Still from the movieLekh 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.
Here is an interesting article or trivia about SJ films, completely compiled by Abhay V. Acharekar ji in our Yahoo group
Here’s a list.
Films that were signed before Sep 1971 but were not released by then:
1. Seema (Simi-Kabir-Rakesh-Bharati)
2. Albela (Mehmood-Namrata)
3. Chori Chori (new) (Sanjay-Radha-Jeetendra)
4. Beimaan (Manoj-Raakhee)
5. Love in Bombay (Joy-Waheeda-Kishore. produced by Shubir Mukerji)
6. Yaar Mera (Jeetendra-Raakhee)
7. Lal Patthar (Raaj Kumar-Hema Malini-Raakhee-Vinod Mehra)
8. Ankhon Ankhon Mein (Rakesh-Raakhee)
9. Daman Aur Aag (Sanjay-Saira)
10. Ankh Michouli (Rakesh-Bharati)
11. Mera Vachan Geeta Ki Qasam (Sanjay-Saira)
12. Nagina (Sanjay-Leena)
13. Dhoop Chhaon (Sanjeev-Hema. Yogita added much later due to problems between Sanjeev and Hema)
14. Bandagi (Vinod Mehra-Sandhya Roy)
15. The Gold Medal (started with Rajendra Kumar-Saira and later changed to Jeetendra-Raakhee)
16. Mehfil (Jeetendra-Sadhana , later replaced by Anil Dhawan)
17. Naina (Shashi-Rajashree. Moushumi added later)
18. Aan Baan (Rajendra-Raakhee)
19. Resham Ki Dori (Rajesh Khanna-Saira. Rajesh Khanna was later replaced by Dharmendra who was closed to Atmaram)
20. International Crook (Dharmendra-Saira)
21. Archana (Directed by Satpal, Bhappi Sonie’s assistant.
21. Pyar Ka Rishta (Sameer-Mumtaz-Shatrughan-Vinod Khanna)
23. Rivaaj (First production of KC Bokadia. Sanjeev-Mala)
24. Dur Nahin Manzil (Started with Roshan who composed the titled song that was retained. Also, initially this one had Sanjeev-Nutan but Nutan was replaced by Reshma, Bindu’s sister)
25. Insaniyat (Shashi-Madhu)
26. Dil daulat Duniya (Rajesh Khanna-Sadhana)
Films that never saw completion but were on hand in 1971:
1. Hero (launched by Sham Behl, of Gold Medal/Duniya with Sunil Dutt)
2. Kabhi Daman Kabhi Phool (Vinod Khanna-Anupama)
3. Kora Kagaz (Rajesh Khanna-Hema Malini; not the same one that was released later in 1973)
4. Sindoor (Produced by Sant Singh; directed by Kishore Sahu. Jeetendra-Saira)
5. Sadiyonse Hai Pyar (Produced by RK’s cousin Vijay Kapoor. Shashi Kapoor- Saira Banu)
6. Tu Payal Main Geet (Directed by Kanak Mishra. Shashi Kapoor- Saira Banu)
7. Mahaan (Directed by Sultan Ahmad. Sanjeev Kumar-Mumtaz. Not the same as AB’s Mahaan)
8. Aar Paar (Tanuja-Romesh Sharma)
9. Untitled film (Directed by T. Prakash Rao. Dilip Kumar-Saira with one song recorded by Jaikishan in Asha’s voice)
10. Ganga Ki Kasam (Produced by Pachhi)
11. Karishma (Randhir Kapoor in the lead)
12. Nain Mile Chain Kahan
14. Sun re Balam
—– Announced before Sep 1971 but vanished from the radar after sep 1971 1. Seeta Aur Geeta 2, Kailash/Prem Chopra’s untitled (later named Nafrat)
Announced after Jaikishan’s demise but never released or completed:
1) Wattan (Sunil Dutt, Sanjay Khan, Rekha, Premnath; Director Kanak Misra)
2) Azmaaish (Sanjay Khan, Director: Kanak Misra)
3) Baby Hindustan (Director: Basu Chaterji)
4) Gunahgaar (RaajKumar. Producer/Director: Govind Saraiyya. Had a Lata-Manna Duet)
5) Mere Desh ki Dharti (Producer: Kewal P. Kashyap)
6) Talaaq (Parikshit Sahni)
7) Apmaan (Navin Nischal, Rakesh Roshan)
8) Jugal Jodi (Asrani-Deven Verma)
9) Pehla Pehla Pyar (Mumtaz International. Saira-Shashi Kapoor)
11) Gulzar Singh’s untitled (Shashi Kapoor)
Note that Jungle Mein Mangal was a quickie that started after the producer Rajendra Bhatia released Paraya Dhan and was not signed before Sep 1971.
