Use of Mohammad Rafi by Shankar Jaikishan during Rafi Lata spat
By Souvik Chatterji
Shankar Jaikishan were the musical duo who ruled bollywood films between the 1950s and 1960s. During 1963, a spat occurred between Mohammad Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar over royalty. When the spat took place between Mohammad Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar over the issue of royalty, between 1963 to 1967, both of them did not sing any duet songs. Lata contended that singer should receive royalty for their entire life for songs sung in films. Rafi contended that if singers don’t share the losses suffered by the film industry, they should not also share the profits.
In Raj Kapoor’s Sangam Lata sang the solo songs like “mai kya karoon ram”, while Rafi sang solos like “ye mera prempatra parkar”. The duets were managed by SJ in style like “har dil jo pyar karega” where Mukesh, Lata and Mahendra Kapoor sang together. Lata and Mukesh sang the duet “o mere sanam”. Sangam was the greatest grosser of 1964.
In Biswajeet Saira Banu’s film April Fool, SJ used Rafi for solo songs like “aa gale lag ja”, “april fool banaya”. In case of duets SJ used Suman Kalyanpur opposite Rafi and songs became successful like “kehedo kehedo jahan se kehedo”, “tujhe pyar karte hain”. The film did excellent business.
In Rajender Kumar Saira Banu’s Ayee Milan Ki Bela, Lata and Rafi’s duet was recorded before the spat began. The duet was “o sanam tere ho gaye hum”. There was another duet “aha aye Milan ki bela” which was sung by Rafi and Asha. Rafi’s solo songs in the film like “mai pyar ka diwana”, “tum khamseen ho” became smash hits.
In Rajender Kumar Vaijayantimala’s Zindagi, SJ used Lata for solo songs like “hum pyar ka sauda karte hai” and Rafi for solo song “pehele mile the sapno me”. The duet song was sung by Rafi and Asha “ghungarwa mora chamcham baaje”.
In Shammi Kapoor Sadhna’s Raj Kumar, SJ used Lata for the songs “aja aye bahar” and Rafi for the songs “hoshiar, hum hai rajkumar”, “tumne kisi ki jaan ko”. Rafi and Suman Kalyanpur’s duet song “tumne pukara aur hum chale aye” became the greatest hit of all the songs.
In Guru Dutt Meena Kumari’s Saanjh Aur Sawera, Suman Kalyanpur and Rafi’s classical song “ajahu na aye balma” mesmerized the audience. The other duet was sung by Rafi and Asha titled “yehi hai wo saanjh aur sawera”.
In 1965, Shankar Jaikishan composed music in the films Janwar, Gumnaam and Aarzoo. All the films were musical blockbusters.
In Manoj Kumar Nanda’s Gumnaam, SJ used Rafi and Sharda for the duet song “jane chaman shola badan” which became smash hit. SJ used Rafi for solos like “hume kalen hai to kya hua”, “ek ladki ne” and Lata for the song “gumnaam hai koi”.
In Rajender Kumar Sadhna’s Aarzoo, majority of the songs were solo in nature. So SJ did not require to improvise in respect of duets. Lata’s solo songs were “aji ruth kar ab”, “bedardi balma” while Rafi’s solos included “chalke teri ankho se”, “ae nargisi begana”, “ai phoolon ki raani”. All the songs became super hit.
In Shammi Kapoor Rajashri’s Janwar, there was one duet song of Rafi that was “dekho ab to”. There were lot of solo songs of Rafi like “lalchari maidan khari”, “meri muhabbat jawan raha hai”, etc. Suman Kalyanpur’s solo song “mere sang ga gunguna” had classical Andaz and created attention.
In 1966, SJ composed music in the films Badtameez, Amrapali, Gaban, Suraj, Pyar Muhobbat, Love In Tokyo and Teesri Kasam.
Teesri Kasam was Raj Kapoor’s film, so solos were sung by Mukesh, Manna Dey and Lata, so question of duets did not arise. In Joy Mukherjee Asha Parekh’s Love in Tokyo, Rafi’s solos like “o mere shahe khuba”, “Japan, Love in Tokyo”, “aaja re aa zara aa” were as successful as Lata’s solos “hume tum mil gaye humdum”, “koi matwala aaja mere dware”, “o mere shahe khuba”. Music of the film created storm in bollywood.
In Rajender Kumar Vaijayantimala’s film Suraj, Rafi and Suman Kalyanpur’s duet song “itna hai tumse pyar mujhe” was the greatest hit. Rafi’s solos songs were marvelous like “baharon phool barsao”, “gustaqi maaf”. SJ, Rafi had a brilliant combination with Rajender Kumar and it was proved again in the film Suraj.
There were impressive songs of Rafi in films like Pyar Muhabbat, Battameez, Gaban, like “huye aap naraaz khuda khair Karen”, “ehsaan mere dilpe tumhara hai doston”, etc.
In 1967, patch up took place between Lata and Rafi and thereafter duets were sung again. SJ composed music in many films in 1967 including An Evening in Paris, Aman, Diwana, Choti Si Mulakat, Around The World, Latt Sahab, Hare Kaanch Ki Churiya, etc.
The use of Rafi and Lata in solos and the use of Suman Kalyanpur, Mubarak Begum and others opposite Mohammad Rafi in duets when the situation demanded were done successfully by Shankar Jaikishan. Music never suffered during 1963 to 1967. Shankar Jaikishan’s royalty toward Mohammad Rafi also continued. The music in the films referred above had every form of song including pure classical songs, semi-classical songs, ghazals, qawallies, rock and roll songs, folk music, etc. The films and the music require publicity and restoration.