Laxmikant Shantaram Kudalkar, was born on the day of Laxmi Puja, on 3 November 1937. Probably, because of the day of his birth, his parents named him as Laxmikant, after the goddess Laxmi. He spent his childhood amidst dire poverty in the slums of Vile Parle (East) in Mumbai. His father died when he was a child. Because of the poor financial condition of the family he could not complete his academic education either. Laxmikant's father's friend, a musician himself, advised Laxmikant and his elder brother to learn music. Accordingly, Laxmikant learned to play the mandolin and his elder brother learned to play the tabla. He spent two years in the company of the well-known mandolin player Hussain Ali. He began organising and performing in Indian Classical Instrumental Music concerts to earn some money. Later, in the 1940s, he also learned mandolin from Bal Mukund Indorker and violin from Husnalal (of the Husanlal Bhagatram fame). Laxmikant began his film career as a child actor in the Hindi films Bhakt Pundalik (1949 film) and Aankhen (1950 film). He also acted in some Gujarati films.
Pyarelal Ramprasad Sharma (born 3 September 1940) was the son of a renowned trumpeter Pandit Ramprasad Sharma (popularly known as Babaji), who taught him the basics of music. He started learning violin at the age of 8 and practised it 8 to 12 hours daily. He learnt to play violin from a Goan musician named Anthony Gonsalves. The song "My Name Is Anthony Gonsalves" from the movie Amar Akbar Anthony is regarded as a tribute to Mr. Gonsalves (the movie had music by Laxmikant–Pyarelallal). By the age of 12, his family's financial condition had deteriorated, which in turn forced him to earn money by playing in studios. Pyarelal then used to frequent and play the violin in studios such as Ranjit Studios, to earn money for his family.
When Laxmikant was about 10 years old, he once played mandolin in a Lata Mangeshkar concert in Radio Club, Colaba. Lata was so impressed that she talked to him after the concert.
Laxmikant and Pyarelal met at Sureel Kala Kendra, a music academy for children, run by the Mangeshkar family. After she came to know about their financially poor backgrounds, Lata recommended their names to music directors like Naushad, Sachin Dev Burman and C. Ramchandra. Similar financial backgrounds and age made Laxmikant and Pyarelal very good friends. They used to spend long hours at the recording studios, sometimes getting work for each other and even playing together whenever they got the opportunity.
Pyarelal often used to frequent the Bombay Chamber Orchestra and the Paranjoti Academy, where he would perfect his skills in the company of Goody Seervai, Coomi Wadia, Mehli Mehta and his son, Zubin Mehta. Laxmikant–Pyarelal were not content with the payments being made to them for their music, so they decided to go to Madras (now Chennai). But, it was the same story there. So, they returned. Once Pyarelal decided to leave India and go to Vienna to play for symphony orchestras, just like Zubin. However, he stayed back at Laxmikant's insistence. Some of Laxmikant–Pyarelal's colleagues at this time included Pandit Shivkumar Sharma (Santoor) and Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia (flute). Later, Shivkumar and Hariprasad also ventured in Hindi Cinema as Shiv-Hari. Laxmikant–Pyarelal worked with almost all reputed music directors (with the exception of O. P. Nayyar and Shankar-Jaikishan) of the 1950s. In 1953, they became assistants to Kalyanji-Anandji and worked with them as assistants till 1963. They worked as music arrangers for many music directors including Sachin Dev Burman (in Ziddi) and also for his son Rahul Dev Burman (in his first film Chhote Nawab). Laxmikant–Pyarelal and R D Burman remained very good friends, even when Laxmikant–Pyarelal started giving music independently. R D Burman played mouth organ for all songs of Dosti. Laxmikant once made a guest appearance playing role of himself as a Composer of Song "Dil Ki Baat" in Teri Kasam (1982), which had music by R D Burman.
