Top 5 Celebrated Music Composer Duos of Bollywood

Husnlal Bhagatram is considered as the first successful music duo of Bollywood. The siblings – Husnlal and Bhagatram composed many memorable songs of early talkies, and their career spanned from 1930s to mid-1950s, after which they lost their glory with the upcoming of many new music composers. Husnlal was the first one to join Bollywood music industry in the 1930s, and his brother in 1944. After that, they worked together for one decade. They are also credited to training all-time great composers – Shankar of Shankar-Jaikishen and Laxmikant of Laxmikant-Pyarelal duos.
Since 1950s, Shankar-Jaikishen duo dominated Bollywood music scene for more than two decades till the death of Jaikishen in the early 1970s. Yet Shankar continued with composing music under the name S-J. That was the real spirit of a professional who set new examples in the field of music. Many composers have shined in the field, many gone and many currently associated with the world of Bollywood music. Yet among music composers of Bollywood SJ still stands as the most celebrated and popular musicians of the field. After SJ, many music duos have earned popularity in Bollywood and gave some of the amazing tunes to music fans as well, a trend continued even today. A few of such successful duos are siblings and a few others cousins. Through this column, I would like to briefly mention top 5 celebrated music director duos of Bollywood all time.

Shankar Singh Raghuvanshi and Jaikishan Jayabhai Panchal known as Shankar-Jaikishen 

Definitely I would like to begin the list with SJ – no: 1 music composers of Bollywood all time. They stood at position no: 1 throughout 1950s and 1960s, the glorious era certified as ‘Musical era of Bollywood’. No music director can match the talent of this duo who fully dominated the scene till the unexpected death of Jaikishen in 1971. Majority of evergreen classics sung by Rafi, Manna Dey and Mukesh were definitely composed by Shankar-Jaikishen and the duo created wonders with ragas of music. The duo won Filmfare Best Music Director Awards nine times, which include a hat-trick as well, for the last three years. Their record of 9 Filmfare awards stood for many decades till Rahman broke it in the recent times. Also read: Celebrities who earned Filmfare award 5 times or more.
The duo’s compositions topped Binaca Geetmala’s annual list multiple times, and they enjoyed celebrity status equal to star heroes of Bollywood in the 1960s. I would like to prepare a detailed list of their memorable songs and albums later. Yet I would like to mention some of their all-time hits Awara, Barsaat, Seema, Chori Chori, Anari, Yahudi, Shree 420, Junglee, Sangham, Arzoo, Brahmachari, An Evening In Paris, Andaz, Suraj, Sasural, Mera Naam Joker,Dil Apna Aur Preet Parai, Love In Tokyo, Jab Pyar Kisi Se Hota Hai, Dil Tera Deewana, Asli-Naqli, Rajkumar, April Fool, Amrapali, Gumnaam, Raat Aur Din, Prince, Mere Huzoor, Jhuk Gaya Asmaan, Pagla Kahin Ka, Janwar, Brahmachari etc.
The duo gave some amazing songs to Shammi Kapoor’s career who became overnight sensation after the musical success of Junglee. Also read: Top 10 compositions of this combination.

Laxmikant Shantaram Kudalkar and Pyarelal Ramprasad Sharma known as Laxmikanth-Pyarelal  

The highly talented composer-duo enjoyed a long and illustrious career since early 1960s. It lasted till late 1990s till the death of Laxmikant in 1998. They made a perfect entry to Bollywood through 1963 film, Parasmani and never looked back after that. When the glorious era of Shankar-Jaikishen came to an end in early 1970s, they rose to leading position following R. D. Burman who created some of the magical tunes for Kishore Kumar in the era. LP’s best compositions definitely belong to the era of 1960s and 1970s, and with the horrible era of 1980s, they gave some of the worst tunes of their career. In fact they compromised with demanding peppy numbers of the era. But their contributions in 1960s and 1970s place them among the most honorable and talented music composers of Bollywood all time.

