Salil Chaudhury and Shailendra’s Songs Fading From the Memory – 1
Salil Chaudhary (10 November, 1922 – 5 September, 1995)is considered to be belonging to the unorthodox style of music composition even he had manifested marked influence of folk tunes of his native Bengal, had been attracted by the western classical music through the works of Bach, Beethoven or Mozart and adapted Indian classical Ragas too very comfortably. He could play many Indian and Western instruments, and he was an acclaimed writer, playwright, choir conductor, composer and lyricist during his first innings during 40s- till early ‘50s, in Calcutta. His second innings in Mumbai, with his maiden Hindi Film, Do Bigha Zameen, brought him in contact with another genius- Shailendra.
Whether it was Shailendra’s knowledge of Bengali, his capability to write poetic lyrics, fully reflecting the situation in the film, even when presented with a tune or his own background of working as a proletariat, the simple fact remains that, after Shankar Jaikishan, Shailendra has written around 108 songs for around 19 Hindi Films under the baton of Salil Chaudhary, which works out to almost one fourth of the Hindi films for which Salil Chaudhary composed music. Salil Chaudhary used to prefer compose tune first and would expect his lyricist to write the lyrics in that spirit. Shailendra’s songs under his composition have retained Shailendra’s poetic touch even under these constraints.
In our series of annual articles, we will cover Shaildendra’s songs composed by Salil Chaudhary We will take a closer look at the songs that seem to receding from the memory while we take note of the songs that remain quite popular even now. For this purpose, we will traverse their films in chronological order.
Do Bigha Jamin (1953)
This is the film for which his script is based on his own short story. As per the original design he was being called in to write the script, and fate landed music composition too in his account. He also composed music for another Bimal Roy directed in the same year – Biraj Bahu. There is not much documentation available how was Shailendra was called in as a lyricist for the film. Nor does it matter, as we have all evergreen songs form this pair’s maiden joint venture:
- Hariyala Sawan Dhol Bajata Aaya (Manna Dey, Lata Mangeshkar, chorus)
- Dharti Kahe Pukar Ke (Manna Dey, Lata Mageshkar, chorus)
- Ajab Tori Duniya Hey More (Rafi, chorus)
We will listen to Aaja Ja Ri Aa Nindiya (Lata Mangeshkar) in details here.
Meena Kumari, who was the leading lady of a 1953 Ashok Kumar’s production, and Bimal Roy directed, Parineeta, appears in a cameo role for this lullaby. This remains the only occasion wherein Meena Kumari has perfumed such a cameo role in her entire career.
A Nepali tune based happy version o Chhota Sa Ghar Hoga (Kishore, Sheila Belle ) overshadows other songs of the film Salil Chowdhury has experimented with Hemant Kumar for the sad version of this song.
Ek Chhoti Si Naukri Ka Talabdar Hun – Kishore, Shankar Dasgupta, Shyamal Mitra
Shailendra has so wonderfully laid down expectations of an educated youth, which remains universally true at all the times. Salil Chaudhary establishes his prowess to compose light tunes in an unconventional style.
Arji Hamari Ye Marji Hamari, Jo Soche Bina Thukraoge Dekho Bade Pachhataoge – Kishore Kumar
The song opens with what appears to be a simple recital of the application for the job, but soon cleverly gets transformed in an application for a space in mind of the beloved.
Jhoome Re Kali Bhanwara Ulajh Kaanton Mein – Geeta Dutt
Salil Chaudhary has opted for Geeta Dutt’s voice to convey the bubbling pleasure of formal acceptance, with the self, of the budding love relation. Shailendra’s poetic imagination matches every note of the song that expresses the subdued pleasure of the very young girl in the conservative times of a traditional society.
O Man Re Na Gham Kar, Ye Aansoo Banege Sitare, Judai Mein Dil Ke Sahare – Lata Mangeshkar
Salil Chaudhary had so high respect for Lata Mangeshkar’s singing prowess that he would come up with difficult than normal composition for her songs. In the present song, he has used harmonica in the prelude and orchestration of violins with flute in the interludes to create the feeling of train motion. In the process, he has synchronized the director’s use of metaphor of the train movement to indicate the anticipation of much awaited momentum in hero’s life. Shailendra’s lyrics truthfully convey the pang of partition while Sheela Ramani ruefully bids him the farewell.
