Posts tagged ‘kapoor’

Shankar Jaikishan – Interview (1957)

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A Decade of Hits

WHAT makes a song last? It is almost ten years since we began composing songs for films—all kinds of songs for all kinds of films. Even this year—the year in which we have won the “Filmfare” Award for the Best Music Direction—we have composed strikingly different types of scores, ranging from “Seema” and “Chori Chori” to “Shree 420” and “Basant Bahar”.

In this long period the overall impression we have gained of the taste of picturegoers is that only an Indian song can survive on Indian soil.

We do not propagate any antagonism against the integration of Indian and foreign music. What we are opposed to is the wholesale plagiarism of foreign musical compositions.

How long does it take to compose a song ? We, on our part, take anything from a week to a year. To illustrate the labor involved we would cite the example of the musical score of the now famous dream sequence of “Awaara”.

Nobody had thought of a dream sequence for this film. The situation required two songs, “Tere bina aag ye chandni” and “Ghar aaya mera pardesi”, each of which was composed independently of the other. One day we were sitting in Raj Kapoor’s office—we had no separate music-room in those days. It was a friendly gathering. Suddenly we began making “ghost sounds” for sheer fun—shrill screams, yells and weird cries! Now an idea struck Raj.

“Why not make it a part of the music ?” Raj Kapoor exclaimed. There and then we decided to have a dream sequence, and link the two songs by a third one.

“There will be three songs,” Raj said. “A girl calling her lover, the boy caught in the grip of evil, and the final song of reunion.”

That very evening Raj brought Nargis to listen to those weird sounds we had made, and we all decided to have one full reel of musical sequence—what eventually turned out to be the longest musical sequence in Indian films.

The recording began at 9 a.m. and went on to become the most memorable one of our lives. We were all working ourselves up into a state of frenzy. Raj flitted from one end of the music-theatre to the other, inspiring one and all with his zeal. Day turned into night but all of us went on—musicians, singers, sound recordists, and Raj himself. Midnight struck—we were still at it.

From “Barsaat” to “Chori Chori” our story has been linked with the story of Indian film making. It has been an exciting time for both of us.

Once, Shanker visited the H.M.V . Gramophone Company and heard a song sung by a little-known singer. He was so impressed that he asked Raj Kapoor to get her to sing just one song of “Barsaat” instead of any of the established singers. Afterwards she sang all the songs of “Barsaat”. Her name is Lata Mangeshkar.

When we began composing tunes for “Barsaat” we used to play them to Raj Kapoor. So impressed was he with them that he was determined to use them in the film. But he said, “I cannot promise to announce your names as music directors since I have already signed up someone else.”

Still, we continued because of our love for the work. We were surprised and elated when, towards the completion of the film, Raj told us that we would after all get official billing as the music directors of “Barsaat.”

He had confidence in our work and his confidence was vindicated by the sensational success the songs achieved.

The days when we were recording the song “Ay Mere Dil Kahin Aur Chal” for “Daag” also come to mind. The financier heard the song and was so disappointed that he told the distributor, “It is a most disappointing song. No one is going to like it. If I had known that the picture had such poor music, I would never have financed it!” Little did he know then that the song was going to become a best-seller.

We feel that while retaining the basic form of Indian music, one can always experiment with new instruments, Indian or foreign, to widen the scope of film music.

The use of the accordion in “Mera Juta Hai Japani” and of the trumpet in “Mur Mur Ke Na Dekh” (both from “Shree 420”) illustrate this point. However, what is essential is the basic Indian melody. Thus even in the puppet song of “Chori Chori,” there are “alaaps” and “taans.” For that matter, the entire music score of “Chori Chori” is based on familiar Indian “raags” and folk melodies.

On the day Amiya Chakrabarty died he discussed with us the songs of “Kath Putli”. The first line of a song we recorded for the film after Amiya’s death is “Manzil Wohi Hai Pyaar Ki, Rahi Badal Gaye” (“The path of love is the same, only the travelers have changed”.) Amiya Chakrabarty took a keen interest in our work.

Of the many scores composed by us, we would particularly like to refer to four songs: “Ay Mere Dil Kahin Aur Chal”, “Awaara Hun”, “Mera Juta Hai Japani”, and “Ichak dana Bichak dana”. While the first became widely popular in India, the other three also won recognition abroad. We are told that “Awaara Hun” has been translated into many languages and is today sung and played in almost every part of the world. Its success has confirmed our belief that Indian film music can be appreciated abroad if we refuse to imitate foreign tunes.

We are sure that symbols of encouragement, like the “Filmfare” Award, will continue to inspire music directors to bring to the screen original and popular compositions (This interview was conducted in 1957).


The promised kiss by Nargis to Shammi,denied ! a blessing in disguise! ;

nargis-jiBy – SSMURTHY (


Abbas sab approached Mehboob initially with his story of Awara with Raj and Prithviraj in mind, but Mehboob opted for his blue eyed boy Dilip Kumar in place of Raj which was not to Abbas sab’s concept,  since he believed and was convinced of the conviction that Awara was a theme, centred around, a father son equation with the neeli neeli ankhen syndrome looming in the script and therefore thought Raj and Prithviraj would fit the bill perfectly.