In their early days, Laxmikant–Pyarelal's music was very similar to Shankar-Jaikishan's music, as Laxmikant was a great fan of theirs. Once Shankar even changed his orchestration to make sure that his music did not sound like Laxmikant–Pyarelal's. Laxmikant–Pyarelal's first film as music directors was not released. The first released movie which featured them as music directors was Babubhai Mistry's Parasmani (1963), which was a costume drama. All the songs of the film became immensely popular esp. "Hasata Hua Nurani Chehara", "Wo Jab Yaad Aaye" and "Mere Dil Main Halki Si". Throughout their tenure as music directors, Laxmikant–Pyarelal only used A-grade singers. Their mentors, Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammad Rafi, agreed to sing for them in spite of low budgets, and Laxmikant–Pyarelal always remained indebted to them. In fact, all three, Mohammad Rafi, Asha Bhosle and Lata have sung the maximum number of songs in their career for Laxmikant–Pyarelal.They continued to give patronage to Mohammed Rafi, sometimes against filmmakers' wishes. They had a great rapport with Kishore Kumar as well. Kishore Kumar sang maximum songs (402) for LP among all male singers, followed by Rafi(about 365 songs).
Laxmikant–Pyarelal hit the big time with Rajshri Productions' 1964 film Dosti. The film had two newcomer heroes who never became popular, and the film was a success due to its music. Songs like Chahoonga main tujhe shaam savere and Rahi manava became very popular. At that time, many used to think that there was a single person by the name of Laxmikant Pyarelal. Laxmikant–Pyarelal won their first Filmfare Best Music Director Award for the movie, ahead of stalwarts like Shankar-Jaikishan (for Sangam) and Madan Mohan (for Woh Kaun Thi?). Then came Lootera a super hit musical non-star cast film which is remembered only because of Lata Manageshkar's super hit songs with Laxmikant–Pyarelal
In 1966 LP started cementing their place in Hindi Film Music. LP's first musical hit film, with big star cast, Aaye Din Bahar Ke was released, followed by Pyar Kiye Jaa. Even in films with lesser-known actors, LP scored hit music: Sati Sawitri (Songs:"Tum Gagan Ke Chandram Ho", "Jeevan Dor Tumhi Sang Bandhi", "Kabhi To Miloge"); Sant Gyaneshwar (Songs: "Jyot Se Jyot Jagate Chalo", "Khabar More Na Line"); Hum Sab Ustaad Hai (Songs: "Pyar Batate Chalo", "Ajanabi Tum Jane Pehachane Se"); Mr. X in Bombay (Songs: "Mere Mehaboob Quayamat Hogi", "Chali Re Chali Re Gori", "Khoobsurat Haseena"); Shriman Fantush..(Songs: "Sultana Sultana Tu Na Ghabarana", "Yeh Dard Bhara Afasana").
In 1967, LP consolidated their position in the Hindi film industry with a series of hits by one after another. Non star cast film Farz was LP's first golden jubilee musical hit followed by big star cast films like Anita, Shagird, yet another Golden Jubilee hit, Patthar Ke Sanam, Night in London, Jaal and another evergreen musical hit Milan. LP received their second Filmfare Trophy for Milan without any stiff competition. The rise of Laxmikant–Pyarelal, Rahul Dev Burman, and Kalyanji-Anandji marked the end of an old era of Bollywood music, which belonged to Shankar-Jaikishan, Sachin Dev Burman, Naushad (Mausicar-e-azam), C. Ramchandra, Khayyam, Madan Mohan, O. P. Nayyar, Roshan and others. Big film producing names, like Prasad Productions, Rajashri Productions, J. Om Prakash, Raj Khosla, Manoj Kumar, Ramanand Sagar, Madan Mohla, Mohan Sahagal, V.Shantaram, Raj Kapoor, Yash Chopra, Manmohan Desai, Subhash Ghai and many more, started replacing their regular music directors and preferred Laxmikant–Pyarelal on regular basis and in return LP have given an outstanding music to justify the replacement with big names.
The team of Laxmikant–Pyarelal and lyricist Anand Bakshi churned out some of the most popular songs in Hindi Cinemas history. The combo composed songs for more than 304 movies. Anand Bakshi was the lyricist who wrote the maximum number of texts Laxmikant–Pyarelal gave music to. He was actually the lyricist for all the films for which Laxmikant–Pyarelal won Filmfare Awards, except their very first award.
