yet it stands out as an extraordinary piece of work! You can catch some shades in common between these songs especially their rhythms.’Haaye Tu Hi Gayaa Mohe Bhool Re’ also has that one and a half minute preludes.And it has a very unusal beginning … a medley of various instruments … which create an energy of its own … listen to the song carefully because it is here that you can listen to the silences of the dholak!The key rhythm characteristic of this SJ gem is in the transitions! Watch out for the points when the dholak switches from a theka to a laggi and it is difficult to make out that the switch is made! And the switch is made through ‘poignant silences’ or rests!Catch that moment in the mukhda itself … when the dholak switches from “Mohe Bhool Re’ to ‘Main Hoon Tere Jeevan Ki Raagini’.
The stanzas of this song have a galaxy of variations!On the first line of the stanza, ‘Tere Naghme Taare Bankar, Chamke Sab Ke Pyaare Bankar, the core theka plays …… and over the flute interlude that follows the dholak DOUBLES the pace to continue in that mode through the rest of the stanza only to conclude on the sum after cutting the pace to HALF!And when the mukhda line comes in again – ‘Haaye Tu Hi Gaya’ the ‘Tikdha tirkit Takta tirkit’ construct gives it company!
In the second stanza the first line of the stanza ‘Phir Se Aisa Raag Suna De’ gets the core theka, only to be followed by a ‘Dhettaagadha Dhettaakataa” laggi on the first ‘Jhoom Uthey Yeh Hum Gham Ke Maare’. When you listen to this song do not miss the ‘kradhin tirkit taktaa tirkit’ which is splashed over all breaks!
Kathputli has rated as one of SJs finest scores for a film. And in all the big popular hit songs, Haaye Tu hi Gaya is often lost by many fans! However, this rather unusual gem of SJ too is a song which brings credit to Sj for the superlative composition and arrangement! Make it a point to listen to it! Highly recommended for the true blue SJ & HFM fan!
E. Aate Jaate Pehloo Mein Aaya Koi – Yahudi 1958Now this song begins with a crackling bongo and that crackling sound becomes a motif for the dholak to embroider this SJ tapestry! As the song unfolds …Aate Jaate Pehloo Mein Aaya KoiMere Dil Batla Na Chhupa …and we come to the third line …
The magic of the dholak in this song really takes off here!
Aaj Se,Main Tujhe,Dil Kahoo,Ya Dilruba …
Listen to the dholak …as it breaks off into a beautiful laggi here!
Teri Sunoo Aur Sunti RahooMain Apni Tadap Chhupa LooPhir Bhi Kaha Tak Sabr KarooMain Khud Ko Kitna Samhaloo?
The first two lines of the stanza are, both adorned with different laggis.On ‘Phir Bhi Kaha Tak Sabr Karu’, the fascinating ‘Dhigdhati Naakadhin’, comes in!And watch out this very laggi is played on the closing of ‘Mere Dil Batlaa Naa Chhupaa’.The second stanza Mast Nazar Tu Ne Yeh Kya Kiya … has the same fascinating pattern repeated.
And now let us expect what is unexpected what else can one do with SJ? As we go to the last stanza … Tera Tassavur Tera Hi Gham Labon Pe Tera Tarana … The core theka is playing here … but now …’Neend Se Bhi Ab Kehti Hoon Main’ has another beautiful rippling laggi giving saath!
And on the final line try and catch this silence …
Tu Unko Khwab Mein LanaThe dholak suddenly falls silent and gives way on na!
A subtle, racy ‘Dhig dhitta Tak dhitta’ joins in with the mukhada and repeats for the last time in the song. ‘Mere Dil Batla Naa Chhupa’! And did you notice that all the Aa Aa Aa Aa Aa Lata refrains have a cheerful bongo and of course the mandolin ‘playing’ along?
When the songs were fast paced, SJ actually came into their own! The core theka the variations, the silences makes one wonder and realize that ‘Tera Tassavvur, Tera Hi Gham, Labon Pe Tera Tarana’ was something that is really left with us and SJ meant every word of it! Here is a list of 25 SJ gems which are studded in enchanting rhythm patterns and each is an ornament in itself! Mind you the actual bnumber of songs is much longer, we have chosen 25! Listening to these masterpieces is not just entertainment of the highest order but also can be an education!
Song (Film, Year)
Ramayya Vastavayya’ (Shri 420 1955)
Kar Gaya Re Kar Gaya Re Kar Gaya Mujhpe Jadoo’ (Basant Bahar 1956)
Manabhawan Ke Ghar’ (Chori Chori 1956)
Hai Tu Hi Gayaa Mohe Bhool Re’ (Kathputli 1957)
Bagad Bum Bum Bum’ (Kathputli 1957)
‘Dil Mein Pyar Ka Toofan’ ( Yahudi 1958)
Meri Jaan Meri Jaan’ (Yahudi 1958)
Tera Jalwaa Jisne Dekha’ (Ujala 1959)
Ho Mora Naadan Baalama’ (Ujala 1959)
Andaaz Mera Mastaana’ (Dil Apna Aur Preet Parayee 1960)
Mera Dil Ab Tera O Saajana’ (Dil Apna Aur Preet Parayee 1960)
Tum Roothi Raho’ (Aas Ka Panchhi 1961)
Sau Saal Pehle’ (Jab Pyar Kisise Hota Hai 1961)
Kashmir Ki Kali Hoon Main’ (Junglee 1961)
Din Sara Gujara Tore Angna'( Junglee 1961)
Tujhe Jeevan Ki Dor Se’ (Asli Naqli 1962)
Wo Chale’ (Hamrahi 1963)
Wo Din Yaad Karo’ (Hamrahi 1963)
Bahar Banke Woh Musquaraye’ (Ek Dil So Afsaane 1963)
Tumko Hamari Umar’ (Aaye Milan Ki Bela 1964)
Aaye Re Din Sawaan Ke’ (Gaban 1966)
Maine Dekha Tha’ (Gaban 1966)
Paan Khaye Saiyya Hamaaro’ (Teesri Kasam 1966)
Chalat Musafir’ (Teesri Kasam 1966)
Hare Kaanch Ki Choodiyan’ (Hare Kaanch Ki Choodiyan 1967)
Once you savour music compositions and arrangements of this order, it is not a mystery why SJ were the foremost music directors of their times and left behind templates for others to follow. They innovated and their creations helped them stay at the top. Variations also came through consistently. Like in all other departments, SJ’s dholak players too invented new thekas and rendered them in novel ways too! Clearly, it was team effort of top class mucisians doing what they do best … make good music!Almost all of the dholak songs would be characterised by a variety of laggis spread around at appropriate points along the melody. Invariably, a laggi would be played on the third line of the mukhada. Examples of this are ‘Main Piya Teri’, ‘Aate Jaate Pehloo Mein Aaya Koi’, ‘Tera Jalwa’, ‘Tum Roothi Raho’, ‘Ek Dil Aur Sau Afsane’, ‘Ek Bewafaa Se Pyar Kiya’, ‘Aansoo Ki Aag Leke’. Within the antara, laggis would appear as demanded by the flow of the words and the melody.
A chef might give spicy ‘tadka’ to the daal. Almost in a similar vein, every SJ dholak song features at least one laggi within the antara. Of course, these inspired improvisations appear effortlessly and delectably blend into the song. Laggis would also be played over the interludes between lines of an antara. And more often than not, they would appear over the mukhada and would be repeated at the end of an antara. And this is one element that made songs with simple melodies so memorable and made a home in every heart!
