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Kalyanji Anandji: Harbinger of New Age Bollywood Masala Music

"Kalyanji and Anandji started their musical safar as assistants to Hemant Kumar.   After working under him for almost half a decade or so, Kalyanji Virji Shah got his first break as an independent music director in the Bharat Bhushan - Nirupa Roy hit, Samrat Chandragupta (1959)."

Tulsidas Mishra : February 7, 2008

They might not be as great as Shankar-Jaikishan or as venerated as Naushad; their music might not be having the folk flavor and sublimity of S.D. Burman's compositions; that way, their music might not be as youthful and evergreen as that of Rahul Dev Burman. Or well, their one time protégé Laxmikant-Pyarelal might have surpassed them with their mass appeal and glorious stay on top for whole four decades. But as music directors, Kalyanji-Anandji are no less blessed and their music is no less cheerful.  And their three decade long musical career, studded with award-winning scores and peppered with chart busting numbers, validates this claim.

As names, Kalyanji-Anandji might not ring bells in the mind of today's generation. But by accepting Shahrukh Khan as a songster-gangster in Farhan Akhtar's Don(2006), the rocking youth of Rahman era have agreed to the timeless appeal of their music, albeit indirectly. Because it is Kalyanji-Anandji only, who scored the music of original Don (1978) where Amitabh Bachchan played the real Don.

Don was one more milestone script of Salim(Khan)-Javed(Akhtar). We all know that. But some might like to know few more interesting facts, that it was the debut film of Chandra Barot, who was one time assistant of Manoj Kumar. And its producer was Nariman Irani, who was the cinematographer of Manoj Kumar's masterpieces like Shor and Roti Kapda Makaan. Needless to say, he shot Don also. 

The ditties that Kalyanji-Anandji composed for Don were a nice mix of Indian and western ones, which had dhamaka, dum, masala and bindaas.

All those music lovers of today who sway and swing to Shankar-Ehsan-Loy's ''Mujhko Pahachanlo Main Hoon Don'' might like to know that, it is nothing but a rehash of the theme music of Kalyanji-Anandji's Don.

That way, not only in this song, thankfully enough, the robust and overpowering theme music of original Don has been rightfully and extensively used in the background score of duplicate Don as well - A fitting tribute by the new age trio to the yesteryear duo.

Elaborating on theme music, we can say that, the theme music was mostly used to highlight the credit-title sequence and then in different dramatic points in a great number of Bollywood action films of 1970s. 

Kalyanji-Anandji might not have started this trend of theme music, but they did popularize it to a great extent. And let it stand apart as an independent entity in the cinematic narration. 

Before Don, for Vijay Anand’s Johny Mera Naam (1970) too, Kalyanji-Anandji had composed a very hummable and groovy theme music with the help of trumpet, guitars and drum set; And filled up many stretches of this Dev-Hema-Pran starrer with variations of this theme music. The impact was no doubt, very forceful.

If for films like Johny Mera Naam, Kashmakash, Faraar, Kalyanji Anandji composed exclusive theme music, in some other films, for that purpose, they followed a different method.  

Here, they would pick up some catchy interlude music piece of some key song of the said film, and convert it into a theme music. And keep playing that tune with variable tempo, with various instruments, in different high points of the cinematic narration.

For example, the theme music of Rajesh-Mumtaz starrer Sachcha-Jhuta is a clarinet piece, taken from the interlude of Meri Pyari Bahania song of the film. That way the theme music of Arjun Hingorani's Kahani Kismat Ki (Dharmendra-Rekha-Ajit) too was reworked on an interlude music piece from its Kishor-Rekha duet ''Aare Rafta Rafta Dekho Aankh Meri Ladi Hai''.

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But in Subhash Ghai's debut Kalicharan, Kalyanji-Anandji became very innovative. In place of theme music, they composed a chorus refrain, using only the word ''Kalicharan''. And the impact was dramatic and haunting.

