Back then, we didn’t invite the press to our parties-Pallavi Jaikishen
Today’s Bollywood parties and premieres aren’t a patch on those of the 1960s, says this insider
Mitali Parekh (MUMBAI MIRROR; August 5, 2012)
Designer Pallavi Jaikishen is known today as the fairy godmother to brides, but before she spun bridal dreams, she was part of the hitmakers of the 1950s and ’60s as wife to film music composer Jaikishen Dayabhai Panchal. Jaikishen, along with partner Shankar, was part of the Raj Kapoor camp and worked on Barsaat, Awara and Chori Chori, among others. Jaikishen shares memories from the days of bouffants and wing-tip eye-liners.
“Premieres were a big, big deal. We had saris and jewellery made especially for each occasion. Everyone was immaculately turned out, and the entire industry came together to celebrate,” she recollects.
One of her favourite photographs is one taken in 1964 at the premier of the Raj Kapoor-Vyjayanthimala-Rajendra-Kumar starrer Sangam at the then brand new Apsara theatre at Grant Road. “There was a walk-up ramp. I had just had my first baby, and was wearing an organdie sari with court shoes, which was considered quite revolutionary,” says Jaikishen.
The movie was memorable to the composers for more reasons than one. It was the first colour film to come out of RK Studios and the hit song from the film, Yeh mera prem patra padh kar drove a rift between the musical partners. In an interview, Jaiskishen claimed the song as “his composition”, breaking the pact that neither would take sole credit for any of their creations, leaving Shankar bitter.
But tart memories are not what Jaikishen carries from the era. “I came from a non-filmi family and met Jaikishen at Brabourne Stadium where we were watching a cricket match,” she says, adding that even for an occasion like a sports event, she’s be particular about her dress. “I’d prefer light embroidered cotton saris,” she remembers, every memory tinged with sartorial gilt.
Marriage honed her talent as a host. “Back then, we didn’t invite the press to our parties. We called a photographer, but the pictures were for us, not to be sent out to the media, like they are these days,” she says.
The parties were more impromptu than planned, and hosted for occasions, big and small. “When Shammiji (Kapoor) married Neela Devi, my husband called up and said, ‘Shammi is married. I’m getting a few people over.’ The few people turned out to be 80 guests,” says Jaikishen, who had to panic-dial Gaylord, an iconic restaurant at Churchgate to do the catering and arrange for the sodas.
Gaylord, was in fact, so intimately associated with the family that when Jaikishen passed away in 1971, they lit a candle on his favourite table for a week, beside which sat a sign: Reserved for Mr Jaikishen.
Pallavi flanked by Shankar and Jaikishen (left) at Sangam’s premier
Dilip Kumar, Pallavi and Krishna Raj Kapoor (in white) at a party