Ten of my favourite Shankar-Jaikishan songs

When it comes to Hindi film composer duos, for me there’s none greater than Shankar-Jaikishan. By no means the first (Husnlal Bhagatram, for one, predated them) and definitely not the last (there have been many others, from Laxmikant Pyarelal and Kalyanji Anandji to more recent duos like Anand-Milind), Shankar Jaikishan were unparalleled in the sheer quality of their work. They composed some of Hindi cinema’s best-loved tunes, all the way from Westernized club songs to ghazals, from dreamy love songs to peppy folk numbers. Versatility, finesse, and that ability to appeal to the common janta, to have ordinary folk humming their tunes: these were some traits which set Shankar-Jaikishan apart.

Today is the birth centenary of the ‘Shankar’ half of Shankar-Jaikishan: Shankarsingh Raghuvanshi was born on October 15, 1922, and spent most of his childhood in Hyderabad. Trained in classical dance, Shankar also learnt how to play several musical instruments, including the tabla and dholak. Moving to Bombay to join the film industry, he is said to have met Jaikishan Dayabhai Panchal at Prithvi Theatres, where they had both gone looking for jobs—a fortuitous encounter which resulted in the two men joining forces.

To commemorate Shankar’s birth centenary, therefore, ten of my favourite songs composed by them. As always, these are all from pre-70s Hindi films that I’ve watched, and no two songs are from the same film. While these songs are in no particular order, my special favourites are right at the top.

1. Ajeeb daastaan hai yeh (Dil Apna aur Preet Paraayi, 1960): Ajeeb daastaan hai yeh was possibly the first Hindi film song I ever learnt to sing, and it remains, to this day, one of my favourite songs. Lata’s voice is superb, the picturization is excellent, Meena Kumar’s acting is brilliant—but a large part of the credit for my love for this song must go to Shankar-Jaikishan. I love the tune. I love the way, too, the chorus is used, along with the guitar (Verni!). The interludes are lovely, too, the music swelling and taking its own path when the vocals are briefly silent. A fabulous song.

2. Jaan-pehchaaan ho jeena aasaan ho (Gumnaam, 1965): Shankar-Jaikishan composed many club songs in the course of a long and illustrious career, but if there’s one iconic club song in their oeuvre, it’s this one. Jaan pehchaan ho is famous enough to have appeared in various avatars abroad as well (in the film Ghost World, for one; in the Heineken ‘Date’ ad for another; plus it’s been played and sung by various other artistes). There’s a reason for that: the sheer infectiousness of the music. The vigour, the pep, the way it makes you want to get up and dance: super. What I find amazing is that even the nuttier aspects of the song, those hoots, the exaggerated heavy breathing, the squawks (all of them at the end of each stanza)—all fit in and make it even better.

3. Mud-mud ke na dekh (Shree 420, 1955): It’s interesting to see how Shankar-Jaikishan’s music changed and evolved over the years. Like Jaan-pehchaan ho, Mud-mud ke na dekh is also a club song, but there is little similarity between the two, even though Mud-mud ke na dekh has its fast pace, especially in the second half of the song, when Manna Dey begins to sing. The contrast between the two halves of the song are also what make Mud-mud ke na dekh so fine an example of good composition (and arrangement): the castanets and the chorus in the first half, when Asha sings playback for Nadira; the wind instruments, full and exuberant, in the second half.

(Interestingly, Mud-mud ke na dekh does share one more thing in common with Jaan-pehchaan ho: the crescendo near the end, when the entire song builds up into a near-frenetic pace).

4. Awara ae mere dil (Raat aur Din, 1967): And, before I move on to other songs, one last club song, though this had another version too. Both versions of Awara ae mere dil are lovely, but I have a particular fondness for this one, picturized on Laxmi Chhaya as her character, Peggy, dances at a Christmas party. In keeping with the part whimsical, part carefree lyrics of the song, the music also switches: now fast, now slow, now melodious and gentle, now speeding up. There’s a drumming rhythm that is maintained pretty much throughout but never palls, because it’s relieved by so much else that’s happening in the music.

5. Tumhe yaad karte-karte (Amrapali, 1966): From fast-paced, modern songs to a beautifully melodious one set in ancient India. For Amrapali, set in the 5th century BCE, Shankar Jaikishan focused on more of the indigenous musical instruments, more classical Indian inspirations, to compose their songs. This one, a slow and sensuous love song, is my favourite from this film. The court dancer Amrapali sings a song of vireh, of separation, longing for the man she is in love with. The predominance of strings (sitar?) gives this a wonderfully gentle touch, a reflection of the solitude of the singer, as opposed to the crowded spaces of the earlier songs on this list.

6. Woh chaand khila woh taare hanse (Anari, 1959): From the very beginning of his career, Raj Kapoor had Shankar-Jaikishan as the composers for his films. Along with Shailendra and Hasrat Jaipuri as lyricists, the pair turned out some hugely popular songs: the title song of Awara, for instance, was a hit not just in the Soviet Union but also Turkey and China; Mera joota hai Japani and Ichak daana bichak daana found a huge following also in Israel. And so on.

So: a song from an RK film (not the only one on this list, of course). A playful love song, its melody mirroring the teasing nature of the lyrics. I love the way the tune plays out here, the different instruments each lending their own character to different parts of the song. Sometimes slow and sweet, sometimes fast and frothy; now dreamily romantic, now light-hearted… genius.

7. Ae gulbadan ae gulbadan (Professor, 1962): Like elder brother Raj Kapoor, Shammi Kapoor too was a firm fan of Shankar-Jaikishan’s music. And you can see why: all the way from Ehsaan tera hoga mujhpar to Is rang badalti duniya mein, from Raat ke humsafar to Aajkal tere-mere pyaar ke charche, Shankar-Jaikishan, with Rafi singing playback for Shammi, contributed a good deal to the aura of the quintessential romantic hero that he built up during the 1960s. Professor remains one of my absolute favourite Shammi Kapoor films, and it had some wonderful songs.  This one lets Rafi’s voice take centrestage, with a restrained orchestra dominated by strings coming in mostly only in the interludes. Meltingly romantic.

