Early Life of Laxmikant
Laxmikant Shantaram Kudalkar was born on 3rd November 1937 in Mumbai, on the day of Laxmi Puja. He spent his childhood in the slums of Vile Parle in Mumbai living in dire poverty. He lost his father in his childhood and owing to the poor financial conditions he could not complete his academic education. His fathers friend, who himself was a musician, had advised Laxmikant and his elder brother to learn music. Thus Laxmikant learnt to play mandolin while his elder brother learnt tabla. Laxmikant received the expert tutelage of the well-known mandolin player Hussain Ali. In order to earn money he used to organize and perform in Indian classical instrumental music concerts. In 1940s he learnt mandolin from Bal Mukund Indorker and violin from Husnalal. He stepped into the film world as a child actor with the film Aankhen and had also acted in a few Gujarati films.
Early Life of Pyarelal
Pyarelal Ramprasad Sharma was born on 3rd September 1940 to an acclaimed trumpeter Pandit Ramprasad Sharma, popularly known as Babaji. He learnt the basics of music from his father. At the tender age of 8 he began learning violin and used to practice for 8 to 12 hours daily. He received the training for playing violin from a Goan musician named Anthony Gonsalves and the popular song My Name Is Anthony Gonsalves from the movie Amar Akbar Anthony was composed by the duo as a tribute to the musician. The financial conditions of Pyarelals family deteriorated by the age of 12 and he was forced to earn money by playing in studios.
Collaboration of Laxmikant and Pyarelal
At the age of 10, Laxmikant once played mandolin in a Lata Mangeshkar concert in Radio Club. Being very impressed with his performance Lata talked to him after the concert. Laxmikant met Pyarelal at a music academy for children named Sureel Kala Kendra run by the Mangeshkar family. After knowing about their poor financial backgrounds, Lata recommended their names to prominent music directors like C. Ramchandra, Sachin Dev Burman and Naushad. They gradually became friends and used to spend hours at the recording studios. They also played together whenever they got opportunity. Being discontent with their payment they once went to Chennai for getting work but similar conditions resulted in their return. Pyarelal had once also decided to go to Vienna to play for symphony orchestras but stayed back at the insistence of Laxmikant.
Career of Laxmikant-Pyarelal
In the 1950s Laxmikant-Pyarelal worked with many reputed music directors. They became the assistants to Kalyanji-Anandji, another music composer duo, in 1953, and worked with them till 1963. They also took up the role of music arrangers for many music directors like Sachin Dev Burman and Rahul Dev Burman. Laxmikant-Pyarelal always shared amicable terms with R D Burman even after the duo began composing music independently. Laxmikant-Pyarelals first movie as music directors was not released. However the Babubhai Mistrys film Parasmani in 1963 featured them for the first time as music directors. All of the songs from the film became very popular such as Mere Dil Main Halki Si, Wo Jab Yaad Aaye, Hasata Hua Nurani Chehara etc. Throughout their career the duo only used A-grade singers for their compositions. Their mentors Mohammad Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar sang for them in spite of low budget. They are also known to have sung the maximum number of songs composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal. Kishore Kumar also had sung numerous songs for the duo.
Laxmikant-Pyarelal achieved success in the music arena in 1964 with the Rajshri Productions film Dosti. The film however achieved success due to its great music which included songs like Rahi manava and Chahoonga main tujhe shaam savere. Following this released Lootera, a super hit musical non star cast film which featured super hit songs of Lata Manageshkar. In the year 1966 Laxmikant-Pyarelal began establishing themselves as prominent music directors in the Hindi film industry. Movies like Pyar Kiye Jaa, Aaye Din Bahar Ke, Sati Sawitri, Sant Gyaneshwar, Hum Sab Ustaad Hai and others added to their popularity. Many of the Bollywood flicks became successful due to their music in spite of having no major star cast. Their songs like Ajanabi Tum Jane Pehachane Se, Mere Mehaboob Quayamat Hogi, Yeh Dard Bhara Afasana, Khoobsurat Haseena, Jeevan Dor Tumhi Sang Bandhi etc have left a permanent imprint in the minds of listeners. In 1967 the duo delivered a series of hits. The movie Farz was the first golden jubilee musical hit of Laxmikant-Pyarelal which was followed by Shagird, Anita, Patthar Ke Sanam, Jaal and Milan. The duo became the favoured music composers for many renowned filmmakers who replaced their regular music directors. Laxmikant-Pyarelal teamed up with lyricist Anand Bakshi to compose some of the most soulful songs in the history of Hindi cinema. Anand Bakshi was in fact the lyricist who wrote the maximum number of lyrics for the duo.
Achievements of Laxmikant-Pyarelal
After making their debut, Laxmikant-Pyarelal got nominations for the Filmfare Awards almost every year, several times for three or more numbers in a particular year. They won many Filmafre Awards for Best Music director for composing the music for the films like Dosti (1965), Milan (1968), Jeene Ki Raah (1970), Amar Akbar Anthony (1978), Satyam Shivam Sundaram (1979), Sargam (1980) and Karz (1981). The soundtrack of the movie Bobby has been rated as the 17th best soundtrack ever by Planet Bollywood on their 100 Greatest Bollywood Soundtracks. Other soundtracks in the same list include Prem Rog (85), Khalnayak (77), Milan (75), Do Raaste (74), Tezaab (65), Kranti (61), Ram Lakhan (59), Karz (50), Ek Duuje Ke Liye (44), Hero (36), Dosti (32), Roti Kapada Aur Makaan (27) and Amar Akbar Anthony (25).
After the Demise of Laxmikant
Laxmikant died on 25th May 1998. After his death Pyarelal worked independently on some projects. He was approached by the playback singer Kumar Sanu for arranging music when the latter turned music director. He was also approached for assisting in the music of Dhoom Tana song of the movie Om Shanti Om. In the year 2009, Pyarelal was conferred with the Sachin Dev Burman International Award for Creative Sound and Music at the Pune Film Festival. Pyarelal has also done a show along with Kakas Entertainment titled Maestros a musical Journey of Laxmikant-Pyarelal.
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