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Indian cinema loses its classic

Naushad's evergreen compositions will live on forever, writes Pankaj Vohra. Pay your tributes to Naushad

india Updated: May 06, 2006 15:37 IST

Composer Naushad's death has brought to an end one of the most glorious chapters of Hindi film music.

Naushad was perhaps the oldest and senior most music director whose evergreen compositions will live on forever. He was the last composer for whom Kundan Lal Saigal rendered his last few songs for Shah Jahan. Both Gham diye mustakil, kitna nazuk hai dil and jab dil hi toot gaya hum ji ke kya karen ge figure in Saigal's all time best numbers.

The veteran composer who also lately provided the score for Akbar Khan's Taj Mahal composed music for a large number of Indian films, most of them starring the legendary Dilip Kumar. Only last week, two movies, Taj Mahal and K Asif's magnus opus Mughal-e-Azam for which Naushad had provided music were released in Pakistan. Known for his obsession with perfection, he was amongst the doyens who gave a lot of emphasis to classical Hindustani music, which was reflected in many of his compositions. His favourite raag was bhairavi, which he used in many of his compositions.

In fact, his famous bhajan, Man Tarpat Hari Darshan ko Aaj for Baiju Bawra is regarded as one of his greatest compositions. The film had won him the first Filmfare award for best musical score way back in 1953. The music of the movie also confirmed Mohammad Rafi's position as the number one male playback singer. Naushad was a great Rafi fan, something which he confessed on a radio talk show many years after the great singer's untimely demise. Rafi's death also brought to a pre-mature end the career of many musicians including Naushad.

While there are hundreds of songs for which Naushad can be remembered, his outstanding score was for Mela, Dulari, Andaaz, Baiju Bawra, Uran Khatola, Mother India, Deedar, Amar, Rattan, Shabab, Kohinoor, Aan, Mughal-e Azam, Dil Diya Dard Liya, Mera Mehboob, Leader, and Ganga Jamuna. He also provided the background music for Pakeezah, Meena Kumar's last memorable film after its original composer, Ghulam Mohammad, his one time assistant passed away during the making of the movie. A man who understood the importance of our great classical traditions, he used the voice of Bade Ghulam Ali in Mughal-e-Azam. He was also perhaps the only composer who was honoured and invited to conduct the London Symphony Orchestra in the fifties. Such was his grasp over the finer points of music.

Naushad was given many awards during his lifetime including the Dada Saheb Phalke award and the Padma Bhushan but he remained a modest man of old values that never forgot his roots in Lucknow. Together with Shakeel Badyuni who wrote the lyrics for most of his songs, he represented the best of Indian film music. He brought to the Hindi films a whiff of freshness which shall continue to echo in his numbers like Mera Salaam ley ja dil ka paigham le ja or Door ke musafir, hum ko bhi saath le le re, hum rah gaye akele.

Not many would know that it was Naushad who along with Shankar Jaikishen played a major role in getting Lata Mangeshkar out of the Noor Jahan mould of singing. It was his Uthaye ja unke sitam which helped Lata to carve out her own identity. He used her voice for scores of memorable hits like mohe bhool gayesawariyan and pyar kiya to darna kya.

Naushad regarded Mukesh as a imperfect singer but exploited his voice extremely well in Andaz for Jhoom jhoom ke nacho aaj, Tu kahe agar, and Hum aaj kahin dil kho baithe and Toote na dil toote na. In this film, he paired with Majrooh Sultanpuri and despite such great hits, the two did not work together till Saathi in the sixties. Another little known fact about Naushad is that he even composed songs in his dreams. One such song was Dharti ko aakash pukare, aaja aaja prem dware, aana hi hoga for Mela. The song was an instant hit. Rafi's first big time solo hit was also from the same film, Yeh zindagi ke mele, duniya mein kum na honge.

Naushad also gave a break to a large number of young singers in the fifties and sixties. After winning the Murphy contest, Mahendra Kapoor sang his first song under his baton Husn chala ai ishq se milne for Sohni Mahiwal and Shanti Mathur for Nanha munna rahi hoon; for Son of India. He also had a grasp of western symphonies and his background score for Dastaan demonstrated that in big measure. In fact, the background score was to later become the signature theme of Aap ke hi Geet aired by Radio Ceylon for many years. His other composition, Aakhiyan mila ke jiye bharma ke for Rattan was on everyone's lips and in Dil mein chupa ke pyar ka armaan le chale for Aan, Naushad perfected the horse hoofs as a part of his music, something which OP Nayyar later used extensively. .

Naushad is gone but his music shall live forever. Suhani raat dhal chuki, na jane tum kab aaoge'.

First Published: May 05, 2006 10:55 IST