Shyam Sundar


Popular As: Shyam Sunder
Birth: 7th July 1914
Death: 31st May 2003
1st Film: Sohni Kumharan
Last Film: Alif Laila
Work Span: 1939 - 1953 

Everytime Shyam Sunder's name came up in O P Nayyar's presence, the reaction would be worth watching. His hands would hold his earlobes and his tongue would come out, trapped between his teeth. Then his head would oscillate a few times. That was his way of dumb-charadind, oh ho, what a musician!

From the other composers, Madan Mohan was very close to him, assisting as he was Shyam Sunder in music making. In fact Madan Mohan went on to complete his senior's Alif laila when the latter died of jaundice during the film's making in 1953. Lata Mangeshkar has listed her 'Saajan ki galiyaan chhod chale..' (From Bazaar) as one of her ten best songs.
But specialists' opinions apart, it is clear this composer gave us such wonderful melodies for us common folk to enjoy. His creations span just ten years, but what musically rich years! Not just that, he introduced an absolute stunning voice to the music world, that of Mohd. Rafi.

He hailed from Lahore, Shyam Sunder Gaba. Not much is known about his early days, except that he was impressed with the music of Master Ghulam Haider, who was also in Lahore. Shyam Sunder started giving music for a few Punjabi movies, and it was in the Punjabi Gul Baloch (1942) that he introduced Mohd. Rafi. The singer would later go to Bombay to seek his fortune, not knowing that fortune would first come to him in the shape of the same Shyam Sunder again! For, now the composer signed Mohd. Rafi for Village Girl in 1944. Shyam Sunder then did films like Actress, Bazaar, Lahore, Bhai Bahan, Nirdosh, Dholak, Kaale Baadal and Alif Laila.

It is not just what shape he gave to lyricists' thoughts, as for Qamar Jalalabadi's 'Saajan ki galyaan chhod chale...'(Bazaar). Its not just the melodies Shyam Sunder made, as in 'Kis tarah bhoolega dil..'(Village Girl) or also in that super tune, 'Duniya hamare pyar ki yun hi jawan rahe..'(Lahore). It's also the perfect planning of the instruments, plus the wonderful orchestration. And what better example of intoxicating orchestration than in 'Mausam aaya hai rangeen...' (Dholak). If you do not have this song, do get it. You'll be delighted with what you hear.

Here is a list Shyam Sunder's Hindi films:

1943: Nayi Kahani
1945: Bhaai Jaan & Village Girl
1946: Dev Kanya
1947: Ek Roz
1948: Actress
1949: Lahore, Chaar Din & Bazaar
1950: Nirdosh, Kamal Ke Phool & Bhai Bahan
1951: Dholak & Kaale Baadal
1953: Alif Laila

Shyam Sundar will always be remembered for perfect planning of instruments and wonderful orchestration for composing songs and also for his choice of singers. For his extraordinary compositions Shyam Sundar gained respect from other MDs of his times as well.

Contributed by: Mr. Manek Premchand
Author: Yesterday's Melodies Today's Memories

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