Remembering S-J on Shankar’s 101st birth anniversary


One was a percussionist from Hyderabad, the other a harmonium player from Vansada in Gujarat. Together, Shankar Singh Raghuvanshi and Jaikishan Panchal, or more famously Shankar-Jaikishan, made music that struck a chord 78 years ago when they started and resonates even today.
October 15 was the 101st birth anniversary of Shankar, as he came to be known for generations of music lovers, and occasion perhaps to recall the magic and the chemistry behind filmdom’s enduring music composing duo who went on to famously collaborate with Raj Kapoor in songs as varied as the romantic “Pyar Hua Iqrar Hua” and the thoughtful “Kehta Hai Joker Sara Zamana”.
Hyderabad-born Shankar was a percussionist specialising in tabla but, mastered several other instruments like sitar, accordion and piano at Mumbai’s Prithvi Theatre, founded by Prithviraj Kapoor, the patriarch of the Kapoor film family.
That’s where he spotted Jaikishan. They hit it off and Shankar assured Jaikishan a job at Prithvi Theatre but without asking Prithviraj Kapoor. Fortunately, Prithviraj Kapoor honoured Shankar’s selection and Jaikishan started out at the theatre as a harmonium player.