Let us take a DOZEN DHOLAK SJ examples in brief …
We begin with two from Yahudi (1958). 1. ‘Dil Mein Pyar Ka Toofan’ has the theka ‘Dhita Dhindhinak’ resounding all over the song all over the place!And that theka created a tempest … a listener almost finds himself airborne!
2. ‘Meri Jaan Meri Jaan’ ‘Dhig Dhadha Tik Dhadha’ is the core theka.Go to the line ‘Koi kya kare haye, koi kya kare?’ and listen to the long dayaa-alone piece over it!Yet another innovation which made this song simply remarkable for the dholak accompaniment. 3. ‘Haye Tu Hi Gaya Mohe Bhool Re’ has ‘Tigdha tirkit Taktaa tirkit’ or ‘Kradhin tirkit Taktaa tirkit’ as the core theka and this song has many siblings … Main Piya Teri’, ‘Tera Jalwa Jisne Dekha’, ‘Manbhavan Ke Ghar Jaaye Gori’, ‘Dil Ka Na Aarna Aitbaar Koi’, ‘Nache Ang Ang Tere Aage’, ‘Aansoo Ki Aag Leke’, ‘Bhaiyya Mere Raakhi Ke Bandhan Ko Nibhaana’, ‘Begaani Shaadi Mein, Abdulla Deewana’.- all have the stamp of ‘Tigdha tirkit Taktaa tirkit’ or ‘Kradhin tirkit Taktaa tirkit’ as the rhythm refrain!
4. ‘Dil Apna Aur Preet Parayee’ both the mukhada and the antara begins with a restrained ‘Tak tirkit Tak tirkit’. Or in ‘Tum Roothi Raho’, we find the simple but effective ‘Taktaktak Taktaktak”!
5. Let us now consider one of the most exciting examples … Let us begin with the simpler version which we get in ‘Din Saara Guzaara Tore Angana’.Listen to the ‘Dhirdhirgat Dhirdhirgat’. When and where? You cannot miss it! Simply unmistakable!6. And now go to ‘Kashmir Ki Kali Hoon Main’ where you will meet the same old ‘Dhirdhirgat Dhirdhirgat’ in a truly pulsating form!And towards the end of the song … ‘Dhirdhirgat Dhirdhirgat’ changes its form to ‘Dhirdhirgat______ Dhirdhirgat Dhirdhirgat’ [a (1_+ 2) variation]to launch the mukhda … ‘Kashmir Ki Kali Hoon Main’ and takes the listener completely by surprise!Many SJ songs … ‘Bahar Banke Woh Musquaraye’, ‘Surat Hasin, Lagata Hai Diwaana’ and ‘Maine Dekha Tha Sapanon Mein Ik Chandrahar’ have the same ‘Dhirdhirgat Dhirdhirgat’ in a simple [1+1+1] format! Check it out!
7. Let us take yet another example from Gaban – just to listen to the dholak baya!’Ehsaan Mere Dil Pe Tumhara Doston’.Violins begin this song in characteristic SJ style and Rafi goes solo with the first line of the mukhda,and when he repeats the mukhda just watch the dholak baya come in playfully! And listen to that baay throughout this number! Little wonder that the SJ fan too reciprocates the gratitude that rafi exudes through the song!8. ‘Ghar Aaya Mera Pardesi’ from Awara is possibly one of the exemplary songs for having a wonderfully brilliant theka and a range of laggis all around. Although strictly not a dholak song (for it was a dholaki song), the recording of this song was stalled for hours because no one – Raj Kapoor, SJ and their entire team was happy with the rhythm accompaniment. Someone suggested the name of a dholaki player called and Lala Gangawane was ushered in called – a tall strappling man carrying a little dholaki walked into the studio well past midnight! As SJs assistant and the man in charge of their rhythm section Dattaram has mentioned “Lalabhau poured out his heart in the song, he played every possible variation, every possible nuance and the result was pure magic”. Do listen to this song once as it mingles with Lata, the mandolin and the chorus as well as the range of instruments!
9. When you listen to another SJ classic – ‘Baat Baat Pe Rootho Na’ which too has extraordinary dholak accompaniment, make it a point to catch the laggi “Dhin taak taa dhin Dhi taak taa dhettaa” played over the last line of every antraa for e.g.,”Jeevan Safar Mein Sukh Ho Ya Dukh Ho, Rona Padega Akele”. 10. Now ‘Manbhavan Ke Ghar Aaye Gori’, presents another fascinating imporvisation! After every antara when the line ‘Hame Na Bhoolaana’ the dholak effortlessly breaks into a double paced laggi!
11. ‘Dil Ka Na Karna Aitbaar Koi’ has ‘Dhitta ge tin, Titta ge dhin’ as the core theka construct. OK? Now years later over the ‘Tumhari qasam tum bahut yaad aaye’ & ‘Sau Saal Pehle’ has the same construct repeated!12. ‘O mora naadan baalma’ Come to the line ‘Na jaane ji ki baat, o hoi, na maane ji ki baat’ and catch the the dayaa-alone play over that line. It is simply astounding! Two LP songs immediately come to mind … Hasta Hua Noorani Chehra and Ooi Maa Ooi Maa Yeh Kya Ho Gaya … now is this what you call inspiration?Such variations were ‘routinely’ deployed by SJ so to speak … so much so that professional musicians working in the film ndustry today confes that it is simply impossible for the to even emulate such a feat!
The ‘Dhigtak Dhigi dhagi’ chapter!
Amongst all the SJ dholak theka innovations it is the zesty ‘Dhigtak Dhigi dhagi’ which has somehow defied boundaries of space and time! Commonly known as Dattaram theka, after the person who created it, SJ used it wonderfully in several of their songs. Actually, the theka can be seen to evolve over a period of time. The theka seems to have come into its own after SJ began using it abundantly over the years! And so did many other music directors! Check out the development over a decade and a half!
10 SJ songs based on Dattaram Theka
Film, Year
Nanhe Munne Bachche
Boot Polish, 1953
Mera Joota Hain Japani
Shree 420, 1955
Pyar Hua Iqraar Hua
Shree 420, 1955
Woh Chaand Khilaa
Anari 1959
Main Rikshawalla
Chhoti Bahen 1959
Main Rangila Pyar Ka Raahi
Chhoti Bahen 1959
Tune Mera Dil Le Liya
Shararat 1959
Rikshe Pe Mere Tum Aa Baitho
Dil Tera Diwana 1962
Jane Mera Dil Kise Dhoond Raha Hain
Laat Saheb 1967
Parde Mein Rahne Do
Shikar 1968
This theka captivated the imagination of many composers till the disco theka came in the late 70s. However, even today, the Dattaram theka continues to provide support for melodies in films and even advertising jingles right in the 21st century! Download the SJ medley track here!
Let us quickly take a survey of the other rhythm instruments of SJ and of course the tabla deserves priority.
SJ’s used tabla together with the dholak in some slow paced songs. This combination seemed to be aimed at bringing to the fore the sharp chaati sound of the tabla, while the dholak provided the low pitched bayaa support. Listen to this fascinating combination in ‘Din Saara Guzara Tore Angana’ (Junglee 1961), ‘Tumko Hamari Umar Lag Jaaye’ (Aaye Milan Ki Bela, 1964) and ‘Tumhari Kasam Tum Bahut Yaad Aaye’ (Gaban, 1966).
