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12 Jaikishan compositions that defined romance: Death anniversary special


One half of an immortal music-director duo with Shankar Singh Raghuvanshi, Jaikishan Dayabhai Panchal was a genuine talent. On his 46th death anniversary, we revisit a dozen of his memorable compositions with his preferred lyricist, Hasrat Jaipuri.

Shriram Iyengar

It was at the Prithvi Theatres that Shankar Singh Raghuvanshi first met Jaikishan Dayabhai Panchal. Both were looking for jobs as musicians with the famous theatrical company run by the thespian Prithviraj Kapoor.

How Prithvi Theatre became music composer Shankar's lucky mascot

Both found a place at the theatre, working on bits and parts, and composing for plays. It was also here that they came in touch with two of their most effective collaborators, Raj Kapoor and Shailendra. Later, Hasrat Jaipuri would join them to form the famous musical team of RK Films.

Throughout their career, Shankar and Jaikishan were inseparable in their work. With Shailendra and Hasrat, they formed a team that delivered hits with a consistency that made other composers envious. Yet, the secret to this consistency lay in synchronized teamwork. While Shankar preferred the simplicity and earthiness of Shailendra for his compositions, Jaikishan opted for the fun element that came in Hasrat Jaipuri's poetry.

Unsurprisingly, it was Shammi Kapoor who found Jaikishan to be the perfect partner. As the actor said in an interview, "I am asked whether I had a better tuning to Jaikishan than to Shankar. Yes, I did, but only because Jai and I were of the same age — Shankarji was older to me. I knew both of them since 1948 when they were musicians with Prithvi Theatres and I would work there as an actor."

On Jaikishan's 46th death anniversary, we look at 12 wonderful romantic songs, written by Hasrat Jaipuri, that epitomize his versatility and the many shades of romance.

1. 'Teri Pyari Pyari Surat Ko' – Sasural (1961)

This song swept all awards that year. Sung by Mohammed Rafi and picturized on Rajendra Kumar teasing Saroja Devi, the song has gone on to become one of the most iconic opening lines in Hindi music. It won Rafi the Filmfare award for Best Playback Singer.

2. 'Ehsan Tera Hoga Mujh Par' – Junglee (1961)

Though they began their film career with Raj Kapoor, it was with Shammi Kapoor's antics that Shankar-Jaikishan found their magical touch. For the superhit film Junglee, Jaikishan composed this soft romantic ballad, written by Hasrat. As Shammi Kapoor himself described in the interview mentioned earlier, "Jaikishan was simply an amazing composer. He was very open to inputs and loved to fuse Western music with his classical roots. If he was great at all those rhythmic numbers, he could churn out the soulful ‘Ehsan Tera Hoga Mujh Par’ equally effortlessly."

3. 'Chahe Koi Mujhe Junglee Kahe' – Junglee (1961)

Interestingly, this song carried the catchphrase 'Yahoo!', which spread like wildfire on the film's release. It also stands out because when the internet first arrived with the search engine Yahoo! in India, Shammi Kapoor took to it like a duck to water, calling himself "one of the earliest users of the internet in India". As he said in an interview, "I had used the term ‘Yahoo’ in my lines in Tumsa Nahin Dekha and gave the term to Jai [Jaikishan] when he was working on ‘Chahe Koi Mujhe Junglee Kahe’. He incorporated the expression in musical form. It was destiny, I suppose that when the internet came into India and Yahoo! became a household word, I was to be one of the earliest users of the internet in India."

Jaikishan's music rises with Rafi's singing, setting the tone for an entire decade of music to come.

4. 'Aye Gulbadan' – Professor (1962)

The composers won the Filmfare award for Best Playback Music for this hilarious film directed by Lekh Tandon. This wonderful Urdu track, written by Hasrat Jaipuri, stands out for Jaikishan's ability to move from the craziness of Junglee (1961) to a softer melody with ease.

5. 'Ye Mera Prem Patra Padhkar' – Sangam (1964)

One of the great successes of Raj Kapoor and Shankar-Jaikishan's careers, Sangam also caused one of the big clashes between the otherwise inseparable music composers. After Jaikishan publicly identified 'Ye Mera Prem Patra Padhkar' as his composition (as well as differences with Shankar's preference for the singer Sharda), the two almost broke up. It was only the timely intervention of their favourite singer singer Mohammed Rafi that kept the duo together.

Interestingly, Hasrat Jaipuri wrote the lyrics for an unrequited love of his younger years. Another song the poet wrote for the same woman was used as the title track 'Bol Radha Bol'.

6. 'Aji Rooth Kar Ab Kahan Jaaiyega' – Arzoo (1965)

Arzoo was one of the rare films in which Jaikishan composed almost all the songs. No surprise then that most of the songs were written by Hasrat. This song was composed in two versions, one sung by Mohammed Rafi and the other by Lata Mangeshkar, in raga Desh. It earned Jaipuri the Filmfare nomination for Best Lyricist that year.

7. 'Bedardi Balma Tujhko' – Aarzoo (1965)

While he was known for his proficiency in Urdu poetry, Hasrat Jaipuri could also create some beautiful poems in Hindi. This song from Arzoo focuses on the memory of lost love, and is given a wonderful touch by Jaikishan.

8. 'Baharon Phool Barsao' – Suraj (1966)

Again, Jaipuri's magical control of language, effortlessly delivered by Rafi, stands out in this song. But it was the subtle variation and harmonics by Jaikishan that made it such a memorable composition. The song made a clean sweep of the music awards that year, with Shankar-Jaikishan being adjudged Best Music Directors, Jaipuri winning for Best Lyricist, and Rafi bagging the Best Playback Singer title at the Filmfare awards.

9. 'O Mere Shahe Khuban' – Love In Tokyo (1966)

Another actor who benefited greatly from Shankar-Jaikishan compositions was Joy Mukherjee. This seductive ode was testament to Jaikishan's ability to allow the florid lyrics to rise with very understated but effective melodies.

10. 'Aasman Se Aaya Farishta' – An Evening In Paris (1967)

If a song was for a Shammi Kapoor film, his presence was mandatory at the recording. The actor would offer inputs to Rafi when it came to impersonating his voice. However, he was absent for the recording of this song. Surprisingly, Rafi and Jaikishan managed to recreate Shammi Kapoor's emotions and antics perfectly, leaving the actor happily stunned.

In a video interview, Shammi Kapoor later said this song was a testament to Rafi's skills. What the actor did not mention was Jaikishan's perfect composition that allowed room for such experimentation.

As an aside, this is also one of the earliest bikini songs in Hindi cinema.

11. 'Badan Pe Sitare Lapete Hue' – Prince (1969)

Prince arrived in the last years of the Shankar-Jaikishan partnership. The film had some magical numbers, including this emphatic song that marked the evolution of the glitzy 'sari' in Hindi cinema. With the Indian Elvis, Shammi Kapoor, taking the stage on Jaikishan's rock-n-roll symphony, it was hard for anyone to stay away from the dance floor.

12. 'Zindagi Ek Safar Hai Suhana' – Andaz (1971)

Just before he passed away in 1971, Jaikishan composed one of his last tunes with his partner for Andaz. Again, it was a Shammi Kapoor film, but the song was picturized on the reigning superstar Rajesh Khanna who had a small but pivotal role in the film.

On 12 September 1971, Jaikishan passed away. While Shankar continued to make music, he could never again touch the heights the duo had attained together.

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