8. O mere shah-e-khubaan (Love in Tokyo, 1966): Shankar-Jaikishan were arguably the busiest of the composer duos in the 50s and 60s. They composed for pretty much all of Raj Kapoor’s and Shammi Kapoor’s films, of course, but they also created tunes for many other films, especially some of the biggest masala hits of the 60s. Love in Tokyo was one such, a film that Shankar-Jaikishan filled with one fantastic song after another, from the classical-based Koi matwaala aaya mere dwaare, to the sensuous, sexy Aa jaa re aa zara aa; from the wacky Le gayi dil gudiya Jaapaan ki to the romantic Mujhe tum mil gaye humdum… and this one, sung in two versions, male and female. I find something very soothing about O mere shah-e-khubaan: it’s not just the lyrics or Rafi’s glorious voice, it’s also the music, the way it ripples and trills. Lovely.

9. O sanam tere ho gaye hum (Aayi Milan ki Bela, 1964): I have never been able to understand the popularity of ‘Jubilee Kumar’, Rajendra Kumar. He doesn’t strike me as either an exceptionally good actor (just average), or even very good-looking (in fact, just passable for me, most of the time). But one thing, I think, might account for Rajendra Kumar’s popularity: the songs he lip-synced to, many of which are nothing short of iconic. Many of which, too, were composed by Shankar-Jaikishan: the songs of Dil Ek Mandir, Sangam, Aayi Milan ki Bela, Aarzoo, Jhuk Gaya Aasmaan—big songs, hit songs, songs that are still immensely popular.

This is not one of those extremely popular songs, but it’s one I like a lot. The tune is very hummable, and the frothy, lively music is a joy.

10. Unse mili nazar ke mere hosh ud gaye (Jhuk Gaya Aasmaan, 1968): And, to end the list, a song from another Rajendra Kumar-Saira Banu film. While the title song of Jhuk Gaya Aasmaan is probably its most well-known song, there was also this playful song picturized on Saira Banu: the young woman who’s just fallen for the stranger she’s met a couple of times. It’s interesting to see the contrast between the tempo of the song and the actual action: the song moves at a fairly fast pace, much faster than what’s happening onscreen (Saira Banu’s character moves at a languid pace as she undresses, bathes, and so on) —but, somehow, it all fits. Nothing appears discordant.

Which are your favourite Shankar-Jaikishan songs? Share away!

69 thoughts on “Ten of my favourite Shankar-Jaikishan songs

  1. Oh!
    What a wonderful set of songs. I again salute you for being able to select ten songs, a herculean task! It’s just not possible for me to select just ten songs. Hats off to you!
    I don’t know which songs to add! I mean there are so many……….
    Let me try still.
    1 Hawa Mein udta jaye
    2 Aayi Aayi Raat Suhani
    3 Dard e Jigar Thehar Zara
    4 Kali ghata ghir aayi re
    5 Mera Dil ab tera o Sajna
    6 Bakkad Bam bam bam
    7 Dil e dil baharon se mil
    8 Yaad Kiya Dil Ne Kahan Ho Tum
    9 Aaj kal Tere Mere Pyar ke
    10 Yahan Koi nahin tera mere siwa

    And so on……..
    I can have a separate list on my favourite Lata – SJ combo
    Rafi – SJ combo
    Their duets
    Asha- SJ combo
    Mukesh – SJ combo……..
    And so on…….
    I’m so bad at shortlisting songs.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Very nice list, Anupji! And yes, there are so many, many songs from SJ that are absolutely fantastic. Making this list was really tough; I kept thinking, “Oh, I should put this one in – but no, then I can’t put that one in, because then there will be more than ten – but what about that one…!!” :-) Finally I decided jo hota hai toh ho.


    • If you notice, I haven’t mentioned anywhere that this is meant to reflect their most popular numbers. :-) Just ten that I like very much.

      Ehsaan tera hoga mujhpar is not listed but it’s mentioned and linked to.


  2. A really nice list, Madhu, though I have to add that any ten favorites of Shankar-Jaikishan would have be. :) I really like your description of “Tumhe Yaad Karte Karte,” which, as you know, was on the (very difficult to put together) list of seven maybe favorite Lata songs that I posted in February.

    Going in a very different direction, I was thinking about the remarkable boogie-woogie songs that they composed for Nagina in 1951, “My Dearo Dearo Mummy Nahin” and “Humse Koi Pyar Karo Ji.” In 1951, I don’t think we saw film songs this close to rock and roll even in the U.S. :)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Richard – and for the song from Nagina, which I don’t recall hearing before. That was really peppy! I liked it a lot; it also reminded of this other rock and roll song, from Ek Phool Chaar Kaante, which was also composed by SJ: O o meri baby doll:

      Of course the ‘original’ sung by Iqbal Singh just before this song is even more Elvis-y. O beautiful baby of Broadway:

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re welcome, Madhu – glad that you liked that song so much (as I do too). And thanks for these two other clips. In a way, it is less remarkable to see this sort of thing in 1960, since a lot of Hindi films had been featuring at least one rock and roll song and dance since about ’57 (at least from what I’ve seen), but these are pretty wild rock and roll songs, too. :) I actually think that the Iqbal Singh is the better one. You found it more Elvis-y; I think it really rocks. And the dancing is very good!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. What a lovely list, Madhu. And I can only imagine what a task it must have been to choose just 10.
    From your list, Ajeeb dastan hai ye, Tumhe yaad karte karte, Mud mud ke na dekh, Ae gulbadan, Awara ae mere dil and Woh chand khila are all particular favourites.
    And while we can all make a list of ten songs and still have songs left over, I will add a few of my favourites here:
    1. Ehsaan tera hoga from Junglee
    2. Ye raat bhigi bhigi from Chori Chori
    3. Hain sabse madhur woh geet from Patita
    4. Jaaoon kahan bata ae dilfromChoti Bahen
    5. Manzil wohi hain pyar ki from Kathputli
    6. Ketki gulab juhi from Basant Bahar
    7. O basanti pavan paagal from Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hain
    8. Tere bina aag ye chandni from Awara
    9. Aa, aa bhi jaa from Teesri Kasam
    10. Dheere chal dheere chal ae bheegi hawa from Boyfriend

    And oh, Is rang badalti duniya mein from Rajkumar

    Now I want to sit and listen to all these songs… sigh….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Anu, for your list too – oh, what a lot of wonderful songs (and most of them were songs which I too told myself should be on my list – but – then that would mean dropping this song, or that! – such a dilemma). :-) SJ were truly gifted; so many absolutely wonderful songs, composed by these two.


