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shankar-jaikishan.peperonity.net

S.VISWANATHAN ON SHANKAR-JAIKISHAN

GEET GAATA HOON MAIN---GUNGUNATA HOON MAIN--- A TRIBUTE TO S-J
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Why S-J is still special to me, a middle-aged mundane guy with absolute no training in music?
Because it was S-J who gave me this pair of ears which learnt to discern a good piece of music right from my kiddy days. As a typical kid pre-occupied with home-work and games with no concern for music, S-J started pulling me to the radio on Wednesday nights for Binaca Geet Mala.. They were already at the top when I discovered them. It was, I think 1962 and music of films like 'Jis Deshme Ganga Behti hai', 'Dil Apna aur preet parai', 'Aashiq', 'Asli Naqli' etc etc were in the air constantly. But it was not until a couple of years later that I could immediately recognize a S-J song, just from the opening note. By then I had fully succumbed to the S-J magic.
S-J ka kya kehna! That vigorous full-piece orchestra, the chorus of violins 'goonjing' gloriously in the back-ground, the accordion flowing like a graceful river, those tablas and bongos frantically drumming their way with abandon and all of them rising to a synchronized crescendo, bus, S-J ka kya kehna!

Though S-J got established with RKs 'Barsaat','Awara','Shri 420' and other B&W movies of the 50s and early 60s, I had always felt that S-Js music was too colourful for a B&W movie! 'Dil Ek Mandir' had a great score, but a drab white-tiled hospital is hardly the setting that can do justice to S-J's colours! Their rightful place was out in the hills, meadows and river-sides ,on luxury cruises,yachts and picnic buses . So it was to be. Now as you look back, S-J music became an inseperable part of all those Eastmancolor flicks of the 60s that followed the Hollywood trend . 'Sangam', 'Aarzoo','Junglee','Professor', 'Love in Tokyo', 'An Evening in Paris','Around the World' and many others placed them in sunny picturesque locales where the music blended with the fresh air and vibrated with energy. Typically a 60's S-J song would start with a meandering prelude building up, as the camera pans a snow-clad mountain or a green meadow lovingly, before descending on a Shammi Kapoor or a Rajendra Kumar in a red or bright yellow sweater, well set-out from the guest house on a horse, after a healthy breakfast of omlettes and apples, breaking into a rapturous Rafi number designed to woo an equally colorful Saira or Sharmila in a blue saree or an orange salwar-kameez, yelling at appropriate occasions something like, 'You---You—Badtameez---maroongi, haan!'. OK , The script and sequences were corny and predictable, but S-Js music stood out and lent a special delicious flavour to those hackneyed proceedings. S-J's music was all about romance, energy, color and zest for life.

Masters in building up drama through music, something probably inspired by the Western symphonies, S-J used their violins with great effect on those long opening flourishes before the voice takes over merging with the dazzling orchestra, drowning the listener under sheer melody and rhythm. Just listen to the opening orchestra of 'Tujhe jeevanki dor se' (Asli Naqli), or 'Yeh Raat Bheegi Bheegi' (Chori Chori) or 'Main Aashiq hoon baharonka' (Aashiq), , you will know what I mean. Great Great Music, what do you say?

I doubt whether any other composer could pack in so much drama in a song, whether it is a girl-chasing number like 'Deewaaneka naam tho poocho' (An Evening in Paris) or 'Badan pe sitare lapete hue' (Prince) or whether it is the heart-broken hero or heroine belting out their feelings in 'Jaane kahan gaye who din' (Mera Naan Joker'), or 'Bedardi balma' (Aarzoo). S-J's sad numbers were as sizzling as the happy ones. No sullen sleepy lamenting for S-J, it has to be a full-blown expression,whipping up a frenzy, fit enough for the climax. Recall Rafi's incredible vocal range and pathos brought out by S-J in 'Gham uthaneke liye main tho jiye jaoonga' ('Mere Huzoor') and 'Dilke jharokeme tujhko bithakar' (Brahmachari).

It is told that each of them had their unique styles and they composed their songs individually but branded with a collective S-J label. Difference of opinions were inevitable like the one about Sharada (Well,she was not as bad as Jaikishen would have thought, she had her own unique baby voice cut-out for 'Titli udi' (Suraj) and 'Chale jaana---zara tehro' (Around the world) ), but it is to their credit that the two diverse maestros, one a Punjabi from Hyderabad and other from Gujarat, stuck with each other so much so that even after Jaikishen's demise, Shankar carried on with films like 'Seema', 'Pehchhan, 'Be-imaan' etc. which continued to carry the 'Shankar-Jaikishen' label. I think, Shankar created simple and linear notes ('Dost dost na raha',' Chakke pe chakka' etc.) relying more on their trademark 'goonj' of orchestra for effect, whereas JK was more subtle and classical. But they complemented each other so well and churned out hits after hits. Shailendra (par excellence) and Hasrat Jaipuri were their 'camp' lyricists and Lata, Rafi, Mukesh were regular voices and occasionally Manna Dey ,Asha and Kishore also embellished their compositions. Kishore sang few but sounded so special for S-J songs like 'Nakhrewali' (New Delhi) and 'Geet gata hoon main' (Lal Patthar).

When it comes to one's S-J favourites, they are numerous to be named. Still apart from RK productions and almost all the Shammi Kapoor flicks (except the equally brilliant O.P.Nayyar in 'Kashmir ki kali' and one-up R.D.Burman in 'Teesri Manzil'), the best of S-J products include 'Teesri kasam', 'Amrapali', 'Dil ek mandir', 'Aashiq', 'Haryali aur Raasta', 'Aayee Milan ki bela' and scores of others.

Decades have passed on, but the legendary S-J Music still echoes in the minds of a million music-lovers!

S.V.Nathan


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