Left to itself, the tabla would usually provide a fully filled-in theka to the song. Consider two songs to ring out this contrast. ‘Unke Sitam Ne Loot Liya’ (Kaali Ghata, 1951) has the rather insipid, simple waltz-like tabla theka. Come 1956 and ‘Aaja Ke Intezar Mein’ from Halaku gets a filled-in tabla. The same filled-in tabla is there in ‘So Ja Re So Ja Mere’ (Kathputli, 1957) as well. A different version of the filled-in accompaniment is seen in ‘Ja Ja Re Ja Balamawa’ (Basant Bahar 1956).
When the rhythms of SJ created the mood and ambience for a song it often happened so subtly that most listeners experienced the impact without realizing what was happening in the beats in the background and how. Take the example of ‘Na Chhedo Kal Ke Afsane’ (Raat Aur Din, 1967). The character on screen is inebriated and the tabla keeps to off- beat steps, underlining the stupor of the lady. The theka their tabla keeps in ‘Lakho Taare Aasman Mein’ (Hariyali Aur Rasta, 1962) is unique and an extension of the filled-in playout form it always followed. When SJ used the Jhaptaal too they have used it in a variety of contexts: ‘Tumhare Hain Tumse Dayaa Maangte Hain’ (Boot Polish, 1953), ‘ Kahan Jaa Raha Hain’ (Seema, 1955), ‘Bhay Bhanjana Vandana Sun Hamari ‘ (Basant Bahar, 1956), ‘Mujhe Tumse Kuchh Bhi Na Chahiye’ (Kanhaiyya, 1959) and ‘Masoom Chehara’ (Dil Tera Diwana, 1962).
It will be an understatement to say SJ gave bongo and congo their own places of pride in the context of Hindi film music. Most of their songs, including their Dholak songs would have an interlude on bongo or congo. Notable amongst these are ‘Baat Baat Mein Rootho Na’, ‘Aaja Sanam Madhur Chandni Mein Hum’, ‘Dil Mein Pyar Ka Toofan’, ‘Tera Jaana’, ‘Dil Apna Aur Preet Parayee’, ‘Mera Dil Ab Tera O Sajana’, ‘Kashmir Ki Kali Hoon Main’.
Take a song like ‘Sab Kuch Seekha Hum Ne’ (Anari). The bongo-congo combination is accompanying this remorseful number at a furious pace. However, the beats are dampenmed and they create the backdrop for Mukesh’s soulful rendition of the song. Many an amateur player in their enthusiasm, get stumped with this song, because their rhythm accompaniment gets ebullient rather than sombre!The bongo-combination would follow the changes in pitches of the music when played with a prelude or interlude. Apart from ‘Sab Kuchh Seekha Hum Ne’, a few examples where this stood out are ‘Dhadakne Lagta Hai Mera Dil’, ‘Tera Jalwa’, ‘Chheda Mere Dil Ne’ (Asli Naqli), ‘Kashmir Ki Kali’.
However, the verve of the SJ bongo-congo combination left their impact on milions of listeners … sample these songs to find out … Kahe Jhoom Jhoom Raat Yeh Suhani’ (Love Marriage, 1959), ‘ Dheere Dheere Chal’ (Love Marriage), ‘Hum Matwale Naujawan’ (Shararat, 1959), ‘Duniya Walon Se Door’ (Ujala), ‘Aankhon Mein Rang Kyon’ (Ek Phool Char Katen, 1960), ‘Jab Pyar Kisi Se Hota Hain’, ‘Chahe Koi Mujhe Junglee Kahe’ (Junglee), ‘Aiyaiya sukkoo sukkoo’ (Junglee), ‘Dil Tera Deewana’ (D.T.D.), ‘ Khuli Palak Mein’ (Professor 1962), ‘Yaha Koi Nahi Tere Mere Siva’ (Dil Ek Mandir 1963), ‘Hoshiyar Jaane Wale’ (Rajkumar, 1964), ‘Tere Dil Ke Paas Hi Hain Meri’ (Sangam, 1964), ‘Chehere Pe Giri Julphe’ (Suraj, 1966), ‘Unse Mili Nazar’ (Jhook Gaya Aasman, 1968).
As with the dholak, there were some very innovative styles of pickup after a pause, or at the very beginning. Who can forget the pickup in ‘Sub Kuch Seekha’ and ‘Chahe Koi Mujhe Junglee Kahe’, the unusual ones with slowly released dampings which is also called the bongo slide in ‘Kahe Jhoom Jhoom Raat’, ‘Dheere Dheere Chal’, ‘Khuli Palak Mein’.There were songs where SJ played the congo and dholak or tabla in tandem for an added effect. Examples are ‘Haye Meri Uljhi Najook Nazar'(Aas Ka Panchhi), ‘O Shama Mujhe Phook De’ (Hariyali Aur Raasta), ‘O Sanam Tere Ho Gaye Hum’ (Aashiq), ‘Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega’ (Sangam), ‘Mujhe Tum Mil Gaye Humdum’ (Love In Tokyo).
Almost every song had a significant component of side rhythm comprising of cymbals (jhanj), khanjiri and maracus. And each had its distinct place within the song. The khanjiri and maracus would alternate depending upon the lines within the song: one would play for the mukhada lines, another would come over the antara lines. And each of them played out the beat to the full, creating a kind of filled in pattern that would swiftly follow the changes in the beat of the main percussion instrument, including those switch pieces we heard earlier. Whenever the jhanj played, it would keep a lovely off beat pattern, in sharp contrast to the traditional and worn out style of ‘keeping the beat’.In today’s world of synthesized sounds, the rhythms created by SJ and their team continue to sound fresh and also remain as hallmarks of standards for any composer or musician. Many people ask the question: What is it about the music of the Goden Era that makes it attractive even to the teenager of today? The answer is never simple. One of the answers is in these complex rhythms which despite being complex, went in a package that touched the lay person, who probably never even touched a musical instrument in life but firmly believed that it was the song of his or her heart!
This article is meant to be a tribute to the entire SJ team – Shanker, Jaikishan, Dattaram, Sebastian and all those musician masters. It is a humble attempt to recognize these rhythm players and their body of work which remains with us as a treasure of unforgettable rhythms. Here are the men who made it happen with SJ:
Naal: Ambalal, Lala Gangavane. Vibrophone: Anil Mohile, Kersi Lord, Bujji Lord, Farooq, Dheeraj, Salim. Side Rhythm: Jayanti Panchal, Suresh Pardesi, Suraj, Bhosale, Bhagwan Rao, Manohar, Ramakant More. Tabla: Samta Prasad, Abdul Karim, Shankar, Lala Gangavane, Iqbal, Anna Joshi, Lala Ramsingh Pathare, Govind Sattar, Asar. Dholak: Dattaram, Anna Joshi, Ghulam Mohammad, Abdul Karim, Shankar, Sattar, Punyawan, Pankaj Dube. Bongo-Congo: Cawas Lord, Kersi Lord, Bujji Lord, Leslie, Ramchand, Prabhakar Mashelkar. Pathani Dholak: Miskin Khan. Matka: Raambabu, Sardar Balbir Singh. Duff: Dattaram, Ajit Singh. Khanjiri: Faiyyaz. Drums: Bujji Lord, Leslie Fernenades. Chonak: Ganpatrao Mohite, Haribhai.


