In my series on Shankar-Jaikishan, I have covered so far their best songs for his leading singers, Lata Mangeshkar, Mukesh, Rafi and Manna Dey. SJ would be easily reckoned among the top five music directors for these major singers. Besides, I have also presented his best dance songs for Lata Mangeshkar and female dance duets. One measure of a music director’s versatility is the number of diverse singers for whom he gives their career-best songs. Take the case of SD Burman – there is no prominent singer for whom he has not composed some songs which would count among his or her best. As I come towards the close of the series, it is useful to take a look how Shankar-Jaikishan fare with other singers. SJ’s oeuvre is so huge that some more posts would be needed to give a fair coverage to their music. But I have been generally closing a series on a music director in the calendar year, and I have some other mandatory posts scheduled in the remaining part of the year. Therefore, I am presenting my final tribute to SJ with their songs for ‘other’ singers which give a glimpse of their multi-faceted talent.
For several years in the early 50s, Talat Mahmood created sensation with his velvet voice. I remember when we were discussing the most important MDs for him, the names mentioned were Ghulam Mohammad, C Ramchandra and Madan Mohan, besides, of course, Anil Biswas. Running down the list of Talat Mahmood’s songs, I find SJ have used his voice in at least 9 films: Daag, Parbat, Aas, Boot Polish, Naya Ghar, Patita, Shikast, Ek Phool Aur Char Kaante and Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja – possibly more than any other music director. Yet they are not counted among the elite list. However, a close look reveals several great songs – some have become iconic, such as Ae mere dil kahin aur chal (Daag), Hain sabse madhur wo geet mere (Patita); there are several others which may not be as well known, but have all the tonal qualities of Talat Mahmood’s voice and singing style.
1. Bujh gaye gham ki hawa se… Hum dard ke maaron ka by Talat Mahmood from Daag (1952), lyrics Shailendra
Songs from Shikast and Patita have figured prominently in discussion on best songs of 1953. Ae mere dil kahin aur chal, an iconic song from Daag has figured recently in DP Rangan’s post on Bacchus in Bollywood. But SJ have substantial number of great songs for Talat Mahmood. He had become the voice of Dilip Kumar thanks to Anil Biswas’s Aaram and Naushad’s Babul in 1950. SJ consolidate the linkage with Daag and Shikast. Here is another classic song of pathos of a hero who takes to alcohol at loss of love.
2. Unhe tu bhool ja ae dil by Talat Mahmood from Naya Ghar (1953), lyrics Shailendra
Tucked away in a less-known movie, here is another Talat beauty. Another song from this movie Hum unke paas aate hain is also quite nice.
3. Tum to dil ke taar chhed kar by Talat Mahmood from Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja (1961), lyrics Shailendra
From pathos-filled to softly joyous is this song picturised on the eternal romantic Dev Anand. SJ showed their talent for poignant Talat songs on Dev Anand in Patita, not to speak of fun-filled Rafi songs for the dapper hero in Love Marriage, Jab Pyar Kisi Se Hota Hai and Asli Naqli.
Kishore Kumar 2.0 (post-Aradhana) was the dominant singer in the 70s. By then, SJ were on decline, and the field was dominated by the triad power of RD Burman, Laxmikant-Pyarelal and Kalyanji-Anandji. But SJ managed to give a chartbuster, Zindagi ek safar hai suhana, in Andaaz (1971). But my interest, as also of most members of SoY is on Kishore Kumar 1.0. Though no match to SD Burman, SJ gave some extremely popular and outstanding songs in films like New Delhi, Shararat and Rangoli.
4. Are bhai nikal ke aa ghar se by Kishore Kumar from New Delhi (1956), lyrics Shailendra
A Punjabi boy masquerading as a Tamilian in order to be accepted as a tenant gives enough scope to Kishore Kumar to showcase his wild and funny side. He does what he is best at: dancing, jumping, yodelling and mimicing. Another song from the movie which is eternally popular is Nakhrewali.
5. Hum matwaale naujawan by Kishore Kumar from Shararat (1959), lyrics Hasrat Jaipuri
Shararat is often mentioned for the Rafi song Ajab hai daastan teri ye zindagi picturised on Kishore Kumar. There are various theories floating around on the net, ranging from the song being too difficult for Kishore Kumar to do full justice to it, to his playing truant. But leaving the speculation aside, one of my greatest Kishore Kumar favourites is Hum matwale naujawan. The performer-singer is in his elements again with beautiful SJ orchestration.
6. Chhoti si ye duniya pahchaane raaste by Kishore Kumar from Rungoli (1962), lyrics Shailendra
No compilation of the best songs of Kishore Kumar is complete without this wooing-an-angry-girl song. Shailendra was a master of conveying profound message in simple words. It also has a twin version in Lata Mangehskar’s voice. And you know which version is better.
