Ujala : Shammi Kapoor and SJ association
by N Sridhar
Ujala was the first association of SJ with Shammi Kapoor and what a glorious association it turned out to be. In my personal opinion, this combination was more deadly than that of SJ with Raj Kapoor. Personally, I myself got involved with SJ through Shammi Kapoor. My elder brother had become an avid fan of Shammi Kapoor in the mid 70’s (when he started going to college and started viewing movies). All of us brothers used to listen to music on our radio set together and the influence of Shammi Kapoor and SJ rubbed of on the other brothers and it was through Shammi Kapoor that we started exploring the world of SJ. Even today among the other brothers, SJ continues to be our favorite MD’s. The exploration of the SJ world continues even today as I keep discovering a lot of things about my favorite MD.
The first association of SJ with Shammi Kapoor also has a lot of significance in terms of how the relationship developed later on with Shammi insisting on SJ as the MD for his movies in the 1960’s. I remember reading somewhere about Shammi mentioning about SJ. SJ knew Shammi for long due to the association with RK, but it was mostly on a personal level rather than at a professional level. Shammi Kapoor did not have a good run with his acting career in the 1950’s and he was always in the shadow of his earlier brother and was struggling to find his feet in the industry. His movies of those days did not make any significant impact on the box office also, in spite of lot of expectations and in fact he had contemplated on leaving the industry. Of course, the fact remains that it was OPN which gave him the first change of image in Tumsa Nahin Dekha. Shammi mentions that it was for the first time in Ujala that SJ, the Music Directors consulted him, the hero of the move regarding the song compositions. He said this was never the case in his earlier movies. Shammi Kapoor confesses that he was not musically knowledgeable like his elder brother, but gave some suggestions which SJ incorporated. I think it was this mutual consultation and respect which developed the foundation of the long SJ-Shammi-Rafi relationship which continued till the end of Shammi Kapoor’s career as a hero. In fact it can also be verified in the 1960’s, in most of the photographs of the recordings for the songs of Shammi Kapoor ‘s movies, he always used to be present for the recording of the songs.
Coming to the songs of Ujala, this was probably the last major movie that Mannadey had with SJ (with more than 1 song) singing for the hero. Even though SJ had been consistently using Rafi in their compositions right from Barsaat, it was only later on that Rafi became their favorite singer for heroes other than Raj Kapoor. But what is more surprising is the use of Mukesh for Shammi – Duniyawalon se door, whereas in the male duet, it is Mukesh who playbacks for Raj Kumar whereas Rafi sings for Shammi Kapoor. I think only Kalyanji Anandji, later on used the voice of Mukesh & Hemant Kumar in Bluff Master. This movie had Shammi acting in a role which in my personal opinion does not go well with his persona. Shammi acts in a role of a good hearted but a poor person. Shammi tries to eke out a living doing small errands, which is not able to sustain his family.
The movie starts with the song ‘Sooraj zara aa paas aa’ which brings out the situation he is in with not being able to provide for his family. Raj Kumar is the bad character of the area who tries to recruit Shammi Kapoor for his activities, but Shammi resists. But unfortunately, poverty wins and Shammi joins Raj Kumar. Kum Kum is the dancer who is the female angle of Raj Kumar. She sings the two similar songs – O mora nadaan balma and Tera jalwa jisne dekha. I have the feeling that one of the song has been must have been composed by Shankar and the other by Jaikishan. It is not uncommon to find similar songs by each of them in many other movies. Probably this was a sort of internal arrangement they had to improve upon their compositions with each one trying to be improve upon the other. The tune of Tera Jalwa jisne dekha also bears a resemblance to ‘Tera Peer’ of Shararat. However, the love of Mala Sinha tries to wean back Shammi Kapoor from the bad influence. Shammi Kapoor gets a job working producing knives and he gets paid for the job by the quantity of knives. The marriage of Shammi Kapoor’s sister get settled and Shammi works overtime to produce knives to meet the additional expenses for the marriage. The bad character of Raj Kumar again enters his life and due to circumstances, he unwittingly becomes an accessory to murder. The guilt feeling haunts him and he runs away from the job, when the police come for enquiries, thus compounding his difficulties. It is at this time that he comes across an Ashram where the responsible person for the Ashram comes across as a person who believes in the goodness of Shammi Kapoor. However, a couple of incidents of misdemeanour at the Ashram adds to his problems and in the climax he proves his goodness. For me the best song of the movie is ‘Ab Kahan Jayen Hum’. The mood of this song is similar to another popular song that we had discussed earlier – Tu Pyar Ka Sagar Hai from Seema. Shailendra again brings out the situation of the underdog in very simple but meaningful words. As mentioned earlier – Kum Kum sings the songs O mora nadaan balma and Tera Jalwa jisne dekha. Suraj zara aa paas aa is the song which Shammi sings for his younger siblings when he not able to provide them with food. Shailendra brings out the poignant situation of the hero clearly in his own simple and inimitable style. Yaaro surat hamari is the song jointly sung by Raj Kumar and Shammi while trying to carry out a thievery. It is one of the rare duets of Rafi and Mukesh. Jhoomta mausam mast mahina and Duniyawalon se door are two duets of Shammi and Mala Sinha which will again find a mention in any of the popular duets of SJ. Cham cham lo suno cham cham is a jolly song rendered by Shammi Kapoor, Mala Sinha and others. SJ have composed a lot of such group songs and once again, when you listen to the song separately, you will find a lot to appreciate, but in the presence of other greater gems, this song does not get the same attention.
Mannadey comes out with another great performance for SJ,but this performance even though does not have the immortality status of the Shri 420 or Chori Chori, it stands out as one of the great performance. As I mentioned earlier, in my opinion, this was the last movie of SJ which had Mannadey as the main singer for the hero.Maybe, we can have a separate discussion on this aspect of Mannadey’s association with SJ. As usual Lata gives her best in O mora nadan balma, Tera Jalwa jisne dekha, Jhoomta mausam, duniyawalon se door and Cham Cham.