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Looking back at Jaikishan and remembering his bond with Mohammad Rafi

By Dr. Souvik Chatterji

Jaikishan with Mohd Rafi

Jaikishan with Mohd Rafi

Jaikishan Dayabhai Panchal is remembered on 12th September, his death anniversary in 2013. The listeners of music all over the world wished happy birthday to legendary composer Jaikishan better known as Jaikishan Dayabhai Panchal on 4th November, 2012. He was part of the legendary duo Shankar Jaikishan who dominated bollywood music during the 1950s and 1960s. Rafi had a very sweet relationship with Shankar Jaikishan but unfortunately their relationship had not been glorified in bollywood history. Whenever contribution of composers relating to classic creations involving Rafi are highlighted the name of Naushad, Roshan, Madan Mohan, OP Nayyar are glorified and the contribution of Shankar Jaikishan is ignored.

If Rafi’s stylish andaz relating to westernized compositions are adequately it is Shankar Jaikishan who had used it to perfection. They had used Rafi for singing romantic songs with Japanese orchestration in Love in Tokyo including songs like “aja re aa zara aa”, “Japan, Love in Tokyo”, “ o mere shahekhuba”, etc. In Biswajeet’s April Fool SJ’s composition for Rafi including “aa gale lag ja” had westernized background.

SJ’s composition for Rafi in Shammi Kapoor’s An Evening in Paris like “akele akele kahan ja rahe ho”, “raat ke humsafar”, had loud French music with echo effect and Rafi’s intonation was also westernized. Shankar Jaikishan gave a completely different style of music to Rafi in Rajender Kumar’s Aarzoo with songs like “aji ruth kar ab”, “chalke teri aankho se”, “ai nargisi mastana”, etc.

SJ had given songs addressing children to Rafi including “nanne munne bache teri mutthi me kya hai” in Boot Polish, “hai na bolo bolo”, “re mamma re mamma re” in Shammi Kapoor’s Andaz and “chakke p chakka” in Brahmchari. Rafi pronounced the words with childish accent and SJ used the orchestration to attract children.

There were ghazals also given by SJ for Rafi including “rukh se zara nakab” in Jeetender’s Mere Huzoor, “unke khayal aye to” in Raj Kumar’s Lal Patthar, “saaze dil ched de” in Pradeep Kumar’s Rajhaath, etc. Besides SJ’s creation involving Rafi in somber mood had created great impact including songs like “teri zulfon ki judai to nahi maangi thi” in Dev Anand’s Jab Pyar Kisi Se Hota Hai, “ehsaan tera hoga mujhpar” in Shammi Kapoor’s Junglee, “yaad na aye” in Rajender Kumar’s Dil Ek Mandir.

Shankar Jaikishan had used Rafi’s classical andaz in the songs “radheke tune bansoori churai”, “ajahu na aye”, etc., and combined the ragas with devotional andaz. SJ had given music in almost 200 films within the span from 1949 to 1971, and at least each year they composed music for approximately 10 films. As Rafi was given predominance over other male singers SJ had use him in regular intervals even without doing injustice to Mukesh, Manna Dey, Kishore Kumar, Talat Mehmood and others. Songs like “kaun hai jo sapno me aya” from Jhuk Gaya Aasman, “to bura maan gaye” from Ayee Milan Ki Bela, “yeh ankhen” from Jab Pyar Kisi Se Hota Hai, “tujhe jeevan ki dor se” from Asli Naqli, “dheere dheere chal” from Love Marriage, “badan pe sitaren lapete hue” from Prince, “mai kahin kavi na banjayun” from Pyar Hi Pyar,mai gayun tum so jao” from Brahmchari, had not lost their flavour even 40 years after their creation due to sheer brilliance of Shankar Jaikishan. It is really tragic neither Shankar Jaikishan had received the accolades that they deserved nor Rafi’s association with them had been glorified but history says that the combination of Rafi with Shankar Jaikishan had produced invaluable creations which had become immortal over the period of time.

Rafi had a dream run in the 60s, mainly in the films of Jubilee Kumar, Rajender Kumar for more than a number of reasons. Firstly Rajender Kumar acted in the production and direction of biggest banners of bollywood in the 60s. Secondly from 1963 to 1966, all his films ended up in silver jubilee showing his immense popularity and strong presence in the box-office. Shankar Jaikishan was equated with God in the early 60s and the main reason of the box-office success of Jubilee Kumar’s films was the superlative music given to him by both SJ and Naushad.

In the film Ayee Milan Ki Bela, all the songs of SJ, picturised on Rajender Kumar and sung  by Rafi became super hit The immortal songs include “mai pyar ka diwana“, “aha aye Milan ki bela“, “tum khamseen ho“, “to bura maan gaye“, “o sanam tere ho gaye hum“. Rajender Kumar and Saira Banu’s online chemistry in the film helped in the success of the film.

