Jan 23, 2007

Shailendra

Yaad Na Jaaye Beete Dino Ki


This Dil Ek Mandir song was penned by Shailendra.

Shailendra considered his life as his real poetry. He used to derive inspiration from his walks along Juhu beach every morning. He wrote songs for almost all occasions of life, let alone ordinary situations. Those lyrics were vibrantly alive, in the sense they went far beyond the context of the film situation for which they were intended, and lived on long after the film itself had passed from memory. There is a Shailendra song for any emotion, any situation, from birth to death, such was his versatility.

Shailedra started his career as an employee with Indian Railways. His job bought him to Mumbai (then Bombay) in 1947. He started writing poetry during these days. Once, when he was reading out his poem Jalta hai Punjab at a public meeting, filmmaker Raj Kapoor noticed him. He offered to buy poems written by Shailendra and use them for his movie Aag (1948). Shailendra, a member of the left wing IPTA, was wary of mainstream Indian cinema and refused. However, after the birth of his son, Shaily, he needed money and himself approached Raj Kapoor. Shailendra's first project for Raj Kapoor was the movie Barsaat (1949). For Rs 500, he wrote two songs: Patli kamar hai and Barsaat mein. The music for Barsaat was composed by Shankar-Jaikishan. The team of Raj Kapoor, Shailendra and Shankar-Jaikishan produced many superhits.


It is quite ironical that for the man who loved life so much, the spectra of death always haunted him. He was obsessed by death. There was no fear involved, but a kind of helplessness drew him towards it. His producing Teesri Kasam caused him several heartaches and it was also the ultimate cause of his death. But what bothered him was not the film's failure at the box-office, but that his investment in friends he trusted and loved went wrong. Shailendra was admitted to the hospital on December 13 1966, but on his way he decided to stop at the famous cottage at the RK Studios to call on Raj Kapoor, where he promised R.K. that he would complete the lyrics for ‘Jeena yahan marna yahan’ for Mera Naam Joker. That was one promise he could never keep, for Shailendra died on the following day, which also happened to be R.K’s birthday.