The composer duo of Kalyanji-Anandji remains perhaps the most under rated music composers of Hindi film music industry
Kalyanji and his younger brother Anandji were born in Kutch in Gujarat. Their father Veerji Shah later migrated to Bombay and settled in Girgaum where he ran a grocery store. Kalyanji Anandji had no interest in joining their father's store. They had inherited the music from their grandparents who were known folk musicians of Gujarat.
Kalyanji learnt playing various instruments and used to play in the orchestra of legendary Shankar Jaikishan. Kalyanji got into prominence when he played the Been music on clay violin in composer Hemant Kumar's film Nagin (1955). The Been music of Nagin became the rage all over the country. Its tunes are being played by snake charmers all over the country even today.
Kalyanji Veerji Shah got his first independent break in Jayant Desai's Samrat Chandragupt (1958) starring Bharat Bhushan and Nirupa Roy. Lata sang all the songs, solos and duets. Same year he gave popular numbers in Post Box 999. Its number "Bichhde hue milange phir" (Rafi/Asha),"Mere dil mein ek baat" (Manna Dey/Lata), and "O nind na mujhko aaye" (Hemant/Lata) were instant hits.
In 1959 Kalyanji Veerji Shah gave music in Ghar Ghar Ki Baat, ChandraSena and Bedard Zamana Kya Jane. The music of Bedard Zamana Kya Jane had popular solos and dulcet duets, "Naina hai jadu bhare" (Mukesh) "Qaid mein hai bulbul sayyad muskuraye" (Lata), "Main yahan tu kahan, Kyun mile hum tum and Door kahi tu chal dil raha hai machal" (Rafi/Lata). Same year he decided to team up with his younger brother Anandji. Their name flashed in the credits music Kalyanji Anandji. One song of the B-grade film Madari "Dil loot ne wale jaduger" (Lata) became super hit and even got place in Binaka Geet Mala.
Same year they gave scintillating music in Satta Bazar, featuring Meena Kumari/Balraj Shahni. The unforgettable numbers "Chandi ke chand tukdo ke liye iman ko becha jata hai" (Hemant) and a duet "Tumhe yaad hoga kabhi hum mile the" (Lata/Hemant) and "Aankde ka dhandha" (Rafi) "Kaisa insaaf tera" were also popular.
In 1960 they got a major break with Chhalia starring Raj Kapoor, Nutan – the debut film of Manmohan Desai. The film did a modest business but its music became extremely popular. It had songs like "Dum dum diga diga mausam bheega bheega, Mere tute hue dil se koi to aaj ye puche"and title song "Chhalia mera naam" (Mukesh). Mukesh sang a lot of his memorable songs with the duo in the years to come. Chhalia also had two popular numbers of Lata "Ho ho Baje payal chham chham hoke beqraar" and "Teri rahon mein khade hai dil tham ke". In spite of these popular hits the duo was criticized that the songs were in Shankar Jaikishan's mould.
Same year, Dharmendra's debut film Dil Bhi Tera Hum Bhi Tere was released. Kalyanji Anandji composed two versions of "Mujhko is raat ki tanhaai mein awaz na do" sung by Mukesh and Lata in separate versions. These numbers were chartbusters of that year.
The era of 60s was dominated by Shankar Jaikishan. They inspired all the new comers like Rajesh Roshan, Lakshmikant Pyarelal and Kalyanji Anandji. Soon Kalyanji Anandji unhooked themselves from Shankar Jaikishan's mould. Their music in Dulha Dulhan (1964) starring Raj Kapoor, Sadhana gave them true identity. Their compositions "Humne tujhko pyaar kiya hai kitna" set in Raag Tilak kamod was sung by Mukesh and Lata separately.
