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Shanker about JAIKISHEN

English translation of article "Usse dost kahoon ya bhai" courtesy kaustabh ji.

For those of you who could not read and/or understand Devanagari.

I am sorry for the grammar or spelling mistakes ( I have done it very hurriedly ) and request members to correct them offline.

Thanks Dr Raj Senaniji for uploading this article for all of us to cherish for a lifetime


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Jaikishan - Should I call him a friend or a brother ? ( Kadambini - Nov 1971 )
12th Sept saw the sudden death of Music Director Jaikishan and not only the pair SJ was broken but the person Shankar was

also completely shattered. Here are Shankar's memories, in the words of Surendranath.

************ ********* **

Its the same house, the same roads, the same recording theatres and my music hall in Mahalaxmi (Bombay). Same faces, same musical instruments and musicians, same roads......everythi ng remains, but one face that has vanished in such a way that everything seems to be different, something missing, unknown ! I roam from Mahalaxmi till Churchgate to find him, hoping that I find that face somewhere... I stare at the open skies and the dense clouds again hoping that I can hear the same voice "Shankarji..." and then all voices start to shout "Shankarji... Shankarji. .." But all these voices fall pale in front of that voice full of enthusiasm, the grand voice.

They say that brother is a right hand and a friend his breath(life) . The cruel fate has taken away from me my right hand as well as my life.

The devotion towards music had pulled us to Bombay. During the struggling days we both, unknown of each other, were striving hard. In the daytime I used to play tabla at Papaji's ( Prithviraj Kapoor's ) theatre and in the night, dream about the beautiful future ahead. On the other hand Jaikishan worked as a worker in a timber factory in Shivdi (Bombay). Working hard, breaking stones and in the loud, fast noise of the working machines there, he used to think about his future ( music ) and his hands used to work more faster at work. One dream, one target, but he was somewhere else and me at a different place !

At home a widow mother and with a determination within, was Jaikishan ! As soon as the factory work used to be over in the evening, he used to go to various studios, just with a hope that some musical personality could find a spark in him and say "Your hands are not for working with stones, but to play with the music instruments. .."

That was a period of 1942 ! The whole world seemed to be in a chaos. In these days I came to know that a famous Gujrati Drama producer, Chandrabadan Bhatt, was in the process of making a film. I knew him quite well and he had said earlier that when I make a film, you have to give music to my film. At least I found my way to my destination !

I met Bhatt ji and he also remembered his words. In this regard I used to meet him quite often. Whenever I used to go at Bhattji's place, I used to see a thin but handsome lad sitting there. He used to be quiet all the time. In spite of me being impressed by that man's personality, neither did I speak with him, nor he did any attempt. This shyness and stranger-feeling continued for many days, but nobody would speak. One day I reached the place and found him sitting in the same manner. Bhatt ji was out somewhere. I also sat there. A fair amount of time passed by. I was getting angry with that young man because even though I was older, the other person was keeping silent! I thought "O least talk with me" ! Then suddenly it struck to me that it could be that the poor man was new in Bombay and for the same reason he must not be able to gather courage and talk with me. Then I examined his thin stature and looked at my heavy-strong built and I asserted myself that this is the very reason that the man could be shy to speak with me. Finally I started to talk with him.

It was strange that two people striving for the same path (music) should be having a feeling of rivalry, jealous feelings...should be planning thoughts as to how each one of them wins over the other, but all this did not happen. His condition was not as good as I had thought. I was working at a place where there was love and guidance of Papaji ( Prithviraj Kapoor ) and the cordial relations between the unit members and a nature to help each other at the time of good and bad times. But one immensely talented music director working in a factory like a worker...what more insult could happen to music !

I told him about myself and asked him "Would you work with me for Prithvi Theatres" ? Papaji used to treat me as a son and so I had asked Jaikishan with so much confidence, without asking Papaji.

As soon as I said this, his pale face turned bright. He thought that he has finally found some hope in life. But he could not speak anything immediately. His eyes had tears of joy. After some time, in the same head-down position he whispered "What better job can be than this !"

I met Papaji and told him about Jaikishan. I requested Papaji to keep Jaikishan in the unit, to which he immediately agreed. Jaikishan was given the job of playing the harmonium. I used to get 75 rupees per month. He also got the same amount. This partnership started and is suddenly broken after 29 years.

We used to live, eat, drink, roam together and share the happy and sad moments, together. People used to say "Ohh see the pair is going !"..."Are Raam-Laxman, Where are you up to?". Everyone used to say something or the other. We made good friendship with Raj Kapoorji in Prithvi Theaters. He used to talk about making films, acting or direction and we used to discuss on music and songs. But music direction or new ventures could not be seen as yet. In between he started a film "Aag" in a big way and Ram Ganguly were the music director. Ram Ganguly used to look after the music of Prithvi Theaters. In Aag me and Jaikishan played Tabla and Harmonium. In fact I had done a small role of a fisherman too. But after making Aag when Raj Kapoorji thought of making Barsaat, he had a plan to make his own unit and he gave the responsibility of music direction to me. The pair who were playing Tabla and Harmonium started conceiving tunes.

Jaikishan was not only handsome but he also liked wearing clothes of new fashion. But he did not believe in Super-Modernization in style; he never tried to ape the type and style of Beetles!

In the evenings he used to go to the Gaylord restaurant, near Marine Drive. He used to go there everyday and did not miss until some very important work had to be done. The atmosphere used to light up when he entered. Also he did not think about his successful stature in the society, as a top music director, who pulled lacs of people to theatres, awarded with so many awards, Padmashri - oblivious of all this he used to stand at the gate of the hotel with hands on the shoulders of his friends, laughing happily. The people who used to pass by the hotel, boys and girls used to look at him and whisper "Look this is Jaikishan ! THe Jaikishan of the famous pair Shankar-Jaikishan" ! But he never cared about these remarks. If at all anybody said "Hello" or looked and smiled at him, Jaikishan used to start talking at him. The next day the same person would come before Jaikishan at the Gaylord Restaurant and wait for Jaikishan to come ! People used to call "Gaylord" as "Jay-lord"

But this carefree friend full of fun is no more, what would the people call "Gaylord" now ? Now those who used to wait near the gate of Gaylord for Jaikishan, would put the hands on whose shoulders and spend time laughing and have fun ?

Jaikishan used to treat me as his big brother, his confidant and the most respected elder in the house. Even the smallest problems or the biggest problems were never resolved without my advice. He and his wife Pallavi used to respect my orders. People tried to develop a competitive feeling amongst each other and tried to separate us but were unsuccessful all the time. Spread a stunt" THey are fighting with each other, they are not talking with each other, record separately, fight over..."

And whenever people used to come to me or Jaikishan to ask about these rumours, they were hurt to find out that there was always the same love and affection, which was 25 years back.

Now I am alone and I am left with the memories of Jaikishan, those sweet moments of struggle and time spent together, those pages of history which had laughter and fun, and what not !! Memories will catch me and engulf me and I have to stay with them alone. Also Jaikishan has recorded his last song which has become a reality in my life .

I really didn't knew what would happen tomorrow, nobody knew, but Jaikishan knew about the "tomorrow" of the journey of life..and so while departing he showed one more truth :

Zindagi Ek Safar Hai Suhaana
Yahaan Kal Kya Ho Kisne Jaana

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