Laxmikant–Pyarelal composed Indian classical music as well as Western music. Due to his flaming style of music, he earned the nickname Laxmikant "Pyromaniac" Pyeralal. But they were most popular for their folk tunes and semi-classical music. In Shagird, they created Rock-n-Roll-style foot-tapping melodies. The film Karz is worth specially mentioning here where LP successfully, gave disco-like music, in this film they had experimented with a ghazal "Dard-e-dil Dard-e- jigar" by westernising it. The song is strongly remembered even now, and the duo received the Filmfare Best Music Director Award for the year.
Although not as a rule, Laxmikant mostly looked after vocals and Pyarelal used to take care of orchestration. Both had vast knowledge of various music genres, musical instruments and orchestra management.
LP dominated the Weekly Hindi Film songs Countdown programme Binaca Geet Mala, the most popular musical radio programme of its time. Its first broadcast was in 1953 by Radio Ceylon and its host was the Ameen Sayani. The Binaca Geet Mala ranked the most popular Bollywood film songs according to sales in select shops in select cities.
In the third quarter of 1963, LP's first ever songs Hasta Hua Nurani Chehara form Parasmani hit the "Binaca Geet Mala". After that LP's songs were regularly and prominently aired on "Binaca Geet Mala". There used to be sixteen songs in each of the weekly "Binaca Geet Mala" countdown programme, more than half the numbers of the songs were of LP.There are certain weekly Binaca Geet Mala programmes in which more than 13 out of 16 songs of LP were broadcast when LP were right on top of their career. BGM used to broadcast annual (Vasrshik ) programme giving the orders of the top 32 songs of every year. In this programme also LP were having upper hand. Not only that, on an average, there used to be at least more than 15 songs used to be of LP, that too about 50% of the songs in between top to first ten positions. The Binaca Geet Mala records shows that Laxmikant–Pyarelal have completely dominated this musical programme.
In all, 174 songs of LP appeared in Binaca Geetmala finals.
Lata Mangeshkar played a major role in shaping up the careers of LP. She sang the maximum numbers of songs for them. She sounded extremely melodious under LP. Lata Mangeshkar and Laxmikant–Pyarelal shared a long, close and rewarding association. From 1963, to the next 35 years, Lata Mangeshkar and Laxmikant–Pyarelal were to chalk up around 712 songs together, which accounted for one in every 10 Hindi film songs recorded by the Melody Queen, and one of every four songs composed by the duo. Their work includes a variety and range; there were chart-slammers and classics, and chaalu numbers as well as connoisseur choices. Laxmikant–Pyarelal dominates LATA's voice in "Sati Savitri" 1964, "Lootera" 1965, "Intequam" 1968, "Sharafat" 1970, "Abhinetri" 1971, "Mera Gaon Mera Desh" 1971, "Jal Bin Machhali Nritya Bin Bijle" 1971, "Raja Jani" 1972, "Bobby" 1973,"Satyam Shivam Sundaram" and "Ek Duje Ke Liye", 1981... all have different variety.
Singer Mohammad Rafi has sung as many as 388 songs under the LP. This is the highest number of the songs sung by Mohammad Rafi with any of the music directors in Hindi Film Music. Songs from "Dosti","Aaye Din Bahar Ke", "Aaya Sawan Jhum Ke", "Mere Humdam Mere Dost", "Jeene Ki Raah", "Dharm Veer", "Amar Akbar Anthony" and "Sargam" etc. have the dominance from Rafi. Mohammad Rafi played a very important role in the Music Duo's career. Laxmikant–Pyarelal started their career with a song of Rafi in the film "CHHAILA BABU IN 1967" Rafi Sahab sang for LP for free and blessed them that- " This music Duo may work together to their last breath" Therefore, Laxmikant–Pyarelal always respected Rafi till the end and Rafi sang his last song-"TERE AANE KI AAS HAI DOST..." in music direction of LP which was recorded on 31 July 1980 in Mahboob studio at 10:00 PM. Shortly afterwards Mohd Rafi died.
LP also produced some memorable songs rendered by Kishore Kumar, 402 songs, the second highest numbers of the songs sung by Kishore Kumar under any of the music directors in HFM, namely "Mere Mehboob Quayamat hogi", "Pyar Batate Chalo", Mere Naseeb Main", "Ye Dard Bhara Afsana", Vaada Tera Vaada", "Ye Jeevan Hai", "Mere Dil Main Aaj Kya Hai", "mere Diwane Pan Ki", "My Name Is Anthony Gonsalvis", "Aap Ke Anurodh Pe", "Ik Ritu Aaye", "Gadi bula rahi hai", "Ruk jana Nahi" and "Om Shanti Om" and many more hits.
Laxmikant–Pyarelal kept the balancing act between Mohammad Rafi (388 songs) and Kishore Kumar (402 songs). During the peak wave of Kishore Kumar after Aaradhana, it is Laxmikant–Pyarelal who gave maximum numbers of the songs to Mohammad Rafi.. In 1977 LP brought back the glory of Mohammad Rafi through, "Amar Akbar Anthony" and "Sargam"..
LP worked with also worked with Mukesh, Asha Bhosle, Manna Dey, Mahendra Kapoor, Amit Kumar, Alka Yagnik, Udit Narayan, Shailender Singh, S.P.Balasubrahmanyam, Anuradha Paudwal. However, they also gave big breaks to many newcomers like, Kavita Krishnamurthy, Mohammed Aziz, Suresh Wadkar, Shabbir Kumar, Sukhwinder Singh, Vinod Rathod, and Roop Kumar Rathod.LP always wanted to engage the voice of Talat Mahmood so they specially composed a very melodious song 'Mohabbat ki Kahaniyan' in 1971 for the film 'Wo Din Yaad Karo" in which Lata accompanied Talat Sahab.
On 7 May 2011, event house Kakas Entertainment arranged a show called Maestros, by Pyarelal where they relived old songs with singers like Sonu Nigam, Alka Yagnik, Kavita Krishnamurthy, Sudesh Bhosle and many other Bollywood singers.
Laxmikant -Pyarelal are the only composer who assembled legendary singers Mohammad Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Mukesh & Lata Mangeshkar for the song "Humko Tumse Ho Gaya Hai Pyar Kya Kare" in Amar Akbar Anthony
After Laxmikant's death, Pyarelal has done some work independently. When the playback singer Kumar Sanu turned music director, he approached Pyarelal to arrange music for him. Pyarelal was approached to assist in the music of Farah Khan's Om Shanti Om song "Dhoom Tana".In 2009 Pyarelal won the Sachin Dev Burman International Award for Creative Sound and Music at the Pune Film Festival. Pyarelal has done a show with Kakas Entertainment called Maestros A musical Journey of Laxmikant–Pyarelal
After Laxmikant–Pyarelal made debut as a music director duo in 1963, they were nominated for the Filmfare Awards (Best Music Director) almost every year. Many times, they were nominated for three or more numbers of films in a particular year. At the same time LP narrowly missed the awards for musical hits like Aaye Din Bahar Ke, Intquam, Do Raste, Mera Gaon Mera Desh, Shor, Daag, Bobby, Ek Duje Ke Liye, Utsav, Sur Sangam, Farz, Shagird, Tezaab, Hero, and Mr. India.
Laxmikant–Pyarelal have won seven Filmfare Awards.Filmfare Award for Best Music Director – Won
1970 Jeene Ki Raah
1978 Amar Akbar Anthony
1979 Satyam Shivam Sundaram
Filmfare Award for Best Music Director – Nominated
1971 Do Raaste
1974 Daag: A Poem of Love
1975 Roti Kapda Aur Makaan
1980 Jaani Dushman
1982 Ek Duuje Ke Liye
1983 Prem Rog
1986 Meri Jung
1986 Pyaar Jhukta Nahin
1986 Sur Sangam
1990 Ram Lakhan
Bobby has been rated the 17th best soundtrack ever by Planet Bollywood on their "100 Greatest Bollywood Soundtracks". Other soundtrack in the list include Amar Akbar Anthony (25), Roti Kapada Aur Makaan (27), Dosti (32), Hero (36), Ek Duuje Ke Liye (44), Karz (50), Ram Lakhan (59), Kranti (61), Tezaab (65), Do Raaste (74), Milan (75), Khalnayak (77), Prem Rog (85).