7. Rungoli sajaao re by Kishore Kumar from Rungoli (1962), lyrics Hasrat Jaipuri
The last title song from the movie presents the soft and serious side of Kishore Kumar. Vyjayanthimala was worried that Kishore Kumar had not yet arrived when it was already time for the show. But his arrival in the nick of time and singing adds zest to her dancing. We have seen some excellent SJ songs of ‘he sings, she dances’, such as Radhike tune bansuri bajai.
Hemant Kumar was endowed with the sweetest voice. His two duets with Lata Mangeshkar, Yaad kiya dil ne kahan ho tum and Aa neel gagan tale pyar hum karein among the greatest duets of Hemant-Lata. But Hemant Kumar is never anything short of melodious. Here is a nice solo in his voice – Rula kar chal diye ek din – in Badshah.
8. Rula kar chal diye ek din by Hemant Kumar from Badshah (1954), lyrics Shailendra
Mahendra Kapoor had his best songs under OP Nayyar and Ravi. SJ have not used his voice much. His Kho gaya hai mera pyar from Hariyali Aur Rasta is quite well known. But songs which have become iconic in which Mahendra Kapoor’s voice is used are by three or more singers, such as Hum bhi hain tum bhi ho (Jis Desh Mein Ganga Bahti Hai) and Har dil jo pyar karega (Sangam).
9. Kho gaya hai mera pyar by Mahendra Kapoor from Hariyali Aur Rasta (1962), lyrics Hasrat Jaipuri
There are times when the director/music director felt that a side actor singing a sad song would convey the inner turmoil of the lead actor better. Mala Sinha has sacrificed her love for the sake of honour of Manoj Kumar’s family. A desolate hero is ambling at the river bank aimlessly. The boatman breaks out in this poignant song. Mahendra Kapoor is renowned for hitting high notes effortlessly.
There is at least one singer, Subir Sen, for whom SJ can claim the sole credit for giving visibility in Hindi films. Among the greatest singers in Bengali, similarity of his voice with Hemat Kumar would have been a handicap, but SJ have created some everlasting songs in his voice, such as Manzil wohi hai, Main rangeela pyar ka rahi, Dil mera ek aas ka panchhi and Dheere chalaao zara. I wrote a post on Subir Sen more than five years back, in which his best songs were covered, which contained several SJ compositions.
SJ used several singers outside the mainstream. They composed one of the best songs for CH Atma, Dil beqaraar hai mera dil beqaraar hai. I have mentioned Aparesh Lahiri’s Jaage mera dil from Badshah. Bhimsen Joshi’s duel with Manna Dey, Ketaki gulab jui champa ban phoole (Basant Bahar), is quite well known. A close search reveals some more names such as Krishnarao Chonkar, Iqbal Singh and Bhupendra that have been used by SJ.
10. Dil beqaraar hai mera dil beqaraar hai by CH Atma from Nageena (1951), lyrics Shailendra
The song starts with a slow recital prelude, Tumko hum apni zindagi ka aasra samjhe the hum, bewafa nikle ho tum ab bewafa samjhe hain hum before the mukhada in tune starts with Dil beqaraar hai. Such songs create a mood, and a surprise element of the tune to follow. CH Atma could not shake off KL saigal-effect in his voice and singing style, which limited his recognition. SJ have the credit of composing CH Atma’s one of the best film songs.
Among female playback singers, Geeta Dutt was for quite some time seen as a serious competitor to Lata Mangeshkar. SJ have used her voice in about half-a-dozen films, but there is hardly a solo which can be called memorable. Obviously, she didn’t fit in their scheme of things. We are aware of her great dance duet with Lata Mangeshkar, Bechain dil khoi si nazar (Yahudi, 1958). Her voice also figures in the iconic group song, Hai aag hamaare seene mein (Jis Desh Mein Ganga Bahti Hai, 1960). But for Geeta Dutt fans, here is a song of seduction from Love Marriage.
11. Karib aao na tadpaao by Geeta Dutt from Love Marriage (1959), lyrics Shailendra
Asha Bhosle emerged as the main challenger to her elder sister. SJ used her as the lead singer in Boot Polish (1953), giving her seven songs, including duets and group songs. Thereafter, they use her voice in about 50 films, i.e. in about 30% of the films for which they gave music. We have seen several of her duets in my post on SJ’s female dance duets. Though not mentioned in the same breath as SD Burman and OP Nayyar, SJ did compose several memorable songs for Asha Bhosle.
