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Shailendra, Rafi and Shankar Jaikishan

By Souvik Chatterji

Rafi Sahab with SJ, Asha, Hasrat, Shailendra

Rafi Sahab with SJ, Asha, Hasrat, Shailendra

Poet and lyricist Shailendra had glorified the world of bollywood with his romantic words. He had tremendous combination with legendary composer Shankar Jaikishan. Both of them in turn had magical relationship with immortal singer Mohammad Rafi.

The magic combination came together in the film Boot Polish with the song “nanhe munne bacche tere mutthi me kya hai” which had become immortal over the years. In the film Shikast, the combination came together in the song “gham me jal raha hai”.

In the mid-50s, all of them Shailendra, SJ and Rafi became superstars and icons in their individual departments. SJ composed excellent song with the words of Shailendra sung by Rafi, Mukesh and Lata in Raj Kapoor’s film Shree 420 titled “ramaiya vasta maaiya”. In 1955 the film ended up being blockbuster. In Seema, the song “kahan jaraha tu” stands out. Manna Dey’s song “tu pyar ka sagar hai” was also a masterpiece.

Rafi made the audience spellbound with the song “duniya na bhaye mohe” in the film Basant Bahar. Shailendra and SJ were brilliant as ever. Rafi’s song “mai rickshawala” in the film Choti Behen had realistic andaz. In Dev Anand’s Love Marriage, Rafi’s songs “kaha ja rahe the” had romantic andaz. In Shararat, the combination got together with the song “ajab hai dastan” which was very melodious.

Rafi Sahab with SJ, Asha, Hasrat, Shailendra

Rafi Sahab with SJ, Asha, Hasrat, Shailendra

The same soft romantic Shailendra with SJ and Rafi changed their gears in aggressive songs of Shammi Kapoor in the film Junglee with the songs “yahoo, chahe koi mujhe jungle kahe”, “ayi ayi ya suku suku”, etc. The combination made the audience spellbound in Rajender Kumar’s film Sasural with the song “ek sawal mai karoon.”

In Shammi Kapoor’s song “dil tera diwana” in the film Dil Tera Diwana, really the song balanced the lightning and rain. The combination continued in Shammi Kapoor’s film Professor with the songs “mai chali mai chali”, “khuli palak me” etc. The same combination brought tears in the eyes of the audience in Rajender Kumar’s film Dil Ek Mandir with the song “yaad na jaye”.

The magic combination continued together in the blockbusters of the mid 60s, including Biswajeet’s April Fool in 1964, Shammi Kapoor’s Janwar and Rajkumar in 1965, Rajender Kumar’s Humrahi in 1963, Ayee Milan Ki Bela in 1964, Aarzoo in 1965, Suraj in 1966, Joy Mukherjee’s Love in Tokyo in 1966, Dev Anand’s Pyar Muhobbat in 1966, Uttam Kumar’s Choti Si Mulakat in 1968, to name a few.

The unfortunate death of Shailendra in 1966 ended the marathon that was played by Rafi and SJ with the immortal lyricist for more than 20 years. His lyrics were used in films that were released later after his death in films like Shammi Kapoor’s Bhramchari, Rajender Kumar’s Jhuk Gaya Aasman and Dharti, Jeetender’s Mere Huzoor, to name a few.

Articles after articles can be devoted to the genius Shailendra, Shankar Jaikishan and Rafi who had produced only gems after gems during the golden age of Indian music. They had made the audience laugh, smile, cry and repent with the words, tunes and rendition of voices. The songs and the films should be preserved.

Mr. Souvik Chatterji, the author of this article

Mr. Souvik Chatterji, the author of this article

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14 Blog Comments to “Shailendra, Rafi and Shankar Jaikishan”

  1. Deepika singh says:

    Plz send me mp3 of ‘aaj hoga wahi tum samajh lo sahi meri bhakti se bhagwan ulajhna nai’

  2. mohamedparvez says:

    dear shri hari ji. iam happy to know you are writting book on hasrat saab, ad shailendra ji, i would like to inform you about rafi saab”s blog, you will find hasrat saab”s and shailendra ji”s rare pictures here,total over 500 ,pages are there, you will around 1000 ,pictures of rafi saab,here,kindly visit this link,take care

  3. shrihari says:

    thanks for your article. do you have any more articles and photographs, please arrange to mail me because I editing and writing book on great lyrist shailendra and hasrat jaipuri. my mail i.d. is

  4. Binu Nair says:

    A Song Pls… I am looking out for song by rafi saaheb.

    film : Sakshi Gopal, Composer : Chitragupta, Lyricist : bharat vyas…

    Song : ‘aaj hoga wahi tum samjho sahi, meri bhakti se bhagwan ulajhna nahin..