They received Filmfare nomination for best music director 25 times, and converted 7 of them to awards. 25 nominations itself is a record. In 1965 and 1970 they got Filmfare awards beating the most popular albums of the year – Woh Kaun Thi by Madan Mohan and Aradhana by S. D. Burman respectively. They regularly worked with Lata Mangeshkar and Mohd. Rafi. In fact Lata sang maximum number of songs for Laxmikant-Pyarelal. Some of their major hits topped the prestigious Binaca Geet Mala multiple times, and also found place in their annual list. In association with lyricist Anand Bakshi they churned some of chartbuster songs since 1970s.
Some of their major works include – Parasmani, Dosti, Lootera, Aaye Din Bahar Ke, Satyam Sivam Sundaram, Karz, Abhinetri, Milan, Prem Rog,Daag, Shor, Milan, Farz, Roti Kapda Aur Makaan, Mr. X in Bombay, Shagrid, Amar Akbar Anthony, Patthar Ke Sanam, Anita, Sargam, Do Raaste, Dream Girl, Nagina, Chaalbaaz, Ek Duuje Ke Liye, Hero, Pyaar Jhukta Nahin, Mr. India, Sanjog, Tezaab, Ram Lakhan, Saudagar, Khalnayak, Khuda Gawah, Hum etc. They composed multiple genres of tunes ranging from classical to rock, and from semi-classical to folk.

Kalyanji Virji Shah and Anandji Virji Shah known as Kalyanji–Anandji

One of the celebrated music duos of 1970s, the siblings Kalyanji and Anandji composed some unmatching melodies of 1970s. Their popular composition, ‘Pal Bhar Dil Ke Paas’ from Blackmail is one of the most celebrated romantic melodies ever. They received single Filmfare award for the compositions of Kora Kaagaz and National award for Saraswatichandra. They also composed some popular and evergreen songs for Himalay Ki God Mein, Raaz, Jab Jab Phool Khile, Chhalia, Mahal, Johny Mera Naam, Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, Dil Bhi Tera Hum Bhi Tere and few more.
A few more popular music albums of Kalyanji–Anandji include – Ghar Ghar Ki Kahani, Don, Qurbani, Laawaris, Maryada, Zanjeer, Bluff Master, Upkar, Aamne Samne, Haseena Maan Jayegi, Purab Aur Pachhim, Sachaa Jhutha, Safar, Laawaris, Haath Ki Safai, Bandhan, Vidhaata, Victoria No. 203, Rafoo Chakkar, Gopi, Bairaag, Dulha Dulhan, Tridev etc. The duo composed music for many action hits starring Amitabh Bachchan. The duo was active in the music industry till early 1990s and composed songs for more than 200 movies. Kalyanji passed away in year 2000.

Nadeem Saifi and Shravan Rathod known as Nadeem–Shravan

The duo was instrumental in bringing back melody to Hindi film music in the early 1990s, when Bollywood music was going through a bad phase in the 1980s. They struck the right chord with music lovers through the melodious and soothing compositions of Aashique. They mostly created melodies tunes than fast tracks, and frequently worked with Kumar Sanu and Alka Yagnik.
In the first half of 1990s, they fully ruled Bollywood through a string of hits such as Saajan, Phool Aur Kaante, Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahin, Sadak, Dil Ka Kya Kasoor, Sapne Sajan Ke, Balmaa, Sainik, Rang, Deewana, Raja, Barsaat, Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke etc. In the second half of 1990s and early 2000s too, they composed some evergreen songs for Pardes, Raja Hindustani, Agni Sakshi, Judai, Saajan Chalo Sasural, Saat Rang Ke Sapne, Aa Ab Laut Chale, Sirf Tum, Jeet, Dhadkan,Kasoor, Hum Ho Gaye Aapke, Ek Rishta, Jeena Sirf Merre Liye, Raaz, Tumsa Nahi Dekha, Yeh Dil Aashiqana, Bewafaa, Andaaz, Dil Hai Tumhara etc.
The duo’s compositions from Pardes were ruling the charts when Nadeem got accused for the murder of Gulshan Kumar in 1997, and he lived in exile after that. It somewhat bring to a virtual end of a melodious era of sweet melodies. Yet the duo continued with music compositions till they break up with the film, ‘Dosti’. Dhadkan, Kasoor and Raaz are the most popular albums of the duo after the exile of Nadeem. They received 4 Filmfare awards from a total of 10 nominations. Shravan’s sons too have composed a few successful film albums under the name – Sanjeev Darshan.  