The musical career of Kalyanji-Anandji has one more very interesting feature that, they have given music in maximum number of debut films of different Directors. Yes, that way it is quite a long list. Manmohan Desai's Chhalia, Prakash Mehra's Haseena Maan Jayegi, Manoj Kumar's Upkaar, Arjun Hingorani's Kab Kyon Aur Kahan, Sultan Ahmed's Heera, Firoz Khan's Apradh, Subhash Ghai's Kalicharan, Chandra Barot's Don, Prakash Mehra's one time assistant Raakesh(Mr.Natwarlal) Kumar's Khoon Pasina, Akabar Khan's Haadsaa , Rajiv Rai's Yudh and few more.

And, if you think of it, with their musical score they have contributed in a big way to the success of above films, which matters so much for a debuting director. No doubt, Kalyanji-Anandji have highlighted this achievement, with understandable pride and satisfaction, in many of their interviews.

If Shankar-Jaikishan had great bonding with lyricist Hasrat Jaipuri and Shailendra, Naushad preferred Shakeel Badayuni. Ravi and S.D. Burman opted for Saahir. R.D. Burman that way had a great rapport with Majrooh and Gulshan Bawra. And Laxmikant-Pyarelal with rare exception, always asked Anand Bakshi to lend words to their compositions. In a similar way, Kalyanji-Anandji too mostly worked with four lyricists - Indeevar, Verma Malik, Anjaan (father of Sameer) and Gulshan Bawra.

Gulshan Bawra that way won both his best lyricist Filmfare Awards under Kalyanji-Anandji music direction - in Upkaar for 'Mere Desh Ki Dhartee' and in Zanjeer for 'Yaari Hai Imaan Mera'. Mere Desh Ki Dhartee makes Bawra proud for one more reason. That, it has been adjudged, after a public polling, as one all time hit patriotic song of the country. So, for this too, he expresses his gratitude for Kalyanji and Anandji.  

What is more interesting is, Kalyanji-Anandji have immortalized one real life tragedy of Gulshan Bawra in one of their composition. 

It so happened, sometime in 1960s, then young  Gulshan Bawra lost his lady love to a millionaire and reacting to the tragedy wrote the heart-rending lyric – Chandi Ki Deewar Na Todi, Pyarbhara Dil Tod Dia.  Later on, in film Bishwas, Kalyanji-Anandji and Mukesh transformed it, into one all time hit ballad of betrayal.

Kalyanji Anandji had a long and fruitful association with director Prakash Mehra. It started with PM's debut film Haseena Maan Jaegi and continued till Laawaris. And this, approximately one and half decade long, association had many musical high points.  Be they  the award winning Yaari Hai Imaan Mera (Zanjeer) or Wada Karle Saajnaa (Haath Ki Safai), or Waqt Ki Hera Pheri Hai (Hera Pheri) or other songs of these films - all were mass hits and memorable.

And of course there is that tongue-in-cheek tribute to womankind -Mera Angaane Main (Laawaris) which predictably enough became outrageously popular at that time. From the same film, Jiska Koi Nahi Uska To Khuda Hai Yaro deserves a special mention for a completely different reason.  It is a well written, well composed and well sung homage to the Almighty that elevates the listener with hope and solace.

But the film which has assured a place for Prakash Mehra and Kalyanji-Anandji, in the history of Hindi cinema, is that modern 'quadrangle love legend ' Muqaddar Ka Sikandar.

For all those who were associated with this film, it turned out to be a fulfilling experience. Hence deservingly enough, it became a stupendous hit at that time. And with its musical score, one can say, Kalyanji Anandji reached the apogee of their career.

Be it the anguish filled 'O Saathi Re Tere Bina Kya Jeena' or ‘Rote Hue Aate Hain Sab' with its gusto and abandon or the new age club room song 'Pyar Zindagi Hai', all of these swayed a whole generation at that time and swept them off their feet.

One hidden gem from this score deserves a very special mention. ''Dil To Hai Dil ....Dil Ka Aitbaar Kya Kije/ Ho Gaya Jo Kisise Pyar Kya Kije', wrote late Anjaan, underlining the unpredictable nature of an amour-struck heart. And in Lata Mangeskar's ageless voice, it became a solemn song - A soothing, sensuous and sublime musical experience.  Like a gust of moist, fragrant wind.  

