In an era where the top lyricists pat their backs in the full media-glare for writing something as mundane as Ik garam chai ki pyali ho, reviving memories of the times when film music had a dazzling array of great lyricists, has assumed even greater value.
Poets like Sahir Ludhianvi, Majrooh Sultanpuri, Shakeel Badyuni, Pt. Narendra Sharma and Kavi Pradeep enriched film music by penning film songs worthy of competing with best of their poems. In a way all these glittering names belonged to poet-lyricists genre, who did their bit in films as well as in Hindi-Urdu literature. But there was one penman in that golden era who remained a quintessential lyricist all throughout, who used almost all his literary genius for writing great songs which were poems in themselves and in my opinion, he was second to none. His name was Shankardas Kesrilal Shailendra – for his countless admirers he was simply- Shailendra!
Shailendra was born on August30, 1923 at Ravalpindi. Later in his childhood their family moved to Mathura in U.P. His father hailed from Bihar. This U.P. – Bihar cultural influence was to show later in his folk-style film songs. The origins of Chadh gayo paapi bichhua, Sajanwa bairi ho gaye hamar http://www.dishant.com/jukebox.php?songid=4231 and Ab ke baras bhej bhaiya ko babul http://www.musicindiaonline.com/p/x/14QmTeM-0S.As1NMvHdW/ thus can be traced to this family back-ground.
Poetry was his first love but family situation forced him to take up a job of a railway mechanic. He used to work in the railway workshop at Parel. His colleagues would later recall amusedly how they thought this 'crazy' man was 'wasting' his time writing and reciting some 'meaningless' poems! How they were to know that the same man would later proudly proclaim through his song –
Kaam naye nit geet banana,
geet banake jahan ko sunana,
koi na mile to akele mein gaana!
This poetic zeal and passion appealed to a young film-maker called Raj Kapoor who was in the audience of a stage programme where Shailendra recited his patriotically charged poem Jalta hai Punjab. Raj was making his first film Aag then and he immediately approached Shailendra to ask whether he could write songs for his film. The poet flatly refused the offer saying that his poetry was not for sale!
The birth of his first child Shaily and worsening financial situation finally forced Shailendra to forego any reservations about writing film-songs. After all how long, he could debate with his wife whether they should use one potato for the lunch or for dinner! So he came to the very man, whose offer he had so audaciously turned down. He came to Raj Kapoor who was now in the process of making his second film Barsaat and said, "Now I am in need of money. Is your offer still open?" Raj welcomed him to his fold with open arms. From then onwards, he was to become the permanent member of the famous R.K. musical quartet – Shankar, Jaikishan, Hasrat Jaipuri and Shailendra!
This group of talented artists was to remain together for years and make some of the greatest songs. Shailendra worked mainly with Shankar and this team was responsible for almost all the theme songs of R.K. movies. Through this association we got so many evergreen songs like Barsaat mein hum se mile tum, Mera joota hai japani, Awara hoon and Dost dost na raha. Shailendra's relationship with Raj always remained special. Later on, even in his heydays when he was commanding a then whopping 10,000 rupees per song from others, he worked on a fixed, monthly salary of Rs.500/- for R.K. films.
There was such comraderie among Shankar, Jaikishan and Shailendra that many songs were conceived on spur of the moment, based on real life incidents. Mud mud ke na dekh mud mud ke (Shri 420) was born out of the friendly banter between Shailendra and Jaikishan when the latter kept on looking back at a young beautiful passer-by – obviously from the fairer sex! Ramaiya vasta vaiya from the same film was inspired by a folk song sung by some building workers in the neighbourhood. Once after a tiff with the composer duo, Shailendra wrote mockingly-
Chhotisi yeh duniya, pahchane raaste hain,
kabhi to miloge, kahin to miloge, to poochhenge haal.
That later became a hit song in Rangoli.
