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Fading Memories….Unforgettable Songs

Fading Memories…. Unforgettable Songs: March 2021

Ghulam Mohammed and His Singers: 1943 – 1949

top-post-markGhulam Mohammed (1903 – 17 March 1968), born in the family of musician in Bikaner (Rajasthan), got his early training from his father, Nabi Baksh, a tabla player and a stage artist. The career of Ghulam Mohammed is littered with ironies of fate that did give him his credit for his creation, but a little too late and far too less.

Every single piece of article written on Ghulam Mohammed would invariably focus on at least one defining characteristic. And yet, the fact that Ghulam Mohammed got to compose music for just 37 films in a career spanning almost four decades does neither tells the full story of his caliber nor it does justice to his talent. As such, in the month of his death anniversary, we commence an annual series that relives his known and less known songs.

We will begin with an overview of Ghulam Mohammed’s career in the form of songs he has composed for different singers. The choice of singers does seem to be a function of the period in which the music for the film is composed. Every song that Ghulam Mohammed created songs with each of this singer had the perfect mix of the singer and of the music director. We have adopted a conscious choice of selecting the songs that can easily be classified as the ones receding from the memory.

Hamida Bano – Ud Ja Re Ud Ja Panchhi Pee Pee Mat Bol – Mera Khwab (1943) – Lyrics: M E Ashq

Ghulam Mohammad got his first break as an independent music director in 1942 for a stunt film, Mera Khwab, released in 1943. However, some sources indicate Banke Sipaahi (1937) as Ghulam Mohammad’s debut film. There does not seem to be unanimity among film historians on this count. This was the period when he was known to be working as an instrumentalist for music directors like Rafiq Ghazanvi, Irshad Ali, Anil Biswas etc. It is further recorded that his first major break that elevated him to the status of assistant was in Sharda (1942; Music: Naushad). Their this relationship lasted till Aan (1953) even after Ghulam Mohammad had charted his own independent course in the meantime. Naushad also paid his tribute to their relationship by completing the unfinished tasks of Ghulam Mohammad swan song film ‘Pakeeza’

Zohrabai Amablewali – Tere Bina O Balam Kaise Kategi Mori Raina Bata Jaa – Mera Geet (1946) – Lyrics: Ramesh Gupta

The film had four music directors – Bal Mukund, Geeta Varma, Shankar Rao Vyas, Ghulam Miyan, Reejram – to compose as many as 16 songs. HFGK has been able to identify only a few songs for their respective composers. Even as we get to read the name is Ghulam MIyan, Cinemaazi confirms that this song is indeed composed by Ghulam Mohammed.

The song has very prominent and distinct use of dholak as rhythm instrument.

G M Durrani – Khel Nahi…Khel Nahi Gir Gir Ke Sambhalana – Doli (1947) – Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri

The song is set to what is popularly known as Ghoda songs 9 singer rides a horse or a horse driven cart on the screen). The song is set to a fast pace, but runs on a very low octave, indicating that protagonist is deep thoughts as he sings the song during the ride.

Mukesh, Shamshad Begum – Tere  Naaz Uthane Ko Jee Chahta Hai – Grihasthi (1948) – Lyrics: Shakeel Badayuni

The song uses a duff (sometimes spelt as ‘daf’, too), another rhythm instrument that Ghulam Mohammed is credited with popularizing in Hindi film songs.

Knowledgeable bloggers inform us that this song was filmed on Pran and Sharda who was the sister of actor of ‘70s-‘80s Vinod Mehra

Mohammad Rafi – Nigahein Milane Ko Jee Chahata Hai – Parai Aag (1948) – Lyrics: Tanveer Naqvi

Composed to a softer, but relatively a fast, ‘qawwali’ style, and set to a soft Mohammad Rafi rendition, this easily the forgotten preceding song with the initial lyrics – Nigahein Milane Ko Jee Chata Hai. Yes, the one with better recall value is one which was used in Asha Bhosle qawwali song by Roshan (Dil Hi To Hai, 1963 – Lyrics: Sahir Ludhyanavi)

Suraiya – Mohe Mera Bachpana La De … Jawani Bhaye Na – Kaajal (1948) – Lyrics: D N Madhok

The orchestration has strong resemblance to what is used in Naushad’s songs. However, this playful song is well-remembered by Suraiya fans.

Sitara Kanpuri – Dil Ki Lagi Zubaan Par Aaye To Kya Karun – Pugree (1948) – Lyrics:  Shakeel Badayuni

‘Pugree’ is the second film that Ghulam Mohammed composed music for the production house All India Pictures, after Doli (1947). All India Pictures perhaps is the only banner that Ghulam Mohammed had under his belt as an independent music director. Other films that followed were: Paras (1949), Pardes (1950), Nazneen (1951), Guahar (9153), Rail Ka Dibba (1953), Laila Majnu (1953), Hoor-e-Arab (1955) and Sitara (1955).

Songs of ‘Pugree’ were resounding success in those days.

Shamshad Begum – Masti Bhari Bahar Ne Masatana Kar Diya – Pugree (1948) – Lyrics: Shakeel Badayuni

So ever young Shashikala lip-syncs Shamshad Begum on the screen.

Geeta Dutt – Na Tum Mere Na Dil Mera, Azab Hai Bebasi Meri – Dil Ki Basti (1949) – Lyrics: Shakeel Badayuni

Ghulam Mohammed had two other solos, two male-female duets and one female-female duets in the film. However, Ghulam Mohammed has also used Lata Mangeshkar for two solos as well.

Lata Mangeshkar, G M Durrani – Do Bichhade Hue Dil Lo Aapas Mein Gaye Mil – Shair (1949) – Lyrics:  Shakeel Badayuni

‘Shair’ was also quite popular album, in the year wherein blockbusters like Andaz or Barsaat or Mahal would have occupied the memory space of the listeners.

It should be interesting to note that G M Durrani is preferred as a playback voice to the male lead, Dev Anand.

Even as I had planned to take up film-wise song later in this series, it would be opportune to listen to two other duets from Shair, for the use of different percussion instruments.

Mukesh, Lata Mangeshkar – Ye Duniya Hai Yahan Dil Ka Lagana Kisko Aata Hai – Shair (1949) – Lyrics: Shakeel Badayuni

Ghulam Mohammed has used ‘matka’ (an earthen clay pot) in this song. Matka was another percussion instrument that is credited to Ghulam Mohammed for being popularly used in Hindi film song.

Playback voice now shifts to Mukesh, possibly because the of the pathos mood of the song

This duet was also a chart buster of those days.

Mohammad Rafi, Shamshad Begum – O More Balma…Kahe Maari Kataar…. Haye… Daiya…. Daiya – Shair (1949) – Lyrics: Shakeel Badayuni

Since my knowledge of music, and as a natural corollary, that of music instruments, is abysmally limited, I could only recognize a different instrument is used here, possibly a mix of dholak and matka, but do not which one it is!

A few strains of orchestration in the prelude seem to have faint the precursors of orchestration that we got to listen in the music of Pakeeza.

One interesting, and equally very rare as well, trivia to be observed is that Cuckoo is in the spectator’s gallery and enjoying the dance on the stage.

I plan to take up a few more singers in the next episode, before switching over to the usual format of remembering the songs from different films in chronological order.

We will continue remembering Unforgettable Songs that seem to Fading away from our Memories every second Sunday of the month next year too……..

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