One more high point of Muqaddar Ka Sikandar is the song 'Salaam-E-Ishq, Meri Jaan.......' It is a remarkable composition in many ways.

Though it starts as a Mujra song in a Kotha, somewhere along the way, it acquires the features of a Qawali also. But the lyric has pathos and anguish of unrequited love through out. According to Hindi film tradition, generally mujras are composed as solo songs. But here it was a duet - A very interesting variation that way.

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Further in such songs, generally the courtesan sings like an arrogant and self-absorbed seductress over confidant of her Adaa and Rutbaa. But in this song, she sighs like a victim from the very first line.

Telling the love story of Chand and Baadal, Lata Mangeskar takes the duet to a heart-touching high point. And Kishor Kumar surprises all by arriving there and lifting the song further up. His is a very long soliloquy like stanza. When he sings 'Tu Mashiha Mohabbat Ke Maron Ka Hai....’ he almost personifies all the lost lovers of the world. And, true to his line 'Sunke Teri Nazar Dabdaba Jayegi', tears well up when one hears this song in right occasions. Needless to say, even after full 30 years, this song is still a hot favorite of the love-lore youth mass and a  'must sing' in college picnics and late night office bus.

Director Brij Sidana (Kathputli, Victoria No.203, Chori Mera Kaam, Professor Pyarelal) and Firoz Khan (Apradh, Dharmatma, Qurbani, Jaanbaz) too were great patrons of Kalyanji-Anandji. And, in return, the musician brothers have composed some really memorable, meaningful and popular songs for the Directors.

Kalyanji-Anandji have one more claim to fame and immortality. We don't know, in pre-Independence India, playing what music, the snake charmers tamed the serpents. Because after the release of Nagin(?), it is  Hemant Kumar's Been composition, which has become literally the one and only tune available in this category. And such is its consistent popularity that, in last many decades, it has acquired the status of some traditional or folk music. What is amazing is, today's real life saperas too play this composition in rural and forested regions of India.

But do you know, in film Nagin, this sound was not taken from an original Been but produced from a synthesizer that Kalyanji had just imported? And he only played it in the songs of this film.

The brother duo that composed such great and evergreen songs had a very humble beginning. Kalyanji and Anandji were born to Virji Shah. And, following a family tradition perhaps, were known in the early days of their career as Kalyanji Virji Shah and Anandji Virji Shah.

Their father migrated from Kutch region in Gujarat to Mumbai, in the early decades of 20th century, to start a Kirana (provision store) business. That is why, perhaps, Kalyanji-Anandji had once compared their team to a 'departmental store', where one can shop for all kinds of music.

One of their ancestors was a folk musician. In Mumbai, they grew in a musical atmosphere in a locality inhabited by Marathi and Gujarati people. And this cultural upbringing shaped the style and content of their music in later years.

Both Kalyanji and Anandji started their musical safar as assistants to Hemant Kumar.   After working under him for almost half a decade or so, Kalyanji Virji Shah got his first break as an independent music director in the Bharat Bhushan - Nirupa Roy hit, Samrat Chandragupta (1959).  Its soothing and sweet duets like ‘Chahe Paas Ho’ (Lata - Rafi) are remembered to this day. Chalia (1961) was one more big-hit of their early days which has three memorable Mukesh numbers – ‘Dum Dum Diga Diga’, ‘Chalia Mera Naam’, and ‘Mere Toote Hue Dil Se’.

But with their two hits Himalay Ki God Mein and Jab Jab Phool Khile, in 1965, the musician brothers made their presence felt in Hindi filmdom as viable commercial propositions.

Kalyanji Anandji that way had a great musical association with Mukesh. Songs like Mere Toote Hue Dil Se (Chalia), Deewano Se Yeh Mat Pucho (Upkaar), Koi Jab Tumhara Hriday Tod De (Purab Paschim) , Chandan Sa Badan (Saraswati Chandra) , Jo Tum Ko Ho Pasand (Safar), Darpan Ko Dekha (Upasna), Main To Ek Khwab Hoon (Himalay Ki God Main) can be safely bracketed among his career bests and that of Kalyanji Anandji too.