Barring Naushad and O.P.Nayyar, he worked with almost all the leading composers of the era. As with S.J., he also had a special rapport with Sachindev Burman for whom he penned such wonderful songs like O jaanewale ho sake to lautke aana (Bandini), Na main dhan chahoon, na ratan chahoon (Kaala bazaar) and Aaj phir jeene ki tamanna hai (Guide). But then he wrote beautiful lyrics for every composer, that's why we got gems like Toote huye khwabone in Salil Choudhury's Madhumati, Haaye re woh din kyun na aaye in Pt.Ravishankar's Anuradha and Kuchh aur zamana kaheta hai in Anil Biswas's Chhoti chhoti baatein. (Links to all these songs hav been given at the end)
Shailendra's poetic genius was in his ability to convey deepest of thoughts in simplest of words. It was amazing because here was a man penning a film song which had its own commercial demands, most of the times juggling to tailor his words to suit an already conceived tune and in spite of these constraints he was almost always able to create something which was not only musically stirring but which also shone with literary brilliance. Vivid imagery and intensity of expression in his lyrics made a profound impact on a sensitive mind.
That dreamy recall of a love-lost moment of rain drenched togetherness in
Aisi hi rimjhim, aisi fuharein,
aisi hi thi barsaat,
jag se juda aur khudse paraye
hum dono the saath
that stark, dark view of a starry night through sad and lonely maternal eyes in
Aag ke phool aanchal mein daale huye,
kab se jalta hai woh aasman dekh le
and that superb metaphoric expression bringing forth the feelings of a young bride missing her innocent, carefree childhood in
Zaalim jawaani ne chheene khilone
aur meri gudiya churayee
– all these lyrics were moving experiences in themselves.
Simplicity and sincerity of his expressions made his songs immortal. He had a tremendous sense of music and never did his words fail to fit like hand in glove to the tune. He brought many of his personality traits into his songwriting. His romantic nature expressed itself through songs like Khoya Khoya Chand. His fun loving persona showed itself in songs like Chahe Koi Mujhe Junglee. His supreme self-confidence peeped through when he said Gardish mein hoon, asmaan ka taara hoon Aawara Hoon. His patriotic feelings so touchingly came across in Aa ab laut chale…tujhko pukare desh tera Aa Ab Laut Chalen. His fatalistic thinking gave itself away through expressions like Jin raaton ki bhor nahi hai, aaj aisi hi raat aayee.
His film project Teesri kasam proved to be his undoing. He couldn't handle the stresses and strains of film-making. As the film bombed at box-office initially, Shailendra found himself at the center of an emotional storm, not to mention its economic implications. He was deserted by those whom he had considered his friends. It was as if he was reliving his own nightmarish prophecy –
Main akela to na tha,
the mere saathi kai,
ek aandhi si uthi,
jo bhi tha leke gayi!
Raj Kapoor – who had worked free for the film and Mukesh were his only supporters in those dark days.
His health suffered in this setback. On December 13, 1966, he was told to get admitted in hospital. While on the way to hospital, Shailendra and his wife stopped over at Raj Kapoor's cottage where the showman reminded his friend that he was still to complete the theme song for Mera naam joker. The lyricist jokingly told Raj to finish off his next day's Tamasha. (Raj's birthday fell on December 14.) But that song was never to be completed by the great man. On December 14, 1966, Shailendra left the world for his final journey. That incomplete song was finally completed by his son Shailey Shailendra and still ranks as one of the all time greats. That song was Jeena yahan, marna yahan, iske siwa jaana kahan!
Such was a strange twist in the tale that Teesri kasam – the same movie which had brought the doomsday and finally death for Shailendra, then went on to win 'President's Gold Medal' and also became a commission earner.
His songs with their rich human values will keep his memories lingering on. Maybe that's what he meant when he wrote these lines in Anari -
Rishta dil se dil ke aitbaar ka,
Zinda hain hum hi se naam pyaar ka
Ke marke bhi kisi ko yaad aayenge
Kisi ke aansuon mein muskurayenge
Kahega phool har kali se baar baar
Jeena isi ka naam hai!
Some sings considered as his best ones :
Mera Joota Hai Japani (Shree 420)
Aawara Hoon (Shree 420)
Dost Dost Na Raha (sangam)
Mud Mud Ke Na Dekh (Shree 420)
Some songs of his that are my own favourite numbers :
Shailendra was born in Rawalpindi (Undivided India) to Kesarilal and Parvati Devi. He was eldest of their four sons. When he was a child, his family moved to Mathura. Soon after, his mother died.
