Monday, 8 July 2019

The Myths Surrounding Shankar Jaikishan

Lakshmi K. Tummala

When anyone reaches the dizzying heights in their career, gain unheard of national and international fame, and win stupendous fan following from the common man to stalwarts in the entertainment and political world like Shankar Jaikishan did, it is but natural for their peers to feel a twinge of jealousy. Their contemporaries and media spun all kinds of fictitious stories about SJ to gain attention. Some in the music industry wanted to dismantle SJ from the “pedestal” their fans put them on and the media wanted to sell their product. The public was so fascinated by the composer duo's persona and would take anything and everything written about the duo and believe it. SJ were so busy in their work that they hardly ever gave any interviews which would have helped to set the record straight.
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It was said that SJ were arrogant and did not spare time to give interviews to the press. This is far from the truth. The reason was that SJ were extremely busy and they hardly ever had the time. Thus, the little time that they had was spent on their personal interests. Shankar, the consummate musician that he was, spent all his spare time composing tunes, learning to play new instruments and meeting with classical musicians who were of great interest to him. Jaikishan, on the other hand, was a social butterfly. With his handsome looks and successful career, he was always surrounded by friends and fans. Being a “party animal,” he was always spotted at social events where he was the center of attraction.
That Shankar was rude, crude and uncouth cannot be more false. He may not have been highly educated, but he was a man of honor. Being a thorough professional, he always delivered his assignments on time and, thus, could never tolerate tardiness and irresponsibility. He reprimanded those who were not, which left him in their bad books. as mentioned by Manoj Shailendra, son of Shailendra, Shankar always addressed young and old with the suffix “ji” which shows his respect for one and all.
Nothing is as far from truth as Shankar Jaikishan being dropped from movies because of their high remuneration. As their popularity grew, so did their number of assignments. At the top of their career, in 1971, SJ were the busiest in town with nineteen movies on hand and couldn't take on any more assignments. This was true with producers like Sridhar, L. V. Prasad, P. Gangadhara Rao, S. S. Vasan, T. Prakasha Rao from the south who were actively making movies and very badly wanted SJ to compose music for their upcoming movies. But the composers were so swamped with work that they couldn't oblige. Movie making is a high risk gambling. Films are financed at twenty five percent interest rate and, as it gets closer to release date, the interest rate sometimes jumped to thirty percent too. With this factor involved, the producers couldn't afford to wait for SJ to be free to work for their movies. So, they opted for other music directors who were ready to work for them at a fraction of the remuneration and meager orchestra which reflected in their run of the mill work.
Another fallacy about SJ is that, after Jaikishan’s demise, Shankar was a spent force and couldn't meet the expectations of their producers and fans. The fact is, not only did he complete all the nineteen movies signed for 1971, he even went on to compose music for forty two more movies, single handedly. This is proof that there were many producers who believed in his talent and that the maestro still had the mettle left in him. At the peak of their career, SJ were paid five lakhs for a movie. With Jai's death, some producers felt that they should cut that amount to half since it was only one composer doing the job. This resulted in a lower budget and fewer musicians to work with in his orchestra which had a negative effect on the compositions. The main reason for the failure of some of SJ's later movies lies in the mediocre actors, poor story line and screen play.
That Shankar had a fascination for Sharda and preferred her to Lata and, therefore, switched to the former for female songs was never the case. From their very first movie to the last, SJ chose their singers keeping in mind the lyrics and the actor for who the playback was done. There are many movies in which both Lata and Sharda sang as per requirement of the characters. However, Lata felt threatened by Sharda's popularity and SJ's support of her which lead to the former holding a grudge against him. She later returned to the SJ camp to sing many more songs. Yet, Shankar maintained the same regard for the singer till his end.
People may have said and done what they wanted to thwart SJ (Shankar)'s career, but they couldn't erase their fame and name to this day. SJ reign supreme in the hearts of their fans!

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Trivia about few shelved/incomplete films of Shankar Jaikishen

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
13. Paani
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) Watan (Sunil Dutt, Sanjay Khan, Rekha, Premnath; Director Kanak Misra)
2) Azmaaish (Sanjay Khan, Director: Kanak Misra)
3) Baby Hindustan (Director: Basu Chatterji)
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)
10) Airport
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. 

Abhay Acharekar

Saturday, 27 April 2019

Tribute to the God-sent composer Shankar ji !


Hemant Kumar Pawar

This is my humble tribute to the God-sent composer Shankar ji !