12. Chamke bijuria garje megh by Asha Bhosole from Shikast (1953), lyrics Hasrat Jaipuri
It would be trite if SoY only presented familiar songs. Here is a beautiful Asha Bhosle song I discovered for the first time. Its video is not available, but I guess it would be a group dance song featuring the leading lady Nalini Jaiwant with her sakhis.
13. Sawan ban gaye nain piya bin by Asha Bhosle from Krorepati (1961), lyrics Hasrat Jaipuri
A close look reveals several Asha Bhosle gems composed by SJ. Here is a song of virah when the piya is away in saawan.
14. Haye mujhe loot liya sainya tere pyar ne by Asha Bhosle from Apne Huye Paraye (1964), lyrics Hasrat Jaipuri
Here is a superb dance song at a party picturised on Padma Khanna, which must have been one of her earliest appearances.
15. Laali laali doliya mein laali re dulhaniya by Asha Bhosle from Teesri Kasam (1966), lyrics Shailendra
The more closely I look at SJ’s Asha Bhosle songs the more I realise they deserve greater recognition and some place at the high table. Teesri Kasam, produced by the lyricist Shailendra, was fulfilment of his life’s ambition. He was heavily invested in the film, hence its commercial failure broke him, leading to his untimely death. The film won the National Award for the Best Feature Film, but alas, it was too late. Today, it is regarded as one of the great classics. SJ seem to be hedging their Lata Mangeshkar equity with Asha Bhosle-card by giving her Paan khaye sainya hamaaro and Haye gazab kahin tara toota picturised on the travelling-theatre dancer Waheeda Rehman to two of the former – Maare gaye gulfam and Raat dhalne lagi. And, lest there was any doubt which side the balance tilted, they settle the matter with this beautiful song of village children running after what they think to be a doli carrying a dulhaniya. For the little girls, conditioned to think of becoming a dulhan as the ultimate aim in life, the excitement is apparent. But the dancer looks on wistfully as she knows such dreams are beyond her reach, and the beautiful moments she is sharing with the simpleton coachman Raj Kapoor would lead nowhere.
16. Dhani chunri pahan, saj ke ban ke dulhan..baj uthengi hare kaanch ki choodiyan by Asha Bhosle from Hare Kaanch Ki Choodiyan (1967), lyrics Shailendra
I must end Asha Bhosle selection with the title song of Hare Kaanch Ki Choodiyan which is one of my great favourites. Even though a repeat – I had included this song in my post on Asha Bhosle’s ‘special’ songs – my list of SJ-AB would not be complete without this song. The only jarring note in this beautiful song is the leading lady Naina Sahu, launched by her father Kishore Sahu with great fanfare. I have not heard of her since.
Suman Kalyanpur’s too close resemblance to Lata Mangeshkar became a handicap. However, Rafi-Lata tiff around mid-60s came as a godsend for her, with her landing several duets with Rafi which would have gone for Lata. SJ composed some of the greatest duets which are among the most popular songs of Suman Kalyanpur. Here is a nice solo in her voice in this title song from Jahan Pyar Miley.
17. Chale ja chale ja chale ja jahan pyar miley by Suman Kalyanpur from Jahan Pyar Miley (1967), lyrics Hasrat Jaipuri
It also has a twin version in Rafi’s voice. But in an exception to my rule of the male version being usually superior, Suman Kalyanpur version is more well-known. It would require a super-fine ear to distinguish it from Lata Mangeshkar.
Mubarak Begum got a lifetime opportunity to sing the title duet with Rafi in Humrahi, Mujhko apne gale laga le ae mere humrahi. She was expecting a sustained association with SJ, which was not to be. SJ have also used some other singers such as Arti Mukherjee and Usha Mangeshkar. The latter’s Ye na thi hamari kismet has been used earlier in Ashok Vaishnavji’s series on multiple version songs.
Sharda deserves a special mention in any discussion on female playback singers of SJ. Shankar was said to be infatuated with her, which was probably one of the reasons for causing strain with Lata Mangeshkar, as also chilled relations between the duo. They, or Shankar if you will, started using her regularly from mid-60s (Gumnam, 1965), unleashing her full force with Around the World and Diwana in 1967 in which she was the lead singer. Her voice figures in more than a dozen films, and if someone has appetite for it, one can write a post devoted to her songs. I have not seen any mention of her without her voice being subject of derision. But I remember KS Bhatiaji quoted one of her songs with approval. Our music expert SSW once emphasized a point by saying that even Sharda could sing Ae mere watan ke logo. I do not know if he was overstating the point by mentioning her name for effect. Being the blog host let me refrain from saying what I think of her, and leave it to her fans, if any, to add her songs to complete the list of SJ’s ‘other’ singers.