Photo & citation by
Lakshmi K. Tummala
Contrary to the general assumption that “Chalat Musafir Moh Liya Rem Pinjare Wali Muniya” written by Shailendra and composed by Shankar Jaikishan for film TEESRI KASAM is a folk song or based on fold tune, IT IS NOT A TRADITIONAL FOLK TUNE.
It is magic of Shailendra’s pen and baton of music directors duo Shanker Jaikishen’s thought to give a tune and structure to the lyric that not only general people and music lovers, but musicologists too started believing that it must be based on some folk music or tune.
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.
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!
Shanker ( Jaikishen ), rehearsing with Lata Mangeshkar for the song ” Aa, aa bhi jaa… ”
14th January 1961 !
That sad Wednesday afternoon, a little after he died, the radio sang :
“Aye mere dil kahin aur chal
gham ki duniya se dil bhar gaya
dhoondle ab koi ghar naya“.
It was Shailendra’s own lyric from `Daag’. He, too, had just told his weary heart : “I am full of the world’s sorrows. Let me seek a new home!”.
At the nursing home where he lay, we, his close friends, tried vainly to hold back our tears. Twenty years is a long time to know anyone, particularly in the film industry where “friendships” are made and broken easily, too easily.
Twenty years ago, we – a small group of people – had started from nothing. We had dreams, and nothing else, to sustain us. We had stood together, to the surprise and possibly dismay of many, and together we had worked out a common destiny. And today, without warning, death has laid an icy hand on one of us.
“Dhoond le ab koi ghar naya.”. He had done it.
For “Teesri Kasam” his own production, he had written :
“Sajan re jhoot mat bolo, khuda ke paas jana hai, na haathi hai na ghoda hai, vahaan paidal his jaana hai.”
True enough. We all have to go on foot. There will be no elephants to carry us, no horses, no Impalas. Poets have to go there when the call comes and ordinary men too.
But do the poets of the world, true creative artistes, really die?
Born and brought up a man of the people, Shailendra remained that all his life. His lyrics, like he himself, were simple, and had depth. And what a variety! He could dash off a frothy love lyric, he could compose a deeply philosophical poem. He wrote of sadness, gaiety, resignation, despair, hope.
“Ye poorab hai, poorab wale, har jaan ki keemat jaante hain“, he said, in the theme song of `Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai’. That was the pariot. “Awara hoon“, he sang, in a manner at once, light-hearted and serious. The song became world famous. And it was the same patriot who laughingly wrote “Mera joota hai Japani” in `Shri 420′.
When Shailendra joined our fold – at the time of Raj Kapoor was making “Barsaat” – it was with two lyrics he had ready – “Barsaat mein humse mile tum” and “Patli kamar hai“. He said goodbye to the R.K. Banner, again with two lyrics, for “Mera Naam Joker”. In between, from his work done not only for us – Shanker and myself – but for other composers, I can name scores of lovely lyrics, songs which have been on everyone’s lips.
By the way, Shailendra has written lyrics for all films for which my partner Shanker and I have composed the music with the exception of `College Girl’ and `Aarzoo’. In the latter film, he didn’t work with us because he was ill.
Shanker and I met Shailendra for the first time twenty years ago. Raj Kapoor introduced us at his office which was then at Famous Studios, Mahalaxmi. Shailendra had a job in the railway workshop at Parel. He wrote poetry in his spare time. One of his poems – “Jalta hai Punjab” – moved Raj Kapoor so much he wanted to put it in `Aag’. But Shailendra was then not keen on contributing lyrics to films. He later changed his mind and joined us for `Barsaat’.
The last time I ever saw him in good health was at Rajkamal studios about a month ago where I was doing some back-ground music recording. And you know what he was saying? Despite all the difficulties he had experienced in producing `Teesri Kasam’ he wanted to launch another film!
In the early days, Shailendra was living in a one room tenement at Parel. After `Barsaat’, my partner had been offered our first contract outside R.K. ( the film was Mr. Dalsukh Pancholi’s `Nagina’) and wanting to persuade Shailendra to write the lyrics, I visited him for the first time at his home. Like us, he was quite needy then, but his work caught on quickly and he became much sought after. His address had a few changes – from somewhere, Parel, to `Rim Jhim’, his own home at Khar, but all along the man himself never changed.
He was intelligent, very gentle, full of knowledge and very sensitive. His love of poetry and literature was paramount. Tagore was an early favourite as also Khalil Gibran. He was always nice company, whether you were discussing poetry or politics. He was very emotional and wept when something moved him. When he was composing a lyric, he would walk restlessly about the room. He loved writing on the beach. From the early days, he smoked incessantly – I wish he had been more careful.
He was young – only 43. Why did he have to go that early and with so much mental suffering?
In the music room of Shanker-Jaikishan at our homes where he was so welcome, there will be a void. There will be a bigger void in our hearts.
“Dhoond le ab koi ghar naya…”.
Goodbye, my friend.
`FILMFARE’ – JANUARY 20, 1967
This is courtesy : Jay Subramanyam who composed it on Jan 12, 2009 at 1:54 PM