The duo of Shanker and Jaikishan ruled the Golden Era of Indian Film Music industry with an array of compositions which were remarkable for their unusual concepts and immensely successful. The duo was considered even more important and sellable than the stars of the movies for which they wrote music- their compositions were popular even if the movie itself failed on the box office.
Their association with Lyricist Shailendra and Hasrat Jaipuri was a golden page in annals of Hindi film music, the songs from movies like
‘Barsaat’ ((1949) was the starting point for this foursome. How they met to form the most enduring musical partnership was an accident of fate and that accident was in a way masterminded by another artist called Raj Kapoor, a man with amazing creative talent and vision.
There were very few occasions when this two lyricist not writing for Shankar Jaikishan. Except for ‘Aarzoo’ and College Girl, the two lyricists found themselves out of S-J favour. The superb chemistry between these four was not merely because they were great artists all. It was more because they were all great friends and great companions who enjoyed each other’s company to the fullest.
Unfortunately, the seeds of dissent and doubt were sown after the release of Sangam between the duo. All the songs were hit but when ‘Binaca Geet Mala’- then a litmus test for popularity- selected Rafi’s ‘Yeh mera prem patra padhkar’ from ‘Sangam’ for the top spot over Mukesh’s ‘Dost dost na raha’ from the same film, Rafi’s song was the creation of Jaikishan- Hasrat team whereas the Mukesh-song was conceived by Shankar-Shailendra combo.
Shankar had this misunderstanding that his song was purposely put down to promote Jaikishan’s song Due to the intervention of the two lyricists that kept the working relationship intact. This jodi was broken only in 1971 when Jaikishan died. Even after the death of Jaikishan Shankar gave music in many films as Shankar Jaikishan.
Shankar was 7 years elder to Jaikishan. He was born on 15 October 1922. He started his career with a theater group run by Satyanarayan and Hemawati, before shifting to Prithvi Theatre where he played tabla and performed some minor roles in plays. Later he started working as an assistant to the leading composer duo of Husnlal Bhagatram and nurtured the ambition of becoming an independent music director.