Rafi and Suman Kalyanpur duets composed by Shankar Jaikishan
By Souvik Chatterji.
Shankar Jaikishan in the 60s made immense number of experiments in bollywood film music. Right from westernized compositions to Indian classical songs to folk tunes, the compositions had a wide variety. Rafi was the automatic choice of the legendary musical duo, with his tremendous range and romantic appeal. Suman Kalyanpur sang landmark duet song with Rafi under the composition of giant composers during the 60s, including Naushad “dil-e-betaab ko sinese lagana hoga”, in Palki, Madanmohan “baad muddat ke yeh ghari aye”, Jahanara, Roshan “rahe na rahe hum”, in Mamta, Khayyam “parbaton ke pero par sham ka basera hai”, in Shagun, to name a few. Suman Kalyanpur sang many immortal duet songs with Rafi in the 60s and 70s under the composition of Shankar Jaikishan.
In Dil Ek Mandir, the title song “dil ek mandir hai” was sung by Rafi and Suman Kalyanpur with utmost elegance in 1963. The song was sung after the death of Rajender Kumar in the film and therefore the singers displayed the tragic andaz in the song. Rafi had his own solo songs in the film like “jahan koi nahi” and “yaad na jaye” which immortal over a period of time. Suman Kalyanpur’s solo song “juhi ki kali meri ladli” also had a soothing appeal. In Saanjh Aur Sawera, in 1964, the classical song “ajahuna aye balma, sawan bita jaye” was probably one the most immortal duet sung by Suman Kalyanpur with Rafi composed by SJ.
In 1964, Biswajeet’s April Fool had a number of romantic songs of SJ sung by Rafi. Rafi was unparallel in the song “aa gale lag ja”. Suman Kalyanpur accompanied Rafi very well in the songs “tujhe pyar karte karte” and “kehdo kehdo jahan se kehdo”. In Sunil Dutt’s film Beti Bete, the song “agar terii jalwa numai na hoti” showed the melodious impact of duet of Rafi and Suman Kalyanpur under the composition of Shankar Jaikishan. The duet “tumne pukara aur hum chale aye” sung by Rafi and Suman Kalyanpur composed by SJ in Shammi Kapoor’s Rajkumar again stormed box-office in 1964.
In 1966, Rafi and Suman’s duet “itna hai tujhse pyar mujhe mere raazdaar” in Rajender Kumar’s super hit film Suraj stands out as the most romantic song of the film. Rafi sang for Rajender Kumar while Suman Kalyanpur sang for Vyjayantimala.
In the late 60s, Shankar Jaikishan’s rock and roll composition for Shammi Kapoor in the film Brahmchari had probably the most entertaining duets of Rafi with Suman Kalyanpur titled “aajkal tere mere pyar ke charche har jawanpar”. The brilliant orchestration was loud but rhythm –oriented as well. The film ended up being blockbuster and the music of the film played a very important role in the success of the film. Shankar Jaikishan composed a very romantic duet in Uttam Kumar’s film Choti Si Mulakat, titled “tumhe dekha, tumhe chaha” Rafi and Suman. Rafi sang Uttam Kumar’s portion while Suman Kalyanpur had sung Vaijayantimala’s portion. The list of Rafi Suman duets under Shankar Jaikishan was too long.
In the early 70s, SJ’s composition for Suman Kalyanpur in Shammi Kapoor’s film Andaz was well received by the audience. The song “hai na bolo bolo” was sung by Rafi, Suman Kalyanpur, Sushma Shreshta and Pratibha.
After the death of Jaikishan in 1971, many producers and directors who were involved with Shankar Jaikishan shifted towards RD Burman and Laxmikant Pyarellal. So Suman Kalyanpur’s scope of singing duets with Rafi reduced down inspite of Shankar providing good tunes to both Suman Kalyanpur and Rafi. Shankar Jaikishan composed hit song of Suman in Dharmender’s film Resham Ki Dori, “behnane bhai ki kalayi se” in the mid -70s. Rafi’s duets with Suman Kalyanpur under the composition of Shankar Jaikishan require both restoration and publicity.