His heart will go on
The 1990s were a time of transition in the Hindi film music world. The old guard of composers who had held sway for decades passed the baton to a crop of new music directors. Veterans Laxmikant Pyarelal, R D Burman and Bappi Lahiri chalked up their last major hits (Khalnayak, 1942 - A Love Story and Aankhen, respectively) in the 1993-94 phase and then receded into history.
The Nadeem-Shravan duo was in the vanguard of the new-sound movement that soon engulfed the decade. They opened the decade with a bang thanks to their breakthrough film, Aashiqui (1990), that was replete with soft romantic chartbusters (Dheere dheere se, Tu meri zindagi hai) and is among the highest-selling soundtracks ever. The film’s leading man, Rahul Roy, condoles the demise of Shravan.
“I was very close to Shravan because he has composed music for more than half a dozen films featuring me,” says Rahul Roy. “Aashiqui was my career’s biggest musical hit. I will sorely miss him.”
Nadeem Shravan’s success in the 1990s is noteworthy, considering that they encountered major competitors as new names rushed to fill a vacuum in the music industry. Anand Milind had preceded them and in 1992-1993, three major names burst onto the scene – A R Rahman (Roja), Anu Malik (making a comeback with Baazigar) and Jatin Lalit (Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar).
Undeterred, Nadeem Shravan continued conjuring up hit after hook-filled hit soundtrack in the 1990s. Their forte was melody overlaid with heightened emotionalism in the lyrics and crooning, as evidenced in crowd-pleasing numbers such as Mera dil bhi kitna pagal hai, Sochenge tumhe pyar kareke nahin, Dheere dheere pyar ko badhana hai, Ghunghat ki aadh se and Ek aisi ladki thi jisse main pyar karta tha.
Faced with an onslaught of beats-heavy music, the duo proved capable of fusing western elements into their signature melodious sounds in songs such as Ankhiyan milaoon kabhi ankhiyan churaoon and Yeh dil deewana.
Nadeem and Shravan reached the acme of their career when Subhash Ghai chose them for his first non-Laxmikant Pyarelal film in decades – Pardes (1997) and their score for the 1996 blockbuster Raja Hindustani scaled lofty heights on the popularity charts.
Director Dharmesh Darshan says, “Shravan’s music, in collaboration with Nadeem, will outlive him. It has pan-India appeal. The team gave me 30 hit songs in Raja Hindustani, Dhadkan and so on.”
Actor Kalpana Iyer who enacted the Raja Hindustani chartbuster Pardesi Pardesi on screen, says, “I would have never danced so well to Pardesi Pardesi if it wasn’t for the lilting music. Nadeem and Shravan were very close friends. I had known both of them since 1985. Danny Denzongpa and I sang a fun duet, Yun dhoop mein na jao, for Nadeem Shravan’s album, Star 10, in which nine other stars sang too. This was much before Nadeem and Shravan tasted big-time success.”
In the new millennium, Nadeem and Shravan tried to regroup their creative energies with popular songs such as Dil ne yeh kaha hai dil se, Jo bhi kasmein, Kitni bechain thi main and Kisise tum pyar karo. All deeply romantic songs in their instantly recognisable vein. But in 2005, Nadeem and Shravan split and Shravan eased out of the music scene.
The songs of Shravan will continue to be jukebox favourites, and his amiable personality will be remembered. Dharmesh sings his praises as, “a fantastic human being” and Rahul Roy, Kalpana and scores of industry people echo the sentiment.
From HT Brunch, April 25, 2021
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