Shailedra started his career as an employee with Indian Railways. His job bought him to Mumbai (then Bombay) in 1947. He started writing poetry during these days. Once, when he was reading out his poem Jalta hai Punjab at a public meeting, filmmaker Raj Kapoor noticed him. He offered to buy poems written by Shailendra and use them for his movie Aag (1948). Shailendra, a member of the left wing IPTA, was wary of mainstream Indian cinema and refused. However, after the birth of his son, Shaily, he needed money and himself approached Raj Kapoor.
Shailendra's first project for Raj Kapoor was the movie Barsaat (1949). For Rs 500, he wrote two songs: Patli kamar hai and Barsaat mein. The music for Barsaat was composed by Shankar-Jaikishan. The team of Raj Kapoor, Shailendra and Shankar-Jaikishan produced many superhits.
Apart from Shankar-Jaikishan, Shailendra also shared a rapport with composers such as Salil Chowdhary (Madhumati), Sachin Dev Burman (Guide, Bandini) and Ravi Shankar (Anuradha). Apart from Raj Kapoor, he shared a rapport with filmmakers such as Bimal Roy (Do Bigha Zameen, Madhumati, Bandini) and Dev Anand (Guide).
Shailendra had invested in the movie Teesri Kasam, which was not successful. It is said that this was the ultimate cause of his death.. His son Shaily Shailendra is also a lyricist.
Shailendra won the Filmfare Award for Best Lyricist thee times.
Shailendra's most popular song
a.ndhe jahaa.n ke a.ndhe raaste, jaaye.n to jaaye.n kahaa.n [#136]
aahaa rimajhim ke ye pyaare pyaare giit lie [#918]
aaj kal me.n Dhal gayaa, din huaa tamaam [#691]
aajaa ke i.ntazaar me.n, jaane ko hai bahaar bhii [#642]
aajaa re, paradesii, mai.n to kab se kha.Dii is paar [#598]
aajaa rii aa, ni.ndiyaa tuu aa, jhilamil sitaaro.n se utar aa.Nkho.n [#616]
aajakal tere mere pyaar ke charche har zabaan par [#679]
aavaaraa ai mere dil [#N9214]
ab ke baras bhej bhiiyako baabul [#N9190]
ai dil na mujhase chhupaa, sacha bataa, kyaa huaa [#N8253]
ai mere dil kahii.n aur chal [#137]
ajiib daastaa.n hai ye, kahaa.N shuruu kahaa.N khatam [#N8137]
allaah megh de, paanI de chhaayaa de re raamaa megh de [#585]
badalii badalii duniyaa hai merii [#N8087]
bahanaa ne bhaaii kii kalaaii se pyaar baa.Ndhaa hai [#N8105]
bhaiyaa mere raakhii ke ba.ndhan ko nibhaanaa [#N8106]
bin dekhe aur bin pahachaane tum par ham qurabaan [#692]
chakke me.n chakkaa, chakke pe gaa.Dii, gaa.Dii me.n nikalii [#680]
chalat musaafir moh liyo re pi.nja.De vaalii muniyaa [#689]
chalii kaunase desh gujariyaa tuu saj-dhaj ke [#1109]
chhoTaa saa ghar hogaa baadalo.n kii chhaa.Nv me.n [#289]
chhoTii sI ye duniyA, pahachaane raasate hai.n [#1255]
chun chun karatii aaii chi.Diyaa [#1185]
dam bhar jo udhar mu.Nh phere, o cha.ndaa [#411]
dil kaa haal sune dilavaalaa, siidhii sii baat na mirch masaalaa [#45]
dil ke jharokhe me.n tujhako biThaakar [#425]
dil kii girah khol do, chup na baiTho, koii giit gaao [#455]
dil kii nazar se, nazaro.n kii dil se [#1090]
dil ta.Dap ta.Dap ke kah rahaa hai aa bhI jaa [#904]
dil use do jo jaan de de, jaa.n use do jo dil de de [#687]
din Dhal jaaye haay, raat naa jaay [#422]
dost dost naa rahaa, pyaar pyaar naa rahaa [#259]
duniyaa banaane vaale, kyaa tere man me.n samaaii [#440]
gaataa rahe meraa dil, tuu hii merii ma.nzil [#262]
ghaayal hiraNiyaa, mai.n ban-ban Doluu.N [#N9148]