  4. Nice choice and tough one. I miss “Teri pyari pyari soorat ko..” in the list My top ten list of SJ changes every ten minutes. There’s a different SJ top ten for each of us and given their prolific output, that is expected. Rarely do we see a combination of quantity/quality and choice of masses and classes bundled into one package. “Kal khel mein hum ho na ho…”

    Liked by 2 people

    • “My top ten list of SJ changes every ten minutes.

      I have a feeling even my list would change if I were to make it a few months from now! Some of these – a very few – are my perennial favourites; others are favourites at the moment, liable to be changed.


  5. SJ Trivia on Shankar’s 100th birthanniversary:
    1) Asrani can be seen in the first row of chorus in the song, “Ab kahan jayen hum..” in ’Ujala.’ He also appears in the movie, ‘Hare Kaanch ki Chudiyan’ but we always think of his debut in ‘Umang.’
    2) Subhash Ghai lip-synched on several songs partially in ‘Umang’ but also “sang” the Rafi song completely in the same film, “Baabul kaun ghadi..”
    3) Jaya Bhaduri never had the opportunity to sing a song of SJ. However, Jaya acted on the Asli Naqli song “Tujhe jeevan ki dor se” in ‘Guddi’ with Dharmendra.
    4) Amitabh never had the opportunity to sing a song of SJ. But Shankar’s favorite dummy words “Tandana Tandana..” became a mukhda of his (LP) song where he mimicked Mehmood. ”Tandana Tandana..” words were first heard in ‘MayurPankh’ and later in ‘Gumnaam’
    5) ‘Gumnaam’ becomes the only film ever that had music influenced by a Hollywood film and that influenced a Hollywood film in return! The two films are ‘Charade’ and ‘Ghost World’ respectively.
    6) ‘Gumnaam’ had Mehmood singing “Bhai Battoor..” which later became a song in Padosan.
    7) Mehmood sang “Lal ghoda..” in ‘Shatranj’ which became a full-fledged song, “Main hoon ghoda” in ‘Kunwaara Baap’
    8) ‘Ram Teri Ganga Maili’ song “Sun Sayba..” is influenced by “I love you..” from “Sangam”
    9) The tune for “Jaane kahan gaye woh din…” was first heard in background music of ‘Aah’
    10) The Goan tune for “Na maagoo sona chandi..” was first heard in background music of ‘Awara.’ It was played just before the song “Dum bhar jo udhar moonh phere”
    11) “Jaaon kahan bata ai dil” from ‘Chhoti Bahen’ was influenced by the title music of ‘New Delhi’ which was in a faster tempo.
    12) “Mora nadaan balma” from ‘Ujala’ was influenced by the title music of ‘Mayurpankh’
    13) “Kisiki muskuraton pe” from ‘Anari’ was influenced by the background music in “Shree 420.″
    14) “Sambhal ke karna..” tune from “Ek Phool Char Kaante” was used in the background of “Golmaal” by RD Burman very often including at the end.
    15) SD Burman used a tune from the same movie in ‘Chupke Chupke’
    16) Besides Rajendra Kishan who wrote lyrics for “College Girl,” SJ also utilized the service of lyricist Deepak in “Boot Polish” when Shailendra was alive.
    17) Though Shailendra was associated with Shanker, it was Hasrat Jaipuri who wrote the lyrics in Shanker’s solo venture, ‘Street Singer’ produced by Chandrashekhar. Hasrat Jaipuri also appears in the movie. Shanker did so under the pseudonym, Suraj. The other movie he composed music for, under this name was the Marathi, ‘Tee Mee Navhech.’
    18) Jaikishan appeared in ‘Main Sundar Hoon’ with Anand Bakshi, his only film with SJ.
    19) Gulshan Bawra appears in two songs of SJ in ‘Beimaan’ and ‘Jungle Mein Mangal.’ He did not write lyrics for these movies but wrote lyrics for other SJ films like ‘Chori Chori,’ (new) ‘Jaane Anjaane,’ and ‘Aan Baan.’
    20) Neeraj acted in the song “Paise ki Pehchan..” in the film ‘Pehchan’ and also wrote the lyrics for the same.
    21) Neeraj and Hasrat Jaipuri teamed together for SJ in the film “Dil Daulat Duniya” for a song. Later they also wrote all the lyrics for all songs of ‘Jungle mein Mangal.’ “Tum Kitni khoobsoorat ho” was one of the songs.
    22) Director Prayaag Raaj yelled “Yahoo..” in ‘Junglee.’ Prayag Raj later acted in “Bombay Talkie and also directed “Insaniyat” starring Shashi Kapoor and Madhu with music by SJ.
    23) Shanker was responsible for singing “Ayaya Sukoo Sukoo..” part in the ‘Jungee’ song.
    24) Dattaram, acting as a playback singer lip-synched for the song, “Tum mere pyar ki..” from the English movie “Bombay Talkie”
    25) SJ were responsible for Usha Iyer’s first solo film songs in “Bombay Talkie” and this was about two years before her success in “Hare Rama Hare Krishna.”
    26) Ustad Ali Akbar Khan played the sarod in “Suno Chhotisi Gudiya ki..” in ‘Seema’
    27) Pannalal Ghosh played the flute in “Main piya teri..” in ‘Basant Bahar’
    28) Hazara Singh played the electric guitar in “Tera teer o bepeer..” in ‘Shararat.’
    29) Manohari, RD Burman’s assistant and of Basu-Manohari duo, played the saxophone in “Bedardi Balma..” in ‘Arzoo.’ His first Hindi song was “Awaaz deke humein..” in ‘Professor.’
    30) Bappi Lahiri’s father Aparesh Lahiri sang an SJ song in ‘Badshah.’ The song “Jaage mera dil..” was written by Hasrat Jaipuri.
