Posts tagged ‘jaikishan’

Shankar, The Legendary Music Director


by-Rajan Shah

SHANKAR the legendary music director of the Shankar Jaikishan fame was the lone survivor as destiny took away his partner in 1971. There was a huge void in his personal life as well as the music industry as a whole. He faced the music alone. He held on to himself and kept the SJ flag flying. Betrayals, accusations, broken promises, all this he had seen them all, but the man with a heart of steel, refused to crumble. His pride held him in good shape, so did his confidence.

Shankar Singh Raghuvanshi, fondly known as Shankar, knew only three passions in life- tabla, gaana and kasrat. Harmless pleasures these all but Shankar Singh Raghuvansi was of an age when books ought to have been more important as he was only a child. But unlike most children he never studied, only indulged in his passions. His mother often despaired “Yeh to gaanewali ke piche hi tabla bajaayegaa. These turned out to be Prophetic words of sorts. The little boy grew up to be a part of the duo whose music took the film industry by storm. The unbeatable combination of Shankar-Jaikishen rose from the new horizions in the late fourties. Their music still mesmerizes us….Jiya bekaraar hai, yeh mere diwanapan hai, Yeh aasoon mere dilki….

“It all began for the little Shankar in Hyderabad. Those were the days of the Nizam and Maharajas. Their influence was strong and music pervaded every house; it was a part of their lives and inseparable culture. For the little boy too, music was all that mattered. And he was attracted to anything that was connected with it, be it acting or dancing. Though his parents wanted him to study and do well, he didn’t care about books. One day, while passing by the house of a nobleman, he heard the strains of the melodious voice of a singer, Saraswati Bai. But it was spoilt by some cacophonous sound which was supposed to be that of a tabla. It was unbearable for the little boy. He rushed into the mehfil, pushed aside the incompetent tabla player and took over. It all sounds very filmy, but after the little boy finished, wah-wahs poured from everybody who were present there. .

Mumbai, then Bombay was then the centre of theatre activity. So he decided to come down to try his luck. He wanted to join the theatre–perform, sing, dance, play instruments. He learnt kathakali from Krishnan Kutty, Kathak from the Jaipur Gharana and Manipuri and Bharat Natyam as well. Slowly he also learnt to play the piano, the accordion, the sitar and the harmonium quite well. Fate somewhere during this time introduced him to Papaji (Prithviraj Kapoor).

According to Shankar, Papaji looked like some Greek God. At that time he had just started his Prithvi Theatres and one day he called Shankar over to witness a play called Shakuntala that he was staging. He had enrolled many great musicians for this play and while he was watching it, he suddenly asked Shankar to go on stage and accompany the Sarod player with the tabla. He later learnt that he was none other than the great Ali Akbar Khan). After the show, Papaji called Shankar and embraced him. He even asked Shankar to join Prithvi Theatres.

“Jaikishen was a frequent visitor to Prithvi, but it was at a friend’s place that they first met . There were instant good vibes and they slowly became good friends. Shankar introduced him to Papaji and he too began working at Prithvi. Raj Kapoor was also working with his father in those days. When he began Aag, SJ helped him with the music.

“Jai and Shankar decided to be partners. RajKapoor at that time, was working on Barsaat. They composed a tune for him, Jiya bekaraar hai. RK loved it. That was their first major break. None of the two even dreamt of becoming a music director, and suddenly they got a break and it was all like a dream come true. Here they met Shailendra, who was a close friend of Raj and also Hasrat Jaipuri who was with Prithvi. They formed a group and our foursome clicked. Shailendra and Hasrat wrote the lyrics while SJ composed the tunes.”

Barsaat broke records. Then followed the deluge — Nagina, Mayur Pankh, Badal, Badshah. It was all so unexpected. A pair of eighteen year old youngsters causing existing edicts to tremble. Shankar-Jaikishen were creating a furore. They had descended upon the domain of Naushad, S.D. Burman, Husanlal Bhagatram, Ghulam Mohammed, O.P. Nayyar. The seniors were at first sceptical, Yeh ladke kitne din chal sakte hain , was what they thought and discusssed. But the matter worsened for the seniors.They got worried. But C. Ramchandra was one man who always appreciated the young duo. He used to tell the others, “Yeh ladke hum sabko hairan karke rekhenge. Hindustan mein dhoom machayenge.”

The Shankar-Jaikishen era had begun. The old order was displaced. Given their propensity to compose songs that appealed to both the box-office and people’s tastes, it wasn’t strange or surprising that almost every top hero insisted on Shankar-Jaikishen as part of his contract. With Raj Kapoor there was Awara, Aah, Shri 420, Boot Polish, Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai, Sangam, Mera Naam Joker. Shammi Kapoor danced around hills and dales and beautiful gardens teasing his pretty heroines, while Shankar-Jaikishen’s music kept mercurial pace in Junglee, Janwar, Badtameez.