SJ’s composition in the film Aarzoo, Humrahi and Sasural for Rajender Kumar and Rafi were equally rich. The brilliant songs include “chalke teri aankhon se“, “ae nargise mastana“, “aji ruth kar ab“, “yeh aansoo meri dil ki zubaan hai“, “teri pyari pyari surat ko“, “mujhko apne gale laga lo“, to mention a few. Sadhna complimented the powerful performance of Rajender Kumar in Aarzoo.

The brilliant combination of Rafi, SJ and Rajender Kumar, continued in the film Dil Ek Mandir and Jhuk Gaya Aasman. Prominent songs include “yaad na jaye“, “jahan koi nahi“, “dil ek mandir hai“, “o priya kaun hai jo sapno me aya“, “kahan chal diye“, to mention a few. SJ Rafi and Rajender Kumar continued in the film Aman, where songs like “surahidar gardan koel si hi awaz” still mesmerizes the listeners.

Rafi, Rajender Kumar and SJ created history even in the film Suraj. The songs “kaise samjhayun“, “chehere pe giri zulfein“, “itna hai tujhse pyar mujhe“, “baharon phool barsao” had  become immortal over the years. Rajender Kumar and Vyjayanthimala screen presence were as majestic as the voice of Rafi and the quality of music of Shankar Jaikishan. The other films where the magic combination of Rafi, Rajender Kumar and Shankar Jaikishan made people speechless include Zindagi and Sangam, with the prominent songs being “pehle milethe sapno me” and “meherban likhoon“.

When Shammi Kapoor was informed about Rafi’s death in 1980, he was told by the informer that he had lost his own voice. In other words it was said that Rafi’s voice had reached the soul of Shammi Kapoor, whose success in bollywood films was largely dependent on the golden voice of Rafi. Shankar Jaikishan had contributed in around 22 films of Shammi Kapoor and without the magical duo Rafi’s combination with Shammi Kapoor would not have fulfilled the popular demands of the musical audience.

Mohd Rafi Sahab with Jaikishan

Mohd Rafi Sahab with Jaikishan

If SJ’s composition for Raj Kapoor mark the music catered to the masses, the composition for Rajender Kumar mark the sophisticated tunes catered towards the cultured audience, the compositions for Shammi Kapoor mark the westernized andaz addressed for the young generations. Shammi Kapoor brought the rock and roll andaz of Hollywood films in hindi films, and SJ and Rafi combined together to bring the energetic andaz of Shammi Kapoor who was considered to be a rebel star in the 60s. In fact his style was imitated by Joy Mukherjee and Biswajeet who were also blessed with melodious songs sung by Rafi in the 60s.

SJ, Shammi Kapoor and Rafi combined together to give superhit songs in the film Junglee, including “ehsaan tera hoga mujhpar”, “meri yaar shabba khair”, “chahe koi mujhe jungle kahen”, etc. Saira Banu made her debut opposite Shammi Kapoor and the Subodh Mukherjee film became a trend setter for other directors of producers of the 60s.

SJ, Shammi Kapoor and Rafi created the same magic in the film Janwar. Songs like “tumse achha kaun hai”, “lal chari maidan khari” became superhit along with romantic performance of Rajashree in the film. SJ, Shammi Kapoor and Rafi combination in the film Raj Kumar was equally sublime with songs like “hum hai rajkumar”, “tumne pukara aur hum chale ayen”, “tumne kisiki jaan ko”, to name a few. Sadhna was sublime along with Shammi Kapoor in the film.

SJ, Shammi Kapoor and Rafi created magic again in the film An Evening in Paris. All the songs of the film became super hit including “aji aisa mauka”, “aasman se aya farishta”, “raat ke humsafar”, “akele akele kahan ja rahe ho”, “mera dil hai tera”, “diwane ka naam to pucho”, to name a few. The foreign locations of Paris were as majestic as the European music of SJ and modernized performance of Sharmila Tagore in the film.

The brilliant combination of SJ, Shammi Kapoor and Rafi again created magic in the film Brahmchari. All the songs in the film including “dil ke jharoke me”, “chakke pe chakka”, “mai gavun tum so jayo”, “aajkal tere mere pyar ke charche” created storm in bollywood films. Shammi Kapoor won the filmfare for best actor for his performance in Brahmchari, and Shankar Jaikishan won the film fare for best music director for the same film, while Rafi won the filmfare for best singer for singing the song of the same film. Again Rajashree was sublime in the film.

