My Favourites by Shailendra

Shailendra (30 Aug 1923 – 14 Dec 1966) was one of the most brilliant, talented & versatile lyricist of the golden era of Hindi film music.

shailendra (2)

He started working at railway workshop in Mumbai (then Bombay) in 1940s.He used to write poems and participate in poem symposia. Raj Kapoor was impressed by his poem ‘Jalta Hai Punjab’ & offered him his first film ‘ Aag’ as a lyricist. Shailendra refused this offer saying ‘his poems are not for making money and he writes what his inner mind feels’. Raj Kapoor still kept the offer open for him & asked him to meet if he happens to change his mind. Destiny had other plans & finally he lost his job at the railways. He remembered Raj Kapoor’s offer, who was now busy making his second movie, Barsaat. This time he had a fresh team to work with, all in their 20s, late or early! Shailendra joined them & could write only two songs for Barsaat (Barsaat Mein Hum Se Mile Tum & Patali Kamar Hai). The rest is history………………..

He wrote all kind of songs from romantic to bhajans, from songs of sorrow to inspirational songs, from lori to dance numbers. There certainly was a standard to his lyrics. The songs never appeared vulgar or meaningless. His songs were never just a mere collection of cliche words. He used to tell philosophical things in simple yet poetic language, so that even a common man could understand & relate to it easily. ‘Sidhi Si Baat Na Mirch Masala’ was always true for his own songs. He never used heavy urdu words or phrases in his songs. This simplicity was his motto & people used to find him as a one among themselves.

He worked with nearly all music directors ( exceptions being Naushad & O P Nayyar). His popular pairing was with Shankar-Jaikishan, S D Burman & Salil Choudhary.
His other associations were- with Ravi (Yeh Raaten Yeh Mausam-Dilli Ka Thug), R D Burman (Ghar Aaja Ghir Aaye- Chhote Nawab), Hemant Kumar (Phoolwa Ban Mehke-Hum Bhi Insan Hai), Mukul Roy (Do Chamakati Aankhon Mein-Detective), Surhud Kar (Saath Ho Tum Aur Raat Jawan- Kaanch Ki Gudiya).


He worked with Roshan in 1950s for twelve films .Even though the songs were wonderful & melodious and popular, the films were not commercially successful. So the combination never got opportunity to find a firm place in people’s mind. If I name a few songs, you will know what I mean!

Naubahar – Aeri Main To Prem Diwani, Dekhoji Mera Jiya Heera Moti O Bedardi Aa Mil Jaldi, Kaun Rang Mungava, Sanskaar– Andhi Kismat Kise Le Chalegi Kahan Koi, Chandani Chowk– Behek Chale Mere Nainwa.

He produced ‘Teesari Kasam’ in 1966 that flopped badly at the box office. It is said that he had a loan (quite big!) taken for this production He died of broken heart because of that failure. An unfortunate coincidence is that, Raj Kapoor’s birthday also falls on 14th December! RK lost one of the supporting pilers of RK banner on his own birthday.
In the song Mausam Beeta Jaye, he quoted “Apni Kahani Chhod Ja, Kuchh To Nishani Chhod Ja”.
He certainly did that! All his songs are remembered till now, after 51 years of his demise.

Today I’m paying a little tribute from my side to this legendary lyricist, by posting a list of my favourite songs penned by him!

1. Dum Bhar Jo Udhar Mooh Phere- Aawara (1951) Lata Mangeshkar & Mukesh / Shankar Jaikishan
For me this is the most romantic song of Hindi films. She is very shy & wants the moon to face away from her so that she can romance with her love. Whereas He wants the moon to face them so that he can see her beautiful face and look into her eyes. This all is so romantic! Lata’s tender voice adds innocence to this lovely song & on screen chemistry between RK & Nargis is worth watching.

2. Chand Sa Mukhda Kyun Sharmaya- Insaan Jaag Utha (1960) Asha Bhosle & Rafi / S D Burman
The movie is set on a background of a dam construction in progress. This romantic song is picturised on gorgeous, beautiful Madhubala & Sunil Dutt. It is full of romance, with the mentions of chand, taaren, naina, palake etc. Just listen to these lines
‘Jhuk Gaye Chanchal Naina Ek Jhalaki Dikhalake,
Bolo Gori Kya Rakha Hai Palakon Mein Chhupake?
Tujhko Re Sanwariya Tujhse Hi Chhurake
Naionon Mein Sajaya Maine Kajra Banake’

