Forgotten Composers Unforgettable Melodies (4): Shailesh Mukherjee

December 6, 2011

A friend of mine is a Storehouse of Information (SoI) on music of 1950s and 60s. He has an endearing way of posing teasers. One day he asked me if I had heard of Shailesh (Mukherji), the music director. I had not. Then came a helpful one, have you heard the song Nadiya ke pani o re nadiya ke pani. I jumped at it. To think that I did not know the music director of this my great favourite song! I immediately went to Youtube to check up on him. Then it was my turn to pose a teaser to SoI if he had heard Chhupa chhupi o chhupi aagad baagad aye re. He was thrilled to reconnect with the song. So you have two immortal songs from an unknown music director Shailesh Mukherji, that too from the same film Savera.

There is hardly any information available on him on the net. Arunkumar Deshmukh, whom the followers of this and Atul’s blog know as a living encyclopedia, informs that he also acted under the name Srikant Gaurav in the films Miya Biwi Raazi (1960) and Pyar Ki Pyas (1961). He was also a playback singer and sang a number of songs in film like Suhag Sindoor (1953). He was also a good tabla player – the interlude of Aansuon ki chhaon mein bhi hans le by Lata Mangeshkar in Parichay (1954) has good tabla piece by him.

From the information available he composed music for Suhag Sindoor (1953) with Suresh Kumar, Parichay (1954) with Ved Pal and Savera (1958). This is not a great deal of work, but some of his songs have become immortal. I do not know I would have come upon him by myself. But that I am writing on him at this point of time owes it to SoI (like me he also prefers to remain anonymous).

Here are some of his songs unforgettable songs.

1. Nadiya ke pani o re nadiya ke pani by Lata Mangeshkar from Savera (1958), lyrics Shailendra

This was a Ashok Kumar and Meena Kumari starrer film.  Songs of river or nadi/ nadiya have a special beauty – they refer to the endless flow of nature and somehow they make you feel you have been transported to the bank of a river. This should be one of the best nadiya songs, and is the one with which SoI connected me to Shailesh Mukherji.

2.  Chhupa chhupi o chhupi aagad baagad ayee re by Mana dey, Lata Mangeshkar and chorus from Savera, lyrics Shailendra

This is a fascinating children’s song picturised on Ashok Kumar and Meena Kumari playing with a bunch of children with gay abandon.

3.  Thehro zara si der ko aakhir chale hi jaoge by Geeta Dutt from Savera, lyrics Prem Dhavan

You do not get too many ghazals by Geeta Dutt.   This magical ghazal must be a pleasant discovery for Geeta Dutt fans.

4.  Mane na mane na by Geeta Dutt from Savera, lyrics Prem Dhavan

Another atypical Geet Dutt song, now a fast paced mujra.

5.  Dil ke phaphole jal uthe by Lata Mangeshkar from Parichay (1954), lyrics Keshav

The mukhadaa of this song borrows from KL Saigal Dey’s classic song from Dhoop Chhaon (1935).

6.  Sakhi sajan ne mujhko bulaya hai by Geeta Dutt from Suhag Sindoor (1953)

Now you have a more typical melodious Geeta Dutt song from Suhag Sindoor produced by Munshi productions, Bombay, starring  Shyama and Asit Baran.  Asit Baran is a surprise casting here.  When the biggies of New Theatres like KL Saigal had migrated from Calcutta to Bombay, Asit Baran was holding fort in Calcutta and starring in a number of films in early 40s.  In the true New Theatres tradition he was himself an excellent singer.   Several of his absolutely beautiful songs are now available, and I should be writing about him sometime soon.  But the interesting point is that he should have also shifted to Bombay, and as if to mark Bombay’s ascendancy over Calcutta, Asit Baran did not have a single song in this film.  (Come to think of it, even RC Boral shifted to Bombay.   But while in the New Theatres era he was the Gold Standard of music, I have yet to come across any worthwhile song of his in his Bombay period).

{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ashok Vaishnav December 6, 2011 at 10:21 am

When I read the title, I was taken aback. I did not really have had heard this name. But thankfully I had heard and liked then, and even now, the first song — Nadiyaa ke Paani.
I would be listening out all now.
PLease accept my THE BIGGEST thank you to you as well to Shri Atul and Arun Desmukh.
In fact you need to be complimented from all the fans of Hindi Film music.

2 Arunkumar Deshmukh December 6, 2011 at 9:49 pm

AK ji,
Thanks for your kind words.
May I humbly point out that the film’s name should be PYAR KI PYAS-1961,wherein he acted as Shrikant.(I know it is a Typo).

3 Arunkumar Deshmukh December 6, 2011 at 9:53 pm


He sang as Sailesh in films like NAYA KADAM-1958 ( o chunava o munava…) also.