Jatin Pandit and Lalit Pandit known as Jatin-Lalit 

The siblings Jatin and Lalit made an outstanding contribution to Bollywood music since their debut in 1991, and gave some memorable melodies mostly in the sweet era of 1990s. They remained the most celebrated music-duo of sweet 90s. Despite getting 11 nominations at Filmfare awards, the duo is yet to receive an award, creating an unlucky record in this category. They worked together for 16 years before they decided to move on with their own careers after the release of Fanaa in 2006. The duo gave some amazing tunes to Kumar Sanu, Alka Yagnik and Udit Narayan.
Some of their major works include – Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, Ghulam, Sarfarosh, Hum Tum, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, Mohabbatein, Yes Boss, Pyaar To Hona Hi Tha, Khamoshi, Fanaa, Chalte Chalte, Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman, Raju Chacha, Albela, Aankhen, Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa, Fareb, Jab Pyaar Kisise Hota Hai, Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya, Khoobsurat, Dil Kya Kare, Sangharsh, Vastav, Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani, Dhai Aksar Pyar Ke, Khiladi etc. They composed music of major hits of Shah Rukh Khan since 1995.

Other top music composer duos of Bollywood

Here I listed the top 5 music composer duos of Bollywood. Yet there are a few more composer duos who gave some popular songs to Bollywood. In present day Bollywood music, Vishal–Shekhar duo leads the list. I would like to list a few of them with their most popular works.
Anand–Milind – Sons of Chitragupta – the popular composer of yesterdays, Anand Shrivastav and Milind Shrivastav have together composed music for more than 200 Bollywood films. They gave some wonderful tunes in the 1990s and Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, Baaghi, Dil, Beta, Love, Anari, Anjaam, Bol Radha Bol, Laadla, Vansh, Phool, Faraar, Pehchaan, Gopi Kishan, Suhaag, Coolie No. 1, Hero No. 1, Sangeet, Dil Aashna Hai, Army, Milan, Mrityudaata, Mrithyudant, Hogi Pyaar Ki Jeet, Rakshak, Angrakshak, Loafer, Chal Mere Bhai and Jaanwar are some of their major works.

Shiv-Hari – Doyens of Indian classical music – Shivkumar Sharma, a Santoor player, and Hariprasad Chaurasia, a flautist together have composed a few tunes for Bollywood films in the 1980s and 1990s, and all their works became extremely popular. Silsila, Daar, Lamhe, Chandini, Vijay and Sahibaan are their evergreen works. They have done 8 movies in total. Lata Mangeshkar frequently collaborated with them for Bollywood songs.


Vishal–Shekhar – Vishal Dadlani and Shekhar Ravjiani have given some significant contributions to Bollywood music in the recent times. Both are established playback singers and lyricists too. One of the leading composers of Bollywood at present, some of their major works include – Bang Bang, Tara Ram Pum, I Hate Luv Storys, Dostana, Anjaana Anjani, Tashan, Golmaal Returns,Student of the Year, Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd, Kaante, Break Ke Baad, Bluff Master, Ek Ajnabee, Taxi No. 9211, Zinda, Krishna Cottage, Happy New Year, Hasee To Phasee, Fan, Pyaar Mein Kabhi Kabhi, The Dirty Picture, Ra. One, Chennai Express, Om Shanti Om,Tees Maar Khan, Sultan, Bhoothnath, Golmaal etc.

