Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Shankar Jaikishan -No.1 Music Duo

The period of about four decades from the later half of the 1940s could be called the golden age of music in Hindi films. The period was memorable not only for the great contributions of musical stalwarts but also for the fact that music formed an integral part of Hindi films and to a large extent the music and songs determined the success or failure of a film. People wanted to know who the director and the actors were. But they equally wanted to know who scored music for the film. In the usual full page advertisements of films in magazines like SCREEN and CINE ADVANCE top billing was, in those days, given to music directors. Nowadays film advertisements in print media have become brief and, often, one has to use a magnifying glass to find out the name of the music director.

During this golden era Hindi cinema had several talented, dedicated and successful music directors who gave us a variety of wonderful songs in their films. Arguably, the most successful of them was duo known as Shankar Jaikishan[ShankarSingh Raghuvanshy 1922-87 and Jaikishen Dayabhai Bansal (1929-71). Shankar from Punjab and Jaikishan from Gujarat began their musical 0dyssey as assistants to the duo of Husnlal Bhagathram and later became an integral part of Raj Kapoor's R.K. Films along with Duttaram who also later became a noted muic director. SJ got their first break as music directors in Rajkapoor's Barsaat in 1953.That was the beginning of a long and fruitful musical partnership between RK and SJ. All films produced by R.K Films thereafter,likeAwaara,Sree 420,Boot Polish,etc., upto Sangam and Mera Naam Joker were musical hits of SJ. However thereafter there was a shift in loyalty and RK started using the music of Lakshmikant Pyarelal beginniFng with Bobby.There was a time when none could think of a RK Film without the music of SJ. In fact RK's films were popular even in Russia due,largely,to the personal charm of RK, SJ's music and Mukesh's soulful rendering.The songs of Barsaat came as a whiff of fresh air in Indian film music and people wholeheartedly accepted and celebrated them!! The pathos filled "chod gaye baalam" and the joyful "hawa mein udtha" were made immortal by the listeners.
From the year 1953 to1971(the year Jakishan died) the team SJ remained at the top of Hindin film music.The name SJ was synonymous with success and they became the highest paid music diectors of film industry. With about 250 films to their credit it is difficult to rank them according to their success and popularity as they all were! The long list f awards and recognition they got give ample testimony to their contribution. They got the prestgious Filmfare award for best music director for a record 9 times for their films CHORI CHORI (1957),ANARI(1960),Dil Apna Preet Parai(1961),Professor(1965),SURAJ(1967),BRAHMACHARI(1969),PEHCHAN(1971),MERA NAAM JOKER(1972) and BE-EMAN(1973)In Binaca Geetmala programme apart from dominating the programmes through the weeks their songs listed below were ranked No.I of the year in popularity six times between 1955 to 1971. [ A scene from Sri 420]

Mukesh Mera jhoota hai Japani Sree 420 Md.Rafi Teri Pyari pyari soorat Sasural 1961

Lata Ehsan Tere hoga mugh par Junglee 1962

Mukesh Bol Radha bol sangam Sangam 1964

. Rafi Baharon phool barsao Suraj 1966

Md Rafi Zindagi ek safar Andaz 1971

There are innumerable films in which SJ had shown their mettle.Aah, Patita,Seema, Yahudi,Arzoo,Aasique,Poot polish, Choti Bahen,Gumnam, Humrahi, Jish desh mein ganga bahati hai, Jab pyar kise se hota hai, Rangoli, Aas ka panchi, Ujala etc are a few of them.

The combination of Shammi Kapoor,SJ and Md.Rafi and his style of singing for Shammi Kapoor was a hit formula as the songs perfectly gelled with the taste of the young generation who thronged to see these films. Films like Junglee,Janwar,Dil Tera Diwana,Professor, Laat Saheb, Prince, Love in Tokyo and An Evening in Paris are a few examples.To the credit of SJ goes the one and only lullaby picturised on Shammi Kapoor contrary to his then popular image.(Mein gaon tum so jaao. Film Brahmachari). Similarly a song sequence picturised for the first time on the handsome,loveable "villain",Pran was by SJ in film Jis Desh Mein Ganga Bahti Hai.

Though SJ created hits during their entire reign, to the connoisseur, their earlier films like Barsaat,Chori Chori,etc., upto the middle of the 60s were the best. The apparent decline may possibly be attributed to their romoured split and their tuning songs separately instead of each song as a joint effort.