Shri Srigopal Shroti’s tribute to Shankar Jaikishan

36th episode



 TIME is like a river water which flows forward bur never comes back….but in our memories’s river, there are the enchanting remembrances of 50s,60s,70s when and till now we hum the indispensable musical scores created by the great brains of the S-J duo, and they come back again and again as though the duo are telling us that physically they are not with us but their immortal scores will reside in our souls….and as is said in Geeta that the soul never dies and the duo mingled with our souls to tell the story of their successful years when they reigned the film industry in their heydays and till date we are stuck to their songs.. we are obliged to radios, which daily play their songs in one programme or the other…….. AND reverred Hasrat Jaipuri continues that it was the contrast in their temperaments which bound the two and they had respect for each other as the two brothers have, which was evident in their compositions, and till date, when many things are revealed, still it is difficultto find out who tuned which song, such was the similarity in their temperaments to have different orchestration, but the tunes somewhere echoed Shankar and Jaikishan together which the then music directors too agreed and had respect for each other….. HASRAT continues that when Raj saab was going to London to process ”Sangam”, he wanted to take all of us, but we just cud not think of going because of work pressure. Thereupon, JAI asked Shankar and all of us to go with Raj saab assuring that he wud hold the fort here. NEXT time came whan Ramanand Sagar wanted to take us to Paris for his film, Shankar said that u people go with Sagar, and i will manage here. and even in later years when their individual reputation came under doubts, there was a lot of give and take. On Shankar, Hasrat goes on that he was the fastest composer of our time. He cud compose a beautiful tune in a matter of minutes. He was a spontaneous composer to whom tunes came in a torrent…..both lived for music….and if there was one Jaikishan so there was one Shankar and both were like two knots of a musical rope……..to continue……… 

(to read Shrotiji’s other episodes on this subject please visit http://shankerjaikishen.blogspot.com

Remembering Shanker-Jaikishan on the 30th death anniversary of Jaikishan, which fell on September 12…

After winning Filmfare Award for Beimaan
After winning Filmfare Award for Beimaan

photograph with courtesy Dr. Raj Senani of Yahoo group  (dr_senani@yahoo.com)


by—Rajiv Vijayakar



 Thirty years ago, on September 12, 1971, the hyphen between Shanker and Jaikishan became a symbolic appendage as Jaikishan Panchal died, broken by the split with his partner. But the magic in their melodies never ceased. And S-J and their songs live on because of the hyphen and not the hype that certain other composers are privileged to enjoy.

To fall into the trap of separating the Shanker compositions and contributions from Jaikishan would be to demean this hyphen that was the keynote of their magic. The world knows that, thanks to their origins and backgrounds, they did tend towards a particular angle of their fantastic oeuvre, but they were far from being like an office with two autonomous departments. The hyphen said it all — one was incomplete without the other.

Says a close associate of over 20 years, “It’s only broadly true that Shanker handled the classical or in-depth songs, and Jai the light-weight ones. There are exceptions galore. Each one was involved till they split on every song, regardless of who first came up with the basic tune. For this reason, it is also inaccurate to say that Jai worked only with Hasrat, and Shanker with Shailendra. The real divide existed there — Shailendra wrote the meatier songs, Hasrat the romantic ones.”

Shanker Singh Ram Singh Raghuvanshi, was born in 1922 in Punjab. His father had settled in Andhra Pradesh, and Shanker trained as a dancer, and even worked with the famous Krishna Kutty. He mastered the tabla (which he would play in a local temple there), pakhawaj and other instruments, and when he came to Mumbai he joined the troupe of dance-master Sohanlal and Hemavati (the late Sapru’s wife) as a tabla player.

Jaikishan, born 1929 in Bulsar, Gujarat, was the son of the court-singer of the Raja of Dharampur. Blessed with great looks, Jai came to Mumbai to become a hero, and in his struggling phase even worked as a time-keeper in a central Mumbai factory.

The first meeting between them is said to have taken place in the Santa Cruz office of a famous film director, where both began to chat with each other as they waited. Shanker told Jaikishan that he was playing the tabla at Prithvi Theatre, and since Jai had revealed that he played the harmonium as well, he suggested that he too try for a job there. Thus did the RK chapter silently begin, a chapter that was to rewrite the future of film music.

Working as musicians on Prithvi’s plays, the duo enhanced their skills and learnt the ropes. Ram Ganguly was the in-house music director, and when Raj Kapoor launched his first film Aag, Shanker and Jaikishan had become assistants. Their unofficial contribution to the score of Aag was so high that Raj Kapoor’s close relative, Vishwa Mehra, who had been keenly observing things, spilled the beans to Raj. The actor-filmmaker promptly dropped all ideas of repeating Ram Ganguly in his new film Barsaat, and a new era began.

The leaders, never the followers

To say that Shanker-Jaikishan led, and others followed would be no exaggeration. In every aspect of film music, they were the pioneers and the trendsetters.

Orchestration – Form and sound

S-J introduced cerebral orchestration to film music, eliminating the monotonous thekas that ruled till then. It was they who gave Lata Mangeshkar an identity, and it was they as assistants to Ram Ganguly in Aag, and later as composers of Barsaat, who influenced Mukesh’s self-discovery as a singer with his own stamp, and not as the Saigal clone he was all the way till Andaz.

