How Yash Chopra believed in the legend of Santoor Shivkumar Sharma, gave us Silsila, Lamhi, Chandni and Dar

The image of Shivkumar Sharma playing the centaur will remain engraved in our memories for ages. The music icon, who died on Tuesday at the age of 84, has left behind a body of works that will remain a standard in Indian classical music for generations. Sharma can be credited with promoting Santoor in India, as his son Rahul Sharma continues to push the legacy forward.

As India mourns the passing of a legend, we look back Shivkumar SharmaMusical track, which also caters to Bollywood.

Shivkumar Sharma was one half of the composer’s duo Shiv-Hari with classical flautist and another legend, Hariprasad Chaurasia. The music directors have provided many unforgettable tunes for Hindi films, along with some noteworthy classic notes.

Santoor player Shivkumar Sharma and flautist Hari Prasad Chaurasia. (Photo: Quick Archives)

Shivkumar began his stint in films with the background in Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baje (1956), directed by V. Shantaram. He later recorded his first solo album in 1960.

He previously talked about Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baje. He previously told DNA, “Vasant Desai (music director) didn’t understand the technical aspects of felines and generally left me to my devices to explore and play as I wanted.”

The Centaur legend added that in. He said, “I thanked him profusely and apologized saying I wanted to complete my education as my father wanted and went back to Jammu.”

Shivkumar’s first collaboration with Hariprasad Chaurasia was the concept album, Call of the Valley in 1967, along with guitarist Brij Bhushan Kabra. Soon, Shivkumar and Hariprasad collaborated in the role of Shiv-Hari and composed the music for their first film, Silsila (1981). Directed by Yash Chopra Amitabh BachchanRika, Jaya Bachchan and Sanjeev Kumar. Shiv-Hari made Amitabh sing two tracks in the hit movie as well – “Neela Aasman So Gaya” and “Rang Barse”. Shivkumar revealed that as a poem by Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baje, the Bhajan “Jo Tum Todo” is even incorporated into Series.

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In his words, “We had no idea that the music of the Silsila series would affect what you do.” He told PTI, “I remember when Yash Chopra and Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia asked me to compose music for Silsila, everyone thought he was taking too great a risk to sign classical musicians. There is a difference between classical and cinema. It was a huge challenge to live up to[movie music].”

Over the next several years, Shiv-Hari’s Bollywood collaborations with Yash Chopra remained. These included Faasle (1985), Vijay (1988), Chandni (1989), Lamhi (1991), Parambara (1993) and Dar (1993). They also made music for the Sahibaan (1993) starring Rishi KapoorAnd Sanjay Dutt And Madhuri Dixit.

Shivkumar Sharma and Hariprasad Chaurasia worked together for over a decade before they parted ways. “Hariji and I make movies as long as they don’t conflict with our classical music. Later on it became difficult as we both were hanging around,” he told DNA.

He said in an interview with PTI Agency, “The life span of music, songs are very short today. Old songs are still remembered and people love them even now. I doubt any song has caught my attention lately.”

Shivkumar had to turn down Dil Toh Pagal Hai as well, despite Yash Chopra sending him tickets to return from Jammu. But Shivkumar’s talent was not limited to only Centaur. He once revealed that he was offered a role in a movie. That was when he was recording for director Khawaja Ahmed Abbas. “He called me aside. I thought he wanted to tell me something specific but he offered me Saat Hindustani as an actor. “Dikhate-bolte bhi theek ho… kad-kaathi bhi sahi hai.” (You look good, you speak well. You have a decent personality.) I folded my hand and said I wanted to continue the music,” Shivkumar shared.

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He moved away from Bollywood Post House in 1993. He believed that the director’s taste had influenced the music, which was heavily influenced by “western rhythms and has more noise than melody”.

He believed “we are great imitators even of mediums”. According to him, current times are lacking “the right kind of directors to work with.”

Shiv-Hari continued to perform live together even after giving up composing for films.

Shivkumar Sharma and Hariprasad Chaurasia received nominations for Best Musical Director from Filmfare for the Silsila Series, Chandni, Lamhe and Darr. The Centaur legend was also awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1986 and the Padma Vibhushan Award in 2001.

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