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Music composer Naushad is dead

The 87-year-old music director died at his Bandra residence in Mumbai this morning. Naushad, a Dadasaheb Phalke award winner, had not been keeping well for quite some time.

india Updated: May 06, 2006 19:07 IST

Veteran music composer Naushad Ali died on Friday morning at his Bandra residence in Mumbai.

Over 87-year old Naushad, a Dadasaheb Phalke award winner, had not been keeping well for quite some time in the recent past, family sources said.

Naushad was regarded as one of the greatest music directors of Indian cinema. Since early childhood in Lucknow he was an avid listener to the live orchestras accompanying silent films.

He studied under Ustad Ghurbat Ali, Ustad Yusuf Ali and Ustad Babban Saheb. Before coming to Mumbai, he repaired harmoniums and composed for amateur theatricals such as the Windsor Music Entertainers.

Naushad Ali was born on December 25, 1919. He moved to Mumbai from Lucknow in the late 1930s to try his luck as a musician. After initial struggle, he enjoyed great success in the 1940s as a music director.

Naushad was one of the first to introduce sound mixing and the separate recording of voice and music tracks in playback singing. He was the first to combine the flute and the clarinet, the sitar and mandolin. He also introduced the accordion to Hindi film music and was among the first to concentrate on background music to extend characters' moods and dialogues through music.

But perhaps Naushad's greatest contribution was to bring Indian classical music into the film medium.

Prem Nagar (1940) was his first independent break but he first got noticed with Sharda  (1942) wherein 13-year-old Suraiya did the playback for heroine Mehtab. It was Rattan (1944) that took Naushad right to the top and enabled him to charge Rs 25,000 a film then. Ankhiyaan Milake and Sawan ke Badalon became the most popular songs of the day.

However, his major hits include Mughal-e-Azam, Mother India and Baiju Bawra. Songs for his music have been mostly penned down by Shakeel Badayuni. In a sense, their partnership can be compared to that of Rodgers & Hammerstein's.

Naushad churned out hit after hit in the 1940s mainly in the films of AR Kardar - Shahjehan  (1946), Dard  (1947), Dillagi  (1949), Dulari  (1949) and Mehboob Khan - Anmol Ghadi (1946), Elaan  (1947), Anoki Ada (1948), Andaaz  (1949).