4 AK December 7, 2011 at 8:05 pm

@Arunkumar Deshmukh
You could confirm whether the male voice in Dekh chand ki or from Aag (1948) is the same Shailesh Mukherji.

5 Arunkumar Deshmukh December 7, 2011 at 9:05 pm

AK ji,
Yes,100 %.

6 AK December 8, 2011 at 9:50 am

@Arunkumar Deshmukh

In that case here is the song:

Dekh chand ki or by Sailesh Mukherji and Shamshad Begum from Aag (1948), music Ram Ganguly

Is there also a Mukesh version of this song?

7 Arunkumar Deshmukh December 8, 2011 at 11:04 am

AK ji,
I am not aware of any Mukesh version of this song.
In film Aag-1948,there is one more song “Rab mere araj suno meri….” The singers are Sailesh,Mukesh and chorus.

8 harvey December 12, 2011 at 2:48 am

Wow, this is some discovery!
Except for Chhupa chhupi o chhupi aagad baagad ayee re from Savera, I didn’t know any of the songs here. The very name Shailesh Mukherjee is completely new for me.
Geeta Sutt singing a ghazal was a treat for the ears!
Thanks for this wonderfu post!

9 AK December 12, 2011 at 10:00 am

Thanks for your compliments. I too had just heard the two songs of Savera and the one from Aag. But I either did not know the name of Shailesh Mukherji or had not given attention to it.

10 Arunkumar Deshmukh December 15, 2011 at 10:53 am

AK ji,

The VDO which you have posted for the song Dekh chaand ki ore has the voices of Meena Kapoor and sailesh.
Shamshad Begum had sung this song with Sailesh only on 78 RPM record.


11 AK December 19, 2011 at 11:46 am

@Arunkumar Deshmukh
One knew YouTube labelling is often wrong. But even Hindi Film Geet Kosh mentions Shamshad Begum as the singer. They are also not infallible. I tried to listen to the song very carefully. I can not say definitely, but you may be right.

12 Arunkumar Deshmukh December 20, 2011 at 6:59 pm

AK ji,
The HFGK mentions name of Shamshad Begum because they are mentioning the label on record.They have given the record no. also-N-35324.HFGK invariably mentions info about recorded versions,along with record numbers.
VDO s are actually taken from the films,hence there are different credits.

13 AK December 21, 2011 at 10:09 am

@Arunkumar Deshmukh
Thanks for the clarification.

14 abhijeet mazumdar March 17, 2012 at 9:36 pm

I read all.I like of the music composor also with shailesh. Mukharjee in the film.Savera was j.majumdar. You can conferm itfrom paramesh mukharjee son of late sailesh mukherjee.

15 Diya Sengupta Mukherjee July 12, 2012 at 4:08 pm

Dear Abhijeet Mazumdar,
Shri Animesh Mukherjee (my father-in-law) is the son of Late Sailesh Mukherjee.

Even we saw some of his photographs in which he was with musical stalwarts mentioned in this blog.

Diya Sengupta Mukherjee

16 RS August 19, 2012 at 9:21 pm

Great post as always. Just wanted to point out a small correction. Lyricist of song 4. Maane Na… Savera is Prem Dhawan, not Geeta Dutt

17 AK August 20, 2012 at 10:46 am

Thanks for the correction.

18 Bharat J Patwala February 17, 2013 at 11:33 am

Sh AK,
Recently my friend introduced your website and I found myself lucky for having a treasure trove !.For years I have been listening to these melodious songs of Shailesh Mukherji. Lataji’s Dil Ke… & Aansoo Ki … are my favorite.I was pleasantly surprised to know that interlude Tabla was played by Shailesh himself.I also learned from your article about his other roles as actor, singer etc. Quite interesting info.My appetite for old rare songs and forgotten artistes is being satisfied.Thanks for all services for music lovers like us.

19 AK February 17, 2013 at 12:33 pm

Welcome to SoY family. Thanks for your compliments. Looking forward to your continued engagement.

20 Vikram Bhatt February 1, 2014 at 4:31 pm

It is nice to see that family members of Late Shaileshji (Diya Sengupta Mukherjee) gets connected by through this post.If they can put little effort to share more information on life and work of Shaileshji..,entire musical fraternity will be highly thankful to them….

21 AK February 1, 2014 at 8:04 pm

Vikram Bhatt,
I would reiterate what you have said. If the family members who get connected through Songs of Yore or such other blogs, they would be doing a great service to the artistes if they could share personal information, pictures etc with us.

22 Vinayak Vaidya July 28, 2014 at 7:17 pm

Many songs of Savera and one from Parichay used to be played regularly on Ceylon as well as Vividh Bharati…in ’50s and ’60s. So the MD was even then well known. Only thing is announcers usually named him “Sailesh” or “Shailesh”. The Mukherjee part I learned in last few years only.