    31) Famous classical singer Bhimsen Joshi sang a jugalbandi in “Basant Bahar” with Manna Dey.
    32) Anuradha Paudwal, Alka Yagnik, Chandrani Mukerjee, Sharda, Dilraj Kaur all sang “Ari o sakhi..” for SJ together in ‘Kaanch ki Deewar.’ Composer Shankar, Smita Patil and Sanjeev Kumar passed away within a few months of the film’s release.
    33) “Gaya Bachpan..” sung by Lata Mangeshkar from ‘Ankhon Ankhon Mein’ was the last song recorded by Jaikishan.
    34) The first SJ movie without a Lata song was “Boot Polish.” It was also the only movie of SJ with RK without a Mukesh song and the only RK movie with Talat Mahmood. The Talat song was picturized on lyricist Shailendra.
    35) Aarti Mukerjee sang a song for SJ in ‘Boy Friend’ in 1960 and the next SJ song that she sang was in 1974 for “Neelma.”
    36) Joy Mukerjee had SJ music only in two movies: ‘Love in Tokyo’ & ‘Love in Bombay.’ ‘Love In Bombay’ was the last released movie of SJ in 2013 and was on the shelves since 1973.
    37) The first RK Films movie to win a Filmfare Award for music was ‘Mera Naam Joker,” the last SJ movie of SJ with Raj Kapoor was the hero!
    38) Omprakash, the actor, directed the Raj Kapoor starrer ‘Kanhaiyya’ produced by his brother, Pachhi. Pachhi also produced ‘Around the World’ and ‘International Crook’ in which Omprakash got to sing songs on screen!
    39) SJ had the privilege of composing music for the only complete original color film starring Madhubala, ‘Jwala.’
    40) The first color film for which SJ composed music was ‘MayurPankh’ starring Kishore Sahu.
    41) SJ composed music for the first 70mm film in India: ‘Around the World’ in 1967.
    42) “Dream Girl is coming” was what the posters said when ‘Sapnon Ka Saudagar’ was about to release. SJ were amongst those who were present for her screen test.
    43) The last SJ film to have multiple songs played on Binaca Geetmala was ‘Sanyasi.’
    44) “Krishna Krishna” is the only mythological film for which SJ composed music. It had Sonu Nigam as a child star in a small role.
    45) Shammi Kapoor heads the list of SJ leading men with most movies: 19. Rajendra Kumar comes a distant second. Vyjayanthimala heads the list of SJ leading women.
    46) The only Dev Anand song sung by Kishore Kumar for SJ was “Dooriyan Nazdikiyan” in ‘Duniya.’
    47) “Zindagi Ek Safar hai suhana..” from ‘Andaz’ has three voice versions: Kishore Kumar, Asha Bhonsale and Mohd Rafi.
    48) Hemant Kumar’s daughter Rano Mukerjee sang a few songs for SJ in the mid seventies in ‘Saazish,’ ‘Resham Ki Dori, and ‘International Crook.’ The song that she sang for ‘International Crook’ was however not used in that film but instead found its way in the film, ‘Eent ka Jawab Patthar’ by the same producer. The song was “Poochha jo pyar kya hai..” with Kishore Kumar.
    49) The film “Dur Nahin Manzil” was first assigned to Roshan who died. Later SJ were signed for the same and Jaikishan died during its making. Suman Kalyanpur had sung the title song for Roshan. The song was retained in the movie. She also sang for SJ in the film: “Bezuban dil shor na..” The heroine was originally Nutan. She had acted in producer Hari Valia’s earlier venture, “Laatsaab” but due to a misunderstanding with Sanjeev Kumar, she stepped out and was replaced by Bindu’s sister (and Laxmikant’s sister-in-law) Reshma.
    50) Mohd Rafi sang two non-film English songs for SJ. The English lyrics were Harindranath Chattopadhyay
    51) SJ’s first HMV LP Album had a picture of them with their two 1959 White Impala cars with fins and also their Filmfare awards till date.
    52) There is a chowk (street junction) called “Shanker Jaikishan Chowk” close to Eros Theatre in Mumbai. Interestingly, that area can be seen in the first song of Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi.
    53) Some of the lead dual roles in SJ films: Shararat>Kishore Kumar, An Evening in Paris>Sharmila Tagore, Bhai Bhai>Sunil Dutt, Chhote Sarkar> Shammi Kapoor, Mahfil>Sadhana, Atmaram>Shatrughan Sinha, Yakeen Dharmendra, Garam Khoon>Vinod Khanna
    54) SJ may have the highest mukhdas of their songs later converted to movie titles: ”Lal Dupatta malmal ka..” ”Raja ki aayegi baraat..” ”Tumse achha kaun hai..” ”Kashmir ki Kali.. ” ”Aa gale lag jaa..” ”Aan Milo Sajna..” ”Tumko na bhool payenge..” ”Kuchh kuchh hota hai..” ”Nain mile chain kahan..” ”Aaja Sanam..” ”Aa ab laut chale..” ”Phir bhi dil hai Hindustani..” ”Main Aashiq hoon baharon ka..” ”Mujhe meri biwisi bachao..” ”Bol Radha Bol..””Buddha Mil Gaya””Dil ke Jharonke mein””Gustakhi Maaf”
    55) Lata Mangeshkar and Jaikishan were both born in 1929. Shankar was born in 1922.
    56) Man Mohan, Deven Verma, Satish Wagle were Jaikishan’s very close friends and they met regularly at Gaylord’s near Churchgate, Mumbai. Man Mohan can be seen in key roles in Satish Wagle’s ‘Pyar Hi Pyar’ and ‘Yaar Mera.’ He was also seen in ‘Aradhana’
    57) SJ utilized Rafi and Mukesh for all three Kapoor brothers: Raj Kapoor had a Rafi song in ‘Ek Dil Sau Afsane’ & ‘Mera Naam Joker’ Shammi Kapoor had a Mukesh song in ‘Ujala’ and ‘Singapore’ Mukesh sang one song for Shashi Kapoor in ‘Insaniyat’