ghar aajaa ghir aaye badaraa saa.Nvariyaa [#1062]
hai.n sabase madhur vo gIt jinhe.n ham dard ke sur me.n gAte hai.n [#976]
ham jab ho.nge saaTh saal ke, aur tum hogii pachapan kii [#402]
hoTho.n pe sachchaaii rahatii hai jahaa.n dil me.n safaaii rahatii hai [#500]
jaane kaise sapano.n mai.n kho gayii a.nkhiyaa.n [#1060]
jaao re, jogii tum jaao re [#793]
jhuumatii chalii havaa, yaad aa gayaa koI [#764]
jhuume re niilaa ambar jhuume [#1204]
jiinaa hamako raas na aayaa [#N9161]
jin raato.n kii bhor nahii.n hai.n, aaj aisii hii raat aaii [#595]
juuhii kii kalii merii laaDalii [#N8049]
kaa.NTo.n se khii.nch ke ye aa.Nchal [#302]
khoyaa-khoyaa chaa.nd, khulaa aasamaa.n [#164]
kisiikii muskuraahaTo.n pe ho nisaar [#349]
koI lauTaa de mere [#1251]
kyaa se kyaa ho gayaa, bevafaa, tere pyaar me.n [#57]
laakho.n taare aasamaan me.n, ek magar Dhuu.nDe naa milaa [#428]
laal chha.Dii maidaan kha.Dii, kyaa khuub la.Dii, kyaa khuub la.Dii [#439]
maataa o maataa [#1186]
meraa juutaa hai jaapaanii, ye pataluun i.nglistaanii [#265]
mere Kvaabo.n me.n Kayaalo.n me.n chhupe [#N8059]
mujhako yaaro.n maaf karanaa, mai.n nashe me.n hU.N [#125]
na mai.n dhan chaahuu.n, na ratan chaahuu.n [#534]
naache man moraa man dhiigadhaa dhiigi dhiigi [#N8031]
o basa.ntii pavan paagal, naa jaa re naa jaa, roko koii [#947]
o jaanevaale ho sake to lauT ke aanaa [#129]
o mere sanam o mere sanam [#1082]
o pa.nchhii pyaare [#N9134]
o sajanaa, barakhaa bahaara aayii rasa kii phuhaara laayii [#814]
piyaa tose nainaa laage re, nainaa laage re, jaane kyaa ho ab aage re [#403]
puuchho naa kaise maine rain bitaai ik pal jaise, ik yug biita [#839]
pyaar huaa iqaraar huaa hai, pyaar se phir kyo.n Darataa hai dil [#916]
raadhike tuune ba.nsurii bajaaii [#1212]
raahii tuu mat ruk jaanaa, tuufA.n se mat ghabaraanaa [#704]
raajaa kii aayegii baaraat, ra.ngiilii hogii raat [#803]
raat aur din diyaa jale, mere man me.n phir bhii a.ndhiyaaraa hai [#320]
ramayyaa vastaavayyaa, ramayyaa vastaavayyaa [#917]
rim jhim ke taraane leke aayii barasaat [#1008]
ro_uu.N mai.n saagar ke kinaare, saagar ha.Nsii u.Daae [#N8120]
ruk jaa o jaanevaalii ruk jaa, mai.n to raahii terii ma.nzil kaa [#269]
saath ho tum aur raat javaa.n, nii.nd kise ab chain kahaa.N [#N8241]
sab kuchh siikhaa hamane naa siikhii hoshiyaarii [#491]
sach hue sapane tere [#N9187]
sajan re jhuuTh mat bolo, khudaa ke paas jaanaa hai [#441]
sajanavaa bairii ho gaye hamaar, chiThiyaa ho to har koI baa.Nche [#492]
suhaanaa safar aur ye mausam hasii.n [#324]
tere mere sapane ab ek ra.ng hai.n [#162]
terii dhuum har kahii.n, tujh saa yaar koii nahii.n [#N9177]
terii yaad dil se, bhulaane chalaa huu.N [#919]
tumane pukaaraa aur ham chale aae [#N8121]
tuu ruup kii rAnI, mai.n choro.n kaa raajaa [#1179]
TuuTe hue khvaabo.n ne, hamako ye sikhaayaa hai [#55]
vafaao.n kaa majabuur daaman bichhaakar [#N8237]
vahaa.n kaun hai teraa, musaafir jaayegaa kahaa.n [#1016]
yaad na jaaye, biite dino.n kii [#56]
ye meraa prema patra pa.Dha kara ke tuma naaraaja naa honaa [#871]
zi.ndagii ek safar hai suhaanaa [#790]
zi.ndagii khvaab hai, thaa hame.n bhii pataa [#N9167]
zindagii khvaab hai, khvaab me.n jhuuTh kyaa, aur bhalaa sach hai kyaa [#554]
zulmii sa.ng aa.Nkh la.Dii, zulmii sa.ng aa.Nkh la.Dii re [#718]
Author: Amla Mazumdar
A moving piece written by Amla Mazumdar- daughter of Kavi Shailendra remembering her father.