23 ksbhatia July 29, 2014 at 1:40 am

AK’ji,Vinayak’ji,The other ” shailesh” we knew was the actor who mostly worked in Bhaiya Bhabhi Daewar type films. He acted in” Bhabhi ki chuurian”and there was some good songs by Mukesh ….” Tum hi se ghar ghar kahailaiya “. In my childhood i used to imagine Shailesh as MD of that film as well. For AAG song “Dekh chand ki ore “the female singer is Shamshad ; as also “Kahe koyal shore machai re mohe apna koi yaad aye rai “based on punjabi folk song. The MD was Ram ganguly.

24 ksbhatia December 14, 2014 at 3:38 pm

Reference to shailesh kumar ,the actor, reminds me of one beautiful song of the film Begaana [1963] sung by Mukesh ” Na jaane kaha kho gaya woh zamana ” . The song really conveys the sadness . Can someone please upload this song for SOY family .

25 arvindersharma December 15, 2014 at 7:09 pm

KS Bhatia Ji,
Here is your song.

26 ksbhatia December 21, 2014 at 4:22 pm

Arvindersharmaji; Thanks for uploading this song which is one of my fav. While exploring some songs of some C catg. movies I came across some really good songs of movies like Bagdad ka jadoo and Circus Queen . Shafi M Nagri is the MD of both the movies . I have listen to some songs which carries playback for female as Mubarak begum but I could not recognise the male singer . Can someone do me the favour? I never knew about the MD also .

27 AK December 22, 2014 at 7:30 pm

I am going by HFGK. In Baghdaad Ka Jadoo, the male singer in one duet is said to be Rafi, and in another, one Bawra (could he be Gulshan Bawra?). In Circus Queen, it is silent about the singers. So you have to go by how they sound.

28 Ashwin Bhandarkar June 20, 2015 at 12:19 pm

I strongly feel that ‘Jalke dil khaak hua’ from ‘Parichay’ definitely deserves a mention in this post.

29 arvindersharma June 20, 2015 at 12:49 pm

Ashwin Bhandarkar Ji,
Kindly see the fifth song, Dil ke phaphole jal uthe’ by AK Ji in the above article.
You will see the song.

30 Ashwin Bhandarkar June 20, 2015 at 1:54 pm

Thanks for pointing that out to me, Arvinderji!

31 A . N. GANDHE July 18, 2015 at 11:58 am

As i have mentioned elsewhere while listening to Geetmala Ki chhanv Mein Ameen sayaji has given both the songs of Savera as chhavan ke geet and he also mentioned Shailesh Mukharji was his sound recordist for many year. I also wonder Baghon mein Kilte hain fool(lata- Talat) was composed by same shalish mukharji.

32 AK July 18, 2015 at 7:47 pm

AN Gandhe,
I don’t see what is Shaieh Mukherjee’s connection to Baagon mein khilte hain phool. It is composed by Chitragupta for Suhaag Sindoor (1969).

33 mumbaikar8 August 21, 2015 at 10:54 pm

I felt like visiting this blog after I heard jal ke dil khaak hua from Parichay
I feel I should have visited earlier, what a song.
Lata has excelled too, though that was her norm.
Thanks for remembering Sailesh, he truly deserves it.

34 AK August 22, 2015 at 6:01 am

Thanks a lot for your appreciation.

35 D P Rangan September 16, 2015 at 12:24 am

I saw this movie Savera when it was released in 1958 in Khanna theatre in Delhi. At that time I felt these songs will outlive their composer
and it has proved to be correct. Had such gut feeling about Madhumathi too and it proved to be one of the greatest hit of Salilda.

36 Dilip Maniar March 28, 2016 at 3:07 pm

Here is one more gem..Duet from movie Samaj…1954…
Shailesh mukharjee singing with Asha bhosle…
Kai din se sawan barsa hai rimjhim rimjhim..
hawa jhumti hai ggata ga rahi hai…

37 AK March 28, 2016 at 5:56 pm

Dilip Maniar,
Welcome to SoY and thanks for this addition.

38 Uma Maheswar March 21, 2017 at 3:13 pm

Good Evening
Happy Navroz and Holi
Good article on Sailesh Mukherjee.
The very beautiful composition by him was ‘Jeevan ke raaste hazar’ from movie ‘Savera’, released in 1958 and very beautifully sung by Manna Dey ji with his pure Heart and Soul.

Thanks for sharing beautiful articles.
Regards and blessings
Uma Maheswar

39 AK March 21, 2017 at 4:24 pm

Uma Maheshwar,
Thanks a lot for your compliments. Jeevan ke raaste hazar is a very soulful song. Thanks for adding it.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: