Popular music composer and singer Aadesh Shrivastava scored music for more than 90 films over the course of his career tragically cut short by cancer. He was known for composing music that was well-appreciated in films such as Refugee (2000), Aankhen (2002), Chalte Chalte (2003), Baghban (2003), Paheli (2005), Raajneeti (2010), and Satyagraha (2013). Before working independently as a music director in films, he played the drums for music composers such as R D Burman and Rajesh Roshan. He was also one of the rare composers who knew how to do a background score, as seen in his masterly work in J P Dutta’s Border (1997), Refugee (2000), LOC Kargil (2003), Khalnayak (1993), and The Don (1995). Some of his popular songs include Mora piya, Kya ada kya jalwe tere Paro, Haathon mein aa gaya jo kal, Sona sona, Shava shava, Gustakhiyaan, and Gur nalon ishq mitha. He brought Punjab folk elements into many of his songs. A fiercely individualistic and original composer, he spoke out against plagiarism in the music world.
Born on 4 September 1964 in Katni, Madhya Pradesh, into a family comprising three brothers and two sisters, his mother was a lecturer and his father, a superintendent in the railways. His father, who was musically inclined, encouraged the cultivation of music as a hobby amongst the children. As a family, they would perform at small local events. He planned to study Medicine; however, despite scoring well he found himself on the waiting list. Disheartened, he decided to pursue a career in music instead. Coming to Bombay in 1977-’78, he started his struggle as a musician. He found work as a drummer with Laxmikant-Pyarelal, R D Burman, Shankar and Rajesh Roshan. In 1982, he joined Laxmikant-Pyarelal and worked with them for more than ten years. In 1992, he branched off as an independent music director.
He got his first break with Kanyadaan (1993), which featured Lata Mangeshkar who sang his first song Oh sajna dilbar, a duet with Udit Narayan. However, the film and the rest of the songs went unnoticed. He won attention with the romantic drama Aao Pyar Karen in 1994. Directed by Ravindra Peepat and starring Saif Ali Khan, Shilpa Shetty and Somy Ali, the film featured his compositions such as Chand se parda kijiye, Haathon mein aa gaya jo kal, Kyun phool khilte hain and Oee maa yeh kya ho gaya.
Over the years, he went on to carve a highly successful career composing a variety of songs for a wide range of films. He composed several well-appreciated chartbusters including Kya ada kya jalwe tere paro picturised on Suniel Shetty in Shastra (1996), Sona sona featured onscreen on Amitabh Bachchan in Major Saab (1998), the romantic ghazal Kiska chehra crooned by Jagjit Singh from the Tabu-Nana Patekar-starrer Tarkeeb (2000), Bahut khoobsurat ghazal picturised on Karisma Kapoor and Govinda in Shikari (2000), Shava shava featuring Amitabh Bachchan in Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham (2001), Suno na suno na featuring Shah Rukh Khan and Rani Mukerji in Chalte Chalte (2003), Chali chali fir from Baghban (2003) picturised on Amitabh Bachchan and Hema Malini, and Mora piya from Prakash Jha’s Raajneeti (2010) in which Katrina Kaif and Ranbir Kapoor are seen onscreen.
He also collaborated with international singers like Akon, Julia Fordham and Wyclef Jean. He had launched an India-wide talent search with Akon, a website which uses music analysis technology to predict the hit potential of new songs. Other international artists he had collaborated with include Dominic Miller, Shakira, and T-Pain. In 2005, he was a judge on the talent hunt show Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge 2005.
The following year, he turned to direction with his gut-wrenching short film on child prostitution. It featured the child actor from Black (2005) - Ayesha Kapoor and wove a web of guilt, accusation and regret for childhood lost.
In 2009, he made a cameo in the film World Cupp 2011 and returned to television as a judge on Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge 2009.
In 1990, he married actress-singer Vijeta Pandit, who is known for Love Story (1981), Aag Ke Sholay (1988) and Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar (1992). The couple had two children—Avitesh Shrivastava, who went on to become an actor, singer and composer—and Anivesh Shrivastava.
His sister-in-law, singer Sulakshana Pandit, who needed care, lived permanently with them. As Aadesh had explained, “Sulakshana didi looked after my wife Vijeta like a mother. Now it is our turn to look after her.”
He was diagnosed with cancer in 2010. At that time, he had shared, “Falling ill so suddenly was traumatic. But the cold-shoulder treatment I got from the people with whom I've closely worked with for years, has caused me even more damage than the disease itself. Nobody came to visit me after I fell sick.” He also had to sell his favourite Hummer car to pay the hospital bills. He recovered but went on to suffer two relapses. Aadesh Shrivastava passed away on 5 September 2015 after slipping into a coma in a Mumbai hospital. It was a day after his 51st birthday.
In 2022, a biopic on Aadesh Shrivastava was announced which was pegged to feature his son Avitesh Shrivastava playing the role of his late father in his younger days.
Image courtesy: https://indianexpress.com/article/entertainment/bollywood/music-director-aadesh-shrivastava-passes-away-after-tough-battle-with-cancer/