Ravi Shankar Sharma, better known by his first name Ravi, is an Indian music director, who has composed music for several Hindi and Malayalam films. Ravi who came to Bombay in 1950 to be a singer had no formal training in classical music.
In 1955, Ravi began his journey by composing music in the film Vachan. ‘Chandamama door ke…’ sung by Asha Bhosle, and ‘O babu ik paisa de de…’ sung by Mohd. Rafi and Asha Bhosle, were popular tracks from the film. He also did Albeli (1955) which has the song ‘Muskuraati hui chandni…’ sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Hemant Kumar. In the late 1950s, Ravi scored the music for various films viz. Mehndi (1958) comprising the song ‘Bedard zamana…’ sung by Lata Mangeshkar, Ghar Sansar (1958) one of the songs being ‘Yeh hawa yeh nadi ka kinara…’ sung by Asha Bhosle and Manna Dey, Dilli Ka Thug (1958) comprising the song ‘Hum to mohabbat karega…’ sung by Kishore Kumar , and Pehli Raat (1959) with ‘Humko duayein do…’ sung by Mohd.Rafi and Asha Bhosle, being one of the tracks. Yet, Ravi couldn’t be considered as one of the top music directors around. Ravi then did Ghunghat (1960). But it was with Chaudhvin Ka Chand (1960) that he became popular. The title track ‘Chaudhvin ka chand ho ya aftab ho…’, sung by Mohd.Rafi, is one of the evergreen tracks. It managed to beat other tracks in the same year like Roshan’s ‘Zindagi bhar nahi bhulegi woh barsaat ki raat…’ from Barsaat Ki Raat (1960), and Naushad’s ‘Do sitaron ka zameen par hai milan aaj ki raat…’ from Kohinoor (1960). Mohd.Rafi was excelling himself in every song. In 1961, Ravi composed for Gharana, in which the song ‘Husn wale tera jawab nahin…’, sung by Mohd.Rafi, is considered as a one of the best romantic tracks ever produced. ‘Saiyyan chod de baiyyan meri…’, sung by Mukesh and Lata Mangeshkar, from the film Rakhi (1962) was also popular. Ravi produced the rock and roll andaz of Shammi Kapoor in the song ‘Baar baar dekho…’ from China Town (1962) which is remembered even today. Ravi also composed music for films like Yeh Rastey Hain Pyar Ke (1963), Ustadon Ke Ustad (1963), and Pyar Ka Bandhan (1963). In Gumrah (1963) he made other landmark compositions like ‘Chalo ek baar phir se…’ sung by Mahendra Kapoor, and ‘Ek pardesi…’ sung by Asha Bhosle. In Guru Dutt’s film Bharosa (1963) he composed the famous tracks ‘Aaj ki mulakat bas itni…’ sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Mahendra Kapoor, and ‘Is bhari duniya mein…’ sung by Mohd.Rafi. ‘Yeh wadiyaan yeh fizaayen…’ from Aaj Aur Kal (1963), ‘Na jhatko zulf se pani…’ from Shehnai (1964), ‘Husn se chand bhi sharmaya hai…’ from Door Ki Awaaz (1964) were his other popular compositions, all sung by Mohd.Rafi. 1965 was another landmark year for Ravi, when he composed the all-time popular tracks ‘Ae meri zohra jabeen…’ and ‘Aage bhi jaane na tu…’ from Waqt (1965), ‘Tumhi mere mandir…’ and ‘Aa dance Karen…’ from Khandaan (1965), ‘Choo lene do nazuk honthon ko…’ and ‘Yeh ulf agar khulkar…’ from Kaajal (1965). ‘Zindagi mein Pyaar…’, ‘Sheeshe se pee…’ from Phool Aur Patthar (1966), ‘Aa lag ja gale dilruba…’, ‘Garibon ki suno…’ from Dus Lakh (1966), ‘Bhari duniya mein aakhir…’, ‘Naseeb mein jiske jo likha tha…’ from Do Badan (1966), were popular too. ‘Neele gagan ke tale…’ and ‘Na muh chupaake jiyo…’ sung by Mahendra Kapoor, from the film Hamraaz (1967) and ‘Aaja tujhko pukare mera pyaar…’ from Neel Kamal (1968) were big hits. Also the songs in Biswajeet’s film Do Kaliyan (1968) like ‘Yeh sama yeh rut yeh nazare…’ and ‘Tumhari nazar kyon khafa ho gayi…’ were successful. Ravi also composed for films like Ek Phool Do Mali (1969), Aadmi Aur Insan (1969), and Dhund (1973). His compositions in Amaanat (1977) like ‘Door rehkar na karo baat…’, ‘Matlab nikal gaya to…’ and in Aadmi Sadak Ka (1977) like ‘Aaj mere yaar ki shaadi hai…’ were very popular as well. He also did Nikaah (1982) in which ‘Dil ki yeh arzoo thi…’ and ‘Dil ke armaan aasuon mein…’ are popular even today. Other compositions include those in films like Aaj Ki Awaz (1984), Tawaif (1985), Dahleez (1986) and Mera Suhag (1987).
After a successful career in Hindi films, he took a break for few years, and made a successful comeback as ‘Bombay Ravi’. In 1984, the famous Malayalam director Hariharan convinced him to make a comeback especially for his lovers in South India. The first movie was Panchagni (1986). Ravi has composed for many films produced by South Indian banners - Ghunghat, Gharana, Grihasti, Aurat, Samaj Ko Badal Dalo (Gemini), Meherban, Do Kaliyan (AVM), Bharosa, Khandaan (Vasu films). So his trips to Madras were frequent. He was close to the late Sivaji Ganesan. Ravi gives credit to music director Hemant Kumar and director Devendra Goel for having shaped his career as a music director and acknowledges grateful thanks to his wife (she died in 1988) for having stood by him.