    58) SJ had Mahendra Kapoor play back for Dev Anand in ‘Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja.’ The song also had some Bengali words! Rare indeed!
    59) Sushama Shreshta was introduced by SJ in “Andaz” and also sang in ‘Seema’ She later sang as Poornima. Ramesh Sippy and Salim-Javed of ‘Sholay’ fame also started with ‘Andaz.’
    60) SJ were signed for the following movies originally: ‘Bobby,’ ‘Seeta Aur Geeta.’
    61) Guru Dutt had one only movie as a lead actor with SJ: ‘Sanjh aur Savera’ But his younger brother had a close relationship with SJ: Shikar, Chanda aur Bijli, Umang, Yaar Mera and Resham Ki Dori.
    62) Besides Dattaram and Sebastian, SJ also had other assistants like Sonny Castellino (Awara), Dheeraj (Sanyasi), Enoch Daniels (Kaanch Ki Deewar, Gori, Krishna Krishna)
    63) SJ composed background music for a documentary at the peak of their career in 1967. The documentary was ‘Everest’ and narrated the expedition by Nawang Gombu’s team. Incidentally, this team included Dr Telang as a team doctor.
    64) Shatrughan Sinha sang “Mera Joota hai japani” at a Shiv Sena Chitrapat Shakha function in 1974 under Shankar’s supervision.
    65) Sudha Malhotra sang the ‘Chori Chori’ duets with Manna Dey during the 1957 function for 1956 FF awards. She sang only one song for SJ in ‘Jwala’ starring Madhubala.
    66) 68. Shankar composed Indian classical tunes for AIR Delhi in the late seventies.
    67) Shankar liked background music of Hitchcock films.
    68) Shankar was a master at playing several instruments. He could play the piano, the harmonium, the sitar, and the pakhawaj with ease. Born in Punjab, he migrated to Andhra Pradesh at a very young age. He had been a dancer in Krishna Kutty’s troupe.
    69) Jaikishan was a master harmonium-player.
    70) SJ mostly composed the tune first, since they felt it prevented monotony, as poets tended to write songs most of the time to just two or three meters.
    71) Lyricists Shailendra and Hasrat Jaipuri were masters at writing in-depth lyrics to S-J’s tunes, and the composers worked with them mostly. For a couple of films they worked with lyricist Rajinder Krishan. Most of the time Jaikishan tuned with Hasrat, and Shankar with Shailendra.
    72) Shankar-Jaikishan were on the RK Films pay-roll even when another composer did an occasional film.
    73) SJ were awarded the Padmashri in 1969 together with another RK associate artist, M R Acharekar. The President of India was Dr Zakir Hussain.
    74) As S-J, they did 121 films, and about 50 films more were released after Jaikishan’s death.
    75) The duo released a non-film record, Raga Jazz Time in the 60s and composed Hindi songs and the background score for the English film Bombay Talkie (1971).
    76) SJ music boosted the careers of Raj Kapoor, Nargis and Rajendra Kumar, and gave the ‘Yahoo’ image to Shammi Kapoor.
    77) Way back in 1965, S-J charged a record-breaking rupees five lakhs making them the highest-paid music directors ever. Their fees were higher than the highest paid actors of that era. However, they did ‘Teesri Kasam’ for a paltry sum.
    78) SJ had only one Holi song in their entire career in 1954 movie ‘Pooja.’ The song was “Rang khelo rasiya..” by Rafi and Lata.
    79) SJ had their first foreign trip during the making of movie, ‘Singapore.’
    80) SJ were amongst many film personalities that had a postal stamp released in their name in 2013.
    81) A Jaikishan statue was installed in his birthplace, Bansda near Bulsar in Gujarat in early 2000s.
    82) Though SJ worked primarily with Hasrat Jaipuri and Shailendra, they also worked with other lyricists after Shailendra’s death. They included Neeraj, Rajinder Kishan, Anand Bakshi, Majrooh, Shakeel, Bharat Vyas, Verma Malik, Indivar.
    83) SJ worked with several playback singers. SJ had the most songs with Lata Manegshkar, Md Rafi, Kishore Kumar.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. This is a lovely list. Let alone ten, it would be hard to compile a top 50 list. There is such a wealth of songs by SJ to choose from. One must choose the songs that are dear to your heart. The songs I listen to most often are not the best, but the ones that suit my mood. Putting Ajeeb dastan at the top was genius. It is a magnificent song. I would have put it there too, followed by Ketaki gulab juhi, this song takes me on another plane altogether. From Raj Kapoor combo my favorite is Yeh Raat bhigi bhigi. Pyar hua iqrar hua hai is the most romantic song ever. Sunte the naam ham is my favorite club number, though I love the ones you have chosen. Jaan Pehchan ho can’t ever be bested.
    I think I will listen to an SJ playlist when I got for my post dinner walk.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Ava! Glad you liked this list – and I love the ones you’ve suggested (I am wishing I had remembered Ketaki gulab – it’s so beautiful). For me, Pyaar hua iqraar hua hai has begun to suffer from overkill – it’s so ubiquitous, it tends to pall for me now. :-( but Yeh raat bheegi-bheegi is a perennial favourite.