Rajendra Kumar rarely worked in a film that didn’t have Shankar-Jaikishen on the credits. Aas Ka Panchi, Zindagi, Sasural, made the ‘jubilee’ hero, just because of Shankar-Jaikishen.

As partners, Shankar had a perfect tuning with his junior partner. Their relationship strengthened over time. They shared instant empathy, an inherent understanding and a deep bond of friendship. Whenever they both wanted to compose a particular song, they would toss a coin to decide who would do it. Tensions between them were only over music but they would always sort them out. When Shankar composed Nanhe munhe bachche teri muthi mein kya hai for Boot Polish, Jai didn’t like the tune. But Shankar convinced him otherwise. In fact, Boot Polish as planned earlier, was to be a song less film. Later Raj kapoor decided to add songs.

They always trusted each other completely. They never listened to those who poisoned their ears about the other. And it was like that till Jaikishans death. It is absolutely untrue that they grew apart after Sangam.

“Being basically a good Gujarati businessman, Jai also handled all the business matters. He was a financial juggler and did his job well. When he died, Shankar was shattered. For 3-4 years after his death, he could not work…could not build up the mood. And people tried to provoke him by saying things like their work was mainly Jai’s doing. But Shankar refused to speak out in retaliation.

“After Barsaat, Shankar bought an M.G. Racer Car. It was the first car between the four of them. Jai bought his own, later. Since it was a two-seater, Shankar and Jai would draw back the hood, sit in front while Shailendra and Hasrat would fit in behind . Later, Jai and Shankar both, bought Chevrolets. For the Filmfare Awards function they would drive in their Chevrolets and enter in style.

In many ways they revolutionized the industry. They were amongst the first who thought of giving due respect to the Press, calling for Press Conferences,…hosting parties. They were never afraid of change. Barsaat was the first film where Lata sang all the songs. Before that, she would be signed for only one or two of them per film as she had a very thin voice as compared to other to singers of those days for example Noorjehan, Shamshad, Zohra and Suraiya. Those days Manna Dey sang mainly bhajans. SJ took him for light songs like Chori Chori, Aa ja sanam and Yeh raat bheegi bheegi, which changed things for him. Mukeshs popularity also grew especially after he sang Yeh mera diwanapan hai for Yahudi.

Shanker had few setbacks too. Like Raj Kapoor’s betrayal. Dost Dost Na raha was one of Shankar’s contribution to Raj Kapoor’s Sangam. Perennially haunting, stirring, it exuded pathos. While at that stage no one would have dreamt that the Raj Kapoor-Shankar-Jaikishen team would one day not exist, years later the ‘dosti’ was not the same. They parted professional ways. Shankar insists he wasn’t upset when his ‘dost’ signed up Lakshikant-Pyarelal for Bobby.

Their songs have been translated in Chinese. Russian, German and even Arabic. How ever Rajkapoors son wanted some change. Thus they chose other music directors.

Another jolt came from Prasad Productions, whose films had been transformed from mediocre family dramas to musical hits….Teri pyari pyari surat to (Sasural), Jaoon Kahan bata ae dil (Chhoti Bahen)….all this courtesy, Shankar-Jaikishen. Even G.P. Sippy didn’t take after Brahmachari and Andaz.

Most of Shailendra’s lyrics were Shankar’s compositions. They both complemented each other perfectly. “When they were discussing the music of Shri 420, Rajkapoor was describing a scene. Shankar instantaneously sang out Ramaiya vatavaiya, which in Telugu means ‘Ramaiya, will you come?” And Jai spontaneously gave his rejoinder, ‘Maine dil tujhko diya’. It was the beginning of this iconic song. When they were driving past a bus-stop and Jai saw a pretty girl, he turned around instinctively to take a look. That’s how Mud mud ke na dekh (Shri 420) was born. Recalls Shankar, Shailendra was great. He wrote beautifully. People would cry at the beauty of his lyrics.

From small beginnings in a South Indian lodge at Parel to a well-appointed home at the ‘Beacan at Churchgate, Shankars success story was truly established. . His rehearsal room at Famous Studio in mahalaxmi still remains. Many moons ago, hordes of producers thronged its long corridors, waiting patiently with wads of notes, hoping to entice the two gentlemen into signing a contract. And it wasn’t easy.

posted by Lakshmi Kanta Tummala


SJ’s remarkable talent in background music and their great professionalism.


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 :

some interesting facts about Gunahon ka devta……..

some interesting facts about Gunahon ka devta……..