Sunsets are beautiful, as long as it is not your own sun that you see sinking slowly over the horizon. December 14 1966 saw one such sunset, for my Baba left us that day, never to return. Today I still wonder at my inability to get over it.
Baba was born Shankardas Kesrilal Shailendra in Rawalpindi on August 30 1923, the eldest of four sons of my grandmother Parvati Devi. My grandfather Sri Kesrilal originally hailed from Bihar, and already had a son and daughter from a previous marriage. Some time during Baba's childhood the family moved to Mathura.
Calamity struck when he was still quite young, when he learnt that his mother was dying. He often recalled the moments when he walked barefoot in the scorching sun, his body sunburnt and his feet blistered, praying for her survival. The day she died, however, he felt deeply disillusioned and let down, causing him to turn atheist for practically the rest of his life.
While training in Agra for employment in the Indian Railways, Baba met and fell in love with the woman who was to become his wife (and my mother). His affections were returned, but while wooing her he was generally disapproved of by all her family except my nanaji, her father. Nanaji took a strong liking to him and sanctioned their wedding on the same day that my mother's elder sister was due to be married. After the wedding Baba made my mother return expensive sarees and jewellery that she had brought from her father's, saying he would provide for her in his own way, once he was able to stand on his own feet.
His first full-fledged job with the railways brought him to Bombay in 1947, when India's struggle for freedom from British rule was at its peak. Technical aspects of his job did not suit his artistic nature and he would much rather spend time writing poetry than toil in the workshop. His colleagues often advised him against absconding from work to write 'senseless ramblings', but to no avail.
He actively joined the freedom struggle and during one public meeting his fiery poem "Jalta hai Punjab", when read out aloud, caught the attention of a film-maker in the crowd - Raj Kapoor. He wanted to buy the poem and also wanted Baba to write for his new production. Baba refused to sell the poem, but with the birth of his first child, a son (my eldest brother Shailey) came responsibility, and things changed. Baba approached Raj Kapoor and agreed to write for "Barsaat" if the offer was still open. It was, and the rest is history. Success brought wealth, and with wealth came a retinue of servants and the influence of Western culture. Yet he never allowed us to boss the servants around - he once rebuked me for allowing a servant to carry my books home from school.
Baba's best known work is with Shankar-Jaikishan, but he was also a favourite with the other musical giants of those days, like Salil Chaudhury (Madhumati), S.N.Tripathi (Sangeet Samrat Tansen), S.D.Burman (Guide and Bandini, among so many others), Pt. Ravi Shankar (Anuradha). He won the Filmfare Ward for Best Lyricist in 1958 (Yeh mera deewanapan hai from "Yahudi"), in 1959 (Sab kuch seekha hamne
from "Anari") and in 1968 (Main gaaun tum so jaao from "Brahmachari").