      I have heard Sunte thhe naam hum – but so long back, I’d forgotten all about it until I began to listen to it again. Lovely song!

      Liked by 1 person

        • Arre nahin! Please don’t – as you can see, I do have a couple of RK songs on the list. :-) It’s just that there’s a certain onscreen persona of his that I find seriously irritating. But I have never criticized others for being fans of RK’s – it’s all subjective, and I do not argue with people who love him.


  7. Madhuji, I don’t think I can even draw up a list for it would be endless. But fond of trivia as I am, I felt I must add these titbits:-
    –Shankar played the role of a fisherman in the movie Aag in 1948.

    –‘Mud Mud Ke Na Dekh’ from Shri 420 was an on the spot creation by Shailendra who was teasing Jaikishan for looking back repeatedly at a passer by – a beautiful lady, of course!!

    Since Shankar spent his childhood in Hyderabad, the Telugu language and the culture of the place were an inseparable part of him.
    –Ramayya Vastavayya. These are words in Telugu respectfully referring to Lord Ram and reaffirming faith in the fact that he will return to his kingdom. (According to me, going by the way it is sung, it is not Lord Ram being asked whether he will come back but an emphatic reconfirmation of the belief that he will return.) Barring these two opening words, the rest of the song is in Hindi. It is said that Shankar, who grew up in Hyderabad where Telugu is spoken, had been demonstrating his composition to director Raj Kapoor using placeholder Telugu lyrics. When Raj Kapoor heard the tune, he loved it so much that he wanted the Telugu title lyrics to be included in the final version! Perhaps, the parallel between Lord Ram returning (at last) to his kingdom and Raju (the hero, Raj Kapoor) finally coming back to his true home was apt.
    — Bathukamma Bathukamma (Shatranj, 1969) The entire Mukhda is in (somewhat unsophisticated) Telugu. The song has a strong Hyderabadi/Urdu tinge too. The rest of the song is in Hindi. Bathukamma means “Mother Goddess come alive” in Telugu.
    Another song of the Shankar-Jaikishan duo – Naach Re Man Bathukamma – from Rajkumar (1964) also refers to Bathukamma. In this song, the goddess is being worshipped by the women of the tribe. All this goes to show how Shankar drew from various influences.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. The very first song of this list of yours is my all time favorite song from Bollywood movies (must be of billions like me). You haven’t praised the lyricist but for this song, I feel, the lyrist also deserves admiration alongwith SJ, MK and Lata. The last song of this list is again a song I like very much. Since SJ have composed so many quality songs, choosing some of them to quote is a Herculean task for any sincere music lover. Let me think and then come back. This post, as always expected of you, is a highly admirable one making people like me nostalgic.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Every song in the list is a huge favourite of mine. The Lata Mangeshkar numbers are superb to say the least.
    Tera Mera Pyaar Amar from Asli Naqli is another favourite of my SJ numbers.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Lovely list. Difficult to pick SJ top 10. I would add “Sur Na Saje” from Basant Bahar. From my relatively limited knowledge, Basant Bahar was the early movie of SJ where they had to compose for a Classical music related story. They had to prove that they were upto it. And the way they used Manna Dey sir’s voice is amazing. Great Album. Anyway as you said, it is YOUR Top 10 on THAT Day.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You’re very right, Basant Bahar was an exceptional score – and I think also showed how versatile these two could be. Most of their other songs have a certain style to them which they completely deviate from in this score.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Madhuji your sense of occasion is simply amazing even as most -including aficionados- have relegated Shankar -Jaikishan to a portion of their memory which needs to be consciously mined & recalled. The task of choosing 10 best songs out of a shoal of great songs is an arduous task . Even if you enlarge the list to best 100 songs there will be nitpicking for such was the quality of output of the duo. Shankar-Jaikishan duo were the leading composers even during the golden era of Hindi movie music when Naushad , SD et al were at the peak of their powers

    Liked by 1 person

    • “Even if you enlarge the list to best 100 songs there will be nitpicking for such was the quality of output of the duo.

      Very well said. And, frankly, if I am called upon to make the same list perhaps a year from now (even less?) I may end up with other completely different songs.


      • Probably, Jab bhi ye dil udaas hota hai… from Seema may find a place in your next list .The song is so soulful & Rafi saab does not seem to be singing as much as the actor/s on the screen. Such was Rafi sab’s expression .The movie failed at the box office , but the song, which haunted young people in the 70s haunts them even more after 50 years, remains a tribute to the composers as much Rafi sab

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Of course, your choice is impeccable. But one hears that in the later years, S-J had drifted apart ( one of the reasons was probably the excessive promotion of a certain female singer by Shankar). I have seen lists of songs ‘exclusively’ composed by one or the other. Among the songs mentioned by you, are there such exclusive songs? Also, it is said that Jaikishan was the creative person, while Shankar looked after the business end of things! Is this true?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have no idea about the truth behind those. Frankly, I dislike Sharda’s voice so much, I would have totally sided with Jaikishan if he had baulked at Shankar’s excessive patronisation of her!

      I don’t know whether any of the songs I’ve listed are ‘exclusively’ one or the other’s… or even which songs, out of their corpus, were whose. Perhaps someone with a more in-depth knowledge of the behind-the-scenes work might know.


  13. This is a brilliant list indeed, Madhu. Almost ALL the songs listed here are my favorites too. “O sanam tere ho gaye hum” has always been my personal favorite from that movie. It leaves me heavy with nostalgia. “Aayi milan ki bela ” was not a particularly good movie, but the songs made it a blockbuster. And I agree with you on one thing, I could never understand Rajendra Kumar’s appeal to the public. To me he always looked like a reasonably OK looking Punjabi businessman ! I love “Unse mili nazar” also. By the way you probably know that “Ajeeb dastaan hai ye” was fully copied from Jim Reeves’ 1956 song “My lips are sealed”. But SJ’s saxophone playing and indeed the whole orchestration made this a wonderful song ,far better than the original. They did copy Western tunes too. The prelude music of “Aaja aayi bahaar”, from “Rajkumar” was taken from “The barber of Seville” by Gioachino Rossini. But here again in this song SJ’s 100 piece orchestration was superb, so far advanced for a 1964 movie ! And of course ” Kaun hai jo sapnon me aaya” was lifted from Elvis Presley’s “Marguerita” ! Congratulations on this wonderful list. However you can never do justice to SJ’s songs in just one list, you’ll need several more and include movies like “Junglee”, Arzoo” “Rajkumar” etc.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for those very interesting insights into the ‘inspiration’ behind those songs! Anu (Warrier) and I were discussing recently how the composers of that era – 50s-60s – really knew what being inspired meant; not outright blatant lifting of a tune, but just inspiration. And so many of them turned a basic tune into something infinitely superior to the original!