    Year : 1957.

    pls send to

  5. Deepak Kirpalani says:


    Many thanks for responding. Please give me your cell number or call me at 98210 94575. Regards.

  6. Binu Nair says:

    Shankar – Jaikishan, Hasrat and Shailendra were the team that was formidable by any yardstick for about two decades.

    the passing away of first shailendra and then jaikishan was fast and unexpected. after the sj era, began the l and p era along with rd burman who was to shape the music of the next era.

    infact, shailendra was to have penned the lyrics for dharti kahe pukar ke – a perfect village based film script for the lyricist to be tuned by rising stars laxmikant and pyarelal. it was not to be.

    then, majrooh saaheb stepped in and filled the void – most admirably. before that shailendra worked with shankar more and hasrat with jaikishan.

    the song ye mera prem patra padhkar penned by hasrat jaipuri remains all time favourite love letter song to date. this was a jaikishan creation which surpassed all other songs of sangam in the binaca geetmala program.

    we would have been more happy to get some more insights, Souvik ji.

  7. Souvik Chatterji says:

    Dear Deepakji,
    In the picture along with Rafi and Asha Bhosle, it is Hasrat Jaipuri, not Prem Dhawan.
    Although Shailendraji is missing in the photo, but Shankar Jaikishan are very much there.
    Hasrat Jaipuri is equally an important member of the team of Shailendra and Shankar Jaikishan.
    Best wishes,
    Souvik Chatterji.

  8. Deepak Kirpalani says:

    The article on Shailendra-SJ-Rafi is full of factual errors. The artistes mentioned in the accompanying picture haven’t been correctly identified either. Rafi, Prem Dhawan (not sure), Asha Bhonsale, Raj Kapoor, S and J are in it. No Shailendra, no Hasrat.

  9. Rashid Diwan says:

    Dear Souvik, many thanks for this well researched article. You should put your knowledge in a book form in memory of Rafi Sahab and all the great writers and music directors.

    Well done.

  10. Sanjeev Dixit says:

    Dear Souvik ji, Thanks for a very nice & informative article on this unique combo.This combo has given so many memorable songs in RAFI SAHAB’S sweet & innocent voice.It is very difficult to find top 10 songs of this combo but i want to share that “at the age of 17, i spelled bound after listening the song kaun hai jo sapno me aaya….” this was the first song of rafi sahab which attracted me towards rafi sahab’s melodious voice.this song i was listen in may 1989 in bombay at my uncle’s residence on tape record, many times in a day.
    Any way, thanks again for this lovely sweet write up.
    -Sanjeev Dixit

  11. Souvik Chatterji says:

    Dear Gautamji,
    Thanks a lot for patiently reading my article. As far as the best 10 songs of Rafi Shailendra and Shankar Jaikishan is concerned it is difficult to select 10.
    I can mention few for the brilliance of words and tunes.
    1) “ramaiyya vasta maiiya” in Shree 420 for the excellent chorus effect with the solo.
    2) “kahan ja raha tu” in Seema for the pensive mood.
    3) “duniya na bhaye mohe” in Basant Bahar for the classical andaz.
    4) “mai rickshawala” in Choti Behen for the realistic andaz.
    5) “ek sawal mai karoon” in Sasural for the melody.
    6) “yaad na jaye” in Dil Ek Mandir for the tragic andaz.
    7) “dil tera diwana” in the film Dil Tera Diwana for the synchronisation of lightning with the music.
    The list can go on.
    And it is difficult to choose the best 50 even as the combination had produced gems after gems.
    Souvik Chatterji.

  12. shakil ahmed goa says:


    Yaad zinda bhi hai dilon main shaad bhi hai.

    Mere nagmoun main teri zhalak aaj bhi hai ,

    Pls. visit youtube my live video.

    Rafi ki yadein live singershakil 0091 8806344555

  13. Gautam Banerjee says:

    Mr. Chattaerje, can you name the best 10 songs, by this combination.
    Gautam Banerjee.

  14. jayarajt says:

    Thanks Mr.Chatterrji.You did a beautiful job in summarizing the talent and aristry of the trio Rafi,SJ and Shailendra.I heard that he died rather prematurely when with dejection when his film Teesri Kasam failed at the box office.The movie was way ahead of its times.

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