As a lad while riding my trusty Robin Hood bike around Allahabad, or while sipping tea on the platform of some railway station, I would always take pleasure in looking at the posters and huger than life hand painted hoardings for the current crop of Hindi films. Of course, the hero was the most prominent in the art work and typography. Rajesh Khanna, Vinod Khanna, Amitabh, Dharmendra and Sanjeev Kumar got your immediate attention.
But surprisingly (for me at least), a couple of names seemed to get almost as much prominence as the actors. These were the names that followed the bland statement, ‘Music by’. I didn’t understand at the time that for many potential cinema-goers, the music was at least as important as the story and the action. And that choices were often influenced by who composed the music, not who directed the film.
And another thing that always bemused me was that the music was always ‘by’ a small handful of composers. “How,” I wondered, “do these guys have time to write so much music?” Didn’t they sleep or take holidays?
Based upon this study of posters and billboards I concluded that not only were these men extremely hard working but that to make it in Bombay as a composer you had to have a double barreled name: Shankar-Jaikishan, Laximkant-Pyarelal and Kalyanji-Anandji. These twinned names were both romantic and mysterious. Did the represent real people? Where they one person or were they cousins? And how could they write so much music!?
As I advanced in years and finally made time to solve this childhood mystery, I learned the answers to my nagging questions. Of course, you didn’t have to have a long hyphenated name to make it as a composer; I just happened to grow up in the golden age of Hindi cinema music when these three duo enchanted the masses and vied for hits. I never did figure out, though, how they could keep up such a work rate as they did, but then some things are better left unanswered.
Tonight we share an off-the-shelf (of a desi grocery store in outer Melbourne) collection of Kalyanji-Anandji hits. This is the sort of collection you can find by the dozen, with endless covers and an eternally fresh and never-identical line up of songs. But just because it is as common as a daisy doesn’t mean it isn’t worth listening to. Because these two brothers were incredible creative artists and any collection is bound to be entertaining as well as nostalgic.
Kalyanji-Anandji were Gujarati brothers who grew up in Bombay, sons of a Kutchi shop keeper. But selling stuff (at least physical stuff) was not for them.
Kalyanji started his career as a musician, with a new electronic instrument called the clavioline. which was used for the famous “Nagin Been,” used in the film Nagin (1954) which had the music of Hemant Kumar. Kalyanji then, with his brother Anandji, started an orchestral group called Kalyanji Virji and Party which organised musical shows in Mumbai and outside. This was the first attempt made for holding live musical shows in India.
Kalyanji Anandji’s arrival in the Bombay film industry as music composers was a turning point. When big music directors like S.D. Burman, Hemant Kumar, Madan Mohan, Naushad, Shankar Jaikishan and Ravi were ruling the Hindi film music world – and it was a golden period of film music – it was very tough to make a place amongst them. Still they came and won the hearts and minds of Indian people.
The Bharat Bhushan–Nirupa Roy hit Samrat Chandragupta (1959) was his first film as Kalyanji Virji Shah. Songs like “Chahe Paas Ho” (Lata–Rafi) that are remembered to this day were what made the movie a commercial success. This was followed by his composing music scores for more films like Post Box 999 before Anandji who was assisting him, joined him officially to form the Kalyanji Anandji duo in Satta Bazar and Madari (1959). Chalia (1961) was their earliest major hit. In 1965, two decisive scores, Himalay Ki God Mein and Jab Jab Phool Khile, established them as composers to reckon with.
Kalyanji-Anandji’s variety-studded music is complete with some of the topmost songs of all singers and genres. Both Kalyanji and Anandji worked as music composers for over 250 films, 17 of which were golden jubilees and 39 silver. The factor behind their success is hard work, apart from their talent. They were never self-centered or egoistic. The spiritually inclined brothers opened up a new horizon in Bollywood. They used to put society in front of them and, as a thankful gesture, organised many charitable concerts for NGOs and several charitable institutions in India and abroad with some of the biggest names in Bollywood, like Dilip Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan, Anil Kapoor, Vinod Khanna, Rekha and Sridevi.
They were tireless in discovering new talents and grooming them, as well. Manhar Udhas, Kumar Sanu, Alka Yagnik, Sadhna Sargam, Sapna Mukherjee, Udit Narayan, Sunidhi Chauhan, now very popular names, were nurtured as singers and got their first breaks from Kalyanji Anandji. Fellow composers Laxmikant Pyarelal, before becoming famous, worked as music assistants to Kalyanji Anandji.
They helped introduce or gave career defining breaks to lyricists like Qamar Jalalabadi, Anand Bakshi, Gulshan Bawra, Anjaan, Verma Malik and M G Hashmat. (Wikipedia)
This collection is full of riches (with many of their best ones not here) but my favourites are:
Udi Baba (one of the weirdest hits ever to come out of Bombay)
Wada Kar Le Sajna
Aaz-e-dil Ched De
Hamne jo Dekha Sapne
Nain Mila Kar Chain
Hope you enjoy!
A RE JA O HARJAEE
AAZ-E-DIL CHHED DE
AKELE HAIN CHALE AAO
AKELE HI AKELE CHALA HAI KAHAN
ANKHON ANKHON MEIN
BADA SHAITAN HAI DIL
BEKHUDI MEIN SANAM
DIL BEQARAR SA HAI
DIL JALON KA DIL JALA KE
DIWANON SE MAT POOCHHO
EK TU NA MILA SARI DUNIYA MILI
HAMNE JO DEKHA SAPNE
HUM NE TUJHKO PYAR KIYA HAI
HUMSAFAR MERE HUMSAFAR
HUSN CHALA KUCHH AISI CHAAL
JIS DIL MEIN BASA THA PYAR TERA
JO TUMKO HOPASAND WOHI BAAT KARENGE
KAB KE BICHHDE HUE
MERA JEEVAN KORA KAGAZ
MERE DIL MEIN HAI EK BAAT
MERI JAAN KUCHH BHI KIJIYE
MERI TAMANNAON KI TAQDEER TUM
MERI ZINDAGI TERE PYAR MEIN
MUJHE DEKH CHAND SHARMAYE
NA NA KARTE PYAR TUMHIN SE
NAIN MILA KAR CHAIN
O JANEWALE SUN ZARA
O SAATHI RE
PHOOL TUMHE BHEJA HAI KHAT MEIN
PYAR TO EK DIN HONA THA
TU JANGAL KI MORNI
TUM MILE PYAR SE
TUMNE KISI SE KABHI PYAR KIYA HAI
WADA KAR LE SAJNA
YEH MERA DIL YAAR KA
YEH WADA KAREN HUM