Early Life of Shailendra
Shailendra was born on 30th August 1923 in Rawalpindi region of British India which is now in Pakistan. His birth name was Shankardas Kesarilal but he was more popular with his pen name Shailendra. He grew up in Mathura.
Career of Shailendra
Shailendra began his career with Indian Railways as a welder. In the year 1947, he came to Bombay (now Mumbai) for his job. It was during these days when he started writing poetries. He was noticed by the famed filmmaker Raj Kapoor who read out one of his poems at a poetic symposium or mushaira. The poem was titled Jalta hai Punjab. Following this, Raj Kapoor offered Shailendra for buying the poems authored by him as he wanted to use them for his flick Aag in 1948. Shailendra was a member of the left wing IPTA and did not approve the mainstream Indian cinema, thus refused his offer. However later, for meeting his financial requirements, Shailendra approached Raj Kapoor himself. During this period, Raj Kapoor was shooting for the film Barsaat and two songs for the movie were still not written. Shailendra then wrote these songs for 500 rupees and the songs included ‘Barsaat Mein’ and ‘Patli Kamar Hai’. Shankar-Jaikishan had composed the music for the songs.
Following this Shailendra, Raj Kapoor and Shankar-Jaikishan collaborated for a number of hit Bollywood songs. The 1951 flick Awaara featured the song ‘Awara Hoon’, penned by Shailendra, which went on to become the most appreciated Hindustani film song outside India during that era. In those days, the music composers used to recommend lyricists to the film producers. Similarly Shankar-Jaikishan had also promised Shailendra once for recommending him around but they didn’t. Thus Shailendra sent them a note in which it was written ‘Chhoti Si Yeh Duniya, Pehchaane Raaste Hain, Kahin To Miloge, Phir Poochhenge Haal’. With the message Shankar-Jaikishan realized their fault and apologized. They also composed a popular song with those lines which was featured in 1962 film Rangoli. Shailendra had also worked with other prominent music directors of the industry such as Sachin Dev Burman, Salil Chowdhury and Ravi Shankar. He had also written lyrics for filmmakers like Dev Anand and Bimal Roy.
Shailendra invested hugely in the mid 1960s in the production of the Bollywood flick Teesri Kasam starring Raj Kapoor and Waheeda Rehmanand directed by Basu Chatterjee. Although the movie failed commercially, it received the National Film Award for Best Feature Film.
Achievements of Shailendra
Shailendra was a three time winner of Filmfare Best Lyricist Award. He won the award for the songs ‘Yeh Mera Deewanapan Hai’ from Yahudi, ‘Sab Kuch Seekha Hamne’ from Anari and ‘Main Gaoon Tum So Jao’ from Brahmchari in the years 1958, 1959 and 1968 respectively.
Death of Shailendra
Shailendra died on 14th December 1966 at the age of 43 owing to tensions associated with film production, anxiety for financial loss and alcohol abuse. His son Shaily Shailendra also embraced the same profession.
Popular Songs of Shailendra