Thursday, January 18, 2018
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Both Raj Kapoor and Shailendra were legends in their own, respective spheres- Raj as producer-director-actor was a three-in-one genius who had few parallels –though Guru Dutt had moved on successfully on the same path. But as showman, Raj was greater. He had introduced more talent to the industry and also sharpened and polished the existing ones as few had done.


And Shailendra? He was also Raj Kapoor’s discovery. Mukesh and he had the body-and-soul relationship.
As chance would have it, Shailendra died on Raj Kapoor’s birthday—14th December. After his demise, Raj Kapoor stopped celebrating his birthday as far as I remember.
Now where does Radio Ceylon enter the picture! And how has it scored over Vividh Bharati?
I tell you why. On 14th December, 2017, Vividh Bharati announced Raj as their ‘Aj ke Fankar ’ hero. But they ignored Shailendra in the sense that they failed to even mention that it was his death anniversary that day.
But what Radio Ceylon did really moved my heart on 14th Dec 2017.. For full one hour—7am till 8am –they presented songs written by Shailendra. From 7 till 7am they presented songs of Shailendra which were sung on the screen by Raj Kapoor in the voice of Mukesh with music by Shankar-Jaikishen, also Raj Kapoor’s discoveries. It was a one-hour feast, a journey with Raj, Mukesh and Shailendra down the melody lane.And the announcer was Padmini Parera.
Just savour the memorable Mukesh numbers, written by Shailendra and tuned by Shankar Jaikishen, which Padmini Parera played. She began with ‘Hoton pe sachchai rehti hai, jahan dil mein safai rehti hai, Hum us desh ke vaasi hain jis desh mein Ganga behti hai’. That seemed to be a self-introduction of the three—Raj, Mukesh and Shailendra, This was followed by the song which became a rage not only in India but also in Russia and China. ‘Awara hoon…’ written by Shailendra and sung by Mukesh. Raj Kapoor became the darling of cine goers in Russia and China. And at one stage, in Russia the masses knew only two persons—Nehru and Raj Kapoor. This song was a landmark. When Chou En Lai visited Mumbai before the 1962 hostilities, and was accorded a warm welcome by the film industry, he requested to listen to the song, ‘Awara hoon’. When Talat Maghmood visited Allahabad in December 1957, he told me that Chou En Lai wanted to hear the artistes sing this song. But as Mukesh was not present at the function, he sang the song. The opening lines were the same. But as he didn’t know the intervening verses, he mixed the verses of ‘Ai mere dil kahin aur chal’. Chou was not interested in the lyrics as in the opening words, ‘Awara Hoon’. And the song clicked. Any programme on Raj or Mukesh or Shailendra would be incomplete without this song.
Padmini Parera’s next choice was Shailendra’s beautiful number from ‘Anari’ filmed on Raj Kapoor: ‘Kisi ki muskurahaton pe ho nisar, kisi ka dard mil sakey to le udhar, kisi ke vaaste ho tere dil mein pyar, jeena isi ka naam hai’. This song gave a message to listeners as to how they should live a life. Then again, in the next song from ‘Teesri Qasam’, Shailendra tries to give another message through an unforgettable song: ‘Sajan re jhoot mat bolo, khuda ke paas jaana hai, na haathi hai na ghorra hai, wahan paidal hi jaana hai’. Thereafter you are reminded of Raj Kapoor in his romantic mood, ‘Main ashiq hon baharon ka…’ from film Ashiq, followed by revelation about betrayal: ‘Dost, dost na raha, pyar pyar na raha, zindagi hamen tera etbaar na raha’ from film Sangam. Incidentally Lalu Prasad Yadav quoted the first four words of the song, ‘Dost, dost na raha..’ while referring to Nitish Kumar quitting the Mahagathbandhan’ and joining the BJP. And the heart-wrenching song with which this half-hour programme was concluded was an emotional thriller: ‘Mujhe tum se kuch bhi na chahiye, mujhe mere haal pe chorr do”. Padmini Parera also ensured that all songs were not sung for the same heroine. The songs were taken from different films featuring Nargis (Awara), Padmini (Jis desh mein Ganga behti hai and Ashiq), , Vyjantimala (Sangam), Nutan (Anari) and Waheeda Rehman (Teesri Qasam) .It was one of the best selections of Raj-Mukesh-Shankar Jaikishen combination.
Then followed the programme, ‘Purani filmo ka sangeet’. All songs were by Shailendra but for different artistes and music directors. She began with a ‘Buzdil’ song tuned by S.D.Burman. The song was:’Rotey rotey guzar gai raat re ayi yaad tumhari har baat re’ (filmed on Nimmi). Then came the ‘Boot Polish’ song, ‘Chali kaun se desh gujaria tu saj dhaj ke’ rendered by Talat Mahmood and Asha Bhosle. The most important thing about this song is that on the screen it was rendered by Shailendra in person. The next number was a beautiful one by Talat Mahmood from film ‘Patita’ rendered on the screen by Devanand: ‘Hai sab se madhur vo geet jise hum dard ke sur mein gaate hain’. When Talat was in Allahabad he told me that this was written to reflect the thought expressed by poet Shelly, ‘Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thoughts’.

And then came another landmark song by Shailendra(tuned by Shankar-Jaikishen). The film was Shikast. The Talat (for Dilip Kumar) Lata song was ‘Jab jab phool khile, tujhe yaad kiya hum ne’. This song was so alluring that subsequently a superhit film with the title ‘Jab jab phool khile’was made.
This was followed by a haunting number by Shailendra sung by Geeta Dutt: ‘Hai yeh duniya kaun si ai dil mujhe kya ho gaya’ This solo was separately rendered by Hemant Kumar as well. In the next Shailendra song Rafi, under music director Salil Chowdhury, rendered that sad solo for Dilip Kumar in Madhumati: ‘Toote hue khwabom ne hum ko ye sikhaya hai dil ne jise paya hai ankhon ne gawaya hai’. The last Shailendra song was sung by Lata for Vyjanthimala in film ‘Patrani’: ‘Chandrama madhbhara kyon jhoome badal mein’
VIVIDH BHARATI: And what did Vividh Bharati do in its one-hour programme from 6.30 till 7.30 am? It made no mention of the fact that the day happened to be Shailendra’s deasth anniversary coinciding with Raj’s birthday. The songs included were from ;Taxi Stand’, ‘Aspara’, ‘Suinehri Nagin’(which apparently had nothing to do with either Raj or Shailendra) The second half included songs from ‘Ashiq’ (Tum jo hamare meet na hote), Seema (Kahan jaa raha hai), ‘Teesri Qasam’(Maare gae gulfaam’-Lata) and Bootpolish ‘Chali kaun se desh)
The contrast was evident. Radio Ceylon’s programmers are more sensitive to the occasion on which the song is broadcast. By no stretch of imagination can ‘maare gae gulfaam’ be termed as a tribute to someone on his death anniversary.
It is high time Vividh Bharati showed some respect towards the artiste whose death anniversary was being observed that day.

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