With Ab mera kaun sahara (Lata) and Main zindagi mein har dum rota hi rahaa hoon (Rafi), S-J showed the world that the sad song could be rhythmic too. The music-makers of today, caught in the rhythm-n-beats trap, are not doing anything exactly revolutionary when they compose the sad Tanhayee (in the recent Dil Chahta Hai) to fast beats!

In a world gone mad with hype, S-J have been of late sidelined in the R.D. wave. Says a music analyst, “Much is being made of R.D. Burman bringing in the Western touch to film music. Shanker and Jaikishan did this more than a decade before him. They may not have introduced Western music to Hindi films, but it was they who pioneered so many of the compositional and vocal styles, and orchestral innovations from the West that others, including Pancham, subsequently followed. S-J were always the leaders.”

Though Shanker was the more learned man of the two, it was Jaikishan who was more instinctive, and thus more variegated. Together they broke all the rules that prevailed at their entry, and replaced them with their own. Awara signalled Hindi cinema’s first significant dream sequence in the double-song Tere bina aag yeh chandni and Ghar aaya mera pardesi, a compositional and orchestral revolution at that time. Today, every third song is a ‘dream’ sequence shot in any corner of the globe!

To sum it up, Shanker-Jaikishan established a distinct form to film music — as different from folk and classical-based styles, and when R.D. Burman and A.R. Rahman broke their traditions in 1972 and 1993 respectively, it was only to gradually return by compulsion to the wholesome model that S-J have designed, as 1942-A Love Story and Lagaan have proved.

The art of selling

The all-fresh sound of Barsaat washed away the competition in 1949. Jiya beqaraar hai, Tirchhi nazar hai, Barsaat mein tumse mile hum, Hawa mein udtaa jaaye and O mujhe kisise pyar ho gaya, all became cult songs in an 11-track, all-hit score. Record sales touched an all-time high, thus spot-lighting for the first time the potential of Hindi film music as a commercial force on its own. Redefining the parameters of popularity, S-J rose meteorically, scoring a fantastic high with their second film Nagina, which preceded Awara in 1951. By this time, the other composers around realised that they had to toe the line and match their exacting standards — or lag behind.

Unlike the top tune-smiths of today, Shanker-Jaikishan never took their success for granted (L-P emulated this too) or used their position to usher in unhealthy trends. Shanker — crude, tough, forceful — never broke away from his classical roots. When sceptics scoffed at what they could do when they replaced Naushad on distributor demand as composers of asant Bahar, S-J proved the criticism completely off-target as they delivered a score as riveting and certainly more original than Baiju Bawra. Badi der bhayi (Rafi), Nain mile chain kahaan (Lata-Manna Dey), Ketaki gulaab juhi (Manna Dey-Bhimsen Joshi), Duniya na bhaaye mujhe (Rafi) and Bhay bhanjaana and Sur na saje (both Manna Dey) unleashed a classical force that few have equalled since.

For almost two decades, Shanker and Jaikishan moulded public tastes, and struck the perfect balance between populism and classicism. In fact, S-J made it a point to incorporate a classical or semi-classical number in many a formula entertainer, like Mere sang gaa gungunaa (Suman/Janwar), Chham chham baaje re payaliya (Manna Dey/Jaane Anjaane) and Kaise samjhaaoon (Suraj).

Experiments and innovations were the name of the S-J game as they blended a qawwali — Jab ishq kahin (Asha-Mubarak Begum) — with Western packaging in Arzoo mischievously (a Jai speciality), ‘renovated’ Naushad’s Hamin se mohabbat (Leader) as the enduring Ae phoolon ki rani in the same film, and made singers try out styles associated with Western rock as in Aiyaya karoon main kya suku suku (Rafi/Junglee).

Their carefully-orchestrated (pun intended) PR kept them in focus all the time, and their personal affairs made as much history as their melodies. That brings to mind the buzz that S-J won more awards than anyone else because they made the necessary ‘arrangements’.

The hype over their split in the mid-60s, the reasons ascribed to it and the spotlight on their lifestyles (especially Jai’s flamboyant one with pretty girls hovering around him like butterflies) are a part of music lore.

Shanker-Jaikishan also updated the status of the composer in Bollywood. Reportedly the first composers to charge a lakh for their music way back in the 50s, they charged a hefty Rs 10 lakhs (they had split and they got Rs 5 lakhs each) for Ramanand Sagar’s 1965 tear-jerker Arzoo. Their hi-profile lifestyles and images had even made Kalyanji-Anandji and Laxmikant-Pyarelal model their sartorial preferences self-confessedly along S-J lines!

And the respect and clout they commanded can never be equalled by today’s hotshots — despite the controversies and tall hoardings. The magical name Shanker-Jaikishan was enough to sell and assure ISI music standards — their faces were not needed, though they were sometimes there.

Range and capacity

Admittedly S-J were overwhelmingly inclined towards Rafi, Lata, Mukesh and Manna Dey, and maybe Shanker delivered all those hit solos and duets with Sharda (Suraj, Pyar Mohabbat, An Evening In Paris, Around The World, Duniya, Diwana, Jane Anjaane et al) only because he was infatuated with her, and wanted to prove a point, but S-J delivered hits even with singers considered commercial no-no’s, like Subir Sen (Kathputhli, Marine Drive) and Mubarak Begum (Hamrahi). Bhupinder recently revealed that after giving him a song in Raat Aur Din, Jaikishan had promised him an active role in their music. “Had Jai lived, my career would have taken a different course,” said the singer.

S-J were the first composers to sign six films or more at a time, something unthinkable in their generation. Once again, they saw to it that their quality did not suffer. Rather, and to the complete amazement and grudging admiration of their competition, the result of their ‘mass-production’ was the awesome variety. For example, their 1966 releases were Amrapali, Budtameez, Love In Tokyo, Suraj and Teesri Kasam.

As for their individual roles in music, one historian notes the interesting fact that Shanker and Jaikishan had a secret pact between them — that Shanker would do the classical compositions, and Jaikishan the background score. Jai’s background music skills will always remain a legend in musical circles. His compositions magically fitted the scenes to a second, even without the timer that every other composer needs.

The originals

All of them have adapted or lifted tunes, but Shanker-Jaikishan had the minimum percentage, stated Pyarelal once. S-J were past masters at re-working their own, and even their associates’ tunes (see the Leader-Arzoo example above) if they felt that the full potential of the basic melody had not been realised. Invariably, the new song was quite ahead in calibre and popularity from the source. And even in their copies, a lot of cerebration went in, as in Dil usse do (Andaz), which they adapted from a Beatles hit. What came across in the final take was a quintessential S-J song.

