Shanker Singh Raghuvanshi, was born in 1922 in Punjab. His father had settled in Andhra Pradesh, and hence Shankar spent much of his childhood in Hyderabad. He mastered the tabla (which he would play in a local temple there), pakhawaj and other instruments, and when he came to Mumbai he joined the troupe of dance-master Sohanlal and Hemavati (the late Sapru’s wife) as a tabla player. He also trained as a dancer, and even worked with the famous Krishnan Kutty.
Shankar Singh Raghuvanshi together with Jaikishan Dayabhai Panchal, he was one half of the duo Shankar-Jaikishan, a leading music director pair of the Hindi film industry in the 1950s and 1960s. Even after Jaikishan’s death at a rather young age in 1971, Shankar continued to use the name of Shankar-Jaikishan in films.
Shankar and Jaikishan assisted music director Ram Ganguly in Aag, director Raj Kapoor’s first film. For his subsequent film Barsaat, Raj Kapoor asked Shankar to do the music, and Shankar immediately roped in Jaikishan. Thus the famous Shankar-Jaikishan partnership was born. The duo struck gold in their debut film, with the music of Barsaat becoming extremely popular.
Shankar-Jaikishan were highly paid music directors. They reportedly had creative and personal differences in the mid-1960s but their name continued to appear together in the credits. After Jaikishan’s death in 1971 at the young age of 41, Shankar continued to compose music for films, but hits were no longer easy. Shankar Singh Raghuvanshi died in 1987.