Ho Jab Se Mili Tose Ankiyan Jiyara Dole Re (Hemant Kumar, Geeta Dutt) and Meri Wafaye Tumhari Jafaye, Aansoo Likhenge Fasaana Pyar Ka (Asha Bhosle) qualify as more known than the other songs of the film. The former duet is an Assamese folk tune based song, which reelect the feelings of the lead pair. The later Asha Bhosle solo would be immediately recalled by the fans of Asha Bhosle, even if the song has receded from the memory after the onslaught of OPN – Asha deluge in the later years. The songs is a signature Salil Chaudhary composition.
Chet Re Moorkh Chet Re Awsar Beet Jaye Re – Manna Dey, Asha Bhosle
An old saintly beggar and his young keeper singing a song that contains the deep message for the principal protagonists was a popular genre of Hindi Films in that period, and Manna Dey required lot of luck and hard work to get of this cast..
Chhal Chhal Paani Hamari Zindagani Ye Chal Ke Rukana Jaane Na – Manna Dey, Asha Bhosle, chorus
The song depicts a cheering group of young children taking out water from the wheel with the help of a bucketed water-wheel. The water flowing into the trough spurs them to the song which the sings the beauty and power of flowing water. The village belle and the working artisans also flow into the mood of the song. Shailendra, too, fully utilizes the opportunity to present the idea of a utopian world!
Baanki Adayein Dekhna Ji Dekhna Dil Na Churaye Dekhanaji – Geeta Dutt
Salil Chaudhary once again uses mellifluous silken charm of Geeta Dutt’s soft voice to express the feelings of Chand Usmani, on the piano, through the lips of her friend, Asha Mathur, in this party.
Jab Tumne Mohabbat Cheen Li Kya Milega Bahroon Se – Asha Bhosle
Salil Chaudhary has, inexplicably, chosen Asha Bhosle for this pathos song. In what is now emerging as his individual style, he has gone onto compose quite complex tune. Asha Bhosle rises to the challenge and does full justice to the confidence invested in her. However, the song become so difficult for an ordinary listener to sing the song on her own, that song does not attain the popularity.
Awaz was a Mehboob production, directed by the lyricist Zia Sarhadi. It had popular songs penned by lyricists other than Shailendra, like Dil Tere Liye Dole, Dhitang Dhitang Bole (Prem Dhawan), Dil Diwana Dil Mastana Mane Na and Aaraa Ram Taara Ram Duniya Ke Kaise Gam (both by Zia Sarhadi). Shailendra was one of the four lyricists and has penned three of the total 10 songs.
Baba Teri Sone Chiraiya, Jaaye Anajane Ki Nagariya – Lata Mangeshkar
The song is a marriage song wherein bride’s friend try to tone down the pall of gloom that is imminently felt because of the departure of the bride from her parental home. The interlude music has very cleverly interwoven the traditional band party music played during the bridegroom procession.
The other two songs have Mohammad Rafi. Therefore, that makes a very opportune placement to traditionally our post with relevant Mohammad Rafi song(s):
Aayi Baraat Baje Gaaje Se…… Aaj Mera Dulha Kam Nahi Kisi Raje Se – Mohammad Rafi, S.Balbir, chorus
This is the song that friends of the bridegroom sing when they take him on their shoulders to the marriage podium. If the previous genre songs have an undercurrent of pathos, these types of song have loud boisterous tone.
Lo Bhor Hui Panchi Nikle …. Talash Mein Dane Dane Ki, Insan Bhi Lo Ghar Se Nikla, Dhun Roti Kamane Ki – Mohammad Rafi
The song is typically the voice of the proletariat class, which is the basic theme of the film, as evidenced by the title. Shailendra has again taken the opportunity to place his own deep-felt ideals into the poetic mound the lyrics of the song. The song has been very innovatively been placed as the title-credit song, too. Rafi’s very soft delivery of the song also is quite noteworthy.
In these four films, we have been able to look at multiple facets of Salil Chaudhary’s music composing styles and the degree of Salil Chaudhary – Shailendra tuning. The wait till the next year may appear to be too long, but if you consider these songs as the gourmet wine, then that time is indeed required to allow the songs to mature into our minds.
We will continue remembering Unforgettable Songs that seem to Fading away from our Memories every second Sunday of the month……..
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