SJ, Shammi Kapoor and Rafi were equally brilliant in the film Prince where Vaijayantimala acted opposite Shammi Kapoor. Rafi’s songs “muqabla hum se na karo” was as hit as “badan pe sitaren lapete hue”. The same combination came up with brilliant songs in the film Laat Sahab. The songs “sawerewali gari se chale jayenge” and “aye chaand zara chup ja” became superhit. Nutan contributed well opposite Shammi Kapoor.

The magic combination of SJ, Shammi Kapoor and Rafi contributed even in GP Sippy film, Andaz. All the songs of Rafi like “dil use do jo jaan deden”, “hai na bolo bolo”, “re mamma re mammare” became superhit. Hema Malini performed for the first time opposite Shammi Kapoor. The brilliant combination of SJ, Hasrat Jaipuri, Shailendra, Shammi Kapoor and Rafi ended with sad demise of Jaikishan in 1971.


Articles after articles can be devoted on the magic combination who even created magic in other films like Tumse Accha Kaun Hai, Jawan Muhobbat, etc. Critics argue that OP Nayyar and Ravi also contributed in Shammi Kapoor’s films, but their music was also influenced by Shankar Jaikishan’s tunes. The films and the songs of Shammi Kapoor, Shankar Jaikishan and Rafi should be preserved for the future generations.

A big section of music lovers agree that had Jaikishan not died in 1971, Rafi’s dominance in bollywood music not suffered at all. In fact SJ’s tunes were brilliant and were specifically catered towards the likings of common mass. They were not that technical which could not reach the audience. Besides SJ gave tunes in around 10 films per years all along the 50s and 60s, the era when Rafi was unbeatable.

Souvik Chatterji, the author of this article

Souvik Chatterji, the author of this article

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24 Blog Comments to “Looking back at Jaikishan and remembering his bond with Mohammad Rafi”

  1. Your aricle attracted me very true matters mentioned iam a fan of ShankarJaikishan since i heard the songs from Sangam, i attracted their orchestration rather than tue. melody blended with western is their individual style which nobodyelse can copy. not individual song all are superhit. thanks

  2. Musarrat Khan says:

    Excellent Chatterji for such a comprehensive article. Indian music is an essential part of our life. Rafi, Latajee, Mukesh and kishore are just great. I am thankful to them for making my life so full. We also cannot forget the great writers and music directors.

  3. girish says:

    I guess the song from Rajhaat that you were trying to put across would be
    ” aaye bahar banke lubakar chale gaaye”. one more rafi number for pradeep kumar comes to mind – phool sa chehra from Raat Aur Din.

  4. kripal gill says:

    Smile of Rafi Sahab ka Jwab nahi. Smile simple but holy.

  5. kripal gill says:

    Sare Jahan Se Acha Hindustan Hamara. Hindustan Me Bhagwan Utar aya Rafi Sahab ke roop me.

  6. kripal gill says:

    With regards to Kishore da, Manna dey, Mahendra Kapoor ji, and a host of other legends of hindi film music, I simply love Rafi Sahab Ji. His combination with other legendary singers was out of this world. Rafi Sahab was regarded more for his gentle behaviour. Not another god on earth. Chacha, Chacha, Chacha Rafi Chacha.

  7. kripal gill says:

    I was just 14 years old when I had seen Rafi Sahab live in Calcutta(Kolkata). Ooooof my God what a wonderful experience. I wish I kept seeing the God forever. I can’t express my pain on not seeing Rafi sahab Ji. Sorry, no words. Only tears are there to say it all.

  8. kripal gill says:

    wonderful article. masterpiece. throws immense light on SJ & Rafi Sahab Ji’s combination. Keep it up. Such are true tributes to the Voice of God. Rafi Sahab, Rafi Sahab, Rafi Sahib. We aal miss you .

  9. Salim says:

    At last an article on Jaikishan’s genius and his hits with Rafi. They dominated my childhood as I grew up on those years and I am surprised by the black out of SJ everywhere else.

  10. Adarsh Kumar Mudgil says:

    Nothing in praise of Rafi Sahib is sufficient. His was the voice of GODS

  11. Dr. Souvik Chatterji says:

    Dear Adishji,
    Thanks a lot for clarifying the mistake relating to saaz-e-dil ched de. Yes, it is composed by KA. As far as 1971, is concerned, many songs were composed by Shankar Jaikishan during the lifetime of Jaikishanji but films were released later, so it is difficult to say whether they were composed by Shankarji alone. For example films like Mera Naam Joker, Andaz, Kal Aaj Aur Kal, Resham Ki Dori, were released between 1971 and 1973.

    Once the news flashed about Jaikishanji’s death, the publicity of the music of Shankar Jaikishan decreased day by day. Both Shankar and Jaikishan are greats and their combination with Rafisahab really created magic.

  12. Adish says:

    Souvik ji, Thanx for write-up.