On the other hand, their songs have remained ‘sources’ for future songs for several composers. Rajesh Roshan and Anand-Milind re-worked Kisine apna banaake mujhko (Patita) in Kishan Kanhaiya and Dhanwaan respectively. L-P’s Kaate nahin kat te (Mr India) takes inspiration from a S-J mukhda in Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja (1961). Raam-Laxman, Jatin-Lalit, Nadeem-Shravan, Anu Malik and finally A.R. Rahman (Muqabala inspired from Pyar hua ikraar hua) are those who have delivered some of their hits, based on S-J creations made decades ago.


COURTESY : http://f1.grp.yahoofs.com/v1/gI62SRUp8KEhguihtOwK5J4rrUh1Tp_YV8BAUIe3jjA8FeyK_vd7wU7SxA7RsHSainajJMj_5HYkDp0AC3n9lUZLYEQv1hle/Tumhe%20yaad%20karte%20karte….htm  

Shanker: He was the total Musician – Raju Bharatan



Raju Bharatan met Shanker at a special piano demonstration for him in the composer’s room . Later Shanker took him to his Famous music room at Mahalakshmi, where this total composer, with the aid of certain musicians, recreated the whole art of SJ’s scoring. From the tape of that memorably live soiree emerges this per-sonalised piece on Shanker on the occasion of the master composer’s seventh death anniversary, falling on April 26. Articles Compiled By Hemant Parikh. From Screen, 29April,1994.[This piece has been taken from http://us.mg2.mail.yahoo.com/dc/launch’.gx=1&.rand=1i7o6lcjs34jc  post no.44 date December 18, 2002 reproduced by Mr. Ali Rashid on Yahoo’s Shankarjaikishan Group]


He had invited me to his seaface home he was in his cosy music room there. He was at the piano, the man who composed Geet gaata hoon main gungunata hoan main for Kishore Kumar to put over On Vinod Mehra in “Lal Patthar”. Right now, he was evoking from the piano his “Sangam” notes of Dost dost na raha. He was, another seven-letter name for sangeet. He was the numero uno of the Shanker-Jaikishan duo.


Jaikishan’s ocean-view home was just a mile away on the Marine Drive front. There was Jaikishan’s left hand that naturally went to the piano. Here it was Shanker’s right hand that naturally went to the piano. Imagine Shanker’s right hand on the piano and Jaikishan’s left hand on the piano and have the entire format of our popular you music at your finger-tips!


Shanker had been dogmatic on one point that he would demonstrate the art and craft of composition to me only on the piano. “How much of the real composer in me can you possibly get to savour on the harmonium’” Shanker had asked. “Mind you, I myself played the harmonium in SJ’s Yeh na thi hamari kismat in “Main Nashe Mein Hoon”. Even so the harmonium re-mains a limited instrument where it comes to unfolding your art. On the piano, by con-trast , can zoom with my notes. Here, let me demonstrate how by playing one of my pet compositions. . .


And Shanker proceeded to play finesse and flair from “Yahudi”, Yeh mera diwana pan hai. When I sing it as Yeh mera diwana pan hai, what I mean is Sangeet mera deewana pan -hai! explained Shanker. “In fact, I was lolling in that cot there and gazing at the ceiling when the idea came to me in a flash. Swiftly getting up, I came to this piano here and those first notes as Yeh mera deewana pan hai. They were dummy

words, of course, but Shailendra said they were fine, they fitted the situation pat, when he later came to write-to-tune. I had completed the tune on the piano with my own Mukesh in mind, that’s why I was put out when it was suggested it should be Talat Mehmood for Dilip Kumar playing “Yahudi”.


“In vain did I press my point, for the consensus was in favour of Talat. Only I new how I had given the tune shape and substance with Mukesh’s vocals in mind. In the end, seeing I was not satisfied, it was decided the whole thing would be a toss-up. My joy new no bounds as the spin of the coin favoured Mukesh. But now Dilip Kumar playing “Yahudi” was unhappy he had set heart on Talat. I had nothing against Talat, it was just that I had composed the number for Mukesh. So I earnestly requested Dilip Kumar to come to the songs recording next afternoon, but only after one, when we would be ready from the take Dilip Kumar wanted to come earlier but, I was quietly insistent, for only I knew how besura Mukesh could sound at the rehearsal stage! By the time Dilip Kumar came at 1.30, we were set and raring to go.

And the resonance with which Mukesh came over in Yeh mera diwana pan  hai made Dilip Kumar come over and embrace me. It was One of the most fulfilling moments in my life.”


Now I had Shanker talking, but he had laid down this condition that I would not probe whose tune it was: Jaikishan’s or his. I tried a subtle approach to overcome this SJ barrier. “Fine, you have told me how you won over Dilip Kumar” I said, “but what about the time you had a job convincing Raj Kapoor about the theme-song of “Shree 420″‘


The very vigour which Shanker, at this point, descended on the piano was a give-away as to who had composed Mera joota hai Japani.


“Sounds wonderful now it’s proved a hit on Raj Kapoor in “Shree 420”, noted Shanker, “but what a struggle I had here, Mera joota hai Japani is in Bhairavi, here let me show you how. I make a point of its being  in Bhairavi because it’s the fashion to attribute this raag in SJ’s repertoire to Jai. Oh, Jai too composed some wonderful tunes in Bhairavi, I concede that, but in the end it remained a shared legacy. “But we were on how Mera joota hai Japani came to be composed. As was my practice, I had prepared five tunes for the theme-song situation. I had already struck an equation with Raj Kapoor in the matter of creating theme-songs. So I was quite confident my very first tune would be okayed.”


“It was the theme-song of “Shree 420”, so I had given it everything in my composing armour. I played my first tune, no response whatsoever from Raj Kapoor. I played my second tune, again no response. Third time lucky I had to be, I reasoned, as I played my next tune, again no reaction from Raj Kapoor! I was in a cold sweat now, this was the first time a theme-song tune was going to the fourth stage. And I well knew that two inferior tunes of the lot formed numbers four and five! Add to that the fact that I was a total mental blank that day after those five tunes, having put every bit I had into the selections. “It was with great hesitation, therefore, I played my fourth tune as..”


And here Shanker turned to the piano to add: “This is how I played that fourth tune to Raj Saab( Imagine listening Mera joota hai Japani): Dunder-dunder-dunder-dunder dunder-dunder-dunder-dunder dunder-dun-der-dunder-dunder dunder-dunder dunder-dunder dunder-dunder -dunder-dunder … And Raj Saab pounced on it, saying it was exactly what he wanted! That crooked smile of Raj Saab’s as I wiped my brow I will remember for life.”


“Why’ I asked. “If those fourth and fifth tunes, too, had failed, would Raj Kapoor have asked Jaikishan to play the theme-song’. “No, way” said Shanker, “the theme-song at RK, with SJ, was my responsibility, so the reason I wiped brow was for something totally different. The point is, not Jai, but I would have had to produce five fresh theme-tunes next day! Produce from where’ I had exhausted my stock that day itself, since I reserved nothing but the best for Raj Kapoor. Don’t’take me literally, of course. I would have come up with five more fresh tunes next day, I am merely trying to communicate to you perplexed state of mind when that third tune, too, stood rejected.”