The hallmark of SJ's music was its rich orchestration, their penchant for rythm, intelligent use of Indian folk music and western music to inject a youthful zest and joy into their songs, delightful use of the piano accordian and extensive use of Hindustani classical ragas. They had given a number of semi classical songs as seen in film Basant Bahar(Sur naa saje -Manna Dey and Ketaki gulab - Manna Dey and Bhimsen Joshi) and Chori Chori (Rasik Balma-Lata) and Jis Desh Mein Ganga(Oh Basanti-Lata).

Though Md.Rafi, Lata, Mukesh and Asha were their favourite singers, they had used the voice of other singers like Manna Dey, Suman Kalyanpur etc., also often. New singers like Subir Sen( Dil mera ek aas ka panchi in film Aas ka Punchi, Manzil Vohi hey pyar ki in film Katputli and Mein Rangeela pyar ka rahi with Lata in Choti Bahen) and Mubarak Begum( Mujko apne gane with Lata in Hum Rahi) and Sharda( Titli udi in Suraj) were also given chances. Talat Mahamood sang a number of beautiful gazals for SJ like Eh mere dil kahi aur chal(Daag) and Andha jahan ke Andhe raste and Hai subse madhur woh geet ( both from Patita).

Another feature of SJ's music was that they used the lyrics of only Shailendra and Hasrat jayapuri in their films except rare exceptions.

After Jaikishan's death in 1971 Shankar continued to do music in the name of the duo. But the magic was missing in the songs and eventually Shankar was lost in the fierce competition and died in the year 1987.Though the duo is no more their rich legacy remains even today making millions happy.

Tail piece: What is the height of musical ecstacy? To sit alone away in an underlit corner of the house, preferably at night, with your gramophone and records and listen to the soul stirring music of yester years.

Chood gaye balam........Yaad kiya dil ne .........Teri pyari pyari soorat................. Sur na saje...............Oh basanti............Tera janaa dil ki.............Yeh mera divanapan ........Choudvin ka chand..............Suhani rath.......Soja rajakumari........


Sonu said...

Jay ji great to know that you are big fan of Shankar jaikishan. and choosed to post on them !

If you are interested in knowing more about shankar jaikishan you can join our grp on SJ. which is biggest active grp on them


BTY I have sent you a invite.

You might like discussions on SJ songs music etc !



Anonymous said...

Jay, you wrote "After Jaikishan's death in 1971 Shankar continued to do music in the name of the duo. But the magic was missing in the songs and eventually Shankar was lost in the fierce competition and died in the year 1987". Well, i beg to disagree with you on this point. Listen to the following gems (in mp3 format) created by Shankar (post Jaikishan): Albele Sanam (film Naina - the prelude is like those produced by a huge European orchestra), Aapko Hua Pyar Khuda Ki Kudrat (film Vachan), Ahista Ahista Jhudne Se (film Eent Ka Jawab Patthar - this shows that Shankar could produce new western style music in an Indian context), Angh Se Achhi Hai (Film Chorni - what a melodious treat!), Dekha Hai Tumhe (film Chorni - listen to the heavy orchestration with dozens of musical instruments in the first interlude), Jaane Kis Roop Ki Jadoo (film Archana - one of the best of Rafi's songs), Saath Mein Pyaara Saathi Hai (film Dil Daulat Duniya - it has extracted the best from Kishore Kumar), just to name a few. Are you aware that Bappi Lahiri who was reigning at that time stole Shankar's composition Gori Hai Kalaiyan (from the unreleased film Gori (1987) due to Shankar's sudden demise) and re-worked out the same song with some changes in the film Aaj Ka Arjun (1990). The song topped the music charts for a long time. I am half Indian and i live in Europe - my mother is Indian and my dad European. Being a musician myself (but not a first grade professional, i have to admit that), i follow worldwide music. For me, the best, unmatched and never to be equaled Indian Music Director remains the two Kings - Shankar-Jaikishan. One cannot remove the hyphen from this name - both were multi-talented. In an interview after Shankar's death, their music assistant Dattaram even pointed out that "both were talented and both worked equally well - there is no one higher or lower between them". The Indian film industry did the worst thing that one could do to a genius like Shankar after Jaikishan's death (please read about it). What a tragedy! It is like a group of cape buffalos surrounding a wounded lion (who has reigned for years) to finish him off. Here in Europe, a giant like Shankar would have been venerated. In India, they just brought him down using Jai's death as a handle. Lata (specially!), Mukesh and even Raj Kapoor have something to do with that. Raj Kapoor was overwhelmed with remorse after Shankar death and made a televised appearance in a doordashan programme to pay glowing tributes to.......SHANKAR!
Jay Sanders