      And yes, another list is definitely in order. Sometime later, but I will certainly do it.


  14. It’s really very difficult to choose favorite songs of Shankar Jaikishan. By the way, I have attempted to choose my favorites as below:

    Main Ashiq Hoon Baharo Kaa sung by Mukesh:

    Likhe Jo Khat Tujeh by Rafi:

    Dil Ki Kitab Kori Hai by Rafi & Suman:

    Mujhe Apna Yaar Banalo by Rafi:

    Ye Aanshu Mere Dil Ki Zuban Hai by Rafi:

    Aye Dil Naa Mujhse Chhupa by Mukesh & Lata

    Mat Jaa Mat Jaa Mat Jaa by Asha:

    Aa Nil Gagan Tale by Lata & Heman:

    Rukh Se Zara Nakaab by Rafi:

    The list seems endless but I must stop here.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for the link to that article. Someone else too had mentioned that Ajeeb daastaan hai was inspired by My lips are sealed:

      … but frankly, I think SJ have worked so much on that, it’s barely recognizable (I can’t, for one, trace anything but the vaguest similarity – a similarity, in fact, which might apply to many other songs of the type Jim Reeves sang).


  15. I saw “Vikram Vedha” in the cinema recently–a VERY loud film–and when “Ae Bha Zara Dekh Ke Chalo” came on one of the characters’ car radios, what a relief for the ears it was!

    Naturally, we could go on listing songs forever : ) I will mention only one, because I think it is one of Shankar-Jaikishen’s really outstanding productions and has not been brought up on this page so far:

    (“Lakhon Taare Aasman Mein” from “Hariyali Aur Rasta.”)

    In other Shankar-Jaikishen news, I am presently polishing a write-up of “Elaan” (1971), with some discussion of the songs “Aath Ko Aath Mein Jama Karo” and “Aaj Tumhare Kaan Mein Kah Doon.” Expect it up sometime this week ( ;

    Liked by 1 person

  16. My list will be
    1) aajaa sanam – Chori Chori-Lata and MannaDey
    2) dil ki nazar se – Anaari- Mukesh and Lata
    3) bol re kathputli – Kathputli- Lata
    4) aayi aayi raath suhaani – Poonam – Lata
    5) duniyawalon se – Ujala- Mukesh and Lata
    6) aji chali aao – Halagu- Lata and Aaasha
    7) ghar aayaa mere pardesi – Awaara- Lata
    8) thu pyar kaa saagar hai- Seema- MannaDey
    9) Yeh Vada Karo | Lata Mangeshkar & Mukesh Songs | Raj Hath (1956)
    10) thu ganga ki mouz me – Basanth Bahaar- Rafi and Lata-1955


  17. Wow…wonderful post. Ajeeb Dastan, Who Chand Khila, Tumhe yaad karte karte are my favourites too. It must be a challenging task to choose only 10 songs from SJ’s vast repertoire.
    I love Shankar-Jaikishan’s orchestration, particularly use of violins. Here are some of my favourites.
    ‘Ye raat bhigi bhigi’ from ‘Chori Chori’. It is sheer romance.

    ‘Aa Ja Re’ from ‘Aah’. Song starts with simple beats on tabla and sparse strings in background reaches crescendo towards end.

    From ‘Dil Ek Mandir’, on odd days it is ‘Hum tere pyar mein’ and on even days it is ‘Ruk ja raat’. Both songs are poignant and beautifully blend of western sounds with sitar, table. On leap year, it is ‘Juhi ki kali meri ladli’

    ‘Neel Gagan ki chhao mein’ for its clever use of pakhwaj/mridungam.

    In hindi songs, normally you associate mridangum with devotional songs, not with danseuse. The composition is unique – when Lataji is singing, there are only beats on table and some ghungroo, when she stops singing the music starts.

    ‘Chale jana’ from ‘Around the world in 8 dollars’. Most probably, Shankar composed after Jaikishan’s death, but it was released in the name of duo. I try to auto-filter Sharadaji’s heavy accent in my mind.

    ‘Dil ke jharokhe mein’, is a typical Shankar Jaikishan song – heavy orchestration, very glamorous yet it balances pathos in Rafi’s voice.

    ‘Yeh mera prem patra padhkar’ for its melodious sitar prelude and Lataji’s humming. I try to concentrate on flourished gul-mohar instead of RK’s overly made-up face though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Some very nice songs there! I have to admit to never having liked Dil k jharokhe mein tujhko bithaakar because someone told me a hilarious parody of that when I was very young, and that pretty much ruined the song for me. :-) And Sharda… I so wish Shankar hadn’t been so fond of her. I can’t bear her voice.


  18. Madhu,
    Attempting to present ten best songs of S-J is heroic. I would need at least 50, such as ten best of SJ-Lata Mangeshkar, SJ-Rafi, SJ-Mukesh, SJ-‘Other singers’, SJ-duets.