It was however much later that Abbas approached Raj with the same script,  who didn’t bat an eyelid as he took on the arduos task of getting Papaji’s consent.

Papaji version was that Prithviraj does not play the role of the hero’s father, cleverly it was interpreted by Abbas sab,  No Raj plays the role of the hero’s son ! Outwitted,  Prithviraj delightfully gave in as Raj searched for the silver coin  to crystallise the venture. 


The romance of Raj Nargis was crackling hot in the aftermath of Aag and Barsaat causing strife in both families as  Nargis was already facing the storm in her domestic citadel and diffident as she was of her getting cast opp Raj Kapoor in Awara, couldnt hide her desperation on this score to Shammi who happened to be the hero’s brother, was then still in his knickers was trying to regale Nargis, aas he observed  her heart was not in the conversation. She seemed awfully preoccupied 


and suddenly she burst out “Shammi if I get to do Awara  I’ll give you a kiss”.


The casting of Awara was finalised and Nargis was in and by that time Shammi had grown

another 4 inches with a straggly moustache  as one day Shammi went to Nargis to collect his dues.  Nargis was scandalised as she shrieked “Shammi you are a big boy now how can I kiss you ! 

Shammi was denied the promised kiss by Nargis as she adoringly requested him for an exchange of anything else in lieu.


Shammi thought of a gramaphone, fully convinced it was an exacting demand difficult to concede, but was amazed at Nargis consenting and bought for him not only the gramaphone but also a complete set of twenty records   and thus his tryst with the musical destiny began, as music entered   him  that day. It was the best bit of buisness trading, a kiss for music,as he got intoxicated with music to synchronise his bodily expressions,  eventually rendering him the most phenomenal leading musical  hero of his time, as any new heroine would fancy opposite him and  vouchsafe guaranteed success to its producer.


The only other prerequisite being an MD who knew the bodily acrobatic nuances of Shammi. 


Enter OPN with Tumsa nahin dekha and Usha Khanna with Dil Dekhe Dekho  and the public imagination swung with Shammi’s shaved off pencil moustache, swept back hair,

a couple of jackets and dived “Tum sa nahin dekha” head first to surface with a hit, followed by another hit “Dil Deke Dekho”  with a few others to follow


and then came “Junglee”one of the biggest musical hits of its time celebrating a Silver Jubilee even in Chennai where the language was hardly understood, so much for the musical prowess of SJ . The “Yahoo” shook not only the Kashmir valley but a few of Shammi’s contemporaries and more than anything else it was a cry of victory and redemption from the days of despair.



I have been obseving Shammi’s interviews at varous times and two music director’s names he generally mentions, one is SJ and the other invariably OPN, eventhough as far as I remember OP has scored only for two film’s for Shammi as against SJ’s appx 22 films unless I missed out on a few..


Maybe his gratitude for an  initial sucess after a row of 19 flops,

Tumsa nahin dekha was musically an OP Rafi delight, to be followed again

only in Kashmir Ki Kali which was among Shammi’s all time best remembered outside the SJ umbrella.


Shammi recalls that OP composed all the films tunes in about two hours time over a full bottle of whisky !.Incredulous and amazing.!!


Strangely It is RD who takes pride to have scored for Teesri Manzil much as he was privileged to convince Shammi, that he could give music a-la SJ who were the initial choice of Shammi as he replaced Dev, the original choice of Nasir Hussain.


 It was natural for RDB to bask in the glory of appreciation he received on fine morning on the telephone by Jaikishan for the score rendered and for all die heard listeners of film music know for certain that RD’s score in Teesri Manzil was but an echo of SJ.


When you look at the list  


Amazing it is that Ravi with his brilliant score’s of China Town, Pyar kiya tho Darna kya 

KA with Bluff Master and Preet na jaane reet, and Usha Khanna with Dil Deke Dekho’

are hardly remembered as these films are identified more with Shammi and less with the the MD’s eventhough they are among the one’s  who have also contributed towards the star’s career and success.


A comprehensive list of Shammi’s films by and large by SJ and others are given as under

which will give an idea of the stars impact with SJ and the celluloid world then




SJ                                            Non SJ 



BOYFRIEND                           MUJRIM

                                                 CHAR DIL CHAR RAHEN

                                                 RAAT KE RAAHI


                                                 TUMSA NAHIN DEKHA          OPN



                                                  DIL DE KE DEKHO               UK



                                                  BLUFF MASTER                      KA








                                                 PYAR KIYA THO DARNA KYA     RAVI

                                                 PREET NA JAANE REET                 KA

                                                 CHINA TOWN                                   RAVI



                                                 TEESRI MANZIL                    RDB


CHOTE SARKAR                  




                                                 KASHMIR KI KALI                  OP



                                                 MANORANJAN                      RDB




Though Jaikishan is assosciated with Shammi’s flamboyance it is in films like Ujala in black and white and Professor  in colour that have an articulate rendering of some very melodious songs where Shankar has come out dazzling with numbers like


“Ab kahan jaayen hum…….”    and  “Khuli palak me jhootha gussa……. “..


can you put your hands on your heart and earnestly tell,


“is there a more soulful number than the former

      and a more melodious romantic number than the later.” 







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