Baba was a true poet for whom simply being alive was poetry, and life itself a poem. He derived much inspiration for his more serious work from long walks on Juhu beach early in the morning, but was equally adept at writing the most profound lyrics for ordinary film situations. Those lyrics were vibrantly alive, in the sense they went far beyond the context of the film situation for which they were intended and lived on long after the film itself had passed from memory. For me there is a Shailendra song for any emotion, any situation, from birth to death, such was his versatility. Millions of listeners feel this way about his work.
At the back of his serious work was the deep-rooted dejection he felt at his mother's death. Lyrics like
Laut aayi sada meri takrake sitaron se
Ujdi hui duniya ki sunsaan kinaron se
Ilahi tu sun le hamari dua
Hamen sirf ek aasra hai tera
Teri rehmay raah roshan kare
Salamat rahe saaya maa baap ka
Maata o maata jo tu aaj hoti
Mujhen yun bilakta agar dekhti
Tera dil toot jata
("Ab Dilli Door Nahin")
hardly sound like they were written for mere film situations, with Baba not actually reliving the agony of his mother's death.
Yet he was a true professional, and behind his success as a writer was his ability to write for a film situation irrespective of his personal views. For example, in spite of his misgivings about religion he wrote the rapturously beautiful Bhay bhanjana vandana ("Basant Bahar"). And there are the witty, fun-loving ones like Laal chadi ("Janwar"), Sooku sooku ("Junglee"), Nakhrewali ("New Delhi"), Sambhal ke karna jo bhi karna and Matwali naar ("Ek Phool Char Kaante").
Whenever I'm down in the dumps I take heart from these words he wrote for a song during the freedom struggle:
Tu zinda hai, tu zindagi ki jeet pe yakeen kar
Agar kahin hai swarg to utar la zameen par
Ye gam ke aur char din situm ke aur char din
Ye din bhi jaenge guzar, guzar gaye hazaar din
Yet the spectre of death always haunted him. He was obsessed by death. There was no fear involved, but a kind of helplessness drew him towards it. He saw death even in the most romantic moments, as in this verse from the song Holi aayee pyari pyari ("Pooja"):
Ek baras mein ek din holi jag do din ka mela
Tan ka pinjra chhod ke ek din panchi jaae akela
Do ghadi muskaaye phir jeevan hi phulwari.
And then there's my favourite:
Ke mar ke bhi kisi ko yaad aaenge
Kisi ke aansuon mein muskuraenge
Kahega phool har kali se baar baar
Jeena isi ka naam hai
The story of how his producing "Teesri Kasam" led to various problems and his untimely end is well known, but what bothered him was not the film's failure at the box-office, but that his investment in friends he trusted and loved went wrong. After a particularly bad bout of despondency my mother could take it no more, and on December 13 1966, he was to be admitted to the Northcote Nursing Home. On the way he and my mother stopped at the famous cottage at the RK Studios to call on Raj Kapoor and Baba promised Raj that he would complete the lyrics for Jeena yahan once the December 14 tamasha (Raj's birthday celebration) was over. That was one promise he never kept, for he died on Raj's birthday.
Baba loved the seashore. He wrote, "I am the early morning light. I cast no shadows, I leave no shadow behind. The sun is my father..."
The world has his poetry, but I would much rather have him.
|Raj Kapoor||Raj Kapoor||Shankar Jaikishen||Raj Kapoor, Nargis, Premnath, Nimmi|
|Famous songs from Barsaat:|
| Hawa mein udta jaaye
|Jeeya bekrarar hai||Lata Mangeshkar|
|Barsaat mein humse mile tum||Lata Mangeshkar|
|O mujhe kisise pyar ho gaya||Lata Mangeshkar|
|Meri aankhon mein bas gaya||Lata Mangeshkar|
|Patli qamar hai||Lata Mangeshkar, Mukesh|
|Ab mera kaun sahaara||Lata Mangeshkar|
|Chhod gaye balaam||Lata Mangeshkar, Mukesh|
|Main zindagi mein hardam||Mohammed Rafi|
|Bichdey huey pardesi||Lata Mangeshkar|
*While Hasrat wrote most of the songs, including the captivating imagery in Hawa mein udta jaaye, Kapoor cajoled poet Shailendra into making his debut as a lyricist by offering him Rs 500 for Barsaat mein and Patli kamar.Edited by Qwest - 14 years ago
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