Happy birthday to Raj Kapoor.
Raj Kapoor is remembered by the nation on his birthday on 14th December, 2011. He was probably the most popular actor of bollywood films of the 40s, 50s and 60s other than Dilip Kumar.
Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor still remain the most popular actors of bollywood cinema in the last 70 years. One of the reasons of their immense success includes the superlative class of music being given to the giant actors by Naushad and Shankar Jaikishan.
Naushad gave classic tunes to Dilip Kumar in the films Uran Khatola, Kohinoor, Mughal-I-Azam, Leader, Dil Diya Dard Liya, Ram Aur Shyam, Aadmi, to name a few. Rafi and Shakeel Badayani were the other players in the deadly combination. Rafi’s songs for Dilip Kumar like “madhuban me radhika nachere”, “woh dur ke musafir”, “tere husn ki kya taarif karun”, “koi sagar dil ko behlata nahi”, “dilruba maine tere pyar me kya kya na kiya”, “aaj purani rahon se koi mujhe awaaz na den”, “na aadmi ka koi bharosa”, “do sitaron ka zameen par hai Milan aaj ki raat”, etc., remain one of the greatest creations of all times. If Naushad was unparallel as a composer, Shakeel Badayani was unparallel as a lyricist, Rafi was matchless as singer and Dilip Kumar matchless as an actor.
Producer director Raj Kapoor was the closest competitor of Dilip Kumar during the 40s, 50s and 60s. In fact both the giants had acted together in the film Andaz in 1949. Raj Kapoor’s deadly combination with Shankar Jaikishan had produced super hit films like Barsaat, Aah, Awara, Shree 40, Chori Chori, Anari, Jis Desh Me Ganga Behti Hai, Sangam, to name a few. The music of those films were equally popular and successful. Songs of Mukesh and Manna Dey like “ramaiya vasta maiya”, “mur murk e na dekh”, “sab kuch seekha humne”, “yeh raat bheegi bheegi”, “o mehbooba”, “dost dost na raha” “aa aab laut chalen”, had not lost their flavor even after 50 years of their creation. As Raj Kapoor had other qualities besides acting including production, direction, editing, etc., he is considered the greatest showman of all times even today.
As far as the compositions of Naushad and Shankar Jaikishan are considered, both the composers had very strong classical orientation. Naushad gave folk tunes to Dilip Kumar in Ganga Jumna sung by Rafi including “nain lad jaiy he” and Lata in “dhoondo dhoondo resaajna”, etc. Shankar Jaikishan gave folk tunes to Raj Kapoor in Teesri Kasam in songs like “chalet musafir” sung by Manna Dey, to name a few.
If Naushad displayed the muslim culture of Lucknow, Aligarh with his classical tunes in films like Leader, Kohinoor, Mughal-i-azam, Shankar Jaikishan displayed the European tunes in Raj Kapoor’s films Sangam, Around the World, etc., where the westernized orchestrations complimented the colourful scenary of the foreign countries. In fact, SJ’s tunes “chale jana zara theheron” showed the brilliance of Lake Erie and Niagra Falls stretching from Canada to USA, and mesmerizing the audience. Even in Sangam, the creation of SJ picturised in the snow-clad Switzerland titled “ishq the ishq, I love you” showed SJ’s capability of adapting to European tunes. The musical fountain in Around the World, showed the brilliance of SJ in the film Around the World.
The lyrics written by Shakeel Badayani in Dilip Kumar’s films where music was composed by Naushad were as innovative as the lyrics written by Hasrat Jaipuri and Shankar Jaikishan in Raj Kapoor’ films composed by Shankar Jaikishan. The lyrics contained urdu shairy, bhopuri language, ultramodern lyrics, rural language, etc. and appealed to the masses.
Naushad had composed music in more than 15 films of Dilip Kumar and the same is the case of Shankar Jaikishan in Raj Kapoor’s films. The music of each of those films can be analysed and revisited.
It is impossible to say whether Dilip Kumar’s combination with Naushad was greater than Raj Kapoor’s combination with Shankar Jaikishan, but it is true that the two giants had left assets for generations to cherish which had ended up being masterpieces. New actors, composers, singers, directors learn from the success of the Showman and Tragedy King and the works should be revisited.
Raj Kapoor’s legacy is carried forward by his son Rishi Kapoor, grandson Ranbir Kapoor and granddaughter Kareena Kapoor. Both Ranbir Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor had established themselves in bollywood films and will go a long way. Raj Kapoor’s creations should be preserved and restored.