Customary Hypocrisy towards Shankar Jaikishan

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If you scan through music parlor of today, you will see many music scores of Shankar Jaikishan (SJ) to be branded in the names of either singers or even actors. If you talk with persons from movie industry, they would not name the name of music composers of SJ albums even if they acknowledge the success of those movies due to its music. If you scan through TV channels regularly, you would come across birthday celebrations of many lesser known artists; but will find it rare to see a Shankar Jaikishan program. Yes, there is prevalent jealousy and customary hypocrisy towards Shankar-Jaikishan. Of course, there may be quite a few reasons behind this.

  • Though SJ were good media managers before J’s death, it might not be the case after 1971. There have not been any member of their families (may be they were not very influential in industry) or friends who has made any significant effort to keep their music and their memories live in today’s mass media. They have survived the onslaught of time and media only because of the exceptional quality of their music.
  • Though Shankar, the master, was the best ever composer, music industry was not just about music composition. Moreover, Jaikishan had left mundane world and assistants have left due to commercial reasons. Producers did not provide 60-piece orchestra as movies without such arrangements were hit and it was an expensive option. In fact, Shankar had once told, “What alone a Shankar can do?” In spite of all these, Shankar had given quite a few trend-setting scores in his post-1975 contributions.
  • Though SJ had inspired next generation composers like Laxmikant-Pyarelal, Kalyanji-Anandji and R D Burman, H Mangeshkar in 60’s, the quality of music saw a downward trend in mid 70’s without magic and leading performance from SJ (after post-Sanyasi in 1975). Taste of music changed in 70’s – straight borrowings and plain street scores were successful given short memory and general economic downturn in our country (no rich was liked by masses including rich music!).
  • Due to astronomical success in 50’s and 60’s, duo might have earned large number of enemies – some were also due to their media mismanagement about their mutual relationship, and some were due to Shankar’s principled stand (against general trend in movie industry).
  • HMV which possesses their albums have been very negligent in bringing out SJ albums to market.

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