MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA APRIL 30 , 2013 07.00 P.M.
April 14, 1919 – April 23, 2013
Shamshad Begum was one of the first playback singers in the Hindi film industry. She had sung over 6000 songs in Hindi , Bengali, Marathi, Gujarati, Tamil and Punjabi languages. Her songs from the 1940s to the early 1970s remain popular and continue to be remixed.
Shamshad Begum died this month on April 23 , 2013 at the age of 94 and I am forced to write 7th obituary in continuation in the month of April . Shamshad Begum , along with Noor Jahan and Amirbai Karnataki , dominated the pre-Lata Mangeshkar era in Indian playback singing .
Among female playback singers , She was blessed with a distinct voice with slight nasal twang and any lover of Hindi film music can immediately recognize her voice .
Since I was born and brought up in the Lata Mangeshkar era , I was not a fan of Shamshad Begum’s voice initially. But slowly , as my understanding grew , I started appreciating her voice .
The first song of hers , which caught my fancy , was ” Pee Ke Ghar Aaj Pyari Dulhaniya Chali ” . This ” Mother India ” [ 1957 ] song was immensely popular . Other songs of the same film ; ” Holi Ayee Re Kanhayi Rang Chhalke Suna De Zara Bansuri ” and ” Gadiwale Gadi Dheere Haank Re “ are also hit even today . Then I watched ” Mughal – E – Azam ” [ 1960] and its immortal qawwali is still fresh in my mind . ” Teri Mehfil Me Qismat Azma Ke Hum Bhi Dekhenge “ is a connoisseur’s delight . Then I watched ” Aan ” [ 1952 ] and I was permanently hooked to Shamshad Begum’s voice . All her popular songs , like ; ” Aag Lagi Tan Man Me Dil Ko Pada Thamna , Ram Jaane Kab Hoga Saiyyan Ji Ka Samna ” and ” Khelo Rang Hamare Sang Aaj Din Rang Rangeela Aaya “ are still my favourites . But ” C. I. D. ” [ 1956 ] was another revelation . ” Le Ke Pehla Pehla Pyaar , Bhar Ke Aankhon Me Khumar ” and ” Kahin Pe Nigahen Kahin Pe Nishana , Jeene Do Zalim Banao Na Deewana “ are just immortal . It is surprising that I heard her most popular song very late in my life . ” Mere Piya Gaye Rangoon Kiya Hai Wahan Se Telefoon , Tumhari Yaad Satati Hai “ . This song from ” Patanga ” [ 1949 ] is unforgettable and its several re-mixed versions are still extremely popular . ” Naya Daur ” [ 1957 ] film’s ” Reshmi Salwar Kurta Jaali Ka “ was a craze of its time . Her last hit ” Kajra Mohabbatwala Ankhiyon Me Aisa Dala “ from ” Kismat ” [ 1969 ] is one of the songs which was re-mixed again & again .
Shamshad Begum’s career was somewhat eclipsed with the advent of Lata Mangeshkar . She sang her first duet ” Dar Na Mohabbat Kar Le “ with Lata Mangeshkar in ” Andaz ” [ 1949 ] and her last duet with Lata Mangeshkar was ” Teri Mehfil Me Qismat Azma Kar Hum Bhi Dekhenge “ from ” Mughal – E – Azam ” [ 1960 ] . Within these 13 years Shamshad Begum’s career went downhill and after giving her last hit ” Kajra Mohabbatwala “ in 1969 , she bid adieu to playback singing .
Some Famous Songs of Shamshad Begum :
- Leke pehla pehla pyar, (CID 1956), (music: O.P. Nayyar)
- Milte hi aankhen dil hua, (Duet with Talat Mehmood), (Babul), (music: Naushad)
- Chali chali kaisi yeh hawa yeh, (Duet with Usha Mangeshkar), (Bluffmaster 1965), (music: Kalyanji Anandji)
- Kabhi aar kabhi paar lagathi re nazar, (Aar Paar), (music: O.P. Nayyar)
- O Gadiwale Dheere – Mother India – Naushad
- Kahin pe nigahen kahin pe nishana – CID (1956) – music O.P. Nayyar
- Boojh Mera Kya Naam Re – (1956) – music O.P.Nayyar
- Mere piya gaye Rangoon – Patanga – music C.Ramchandra
- Ek Tera Sahara – Shama – music Master Ghulam Haider
- Holi aayee re Kanhaai – Mother India (1957) – Lyrics: Shakeel Badayuni, Music: Naushad
- Naina Bhar aye neer – Humayun – music Master Ghulam Haider
- Nazar Phero Na Humse -(Duet with G M Durani) – Deedar (1951) – music Naushad
- Chod Babul Ka Ghar – Babul – music Naushad
- Kajra Mohabbatwala Ankhiyon mein Aisa dala (Duet with Asha Bhosle) – Kismat (1968) – Music: O.P. Nayyar
- Meri neendon main tum, meri khwabon mein tum (Duet with Kishore Kumar) – Naya Andaz – Music: O.P.Nayyar
- Teri Mehfil Mein Qismat (Duet with Lata Mangeshkar) – Mughal-E-Azam
- Saiyan Dil mein aana re – Bahar
- Reshmi salwar kurta jaali da – Naya Daur
- Milte Hai Ankhen Dil Deewana Hua Kisika – Babul – with Talat Mahmood
- Kisike Dil Mein Rehna Tha – Babul – with Lata
- Dharti Ko Aakash Pukare – Mela – with Mukesh
- do teen aaja mausam hai rangeen – Awara
Shamshad Begum’s fans often allege that her career suffered because of the monopolistic politics of Lata Mangeshkar . I beg to differ . Shamshad Begum played her innings and retired gracefully . Her career suffered because of the changing times and changing taste of film-goers . Talat Memood’s career went downhill with the advent of Mohammad Rafi . Even mighty Mohammed Rafi , towards the end of his career , was confined in his home for many years without recording a single song and Kishore Kumar ruled that era . In the field of art such things happen .
Her distinct style , her nasal twang and her strong voice , which was her forte in the earlier years of her career , became her nemesis towards the end . It is not for nothing that towards the fag-end of her career , her voice was used for vamps and her last hit ” Kajra Mohabbatwala “ in ” Kismat ” [ 1969 ] was filmed on Vishwajeet , who was masquerading as woman in the said film .
On behalf of all the students and staff of VIDUR Acting Institute , which is known as Vidur’s Kreating Charakters , I offer my condolences to the family of the iconic singer . Self-proclaimed most famous acting school of Mumbai , self-anointed most famous acting institute of India and self-appointed most famous acting academy of bollywood has no time for such courtesy .
May her soul rest in peace ! Her ephemeral body is gone but her perennial voice , the temple bell , will live on forever .
MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA
- Legendary singer Shamshad Begum passes away (thehindu.com)
- The ‘temple bell’ will toll for long (thehindu.com)
- Shamshad Begum & The Original ‘Katiya Karoon’! (tcrcindia.wordpress.com)
- Mesmerising voice of Shamshad Begum falls silent (thehindu.com)
- #RIP- Shamshad Begum: A song in her heart (kractivist.wordpress.com)
- Hindi thrush Shamshad Begum dies (variety.com)
- Legendary playback singer Shamshad Begum dies aged 94 (dailymail.co.uk)
- Hindi Singer Shamshad Begum Dead at 94 (variety.com)
- India Ink: Bollywood Singer Shamshad Begum Dies at 94 (india.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Bollywood singer Shamshad Begum dies aged 94 (guardian.co.uk)
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