Teesri Kasam, Suraj, Pyaar Mohabbat, Amrapali, Love in Tokyo, Budtameez were S-J films released in 1966 other than Gaban. All of them were musical super hits as usual with all S-J films. Suraj got 2 filmfares (S-J and Hasrat). Amrapali was a musical marvel. Teesri Kasam was gold all the way. Love in Tokyo is loved even today. . A good case study for music researchers here. Take a music director and
TODAY (15TH OCTOBER 2009) on Birth day of our beloved Shanker ji, we miss him and the team of SJ+HS
shankerji chatting with Mohd. Rafi and Sharda at a party
analyze his compositions in a particular year. Most usually you will find a particular style or pattern among these compositions. It can be easily noted that though the music for these films was composed at the same time, the compositions for each film is so vastly different from the others. You would appreciate this statement if you carefully analyze the tunes, the background and orchestration carefully. Only a composer at the peak of his musical maturity could achieve this. In my School and College days I had dabbled with Tabla, Mandolin and Key-board and also some singing which naturally draws my attention to the orchestration and ‘instrumentation’(if I can call it so) of a song immediately. I remember music of some S-J films for their special use of a particular instrument. I had mentioned a couple earlier: Ek Dil Sau Afsane for its Accordian, Halaku for Mandolin – these films immortalized these instruments. (Of course Accordian applies to so many other S-J films) I remember Gaban for superb employment of Tabla. It would not be an exaggeration to state that S-J immortalized Tabla in HFM. To compose mind blowing songs in various moods without giving up on Tabla is not an easy task. Gaban is just a tribute to that genius called Shankar who was a fine Tabla player. Each of the 7 songs in Gaban is a Tabla based composition. Not very common in HFM to find every song in a film having Tabla in it. Even till 1970’s. Another example is Aarzoo. Post 1970, the Tabla began to fade and today very sadly Tabla is hardly heard in HFM. Coming to the case in study, i.e, Gaban: The 2 light romantic numbers . Maine dekha tha sapanome (Lata – Hasrat) and Aaye re din sawan ki (Lata-Shailendra) : Note the effect the Tabla has created in these two. Perfect decibel levels to suit the mood of the songs. Ehsan mere dilpe (Rafi- Hasrat) is a song in gratitude of friendship and how S-J have used the Tabla to celebrate the spirit of friendship. Observe the improvisations made in Tabla just before the repetition of the lines of antaras (in both antaras) Sola singar karke aayi suhaag raat (Rafi – Hasrat) – The Tabla has mellowed down so beautifully to impart the mood required for the song. Do not miss out on the santoor in this song (considering santoor has hardly been used in HFM) Sajan le jayega tujhko ghar(Lata, chorus – Hasrat) – A song where the friends of the heroine tease her. Tabla refuses to move out but the value addition to the mood and the melody is telling. Tumhari kasam tum bahut yaad aaye(Lata – Shailendra) – A beautiful song in “Viraha Ras” in the lines of Tumhe yaad karte karte. Look at the magic the Tabla has imparted to this beautiful composition. Tabla in tandem with violins at one place, Sitar at one place and with Lata’s voice at other creates perfect harmony. Tum bin sajan barase nayan (Lata, Rafi – Shailendra): I can listen to this song 10 times a day, every day, and still not get tired of it. The counter melody of violins and the Tabla seem to singing along with Rafi and Lata. The “pathos” mood the song conveyed was taken to an altogether new height with the Tabla. Observe how beautifully the Tabla makes an entry in to the song – just after the first line of the mukhada is over. (Reminds me of another eternal favourite of mine by the same team – Mujhe kitna pyaar hai tumse) In most of the above songs, note the transition from Tabla to the Congo-bongo in the interlude and back to Tabla with the vocals which is again an S-J invention (much before this film of course) Apart from Shankar and Dattaram, I am sure Sebastian and the sound recording engineers must have put in a lot of effort. Because the varying degree of decibel levels of Tabla in a song can make or mar the song. Listen to some of 1980’s songs especially by Laxmikant Pyarelal where Tabla either seems too loud or largely ineffective. So, with Tabla it is a very thin line. I think this is why some composers wisely chose to use Tabla to a lesser extent in their songs (Eg: R.D.Burman) Good music is a perfect harmony between melody and rhythm. It is a well known fact that melody was S-J forte. But they were masters of rhythm too. I request all the members to listen to S-J songs with ears open specially for the Tabla. I assure you, your love for S-J music will be doubled. I would also like to make a passing mention of the use of Tabla in songs which only Jaikishan-Hasrat- Rafi could create (Nazar bachakar, Salaam aapke meethi nazar ko, ehsan tera hoga mujh par, yeh mera prem patra padkar, jab muhabbat jawan hoti hai, aye gulbadan, mein kahin kavi na ban jaoon, gar tum bhula na doge, yeh aansoo meri dilki zubaan hai, pehle mili thi sapno me, O mere shahi qubaan, tu bemisaal hai teri tarif kya karoon, teri pyari pyari surat ko, and scores of other songs) which showcase not only Shankar but how much Jaikishan too loved Tabla. It is interesting to note that the ‘Taal’s cannot be purely used in all film songs. So, S-J used to invent ‘Theka’s which are based on Taals. In Gaban, we can find Thekas based on Teen taal, Dadra and other Taals. Probably Shankar-Jaikishan remain unparalleled in respect of the ‘Theka’s they invented and introduced. They did adapt their style of music with time to suit the tastes of the people, but their love for Tabla did not die and it showed from their compositions across the years. Tabla is the most basic and finest source of rhythm. S-J’s mastery over Tabla and the versatility they displayed in using the instrument took their music to unscaled heights. The non Tabla rhythm of S-J music is another interesting topic which the group can discuss in the future.
Wishing everyone a happy and Shankar-Jaikishan filled Diwali in advance, Shashi Hegde.