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Suraj, the Sensational Super Hit of Shanker Jaikishen

This feature by



Lakshmi K. Tummala

It was one Sunday afternoon, during my school days, that the telephone rang. It was Mr. T. Prakasa Rao, our neighbor in Chennai, my father’s contemporary in the movie industry and a family friend, asking to speak to my father. I told him that he was on location at a hill station, shooting a couple of songs for his upcoming movie. Prakasa Rao uncle, as I called him, told me that we were invited to a private screening of his new movie that evening. I ran to my mother to tell her of the exciting news. But, immediately, I fell into a big dilemma since I had promised to help my friend, Rekha, with a project which was due the next day.

Image result for film Suraj

I called Rekha and told her about the invitation to the movie. She immediately had a solution to my problem which at that time seemed major. She suggested coming over to my home after I returned from the movie. We could then work on the project as long as we can and that she would then take it home and complete it. What a great idea, I thought. But then, I felt very guilty to have her work late into the night to finish the assignment. I told her that and Rekha, being an angel that she is, told me not to worry about it, but to go and enjoy the movie. She knew how much I liked Vyjayanthimala and SJ music. We had already heard the songs of the movie before and loved them a lot. I couldn’t wait to see them in the movie.

We reached the preview theater and were warmly greeted by Prakasa Rao uncle. A few more friends of his had also arrived. Soon the lights were turned off and the movie began. Personally, I never cared much for non-social movies, but then this is not one of them. It had lots of twists and turns which didn’t bother me at all. I only had eyes for my favorite Vyjayanthimala and ears for SJ songs.

I must say that the music in this movie is outstanding. SJ composed a great album. There are seven songs in all with each one being a gem. The two by new singer, Sharda, are by Shailendra and the other five, by Hasrat. SJ covered a wide range of composition styles and achieved great success. Although I heard them before, the songs sounded much better in the preview theater with great acoustics. I thought Vyju looked fabulous, especially in the songs. “Baharon phool barsao…” sounded so very romantic. “Titli udi..” had already taken the country by storm, but I personally liked “Dekho mera dil machal gaya..” better. “Kaise samjhawoon…” in a semi-classical style, by Rafi and Asha, was superb! “Itna hai tumse…” by Rafi and Suman Kalyanpur was also very good. Rafi sounds too good in the frolicsome number, “Chehre pe giri zulphein..” and last, but not the least, ” Ek baar ati hai…” with Rafi, Asha and chorus is a very delightful song.

Suraj was a musical treat for me. At the end of the movie, Prakasa Rao uncle asked me how it was. “Uncle, you have a winner” I said. He raised his eyebrows. I told him the movie was very entertaining and the music was sure to win a FF Award for Best Music Director. I went home humming one song after another. Rekha came over. We sat through the night and completed the project. She spent the night with me and we went to school the next morning. Believe it or not, I later saw this movie two more times in the theater which tells something about it. When the FF awards were announced, Prakasa Rao uncle was so happy that he sent a big box of chocolates for me with a note saying, “You were right Papa, we won!” I was very happy to know that the movie won SJ, Hasrat and Rafi, Filmfare Awards for Best Music Director, Lyricist and Singer, respectively. As for me, I had already voted for the music in the affirmative. You go, SJ!

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Lakshmi K. Tummala, author of this feature
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