Tributes to Shamrao Kamble, the unsung music maestro of Hindi cine music industry, on his birth anniversary today.

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Tributes to Shamrao Kamble, the unsung music maestro of Hindi cine music industry, on his birth anniversary today.

Shamrao Kamble was an eminent and excellent music arranger who had worked with almost all the music directors in 60s and 70s. Basically a Harmonium player, he was also a master in organ and vibraphone playing. He was a favourite arranger of music directors Laxmikant -Pyarelal, Roshan, Rajesh Roshan, Jaidev and Sudhir Phadke. He was the melody section conductor in Laxmikant-Pyarelal’s music and worked with them throughout their career. His music arrangements in films like ‘Mujhe Jeene Do’, ‘Prem Parbat’, ‘Gharonda’, ‘Reshma aur Shera’ (with Jaidev), ‘Anokhi Raat’ (Roshan), ‘’Kunwara Baap’, ‘Julie’ (Rajesh Roshan) and the hit Marathi album ‘Ritu Hirwa’ was amazing.

He had also composed music with the veteran violinist Prabhakar Jog for the English film ‘Birbal My Brother’ under the name ‘Shyam-Prabhakar’. We have listened to his unbeatable harmonium in the songs like ‘baai mi wikat ghetala sham”, ‘thakale re nandalala”(‘jagachya pathivar’), “jaane kahan gayi” (‘dil apna aur preet paraai’) and organ in “yashomati maiya se bole nandalala” (‘satyam shivam sundaram’.

Very few know that Shamrao himself was a brilliant composer as well. He used to compose Bhajans and once on listening to the Bhajans he composed, music director Pyarelal asked him “Shamraoji if you can compose the tunes so nicely, why don’t you think to be a full-fledged music director for films ?” He just said “I am more interested in the Music Arrangements..” Pyarelal asked him jokingly, “so shall I use your compositions ?” smiling, within a second he said, “Pyareji, my all work is for you… you may use whenever you wish..!” I am very much sure that if Shamraoji had taken music-direction is a career, he would have definitely achieved the position in the list of most talented and successful composers in Indian music field,” said Pyarelal Ramprasad Sharma, the ace music director.

“His knowledge and devotion towards music was so deep, that he even used to guide or suggest the top artists like Rais Khan (sitar), Hariprasad Chaurasia (flute), Shivkumar Sharma (santoor) about the playing during the recordings. He also used to express that a particular music piece would be more effective if improvised in a different manner etc. And the greatness of those artists also, who used sportingly accept Shamraoji’s suggestions and appreciate the same.. This was only because they were fully aware of Shamraoji’s knowledge and capacity. And also this was the reason that we had given total freedom to him in our work also,” said Pyarelal.

In his early career, Shamrao had worked as a notation-writer. He was the one who wrote down the notation for Dinanath Mangeshkar’s natya sangeet (Chandrika hi janu, Vilopale madhu meelanat ya, Yuwati mana etc).

He was well-versed in western idiom too. He brought sophistication to the music pieces of Sudhir Phadke, Roshan and Jaidev. His speciality was reading the lyrics and composing music interludes to set the mood for the next stanza. His interludes for 3 stanzas used to be all different (e,g. Jo waada kiya nibhana padega). He completed Roshan’s ‘Anokhi Raat’ in his absence when Roshan died halfway through the movie.

He assisted Rajesh Roshan in his first two movies ‘Kunwara Baap’ and ‘Julie’, and young ‘Shridhar Phadke’ for his ‘Rutu Hirwaa’ album and continued even later.

A producer once came to Jaidev asking him to score for Gharonda, but asked him to give music like R.D.Burman. Jaidev refused, but Shamrao said “You just say yes, we will see what to do”. He is the one who transformed Jaidev’s difficult tunes into modern rhythm and orchestration, using strings, transichord and whistle effectively. After the movie was released, Jaidev rang him up “Arre ye tune kya kar diya? My music is so successful, now everyone wants music like that. I have to attach your name to mine, too”.

Shamrao was the senior partner in Shyam Kamble & Party (along with Laxmikant and Pyarelal who were kids) performing at the Ganeshotsav programmes.

Shamrao Kamble was one such soul who has contributed endlessly to the music industry. For many he was a guide and father figure in the music industry. And more than all this he was a great great human being. So modest and down to earth for all his amazing achievements..

Shamrao Kamble passed away on away on 17th October 2008 at Dombivli due to a Brain Stroke. He was 83.

Although the void created by him can never be filled, his art and work will remain in everyone’s memory eternally.

May the noble soul of Shamrao Kamble rest in eternal peace.

Courtesy- Imprints and Images of Indian Film Music, Shri. Prasad Sanwatsarkar and Sri. Chandu Kale

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