The following year they hit a jackpot with Vijay Bhat's Himalaya Ki God Mein featuring Mala Sinha, Manoj Kumar. Kalyanji Anandji showed their virtuosity in two versions (Happy and Sad) of their composition for Lata "Ek tu jo mila sari duniya mile" and "Ek tu na mila sari duniya mile bhi to kya hai". Both versions were based on Raag Charukeshi. The music of Himalaya Ki God Mein got them Cine Music Directors Association Award for best musical score.
Their next big hit was Jab Jab Phool Khile (1965) starring Shashi Kapoor, Nanda. The chartbusters of the film were "Ek tha gul aur ek thi bulbul, Pardesiyon se na ankhiya milana" and "Yahan main ajnabi hoon" (Rafi). Lata's romantic number "Ye saman saman hai ye pyaar ka" and a peppy number "Na na karte pyaar tumhi se kar baithe" (Lata/Rafi).
In Upkar (1967) they created sensation with a verity of songs, but their real talent was yet to be seen which came in film Saraswatichandra (1968). Each number was equally popular. Mukesh's all time great mellifluous "Chandan sa badan chanchal chitwan" was set in Raag Yaman. Kalyanji Anandji paid real tribute to the music of their native place Kutch. They composed the popular Garba number "Main to bhool chali babul ka desh" (Lata/Chorus) iconic duets "Phool tumhe bheja hai khat mein" (Lata/Mukesh) and another philosophical number "Chhod de sari duniya kisi ke liye". Kalyanji Anandji were the first music director in the Hindi Cinema who got National Award for the best music director for Saraswati Chandra.
Kalyanji Anandji gave music in 60's in nearly two and a half dozen films. They gave music of all genres (Social,Costume Drama and Comedy) .
During 70s some of their super hits soft number were "Mera jiwan kora kagaz" (Kishore) in Kora Kagaz. Which one them there the only Filmfare Trophy. In Black "Pla pal dil ke pass rahti ho" and "Apne jeevan ki uljhan ko" in Lata and Kishore's solo voices in Uljhan.
In the 80s the duo came back with bang in Qarbani which was the biggest block buster. with various numbers including "Laila o laila" (Amit Kumar/Kanchan). In Vidhata "Saat saheliya khadi khadi" (Kishore/Anuradha Paudwal/Alka yagnik) "Haatho ki chand lakeeron ko" (Suresh Wadkar/Anwar). In Lawaris "Mere angne mein" in two versions (Amitabh/Alka Yagnik).
There is an interesting fact that this duo proved lucky for the debut directors i.e, Manmohan Desai, Arjun hingorani, Manoj Kumar, Prakash Mehra, Firoz Khan, Narendra Bedi, Anil Ganguly, Govind Saraiya, Subhash Ghai and Chandra Barot. The composer worked with younger next generation directors. Rajiv Roy and Sunil Hingorani.
Brij was another director who enjoyed working with Kalyanji Anandji. The duo composed the cult song "Do bechare bina sahare" (Kishore/Mahendra Kapoor) in Victoria Number 203.
Kalyanji Anandji had made the whole world as their stage. They conducted more than five thousand stage shows all over the globe. They collected nearly 25 cores for various charitable causes to fulfill the father's desire (Who told them that society had given you so much that it is your duty to give them in return).
Kalyanji Anandji also known for introducing and encouraging new talent. They gave break to voices like Kamal Barot, Babla, Kanchan, Shadna Sargam and Sunidhi Chauhan. They used to have a show called little wonders where they gave chance to young boys and girls to show their talent and skills.
Kalyanji Anandji gave music in over two hundred fifty films which had seventeen Golden Jubilees and Thirty nine Silver Jubilees. Their last film was released in 1994 – Ulfat Ki Nai Manjile. They handedover the baton to the younger generation Biju Shah (Kalyanji son). After being active in industry for forty years.
Kalyanji died in 2003. Anandji is still organizing stage shows and remain busy with his musical schools. Kalyanji Anandji were winner of National Film Award for their film Saraswatichandra and Film Fare Award for Kora Kagaz.
They were also recipient of Lata Mangeshkar Award and were conferred with Padam Shree.