Shankar composed music for more than 170 movies in his career spanning 39 years , starting from Barsat in 1949 till Gori his last movie. His brand Shankar Jaikishan won 9 Filmfare Awards and how many movies celebrated jubilees is not available. I am sure, the number must be more than 60.
As composer , Shankar was very particular about having rich orchestra, perhaps an habit he picked up from his patron film maker Raj Kapoor, who visualized movies larger than life. To substantiate my point, I wish to cite the example of a few songs from Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai.
Here is a movie, Shankar felt had no scope for music at all, and later scored one of their finest albums for a movie shot mostly in a dacoits den. This movie has 9 songs, and each song is such a rich experience in audio experience. This movie was released in 1960, which means the recording was done before that.
With such primitive recording equipment and facilities, they created such priceless gems, that one fails to visualize what magic they could have created in modern times.
Let’s take a look at the songs :
1 . Mera naam raju gharaana anaam..Movie opens with this song, shot in the vast expanse of Ganga in Haridwar . Just listen to the orchestra, melody and the energy. What a way to open the movie.
2.Begani Shaadi Mein Abdulla Diwana: Here is a fun song which has almost become a popular idiom. Absolutely energetic music and fun filled flow of melody.
3. Hoton pe Sachaai rehti hai: Here is one of the finest songs which portrays the ethos of what India is all about. The prelude for this song begins with a rich play of dafli..and then begins the song on a quite note..picks up with use of Sitar which pull at your heart strings..
4. Kya hua ye mujhe kya pata jaane kyun…A super energetic dance number for Padmini and Chanchal..what can I say about this song. Accordion and rhythm with bongos and percussion of maracas,
5.Ho Maine pyar kiya hoye hoye kya zulm kiya: Here is another very high voltage sensuous number, picturised on Padmini.
6. O Basanti pavan pagal : This pathos number has exceptionally rich orchestra especially, in the end, when Raj Kapoor returns and Padmini dances in front of Goddess Bhavani..My God, simply unbelievable and beyond words .
7. Hai aag hamare seene mein: This is a song with perhaps the maximum number of leading playback singers in one song. Full of energy and a flow which goes up in scale as it progresses. The use of rhythm and mandolin notes is exceptional, to say the least.
8. Pyar Karle nai te phaansi chad jaayega: Here is a classic song which sums up the essence of the story which preaches surrender of arms, and leading a life of honour. Simple and very touching song.
9. Aa Ab Laut chale: This song is the mother of all large screen songs. So much has been written about its orchestra and chorus, that I need not add anything more.
This is music, which elevates a simple story to the skies and makes it a super duper hit.
If this is not larger than life, then what is! This is not the only movie, there are 10s of such great movies with simply out of the world music !!
Shankar The Great !!