3. Zindagi Ka Ajab Fasana Hai- Chhoti Chhoti Baatein (1965) Lata Mangeshkar & Mukesh / Anil Biswas
A ghazal like composition that speaks about how difficult is it to love someone & to sustain it. This is also a philosophical song, where very simple words are used. This film was the last film by Anil Biswas, after which he shifted forever to Delhi to join All India Radio. The film was produced by Motilal, who was a dear friend to Anil da and he tried to complete the film, but unfortunately couldn’t release it before Motilal’s death. I like Lata’s rendition a lot who so easily everytime sings ‘Rote Rote Bhi Muskurana Hai’ in single breath after the previous line.
‘Dil Lagaya Tha Par Na Thi Yeh Khabar
Maut Ka Yeh Bhi ek Bahana Hai’

4. Badali Badali Duniya Hai Meri- Sangeet Samrat Tansen (1962) Lata Mangeshkar & Mahendra Kapoor / S N Tripathi
While the majority of the songs were traditional, Shailendra wrote a few songs for this movie. This is amongst my favourite from the movie, that describes the changed surroundings once you are in love. Very romantic and melodious! The sweetness of the song is uncomparable. Shailendra also wrote songs for a mythological movie, Ram Hanuman Yudhha for Tripathi. Even there you can find wonderfully written melodious songs. I would recommend these songs.

5. Dua Kar Gham E Dil- Anarkali (1951) Lata Mangeshkar / C Ramchandra
While the majority of the songs were by Rajnedra Krishna, this song was by Shailendra. To suit the Mughal atmosphere he used Urdu words. But still the simplicity persists! You can fully understand all the words and the emotions behind easily. Of course, Lata sings the song so well that you enter a trans while listening to it.

6. Haye Re Woh Din Kyun- Anuradha (1960) Lata Mangeshkar / Pandit Ravishankar
Anuradha is a story of a singer, who finds herself lonely after her marriage. Her doctor husband is totally devoted to his patients and couldn’t give her quality time. She remembers pre marriage days and wants those days to come back. If the seasons do come back, why not old days? She totally gives up her singing after marriage, but one incident brings back her singing to her.
‘Sooni Meri Beena
Sangeet Bina
Sapanon Ki Mala Moorjhaye’

7. Aa Chal Ke Tujhe Main- Door Gagan Ki Chhaon Mein (1964) Kishore Kumar / Kishore Kumar
This was KK’s directorial venture.Kishor Kumar plays a soldier who returns from a war only to find all his family has died in fire and sole survivor, his son left stunned by the whole thing and unable to speak
The song talks about freedom of love and hope. He wishes to takehis son to a world where there is hope for everyone in spite of failures and sorrow

8. Tu Pyar Ka Sagar Hai- Seema (1955) Manna Dey / Shankar Jaikishan
For me, this song sounds like a prayer. All are sitting in front of God, and requesting him to shower his blessings of love, to show the right path to the wounded heart. It is a prayer as well as the lyrics suits the mental condition of Seema (Nutan) at that moment, in the film. Great lyrics by Shailendra. I just love the song! Manna Dey sings it so well, his voice conveys the meaning of the words with depth.

9. Wahan Kaun Hai Tera- Guide (1965) S D Burman / S D Burman
A philosophical song from the classic ‘Guide’. Every song from this movie is a masterpiece. The entire journey of Raju Guide during the film has been summarised by him in this entire song. His love story, the misunderstandings between him & Rosy, his sufferings, his emotions all are well described by Shailendra. And S D Burman’s unusual voice suits perfectly for the background song & makes the meaning come out very effectively.

10. Bata Do Koi Kaun Gali- Madhu (1959) Lata Mangeshkar / Roshan
I’ve already mentioned about the association between Roshan & Shailendra. This is one of the sweetest examples of such songs.
She is disappointed, he has left her with false hope and faith.
She is blaming her destiny as she cannot be with him and trying to find him. For me Lata’s song scores over Manna Dey’s song. She sings it with deep emotions and so melodious.

11. Sajan Re Jhooth Mat Bolo- Teesari Kasam (1966) Mukesh / Shankar Jaikishan
One more philosophical song on my list. In this song also the ultimate truth of life is told in such a simple language that we believe and understand it without fear. Unfortunately the film didn’t do well at the box office and left Shailendra heart broken. All the songs from the movie are gems. It was difficult to select one among them.

12. Toote Hue Khwabon Ne- Madhumati (1956) Rafi / Salil Choudhary
The only song sung by Rafi in this movie. Rafi was never a must for Salil da & it is said that, he sparingly used him only on actor or producer’s demand. In this situation, it appears be the former. By that time, Rafi had become the only voice for Dilip Kumar.
He has sung this song wonderfully, no doubt. The lyrics are poignant, the remorse is highlighted by the words.

13. O Panchhi Pyare- Bandini (1963) Asha Bhosle / S D Burman
A song set on the background of a prison. The song appears fresh & full of joy, with the sounds of stitching clothes, pounding & sieving grains. All the women, including Nutan are trapped in prison, that is symbolised by the lines ‘Main To Panchhi, Pinjade Ki Maina,Pankh Mere Bekaar’
Shailendra was Burman da favourite lyricist whom he believed to be energetic & spontaneous.