Image may contain: Anjan Kumar SJ Devotee, standing and suit
" Pariwartan ( Change ) sansar ka niyam hai ", said Lord Shrikrishna in 'Geeta' !
And, to bring about a major change in the long existing custom or system or tradition, a divine intervention is necessary many times.
God accomplishes such a 'Change' by sending His own avatars or messengers or angels or His favorite blessed souls down to this planet.
Shankar Singh Raghuvanshi was such blessed soul who was sent to this world on a special mission. His birth and life were certainly by a divine intervention if one takes a close look at his works and achievements.
HFM or the Hindi film music had become a sheer monotony until the year 1949, and not much was left in it to for billions of common public to enjoy. The compositions considered best by the then music fraternity ( before the year 1949 ), were mostly raaga-based and the vocals therein in nasal voices dominated the good music ( if there was any ). These songs were devoid of any cheerfulness, joy and life. Of course, there were exceptions, but few. These vintage compositions had nothing much to offer to the vast masses across the country.
In such a backdrop of situation, a major change was absolutely necessary that could cater to the musical taste of masses and classes alike.
And, here came that divine intervention in the form of human being called Shankar Singh Raghuvanshi, a native of Hyderabad who later shifted to the then Bombay to effect that vital change HFM so badly needed.
The entire Hindi film music of the Hindi cinema industry can be broadly divided in two parts. One, before the the legendary RK film Barsat and the other, post Barsat. This film was legendary in the sense that its music proved to be a landmark in the history of HFM, and from here the evolution in film songs and music started in the right direction. Today, after seventy years, a survey was conducted by the Planet Bollywood for the most popular music albums, and Barsat's album stood at no.1
And, very surprisingly, almost a single man Shankar Singh Raghuvanshi was solely responsible for this phenomenal change in the pattern, nature and course of the HFM, because Jaikishan, by yet another divine intervention to join Shankar Singh, was just a teenager at that time. He was just seventeen, and as such, cannot be assumed to be mature enough to know the actual business of the music industry, though an extremely and exceptionally talented genius master of every music.
Barsat was their debut film to compose music, and what music they created !
First time the discerning music lovers tasted the real nectar in music. It was here that film music got its true identity. The songs just cheered up the listeners, so much so, that they not only sang and hummed them frequently, but actually danced to this new and fresh music.
And, from Barsat onwards, almost everything in film music changed drastically. A golden era in film music was ushered in by the duo Shankar-Jaikishan that lasted till the death of Shankar Singh Raghuvanshi !
This man Shankar lived a life of Yogi in the glamour and glitter of the Bollywood, and spent his entire life in the "Sadhana" of music till his last breath. He was never moved by the usual allurements in the industry to which many geniuses and talents have fallen prey till date. Such a strength of character and determination was always seen in his individuality. A true ascetic Shankar ji was.
This is that fateful day on which this God -sent messenger returned to his abode in heaven in the year 1987 !
Messengers never fail !
People fail to know them in the proper perspective !!!

Friday, 26 April 2019



Dharma Kirthi

Shankar composed music for more than 170 movies in his career spanning 39 years , starting from Barsat in 1949 till Gori his last movie. His brand Shankar Jaikishan won 9 Filmfare Awards and how many movies celebrated jubilees is not available. I am sure, the number must be more than 60.

As composer , Shankar was very particular about having rich orchestra, perhaps an habit he picked up from his patron film maker Raj Kapoor, who visualized movies larger than life. To substantiate my point, I wish to cite the example of a few songs from Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai.
Here is a movie, Shankar felt had no scope for music at all, and later scored one of their finest albums for a movie shot mostly in a dacoits den. This movie has 9 songs, and each song is such a rich experience in audio experience. This movie was released in 1960, which means the recording was done before that.
With such primitive recording equipment and facilities, they created such priceless gems, that one fails to visualize what magic they could have created in modern times.
Let’s take a look at the songs :
1 . Mera naam raju gharaana anaam..Movie opens with this song, shot in the vast expanse of Ganga in Haridwar . Just listen to the orchestra, melody and the energy. What a way to open the movie.
2.Begani Shaadi Mein Abdulla Diwana: Here is a fun song which has almost become a popular idiom. Absolutely energetic music and fun filled flow of melody.
3. Hoton pe Sachaai rehti hai: Here is one of the finest songs which portrays the ethos of what India is all about. The prelude for this song begins with a rich play of dafli..and then begins the song on a quite note..picks up with use of Sitar which pull at your heart strings..
4. Kya hua ye mujhe kya pata jaane kyun…A super energetic dance number for Padmini and Chanchal..what can I say about this song. Accordion and rhythm with bongos and percussion of maracas,
5.Ho Maine pyar kiya hoye hoye kya zulm kiya: Here is another very high voltage sensuous number, picturised on Padmini.
6. O Basanti pavan pagal : This pathos number has exceptionally rich orchestra especially, in the end, when Raj Kapoor returns and Padmini dances in front of Goddess Bhavani..My God, simply unbelievable and beyond words .
7. Hai aag hamare seene mein: This is a song with perhaps the maximum number of leading playback singers in one song. Full of energy and a flow which goes up in scale as it progresses. The use of rhythm and mandolin notes is exceptional, to say the least.
8. Pyar Karle nai te phaansi chad jaayega: Here is a classic song which sums up the essence of the story which preaches surrender of arms, and leading a life of honour. Simple and very touching song.
9. Aa Ab Laut chale: This song is the mother of all large screen songs. So much has been written about its orchestra and chorus, that I need not add anything more.
This is music, which elevates a simple story to the skies and makes it a super duper hit.
If this is not larger than life, then what is! This is not the only movie, there are 10s of such great movies with simply out of the world music !!
Shankar The Great !!