Monsoons have yet to hit the shores of Mumbai and the radio stations and the FMs have yet to blare out the song- Lagee Aaj Saawan Kee Fir Wo Jhadi Hai- and the haunt that accentuates the ambience of the falling droplets with the tinkle of the santoor in the interludes! This year the monsoon droplets would be more melancholic as the maestro, Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma has left for his heavenly abode!
Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma made his presence felt in the memory of the public in general (he had been giving his performances in scores of SPIC-MACAY Foundation Music Functions), through the first national integration song- Mile Sur Mera Tumhara- produced by Bharat Bala. When the camera roamed over to Kashmir Valley the nodes and lilts of the santoor added to the charm and enticement of Kashmir through the dexterity of the maestro Shiv Kumar Sharma and a new instrument that could create an element of soothe and calmness came to establish itself in the public memory.
Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma was perhaps the first santoor player who made santoor famous internationally. Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi acknowledged this outreach of Shiv Kumar Sharma in his tribute: Our cultural world is poorer with the demise of Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma Ji. He popularised the Santoor at a global level. His music will continue to enthral the coming generations…
Our cultural world is poorer with the demise of Pandit Shivkumar Sharma Ji. He popularised the Santoor at a global level. His music will continue to enthral the coming generations. I fondly remember my interactions with him. Condolences to his family and admirers. Om Shanti.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) May 10, 2022
It would not be an exaggeration to say that the 2nd innings of Yash Raj Banners could reach such exalted heights commercially at national and the international level owing to the music given by Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma along with fellow instrumentalist Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia- popularly known as Shiv-Hari.
Beginning with SILSILA in 1981, the duo created music, which has gained permanence, and the permanence got a halo owing to enigmatic display of santoor in the interludes. Who can forget the song of SILSILA- Yeh Kahan Aa Gaye Hum, which perhaps was a song having a monologue and a rendition the amalgamation between these two attained through the wizardry of santoor playing by Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma. On the other hand, for that matter was –Dekha Ek Khwab To Ye Silsile Hue- which again had the lilt and the mystique of santoor in the interludes. In fact, SILSILA was not a big commercial success, but the songs composed by the duo gave it an element of permanence. During this journey of 12 years, the duo was nominated four times for the Filmfare awards.
Santoor used to stand out in the interludes in all the songs that the duo composed and as rarely accompanying instruments back it up it left an impression of permanence in the hearts of the music aficionados.
Shiv Kumar Sharma had his first brush with the Hindi film music in 1956 when he gave the background score for JHANAK JHANAK PAYAL BAJE. V Shantaram was so much enthralled with it, that he offered him his next film TOOFAN AUR DIYA that he refused. The duo (Shiv Kumar Sharma and Hari Prasad Chaurasia) had come together in an album CALL OF THE VALLEY in 1967, but the indelible mark that they could leave in the hearts of the music fans was only in 1981 through SILSILA.
It would not be out of context to underline that the lush locations that Yash Chopra chose for his films during these 12 years, when the duo was giving music for his banner got firmly entrenched in the hearts and minds of the music fans because of experimentation of nodes through Santoor by Shiv Kumar Sharma.
Whenever Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma’s name would be uttered, it would be with reference to the context of santoor and the peaceful water bodies that he used as a backdrop for his performances. Serenity and serendipity. The legend moves on, but he has groomed his son Rahul Sharma who would continue with the legacy.