14. Baag Mein Kali Khili- Chand Aur Suraj (1964) Asha Bhosle / Salil Choudhary
A vibrant song full of energy & joy. Asha’s cheerful, naughty, mischievous voice does full justice to the song. The song symbolically mentions the feelings of a girl who has just entered youth & changes she experiences in herself & her mood.
Her eagerness and impatience to find a mate is excellently depicted by Shailendra.
Salil da used the tune of this song as an interlude in the song ‘Tujh Bin Jiya Udas Hai’ from Poonam Ki Raat.

15. Tadap Ye Din Raat Ki- Amrapali (1966) Lata Mangeshkar / Shankar Jaikishan
Amrapali had some finest songs by Lata & this is my most favourite.
This is a sensual song picturised on a lake with Sunil Dutt and Vaijanti mala
This song is about a girl pretending to wonder what is happening to her.
She can not make out why she feels restless all the time pining for him and she is begging him to explain what is wrong with her and why doesnโ€™t it stop ,she is rather trapped and beckoning him to be with her so she is not lonely anymore

Which is your favourite song by Shailendra?

21 Replies to “My Favourites by Shailendra”

    1. I edited a spelling mistake from your comment, Swanand!
      Thanks for reading this one!
      I know the maximum number of his songs are for SJ. But my list wasn’t about their relationship. It is my favourites by Shailendra.
      So it has my favourite songs, still if you see, max songs (4) are by SJ.
      Actually Shailendra-SJ is a topic for a entire separate post that I hope, I will do someday!
      Its association with others MDs was also equally important part of his carrier. That we can’t ignore.
      And its very difficult even to choose songs a song list for Shailendra-SJ
      I hope you do understand the limitations of a single post.
      Thanks again.


    1. Thanks Shashank!
      But I have a certain limit of songs that I can add to alist.
      More than 15, becomes too much & Readers tend to ignore to go through the entire article.
      So 15 was the max songs that I tolerate on someone else’s blog. Same thing I applied to this post.
      Thanks for visiting.:-)


  1. Great list – and some there that I’d forgotten were by Shailendra. I won’t add any of my own, since my own list has all my favourites. ๐Ÿ™‚

    P.S. You might want to correct a typo in your post: Shailendra produced Teesri Kasam, not Teesri Manzil.


    1. Thank you for liking the post as well as pointing out that mistake. Isn’t that shameful for me to do so? But it was a typing mistake and even after finally reading it several times, I couldn’t pick up that one!
      It was taken for granted from my side that I won’t commit such mistakes! But there you are!
      I wonโ€™t add any of my own, since my own list has all my favourites.
      Haha……… I liked that line very much.
      Its so true!


  2. Can we edit this post as it is written that Shailendra has produced Teesari manzil in1966 but it is Teesari kaasam ? I know it is a writing mistake as every one knows this . Anyway post is very nice and Shailedra is the best song writer in hindi films . His songs are popular on his own merit whoever the music director is .


  3. Shailendra was one of the best lyricist of Hindi movies. There are hundreds of songs to his credit. To select a few is very difficult. In spite of that you have done a wonderful job. Congratulations.


  4. Lovely post on Shailendra. He is surely one of my favourite lyricist. I like him more because he is also the guru of my favourite Gulzar. I will remember him mostly for his association with Shankar-Jaikishan and S. D. Burman. Guide is surely my favourite album of his.


    1. Thanks Harvey,
      I am so happy for your visit to my blog. Thanks for the visit.
      Yes, Gulzar sahab was a great deal inspired by Shailendra. Guide is indeed the best of Shailendra- S D combo.
      And plz do consider my request about restarting your blog.


  5. Anup,
    For such a prolific lyricist it is impossible to select his best 15. But you have included some of his very best. You have mentioned some of his great songs in your write-up, such as Ae ri main to. It is difficult to write on lyricists as we generally associate a great song with the singer and music director, and, of course, we remember the movie in which the song figures, and unfortunately the writer comes last in our association. We need people who try to do justice to these neglected creators.


    1. Thanks Akji,
      Yes, the most difficult part was the song selection.
      It was as tough as an exam! But I tried to cover major MDs and my favourites of them with Shailendra.
      The others, I just mentioned in the right up.
      (We need people who try to do justice to these neglected creators)
      I totally agree with you.
      The lyricist is actually the mother of the song, so should not be neglected.
      But even I mention the lyricist’s name at the end of any song. Though I am fully aware of their actual importance in this whole process.
      I’m planning to write on other lyricists as well.
      Let’s See.


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