    If I take just one from each I might take:
    1. Raja ki ayegi baraat
    2. Tumne kisi ki jaan ko jaate huye dekha hai
    3. Ye mera deewanapan hai
    4. Tu pyar ka saagar hai
    5. Hai aag hamaare seene mein (treating songs with multiple singers as duets)

    Nitin has compiled an exhaustive trivia. I think these are not there:
    1. Chhoti si ye zindagani – The tonga driver is Mukesh.
    2. ‘Ae pyase dil bejubaan’ (film ‘Begunah’ 1957), sung by Mukesh is picturised on Jaikishan. ‘Begunah’ is the only film which was banned within 10 days of its release and all its prints were ordered to be destroyed as a result of a copyright violation suit filed by the producer of the Hollywood film ‘Knock on the Woods’ (1954). However, the Mukesh song gained popularity and has survived.
    3. Shailendra is present in ‘Chali kaun se desh gujariya’ (Boot Polish)
    4. Shailendra is not only present but also lip-syncs the Manna Dey’s lines in
    ‘Tedhi tedhi humse phire saari duniya’ (film ‘Musafir’, though composed by Salil Chaowdhury.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for those songs, and for that trivia, AK. I hadn’t known about Begunaah – that was fascinating.

      To your trivia about Shailendra, let me add another one. He appears along with Premnath in a cameo in Naiyya teri majhdhaar:

      Liked by 1 person

      • It is difficult to recognise Shailendra in this song. One can easily identify Premnath. Other singer’s face is clear only for a second at 1:09 to 1:10 and again at 1:41 to 1:42. I had paused and zoomed but failed to match this young face with Shailendra. I may be wrong.


  19. Your post on SJ made me listen to ‘Dil Ek Mandir’ songs which in turn prompted me to watch this movie. Having watched it, I searched for your review. Seems you have not reviewed this one.
    I would love to read your review on this one….

    Liked by 1 person

  20. “I have never been able to understand the popularity of ‘Jubilee Kumar’, Rajendra Kumar.”

    That made me laugh. All I can say is, you and me both, Madhu. You and me both! :-D
    Anyway, a really nice set of songs to showcase the depth and breadth of Shanker-Jaikishen. You’ve included a number of my favorites, but I’m particularly pleased to see both “O sanam tere ho gaye hum” and “unse mili nazar” get a mention. As you note they are not amongst the most popular of S-J’s songs but I have a soft spot for both.

    Some other S-J numbers that I love include:

    Yeh chand yeh sitare – Halaku/Lata Mangeshkar/Shailendra

    Unhe tu bhool jaa aye dil – Naya Ghar/Talat Mehmood/Shailendra

    Dilruba dil pe tu yeh sitam – Rajkumar/Asha Bhosle-Mohammed Rafi/Shailendra

    Lali lali doliya mein lali re dulhaniya – Teesri Kasam/Asha Bhosle/Shailendra

    Liked by 1 person

    • Some lovely songs there, Shalini! Thank you. Especially for Laali-laali doliya and Dilruba dil pe tu (which was on my shortlist – I find that so seductive).

      And yes, Jubilee Kumar. Why on earth?! :D


    • May be, my comments are uncalled for & I would tender apologies at the outset. The movie world is , at least in so far as success is concerned, one of the most meritocratic space, though entry barriers themselves are something not to feel proud of .It is like in the cricket world – batsman/bowler selected has to weigh in with success against great bowlers/batsmen & the riff raff will be hopelessly exposed .To that extent Rajinder Kumar’s success puts him the list of meritorious actors . He survived the rough & tumble of the movie world for over 30 years

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, I don’t deny his success at all. I do know how wildly successful Rajendra Kumar was, and how popular. All I’m saying is that I cannot understand the reason for his popularity – that’s my opinion. If you like him, you’re entitled to your opinion, of course, just as we may not agree on various other actors I may like a lot but you don’t.

        Liked by 1 person

  21. My list would be something like this
    1- Aaj kal mein dhal gaya—-Beti Bete
    2- Tera mera pyar amar—-Asli Naqli
    3- Bedardi balma tujhko—-Arzoo
    4- Teri pyari pyari surat ko—-Sasural
    5- Mujko apne gale lagalo—-Hamrahi my absolute favorite
    6- Choti si ye duniya—-Rangoli
    7- A gulbadan—-Professor
    8- Ye mera dewanapan hai—-Yahudi
    9- Hum tujh se mohabbat karke—-Awaara
    10- O basanti—-Jis desh mein ganga behti hai


  22. For someone like me, confining this list to merely 10 songs would have been a mighty challenge!
    The question about Rajendra Kumar’s popularity leads me to think of Amol Palekar as well in the later years. Both played the roles of simpletons to near perfection and we love good guys with hearts of gold and intentions as pure as freshly driven snow who often turn out to be victims of circumstances but end up winning in the end. Or, the self-sacrificing ones, like RK in Sangam and Dil Ek Mandir. Of late, tragedies became unsalable at the box office, so AP’s characters often had a streak of street-smartness to achieve their objectives, like in Naram Garam and Chhoti Si Baat.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a very interesting parallel drawn between these two actors. One thing, though, that I think sets the two apart was that Amol Palekar was invariably part of films that were less mainstream and more a sort of parallel cinema – Gharonda, for instance, or Rajnigandha, which may have been hits but were very different from the more common masala films of their times. Or even the comedies like Golmaal or Baaton-Baaton Mein, which were also not mainstream… Rajendra Kumar, on the other hand, was firmly established as a mainstream actor – I don’t recall him acting in any of the (then relatively rare) unconventional films.

      Liked by 2 people

      • You are right. Times change. Socio-economic conditions change. So do audience tastes. If Rajendra Kumar represented the struggling middle class hero, often supported by a weepy and sacrificing mother toiling hard to bring up her son in those times, Amol Palekar resonated with us much later.
        From a historical perspective, I find it rather interesting that the ‘angry young man’ came up in 1973 (Zanjeer) while the Palekar, Sachin and Farouq Sheikh films started coming up a little later. Even as Rajshri was regaling us with their own brand of entertainment, the likes of Hrishi Da, Basu Chatterjee and Sai Paranjpe offered us another kind of U category movies. Shyam Benegal gave us Ankur in 1974, offering us a contrasting view of life in the parallel universe. I guess these are matters best left to be analyzed by erudite Bollywood scholars.
        Allow me to share one of my recent blog posts here: https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2022/04/08/a-dash-of-consciousness-in-some-of-the-movies-offered-by-bollywood

        Liked by 1 person

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