The inimitable Dholak rhythms of Shanker Jaikishan

‘Andaz Mera Mastana’ is what Shanker Jaikishan (SJ) seem to say in every beat of their songs!

One simple technical point in the terminology of dholak – theka is the central rhythm pattern and a laggi is an inspired improvisation. Over to Anand D. Theke, as he makes a grand beginning in the true, characteristic SJ style! …

It is 1960. SJ have firmly established themselves as the No.1 Music Directors in the Hindi Film Industry.
As the 50s unrolled, SJ have matured as composers, and now find that their exploits are the talk of millions!

A. ‘Andaz Mera Mastana’ begins with the

enthralling 100 second plus introduction …
which uses the 100 plus SJ orchestra to its limit …
trumpets, saxophone, cello, piano, guitar, violins …
you name it …
in fact, every instrument renders the atmosphere …
with its own colour ..
and then the ghungroos …
and then the piano …
and then the accordion flaunts itself …
to introduce Lata with aplomb …
and as Lata sings the opening lines …

Andaaz Mera Mastana … accompanied by bongos …

Watch out for the next line – ‘Mera Dil Kaha Hain’ … and listen to the laggi!
Now this line gets repeated a total of four times in the song – once at the beginning and then after every antara. And everytime there is a diferent laggi under it … four different laggis are played on the same line every time it occurs!
Of course, all fit snugly into the words and the melody of the line.
And these laggis are repeated over the song, keeping Lata and the chorus in vibrant company!

For most listeners, this complexity is not evident at all!
In fact, check it for yourself – when you listened to Andaz Mera Mastana, did you find that your fingers had unconsciously caught up with the rhythm on the nearest playable surface? Millions have found that to be the case,
and it is here that unknowingly SJ have caught you in their magical rhythm spell! It is almost as if one has given SJ that pat on the back … well almost!

All SJ have done is that a fairly inricate, complex rhythm pattern has reached your ears and sounded so friendly, so simple, that it straight makes a place in the heart! Simple, ain’t it? Well, ask any contemporary musician or music director to recreate even a little of this magic! And that was the secret of SJ! High quality, complex compositions became simple enough for the common person to appreciate! That is genius! It is because though SJ may have departed … their work remains as alive as ever!

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