May 7, 2010

My first break: Pyarelal


How it happened
Being from a musically driven family, I started arranging music at the age of 16. By 17, I became a composer. My father Pandit Ram Prasad Sharma, a trumpeter, taught me music and made me learn violin at the age of 12 from a Goan violinist. A famous director those days, who also gave a break to Kalyanji-Anandji was known to us. Once, I hesitatingly said to him, “You gave a chance to Kalyanji, give me one too.”

He smiled and the next thing I knew was that I was to play the violin in the famous film “Haqeeqat” for which Madan Mohan composed music.

The song was “Mein Ye Soch Uske Ghar Se Utha Tha.” He was so pleased with my performance that he came running and hugged me after the recording.

How it felt

At 17, it was thrilling and served as a great morale booster. In no time, he offered me “Parasmani”. That was in 1963. I couldn't believe my luck. Babubhai Mistry was a name to reckon with. No one would question his integrity. I and Laxmikant started working on the film. The film didn't do well but the music was a hit. It brought us close to known music directors like Naushad and Ravi and film producers like Tarachand Barjatya.

 How life changed

The music of “Parasmani”, especially the song “Roshan Tumhi Se Duniya”, paved the way for us. The very next year director Satyen Bose gave us “Dosti”. It was Tarachandji's Rajshri Productions film. The film had new and young actors but its music was super hit. It got us our first FIlmfare Award in 1964. The most thrilling experience was that with “Dosti”, films like “Sangam” (music by Shankar-Jaikishan) and “Woh Kaun Thi” (Madan Mohan) were also nominated for the Filmfare Award.

The award may have brought us fame, but unfortunately, it also created jealousy among our peers. Some of them canvassed against us and we stopped getting films. But we still got films from those who believed in us. Again from 1977 to 1980, we got the Filmfare Award consecutively for four years for “Amar Akbar Anthony” (1977), “Satyam Shivam Sundaram” (1978), “Sargam” (1979) and “Karz” (1980). In Ameen Sayani's “Binaca Geet Mala” our songs were regularly played among the top hits. Lata Mangeshkar made a great contribution to our success. She used to record 10 songs a month for other music directors, but for us she even sang 16 songs a month. Till date, I go to seek her advice in any music-related matter.

Today, I miss Laxmikant, (he passed away in 1988) but I didn't stop making music. I have won friends like Jitendra, Dharmendra , Shashi Kapoor and Amitabh Bachchan in the film industry. Though I feel music has become quite technology-driven today, I always tell my students never to stop the use of acoustic instruments like flute, violin and sitar, for they are the basic ones. Today, there is even less poetry in songs. Dard-e-dil has become dard-e-disco. I and Laxmi did one good thing: We didn't take all films that came our way. We picked and chose even at the cost of sitting at home, unlike Shankar-Jaikishan. I still have lots of symphonies for kids that I wrote long ago, apart from western symphonies. I have few films today but I am happy that I haven't compromised with my kind of music.