Salim–Sulaiman – Currently one of leading composer duos of Bollywood, they have given some chartbuster songs to Bollywood in the recent times. Salim Merchant and Sulaiman Merchant are siblings who composed music for – Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, Fashion, Aaja Nachle, Dor, Chak De! India, Mardaani, Kurbaan, Ladies vs Ricky Bahl, Pyaar Impossible, Jodi Breakers, Band Baaja Baaraat, Love Breakups Zindagi, Kaal, Bhoot, Iqbal, Heroine, Satyagraha etc. They also score background music for movies, and occasionally sing as well.
Sajid–Wajid – Sons of Ustad Sharafat Khan, a tabla player, the brothers are best known for the songs of Dabangg, a successful association with Lalit Pandit. They also earned their maiden Filmfare award for the album. It’s the maiden Filmfare award of Lalit Pandit too, who has given numerous musical hits in the 1990s and 2000s aside his brother Jatin Pandit. Sajid has also earned accolades as a playback singer in Bollywood film industry. The duo composed music for Daawat-e-Ishq, Dabangg 2, Partner, Rowdy Rathore, Teri Meri Kahaani, Main Tera Hero, Kya Yehi Pyaar Hai, Heropanti, Housefull 2, Chashme Baddoor, Hello etc apart from several associations for many musical hits such as Mujhse Shaadi Karoge, Jai Ho, Hello Brother, Gunaah, Tera Naam, Ek Tha Tiger, Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya, Garv, Tumko Na Bhool Paayenge, Devi, Welcome, Tevar etc. The duo regularly worked in Salman Khan movies since the debut film.
Sanjeev–Darshan – Sanjeev Rathod and Darshan Rathod are the sons of one of the most sought music composers of 1990s, Shravan Rathod who owns an amazing career record aside Nadeem Saifi. Similar to Nadeem-Shravan, Sanjeeb-Darshan duo is also known for soft melody tracks though they have done only a few albums in Bollywood. Their debut album, Mann still remains their most popular work. Hamara Dil Aapke Paas Hai, Deewane, Rishtey, Kitne Door Kitne Paas, Karz, Talaash (2004) and Yeh Raaste Hain Pyaar Ke are a few more. They also recently composed tracks for Beiimaan Love, NH-10, Grand Masti and Satya 2.
Dilip Sen-Sameer Sen – They are rarest of uncle-nephew duo who was active in the 1990s. They belong to a filmy family, and Samir Sen’s son has also reached Bollywood composing songs for What’s Your Rashee, My Brother Ki Dulhan etc. Some of the noted works of Dilip Sen-Sameer Sen duo are Itihaas, Yeh Dillagi, Akhiyon Se Goli Maare, Aflatoon, Arjun Pandit, Jeena Marna Tere Sang, Haqueeqat, Kartavya, Kohram, Salakhein, Tu Chor Main Sipahi, Anari No: 1, Zulmi etc.

Ajay−Atul – Mostly associated with Marathi cinema, the brothers Ajay and Atul Gogavale, the duo is best known for the music of Agneepath. They also composed singles for Bol Bachchan, Singham and PK. They also composed songs for Brothers, Dhadak, Zero etc.

Sonik Om – Composers of yesterdays, uncle-nephew duo composed songs for a few movies since late 1950s to 1980s. Yet they never rose to the lead of popular composers. Bhakti Mein Shakti, Dharma, Dil Ne Phir Yaad Kiya, Sawan Bhadon, Aabroo and Raftaar are their noted works.

Also please go through my gallery of miscellaneous posts of Bollywood music, Here is the page link. Click image links to read. 

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A freelance writer and blogger by profession since October 2011, interested in writing over a wide range of topics. Hope you enjoy my writings. I belong to one of the beautiful places of the world, Kerala, nicknamed as 'God's own country'.

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2 Responses

  1. Pretty says:

    Your post is really has a deep insight on subject. Kudos to you.

    • Sandy says:

      thank you, hope you have gone through Bollywood section, you might find some more interesting subjects

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