Lata Mangeshkar too bagged her first National Award under their music direction only for the song 'Roothe roothe piya' from Kora Kagaz. And the seduction song ''Yeh Mera Dil '' from their Don gave Asha Bhonsle a Filmfare trophy in 1978.

Though Kalyanji Anandji have worked with all the legendary singers of their time, they also deserve credit for gifting singers like Alka Yagnik, Sadhna Sargam, Manhar Udhas(brother of Pankaj Udhas) and Kanchan to Hindi film world. They have a great role in the grooming and initiation of these singers.

Kalyanji Anandji have received Filmfare Award twice. The first one they got for the music of Saraswati Chandra (1968).  The music of this film has one unique feature that, the whole score has been composed using Indian instruments only.

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Vijay Anand-Jaya Bhaduri starrer Kora Kagaz (1974) gave Kalyanji Anandji their second Filmfare statuette. Going ahead, the title song of Kora Kagaz topped the annual countdown of Binaca Geet Mala, a hugely popular weekly radio film song programme of that time, having massive nationwide listenership.

While discussing Kalyanji-Anandji, their one more brother and trusted associate Babla deserves a mention too. Babla gave suitable creative support to the style and content of his illustrious musician brothers, through out 1970s, when Kalyanji-Anandji were in peak of their career.

Right from the beginning, Babla had an inclination towards western music. Hence, understandably enough, his contribution is  more distinguishable in songs like Diljalon Ka Dil Jala Ke (Zanjeer), Tu Kya Jane Wafa (Haath Safai), Yeh Mera Dil (Don), Pyar Zindagi Hai (Muqaddar Ka Sikandar), Ek Se Badhkar Ek ( title song) and Laila O Laila (Qurbani).

But later on when he wanted to become an independent music director, somehow he could not become successful.

But, in that regard Viju Shah, son of Kalyanji has achieved considerable success. Though the music of Tridev was credited to Kalyanji Anandji, the score was actually the handiwork of Viju Shah to a great extent. And hence like a natural promotion, Rajiv Rai made him independent music director in his subsequent films like Vishwatma, Mohra, Gupt etc.

Tridev that way was the last big hit of Kalyanji-Anandji's career - a kind of swan song. After that, they did linger for few more years, touring different countries with their orchestra and grooming child singers and achieved partial success too.

After the demise of Kalyanji on 24th August 2000, now Anandji is spending his days of retirement, re-living the musical memories. And he has enough to remember and feel fulfilled. After all, 30 years is a long time and 400 films - a mammoth musical achievement.

Laxmikant-Pyarelal worked as assistants of Kalyanji-Anandji for more than five years. And along with other films, LP contributed remarkably to Kalyanji-Anandji's two major hits of that period – Chalia (1960) and Jab Jab Phool Khile (1965). In Chalia, there is this Lata number, 'Teri Raah Main Khade Hain Dil Tham Ke.' In this song, there is a saxophone track in the interlude. After almost 30 years, in Laxmikant-Pyarelal's Nigahen (Nagina Part-2), this track is repeated as a vocal chorus, in Anuradha Paudwal solo 'Kise Dhoondta Hai Paagal Sapere.' A pleasant composition made all the more pleasurable by this chorus track. In this way, perhaps, the Shagird duo paid a tribute to their Ustaad.

During those days, while performing in foreign countries, late Mohammad Rafi would always start his programme with the song 'Badi Dur Se Aayen Hain, Pyar Ka Tohfa Layen Hain'. The song is from Kalyanji-Anandji's early 1970s hit Samjhauta.

And this line rightfully and truly sums up the essence of Kalyanji Anandji's music. Yes, it is no less than a Pyar Ka Tohfa-- a gift of love composed for their listeners and patrons.

(Author is an FTII (Pune) graduate in Direction. He writes Hindi Poems, Articles and Analysis pieces on various themes related to the world of Cinema and Entertainment)



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