Shri Pradeep Kr. Gupta writes :

“Let me share some interesting anecdote about this movie. Jitendra was a new comer and not salable. Rajshree had become a big name by that time and was working with lead actors including Raj Kapoor and his brother Shammi Kapoor. Devi Shamra, who produced the movie based on a novel written by Dharmveer Bharti, a famous Hindi novelist who also worked as the chief editor of a famous Hindi weekly Dharmyug published by the Time of India group, Mumbai. Devi Sharma had finalized SHANKAR-JAIKISHAN who were at the peak of their career as star composer leaving all their contemporaries and juniors way behind. Jitendra’s remuneration was cut to meet the expenses incurred on sound score and Rajshree’s fee. I read some where that Jitendra eventually worked free of cost as the producer- director were adamant to work with the duo despite their low budget. It was a well known fact that the music duo used to charge even higher remuneration than the lead actor of the film for their music score, but this was the unique case when the lead actor of the movie worked free of cost to meet the end. That was the impact of SHANKAR-JAIKISHAN those days and they commanded highest regard among the film fraternity for their sheer brilliance.

SHANKAR-JAIKISHAN at their zenith in this song! The song is an unusual one in the sense that interludes in all three antaras (stanzas) are different. Normally in a three stanza song, as this was in the vogue those days, first and third stanzas had mostly same interlude while second one had a different one barring a few exceptions with all leading composers. The song starts with prelude played on violin chorus to give a feel of western classical music of Johann Sebatian Bach, Wolfgang Amedeus Mozart, Ludwig Van Beethoven, Franz Schubert (all Austrian composers) and Chopin. With this brief prelude the song starts in the deep baritone voice of Mukesh. The rhythm is played on drum. then comes first stanza with violin chorus coupled with cello to create an ambiance. Second stanza has saxophone followed by solo violin beautifully played. Now comes the third and last stanza with violin chorus for counter melody followed by solo violin to evoke pathos. Electric organ is another salient feature which could be heard even between the lines leaving no vacant space throughout the song. It’s rightly said in the post by Lakshmi Didi that the song gives a symphonic feel. Salil Chowdhury, a doyen of Hindi and Bengali film music once commented on the duo that the way they used violin chorus no body else could have ever used and the duo proved this statement as true on occasions. This song is also not an exception to what was vouched by Salil Da.

 Continuing with the same thread I would like to quote Pyarelal Sharma the gentler half of Laxmikant-Pyarelal as saying “SHANKAR-JAKISHAN ke gaanon mein tune bhi gungunana padta hai. Bina tune gungunae gaane ka maza nahin ata.” Then he took the title song of Awara “Awara hoon ‘tararara’ played on harmonium by Vistap Ardeshir Balsara in the sthaayi (mukhda). Readers will be surprised to know that the piece they feel to have played on piano accordion was actually played on harmonium by the maestro.”


Shri Ajay Dagaonkar ji writes :

“This is majority correct but not what Jeetendra told in his TV interviewAs per him some other composer was to be signed and Jeetendra got frightedJeetendra despite Shantaram films was no starHe wanted big composer like SJ or Naushad and he approached Jaikishanji and to pay SJ fees Jeetendra fee was cutFor heroine he approached Rajashree who as rightly said has become big and her mom asked for a fee and to pay that Jeetendra fees was cut and he perhaps got in return A grade star status but no money but this sacrifice made his lifeA great business decision”

Holi at RK or RK’s Holi – Few photos to go down memory lanes


Good Old days - Holi at RK Studios, Chembur, from left music director Shanker (on harmonium) Music director Jaikishen (on harmonium, Actress Nargis ji, Begumpara, Vijayalaxmi and Raj Kapoor

Good Old days – Holi at RK Studios, Chembur, from left music director Shanker (on harmonium) Music director Jaikishen (on harmonium, Actress Nargis ji, Begumpara, Vijayalaxmi and Raj Kapoor

The above photo : Courtesy Shri Anil Anawalikar ji.


More snaps relating to film Pyar Hi Pyar produced by Rajaram-Satish Wagle

At the launching of film Pyar Hi Pyar Photo courtesy : Satish Wagle, Jatin Wagle

At the launching of film Pyar Hi Pyar
Photo courtesy : Satish Wagle, Jatin Wagle

Music Director Jaikishan of Shankar-Jaikishan  giving clap to the Muhurat shot of film Pyar Hi Pyar Photo courtesy : Jatin Wagle-Satish Wagle

Music Director Jaikishan of Shankar-Jaikishan giving clap to the Muhurat shot of film YAAR MERA
Photo courtesy : Jatin Wagle-Satish Wagle

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