    Plz rectify that during entire life span from 1949-1987 till death of Shankarji these giants composed music for 171 films and from 1949-1971 before Jaikishenji passed away they scored around 130 movies not 200.

    Also song Saaz-e-dil chhed de is not from Rajhath its from another Pradeep kumar’s movie Passport (1961) and this great melody created by Kalyanji-Anandji. While Rajhath had out of 12 only one Rafi Saab’s song as already mentioned by you.

  13. shammi says:

    A lovely article and I agree had jaikishan not passed away when he did that Mohd Rafi would have continued to dominate the film industry as it would have left little scope for RD Burman to bring in Kishore Kumar and we could have had great music for another decade at least so his demise was a big loss in many ways.
    He definitely wasn’t given the credit he rightfully deserved but his great combo with Mohd Rafi gave us so many beautiful songs that are still so popular today and the legacy that both left behind speaks for itself.

  14. u.k.achan says:

    Very Very true;the Rafi/SJ combination is really fantastic;just “Baharon Phool Barsao hen” will give immortality..or “Ehsan tera hoga mujhpar”…or “Phalak pe jitne sitaren”..one could go on.Another combination which was never glorified
    is Ravi/Rafi combo ..with gems like..Zindagi ke safar me akhele the hum..Mili khak men muhabbat…Yeh zulf agar khul ke bikhar jaaye to acha..matlab nikhal gaya to pahcan the nahin..Long live Rafi saab.

  15. Ali says:

    M Rafi best singer, SJ top music director and Shammi ji super star so they came together ,,,,,,,,

  16. Santosh Sukhrani says:

    You forgot to mention the sheer brilliance of SJ and Rafi in the classical music based film “Basant Bahar”. Rafi’s renditions of “Badi der bahi” and “Duniya na bhaye mohe, ab to bula le” are pure genius.

  17. Syed Sayeed Khundmiry says:

    Dear Souvik your article for the magic combination of sj/ rafi/ sk/ rk/ and other leading heroes of that magical era are never be forget. Nowadays the music & the lyrics are baseless. We must preserve the old is gold magic songs for future generation.

  18. Mike Guddoy says:

    This is a brilliant article. The musical contribution of Shankar Jaikishan to Indian cinema has been well elaborated. However, they are rarely mentioned or acknowledged in the Indian media these days, may be, they are not able to cope with the wealth and vastness of the SJ musical powerhouse. That magical collaboration of SJ/Rafi/Shammi was unique and will never happen again. Besides, Shammi Kapoor had a special relationship with Jaikishan and Rafi and, was always present at recording of his songs. Rafi/Jaikishan/Shammi are not here but their music will never die.

  19. SalRafi says:

    Good article Souvik. Thank you. Jaikishens death devastated SJ and impacted their future projects because Jaikishan was the main contributor. After his death HFM was badly in need of a caliber of Jaikishan to have unique composition with a modern touch. This paved the way for RDB to come into relevance thus giving importance to KK against Rafi Saab.

  20. Chitta Ranjan Deka says:

    Thanks for a well written article. Being a Rafi Saab fan from my childhood I have no hesitation in saying that some of the best and evergreen songs for Hindi films have come from SJ and Rafi combination. It is sad that both SJ and LP are not talked about that highly as some of their contemporaries. SJ were simply superb and I personally feel they were best music directors to grace Hindi Film music arena.

  21. Aseef ismail says:

    Hi i am aseef from Tamil Nadu i strong fan to rafi shaap
    i am really appreciate to you very young and collect more details to Play back king. thank you Mr Souvik, your bacha very cute Allah bless you

  22. Ghawas says:

    Very Nice & Informative Artical,

    Iam a Die hard lover of SJ music & Rafi Sahib as well

    It was S J Who Used the Full potential of Rafi Sb.

    For ALL Sorts of song, Like Aaj Kal mien Dhal giya.
    Kahan Ja raha hai tu Aiy Jane wale, bEST Classical
    in Basnt Bhar, and many more

    Thanks Souvik Ji.

  23. r l arora says:

    Thanks Souvik ji for sharing soul-pleasing facts. i am a senior citizen of 67 and i hv been listening golden voice of Rafi Saab since my early childhood and there wud hv been no day when i did not hear Rafi Saab’s super-voice. i had once the pleasure of listening him in Delhi in a charity programme. i never thought that he wud leave us so early otherwise i wud hv met him personally at his residence by taking an appointment from our gentle, soft spoken and polite Rafi Saab.

    thanks once again for the knowoledgeble facts.

    best regards,
    r l arora

  24. Ganesh says:

    Jaikishan seems to be in more photos with M.Rafi than anyone else. Most of Shammi and Rajendra Kumar hits were composed by Jaikishan. His death in 1971 should have impacted M Rafi, both personally and professionaly.

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