“Maybe the first three tunes were rejected because they were not in Bhairavi”, I suggested. “They weren’t in Bhairavi, come to think of it. But the total musician never thinks of the raag while composing. He plays in Sur and raag just flows. So I can’t go along with you on the point that Mera joota hai Japani, as it finally emerged, because it was in Bhairavi. I maintain that my first three tunes were good, very good. But then I only looked at the tune Raaj Saab had an exact visual idea of what he wanted. And he just seized that fourth tune from my custody the moment I struck the right note, as he audio-visualised it”.


“What about Ramaiyya vastavaiyya’ I asked, nothing Shanker had momentarily forgotten all about not identifying a tune as his. “Oh, Ramaiyya vastavaiyya, that’s an interesting question. For, after the Mera joota hai Japani theme song, the most important situation in “Shree 420” was Ramaiyya vastavaiya. How graphically Raj Saab had told me that situation to me! The tune he told me, had to have a sweep and a cadence like nothing heard in an RK movie before. The tune, Raaj Saab had told me must bring the Bombay bustee to vibrant life. Only towards its end, he added, would Mukesh be joining in –we now know Raj Kapoor chipped in with Maine dil tujh ko diya, but, at that point, even the tune was not ready, leave alone the words.


Incidentally, I always prepared the tune first and then got words written by Shailendra. Letting the poet write the song first, I had discovered, led to his penning the song-lyrics in the same monotonous metre. No, I don’t agree this, my reverse style of tuning, placed a limitation on Shailendra’s poetry. The Ramaiyya vastavaiyya tune came first, yet did Shailendra’s poetry suffer in any way’ No! the words for me represented the portrait, the tune the frame. Once the framework was ready in the form of my tune, the portrait, the song- lyric, could always be fitted in, exactly to size.”


It is a job keeping Shanker on the sound track you want, the man knows so much he wanders most interestingly, mind you -from one musical crescendo to another. Gently bring him back to Ramaiyya vastavaiyya, asking which of his five tunes clicked here.


“Ha, you have me back where you want me, Raju,” laughed Shanker. Ramaiyya vastavaiyya came to be tuned immediately after Mera joota hai Japani. Let me be honest and admit that I, normally full of confidence, was nervous here. After all, Mera joota hai Japani came through the hard way, so who new what lay in store. Therefore”

revealed Shanker (turning instantly to the piano), “as a naturalised Andhra I put my own dummy words and played the first tune like this to Raj Saab: Ramaiyya vastavaiyya ramaiyya vasta-vaiyya. And, lo and behold, that very first tune, which I had played with my dummy Telugu words of Ramaiyya vastavaiyya was instantly picked up by Raj Saab!


“My faith in my composing ability stood restored. For Ramaiyya vastavaiyya was a far more difficult situation to compose for than Mera joota hai Japani. In Mera joota hai Japani, you could be freewheeling, Raj Saab or the screen would take care of the rest. In Ramaiyya vastavaiyya, the key turn in the story -line had to emerge from my tune.


Yet I got it right the first time, so I had reason to feel proud. ” I thought I knew Raj Saab’s mind well by the time I came to compose Mera joota hai Japani, it turned out I didn’t. I had doubts about my insights in to Raaj Saab’s mind in the case of Ramaiyya vastavaiyya, it turned out my doubts were misplaced. May I add that, like in the case of Yeh mera diwana pan hai, Shailendra preferred to retain my dum-my punchline of Ramaiyya vastavaiyya. “But it makes no sense,” I pointed out. “It will when you see it on the screen,” said Raj Saab seated by Shailendra’s side.


“How come Ramaivya vastavaiyya too, is in Bhairavi ‘” I asked. Shanker looked stumped. But recovered to note: “Yaar, take it as a sign that I know my Bhairavi as well as Jai did. But seriously, the tune comes first, the raag after.


“Even in the case of the tune you played as soon as I entered this room’” I asked, “The tune you were playing on this piano as I entered was Dost dost na raha, Isn’t that, too, in Bhairavi’ I give up”, said Shanker, “you are the first patrakar to pin me down on this raag matter. All I can say is SJ always looked upon Bhairavi as a sada-suhaagan raag.


Our idea was to create a style of Bhairavi totally different from the Bhairavi of Nauhad. Judge how we changed the entire pattern of Bhairaviin films with Mohabbat ki dastaan and Suno chhoti si gudiya ki lambi kahani. But aren’t those two tunes from “Mayurpankh” and “Seema” the Bhairavi of Jaikishan’ I queried mischievously.


“There’s no such thing as a Shanker Bhairavi or a Jaikishan Bhairavi”, retorted Shanker, retaining his cool, “there’s only an SJ Bhairavi. “I have put him on the defensive, which is the last thing I want, so I say, leadingly, “Shanker Saab, who but you could have orchestrated Pyar hua ikraar hua (in “Shree 420”) and Sub kuchch seekha hum ne (in “Anari”). Whether you care to admit or not it is easy for a musically trained ear to spot out your instrumentation, your orchestration as more ornate, as more rich, in style and content alike. To my ears, Shanker, and Shanker alone, could have orchestrated Jaao re jogi tum jaao re the way it came over in “Amrapali” on Vyjayanthimala.”


Jaao re jogi tum jaao re was some tune, wasn’t it’ “reminisced Shanker, “Dance music is the toughest to orchestrate, the integration has to be split-second here. Yes, I rejoice in the style of orchestration I brought to Pyaar hua ikraar hua, Sub kuchch seekha hum ne and Jaao re jogi tum jaao re. As for Vyjayanthimala in , “Amrapali” from the beginning the arrangement was that I would do the dance section of SJ’ s music. I took it on since I was a dancer myself.”


“In Krishna Kutty’s troupe, wasn’t it’” I said, If I remember right, There was a toda, Vyjayanthimala, as the heroine of “Patrani”, disputed. Whereupon you assumed perform-ing attire and danced it out on the sets to show her how it could be done. “True’” said Shanker, “But that’s not to say I taught an accomplished dancer like Vyjayanthimala something, I merely showed her how it had to be done for my music.”


“This business of showing performers how to do their jobs, weren’t you taking on too much, was it not resented’” I asked.


“But why should it be resented’” enquired Shanker, “Remember, something resented only when the person showing you how does not know the job. And I new music and dance inside out, so I could tell them exactly what to do. But for this knowledge and background, you just couldn’t have got what you call SJ’s distinctive orchestral integration. I myself play the Piano, the Dholak, the Tabla, the Accordion and of course, the Harmonium.”


“That’s why, whether the instrumentalist be Shivkumar Sharma, Hariprasad Chaurasia, Ramnarain or Rais Khan, he has to play exactly what I want for precisely the length I want. They are very good players in their chosen field, that’s why they are being paid extra well to play. But to play exactly what I want. Nobody dictates to me. If a composer knows his job, nobody can dictate to him.”


