Splitsville: Why are music duos jinxed?
s it so difficult to stick together through changing times, success and failure and through a possible disharmony between the partners' families? Jatin-Lalit, for whom right now Fanaa is a swan song, are definitely not the first team to split and probably will not be the last either.
Says Himesh Reshammiya,"The first thing that a duo must decide is that their team will not break, come what may. It is sad when these things happen."
Echoes veteran Pyarelal,"Laxmi (Laxmikant) and I had decided that no one could be the cause of any trouble between us. Jo ek ke liye accha hain woh dono ke liye accha hai, aur jo ek ke liye kharaab hai woh dono ke liye theek nahin!'
And yet the L-P team too almost split on an overseas concert trip in 1991. Says Pyarelal dismissively, 'That was just a tantrum on my part because of a trivial cause." But there was more to that than met the eye. Egos are fragile, easy tools for mischief-mongers and sycophants to turn one partner against another. L-P were lucky that Subhash Ghai took it upon himself to expose the culprit and bring about a rapprochement. But not all duos are equally fortunate.
Because the danger-point lies thus not necessarily in failure but also in success. There are any number of people (starting ironically with family members) who are willing to spark off and then stoke the fire of jealousy by insinuating that the other partner is (a) getting more than his share of acclaim (b) taking undue advantage in some way (c) actually contributing proportionately much less to work and success and (d) saying or indulging in wrong or clandestine things that are not congenial to good partnerships.
Even when teams sustain, there are always rumours and more of friction. There are sources that insist that Anand-Milind, the sons of Chitragupta, would have parted ways too if their boom phase had continued. As it is almost an axiom that neither breakaway partner succeeds as well as the team, it is said that the brothers stuck together only because separation in a low phase would have made things even worse.
Senior filmmakers, lyricists and even some singers have unofficially confirmed the differences (though of a creative nature) between Kalyanji and Anandji even when they were at their peak. It is certain that the K-A record would have lasted far longer if the two brothers had been in complete harmony of thought and temperament. However, the brothers maintained exemplary dignity and preferred to quit, citing changes in trends, and continued to be respectful towards each other.
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Hindi cinema's first duo was Husnlal-Bhagatram, also the first duo of brothers, but it was the Shanker-Jaikishan team that proved that a duo had innate advantages over a solo composer. And yet as a team they could not last beyond their first 15 years. To date, the reasons for their parting are more speculated upon than made public, but depending on orientation, the culprits are said to be either Shanker's temporary flame Sharda, Jaikishan's wife Pallavi, or the more accomplished and better-trained Shanker's realization that he was getting less importance than his more popular and more business-savvy partner who was a natural genius.
Today, as Jatin-Lalit's last signed film together, Fanaa, hits the screens after a good performance by the music on the charts, we find an epidemic of Split Personalities - within the last 12 months, Dilip Sen-Sameer Sen, Nadeem-Shravan and Nikhil-Vinay have also removed the hyphens that linked them.
Of course, all cases have been in a way, different, and yet if we agree with Himesh on the idealistic situation, the underlying cause is always related to a damaged team-spirit vis--vis self-importance and ego.
OUT OF SYNC:
The sons of musician Haldipur and composer Anil Biswas joined hands for less than 10 films from Pyar Mein Sauda Nahin (1982) to Kasam Teri Kasam (1993). Today, Utpal Biswas and Amar Haldipur work separately on albums and Amar, apart from scoring the film Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, is content being musician and arranger.
These assistants to R.D.Burman were given a break by RD's mentor Mehmood in Sabse Bada Rupaiya. But they barely did a few films. Manohari is still an ace musician, while Basu tried going solo in the '90s with Nargis.
DILIP SEN-SAMEER SEN:
Sameer Sen, the orchestral half of this team, cited incompatibility as reason for the break with his uncle. Now Dilip Sen does small films using the name of the team (!) while Sameer has joined hands with brothers Lalit and Sanjeev to form the Sen Brothers! Neither have come up, of course, with anything half as impressive as their (few) joint successes like Meherbaan, Aaina, Yeh Dillagi and Ziddi.
Their decision to break away bodes ill for melody, with fans hoping that the fresh split is nipped in the Fanaa bud.
They did just three films together, including Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai, before parting ways on Jeet's initiative. Pritam is now one of our leading music directors after Dhoom, Garam Masala and Gangster, and Jeet is in oblivion. This was a unique case where a solo partner made it big when the team could not.
They began on a high (Sanam Bewafa) in1991, but could not sustain beyond 6-7 films.
This was the precursor of the Jatin-Lalit team. When they failed to make a mark all through the 1980s despite some half-a-dozen films, Mandhir opted out to assist his younger brothers Jatin and Lalit and help the latter make a fresh beginning. The ploy worked big-time through over 60 films - till their recent ill-fated split.
Nadeem's sustained stay in London, and his alleged demand for unreasonably high fees first tapered off even steadfast loyalists, and now Nadeem is said to have entered business. While Shravan is said to resent this, in turn Nadeem has blamed Shravan for focusing on his sons (another duo, Sanjeev-Darshan!) and keeping him in the dark about turning a film producer!
This prolific team's case is a mystery - with Vinay claiming that the team has broken up because Nikhil took on solo assignments, and the former confessing to this but adding that they were still together and (paradoxically) he had full hopes of a reconciliation!
After thir split, both composed solo under the joint name. In many cases, like Arzoo, Andaz and Mera Naam Joker, they separately worked on different songs in the same films.
In the '90s, these musicians-cum-assistants began impressively with Mashooq (1992) and scored a hit with Elaan (1994). But they fizzled out and Surinder Sodhi individually did a few songs, preferring to go solo as a 'background music' specialist.
The duo is at their lowest ebb today, but at their peak they had aces like Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak and Dil.
The brothers stopped working as composers from the late '40s, and Bhagatram moved away from Mumbai.
In films, they were together as long as they were active. But after they stopped signing films, Anandji worked on non-film albums alone, while Kalyanji continued to train new singers and did shows till he passed away.
Despite the hiccup mentioned above, L-P remained an entity till Laxmikant passed away. Pyarelal has done varied work alone but seems to be bogged down by bad luck.
Raam passed away after a few Marathi films, Laxman maintained the name of Raam-Laxman, and later after making it big for a while in Hindi films Laxman removed the hyphen to remain as Raamlaxman.
Jagmohan passed away some years back. By this time the team had moved on to TV serials. High points: Chetna, Do Raha.
They did just a handful of Yash Chopra films (including Silsila, Chandni and Lamhe) and a Sahibaan, but after Darr they lost interest in films and returned to concentrate on their respective fortes - santoor and flute.
Sonik passed away some years ago, but the team had already tapered off its work. High points: Dil Ne Phir Yaad Kiya, Sawan Bhadon, Dharma.
UTTAM SINGH-JAGDISH KHANNA:
Though the team could not be successful despite Manoj Kumar's backing (Painter Babu, Clerk), it broke off only because of Jagdish's death. Uttam returned solo with Dil To Pagal Hai, but he too could not sustain despite Gadar - Ek Prem Katha and Pinjar.