Shailendra was one of the popular Indian Hindi film lyricists, who made his entry in 1940's. He was the versatile lyricist whose songs ranged from any emotion to any situation.
Shankardas Kesrilal Shailendra popularly known as Shailendra was born on August 30, 1923 in Rawalpindi, British India (now part of Pakistan). Later he moved along with his family to Mathura in his childhood. Upon reaching Mathura he lost his mother Parvati Devi. Little Shailendra was shocked by the incidence that he stopped believing in God. Shailendra was eldest amongst four siblings.
Shailendra started his career with Indian Railways. He worked in Indian Railways before turning into full time lyricist's job. As a part of his Indian Railways job he came to Bombay (Mumbai) in 1947. Although working in Railways he was always keeping himself busy writing poems. It was one of the Kavi Sammelan where the actor-turned producer Raj Kapoor listen to his poem 'Jalta hai Punjab' and was get impressed with his poetry. At the time Raj Kapoor was making movie Aag. Raj Kapoor gave offer to Shailendra to write songs for Aag. But Shailendra was cautious about Cinema and refused Kapoor's offer. Shailendra was a part of Progressive Writers' association and was also one of the founder members of Indian Peoples' Theatre (IPTA).
Meanwhile after the birth of his son, he found some financial problems and to solve them he himself approached Raj Kaoor. Shailendra made his debut in Hindi Film Industry with Raj Kapoor's Barsaat in 1949. He wrote the two songs 'Barsat Me Hamse Mile Tum' and 'Patali Kamar Hai' for Barsaat with the pay of Rs. 500. Music for the film was given by Shankar-Jaikishen. However, Barsaat was also the debut film for Shankar-Jaikishan as music directors. Barsaat turn out to be a hit. Since then the trio Shailendra, Shankar-Jaikishan and Raj Kapoor worked together for many films and produced many hits together.
Shailendra's hit songs for Raj Kapoor includes- Sab Kuchh Seekha Hamne (Anari), Kisi Ki Muskurahaton Pe (Anari), Mera Joota Hai Japani (Shri 420), Mud Mud Ke Na Dekh (Shri 420), Ramaiya Vastavaiya (Shri 420), Har Dil Jo Pyaar Karega (Sangam), Dost Dost Na Raha (Sangam) and many more.
Besides working successfully with Raj Kapoor and Shankar-Jaikishen, he also hand lent beautiful lyrics for Bimal Roy in Bandini, Do Bigha Zameen, and Madhumati. He also worked equally well with others like S.D. Burman (Bandini, Guide), Pt. Ravi Shankar (Anuradha) and S.N. Tripathi (Sangeet Samrat Tanseen).
Shailendra is winner of three Filmfare Awards as Best Lyricist. He won it for two years in succession, once for Yahudi in 1958 and secondly for Anari in 1959. He won his third Filmfare Award for film Brahmachari in 1968.
The man who lived his life with so much of success was died tragically. He was producing the film Teesri Kasam. The film unfortunately turned out as unsuccessful which caused him several heartaches. The unsuccessfulness of Teesri Kasam is considered as the reason of his death. The talented person died on December 14, 1966 in Mumbai. But the man is still remembered for his outstanding contribution to the film industry.
Shailendra has a son named Shaily, who also later on became a lyricist.
Shailendra's - Popular Songs