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Shankar Jaikishan

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Shankar Jaikishan

Biography

One of the great composing duos -- who rarely composed together in actuality -- Shankar Jaikishan set the standard for Indian film music in the 1950s and '60s and won awards well into the 1970s. Shankar Singh and Jaikishan Panchal worked as musicians for Husnlal Bhagatram in the 1940s; they were supposedly discovered by a Bollywood executive when they were giving one of their routine performances on a local train. They became music director Ram Ganguly's chief assistants and helped him compose music for the film Aag. When director Raj Kapoor discovered their role in that soundtrack, he booked them to score Barsaat. That soundtrack's success touched off a cascade of hit soundtracks for major Indian films, including Chori Chori, Brahmchari, Professor and Anari. They could compose classical, folk-based or utterly modern tracks with ease, and they won a record nine Filmfare Awards through the years. Sadly, after a long and hugely successful career together, the duo weren't talking when Jaikishan died in 1971 of alcohol poisoning.
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