Did Shanker then not know his job after Jaikishan died’ Why was he not able to dictate like in his prime’


He was not able to dictate because the first thing filmmakers did, upon Jaikishan’s death, was to withdraw the 60-piece orchestra facility SJ had always commanded. And minus this big orchestra, Shanker was a musician with his hands tied behind his back.


There were 17 SJ releases in the year 1971, in which Jaikishan died. Out of this, 12 films were released by September 12, 1971, the day Jaikishan died. They were flops for the major part, so Jaikishan had to carry the can for their fate as much as Shanker. But then Jaikishan was no more, only Shanker lived on to see the remaining five films, too, fail in l971. This was the signal for producers to  withdraw the multipiece orchestra facility from Shanker. Sharp-speaking, Shanker had not made too many friends in the industry. So they hit him where and when it hurt most.


It was a pathetic sight to see Shanker reduced to using the musigan as a “surrogate” to give birth, in his 1972 “Seema” avatar to something like Jab bhi yeh dil udaas hota hai jaane kaun aas paas hota hai. The tune proved one point – that Shanker could capture the old SJ magic only if given the spot aid of the multipiece orchestra that was, by 1971, part of his compositional mindset.


In one and only one film was Shanker accorded this multipiece facility without reserve after Jaikishan’s passing – in Manoj Kumar’s “Sanyasi”. Sohanlal Kanwar, as an old faithful, reposed full faith in the man and Shanker lived up to his promise made to me that, one day, he would do a full theme in Bhairavi to expose the myth of who had mastery over this raag.


I was there as Lata Mangeshkar was brought back into Shanker’s “Sanyasi” recording room by Mukesh for Sun bal brahmachari main hoon kanya kunwari. It was a superbly crafted tune and Shanker, taking time off from the middle, came over to whisper to me, wait and watch how I do it again, this time all by myself!”


The “Sanyasi” theme-song, Chal sanyasi mandir mein, was a stunner, lending Hema Malini a new seductive allure altogether. And has there been a better parody of the bhajan than Baali umariya bhajan karun kaise. Recall, too, the catchy motif of Yeh hai Geeta ka gyan. The well-integrated score of “Sanyasi”, masterfully orchestrated, was

proof positive that Shanker still had it in him. All he needed was a comprehending filmmaker.


Raj Kapoor could have assumed that comprehending role afresh when he broke with Laxmikant-Pyarelal after, “Prem Rog”. The way for Raj Kapoor to hit LP at that 1982 “Prem Rog” point, was to bring SJ back into RK, in the persona of Shanker. Indeed, when Raj Kapoor first dropped Shanker in favour of Laxmikant-Pyarelal for “Bobby”, Shanker, naive as they come, had no idea he was out of RK. There was one more big RK film on the anvil and Shanker’s belief was he would be doing that film! Hence his spirited rejoinder: “Let LP come into RK, now Raj Saab will know on the spot whose work is better.”


Note here that Hasrat Jaipuri in 1994 Inteview clearly stated that: “Some tunes of RK’s late “Bobby” and “Prem Rog” were tuned by SJ at their private sittings. It was only Raj Kapoor to remember those SJ type tunes and LP used it” and became Hit thanks to SJ.


Even after losing out on “Bobby,” the man was the picture of confidence. His musical grip, Shanker knew, was intact, so he felt he needed to fear no one. He lost bounce only when told that R.D.Burman, not he, was to do “Dharam Karam”. To be told that this “Dharam Karam” theme of Randhir Kapoor needed a younger style of music associated with RD, was the crowning insult to Shanker. Any score by SJ and RK has

always been a joint endeavour with Raj Kapoor calling the shots. To be told now therefore that, in effect, SJ’s tunes for Randhir Kapoor’s “Kal Aaj Aur Kal” tunes, like Bhanwre ki gunjan hai mera dil, Aap yahaan aaye kis liye, Jab hum hange saat saal ke and Tik tik tik tik chaltei jaaye ghadi, were not trendy enough for the “Kal Aaj Aur Kal” youth theme of Randhir Kapoor was a wrench. After that, Shanker was never the same ebullient RK music man again, though he kept saying, “I still believe Raj Saab will send for me one day.”


That one day never came, but the day came (April 26, 1987) when Raj Kapoor materialised an Doordarshan to pay his Shraddhanjali tribute to Shanker. There were tears in Raj’s eyes. But those tears remained perched on the eyelids. Those tears refused to come down because they were tears of remorse. Remorse for the man who had helped Raj Kapoor set RK on its musical feet with the able aid of a protege called

Jaikishan Panchal. Shanker Singh had left his native Punjab to settle in Andhra so as to be able to create Ramaiyya yastayaiyya for Raj Kapoor. And Raj Kapoor has jettisoned Shanker when he needs RK’s psychological back-up most.


Maybe Raj Kapoor was not quite his own master after the gigantic losses piled up by, “Mera Naam Joker” and “Kal Aaj Aur Kal”. But that could not mitigate Raj’s sense of guilt in this tele-moment of traumatic thanks-giving to Shanker.


Those penitent tears finally dropped from Raj Kapoor’s eyelids. Those tears were for Raj Kapoor, perhaps, a pearly reminder, of the elaborate dream sequence Shanker had composed for “Mera Naam Joker”, a dream sequence to beat the “Awaara” dream sequ-ence. A dream sequence that had failed to became a screen reality because, by that “Mera Naam Joker” stage, Raj Kapoor had run out of the resources needed to picturise it.


Shanker’s one wish was that I should accompany him to his Famous music hall at Mahalakshmi for him to recreate for me the aura of that “Mera Naam Joker” dream sequence. That day, too, never came. I could get only an inkling of that dream- sequence number from the way Shanker played it on that peerless piano. And what he played was clinching evidence of the fact that here was the total musician in action. Here was a man who believed that only if he wore a kurta could he create something like Sapnon ki suhani duniyo ko for Dilip Kumar in “Shikast”, only if he wore a suit could he create something like Dost dost na raha for Raj Kapoor’s “Sangam”!


He was a peculiar man, tart of tongue, but soft at heart. Even while being very strict with his musicians, he had the knack of carrying them with him by obtaining for them very generous payment from producers. It was this straight rapport with his musicians that was denied to Shanker when the industry cut his orchestral strength. It was like severing his umbilical cord.


“Shanker-Jaikishani” sangeet died the day the industry tried to dictate to Shanker. Shanker was effective only so long as he was dictating the strength of his orchestra and thereby calling the tune. The total musician was thus a total misfit in the end. As Shanker shuffled off his mortal coil leaving all his nine Filmfare Best Music Director awards behind, Na haathi na ghoda hai wahaan paidal hi jaana hai became his self-composed epitaph .