Here are some lingering melodies by the incredible C H Atma. C H Atma’s precise crystal-clear rendering was a salute to K L Saigal’s singing style. Presumably all these songs are non-film ones. Please correct me if they are not.
Shamshad Begum is one of the first singers of Indian film industry. She was born on 14th April, 1919 in Amritsar, Punjab. According to music director O P Nayyar, her voice was crisp and crystal clear like a temple bell. She was a premier singer in 1950s and 1960s. Shamshad Begum was one of the two female singers who survived strongly after the entry of the Mangeshkar sisters. Geeta Dutt was the other one.
Shamshad Begum started her singing career by singing for Peshawar Radio. Later she also started working for Lahore Radio in 1937. She was part of a musical group ‘The Crown Imperial Theatrical Company of Performing Arts’, which was formed in Delhi. Along with this group she performed in stage shows and also for All India Radio (AIR). Her radio work helped her to enter into the film industry. AIR Lahore used to broadcast her songs repeatedly, which caught music directors’ attention and lured them to use her voice in films.
In 1944, she moved to Bombay along with composer Ghulam Haider as a part of his team. Shamshad Begum lent her voice for Ghulam Haider in director Mehboob Khan’s historical venture Humayun in 1944. At that time another singer Amirbai Karnataki was the topmost female singer in Industry. But with the entry of Shamshad Begum the scenario changed. Many music directors were rushing to sign her for their films. She soon became the lead singer for music directors like O P Nayyar, C Ramchandra and S D Burman.
Shamshad Begum – Na Bol Pee Pee More Angana (Dulari 1949) :
Shamshad Begum – Saiyan Dil Mein Aana Re (Bahar 1951) :
Shamshad Begum – Kabhi Aar Kabhi Paar (Aar Paar 1954) :
Shamshad Begum – Mere Piya Gaye Rangoon (Patanga 1949) :
Shamshad Begum was graciously beautiful woman in her youth. Her crystal toned, nasal voice created history from 1940s to mid 1960s. In 1998 there came a rumor that India’s famous singer Shamshad Begum had died (only this Shamshad Begum happened to be actress Naseem Banu’s mother and Saira Banu’s grandmother, and a classical music singer). The legendary singer of Hindi film industry, Shamshad Begum is still with us today living at Hiranandani Gardens, Powai in Bombay. She was conferred the Padma Bhushan in 2009.
P.S : The male voice in Mere Piya Gaye Rangoon is of Chitalkar and in Kajra Mohabbat Wala the other female voice is that of Asha Bhonsle.
Khursheed (1914-2001) was a pioneer actress and singer of the Indian cinema. Her career ran through the 1930s and 1940s. She was born Irshad Begum in the village of Choonian in Lahore, then in British India. Most of her films were released between 1931 and 1942, a period during which she went unnoticed. Khursheed acted in a number of films for Ranjit Movietone and her leading men included K L Saigal, Motilal and Jairaj. She was among the two singing actresses of Hindi film industry who have shared stellar honors with the legendary actor and singer K L Saigal. The other one was Suraiya.
Khursheed – Main Prem Baag Ki Panchhi (Sitara 1939) :
Khursheed – Pahle Jo Mohabbat Se Inkar Kiya (Pardesi 1941) :
Khursheed – Mori Atariya Hai Sooni (Pardesi 1941) :
Khursheed started her film career in the silent film Eye For An Eye (1931), the year when the first talkie film of the sub-continent Alamara was also released. Some of her films in 1940s were Musafir and Holi in 1940, Pardesi, Beti and Shaadi in 1941, Tansen and Nurse in 1943. Tansen was a high point in her acting career. She became known both as an actress and a singer and the song ‘Ghata Ghan Ghor Ghor’ became a rage of that time. Her other famous films are Mumtaz Mahal and Shahenshah Babar in 1944, Prabhu Ka Ghar and Moorti in 1945, Aage Badho and Mitti in 1947 and Aap Beetee in 1948.
Khursheed & K L Saigal – Chandni Raat (Bhakta Surdas 1942) :
Khursheed – Ghata Ghan Ghor Ghor (Tansen 1943) :
Khursheed – Mohabbat Mein Sara Jahan (Shahenshah Babar 1944) :
Her last film in India was Papeeha Re (1948), which was a great hit, prior to her migration to Pakistan, leaving her mark in the Indian film industry. Khursheed migrated to Pakistan after the Partition of India, with her husband and manager Lala Yakub, who was also an occasional actor, where she settled down in Karachi. Later she divorced Yakub and remarried in 1956 to Yusuf Bhaimia, an admirer of her work, entrepreneur in the shipping business, and a philanthropist. After her marriage to Bhaimia, she appeared in few PTV shows. A number of private shows were also held by her admirers and by private institutions. Khursheed died on April 18, 2001.
K L Saigal (1904–1947) is considered as the first superstar of the Hindi film industry. Kundan Lal Saigal was born on 11th April, 1904 at Nawa Shahar in Jammu State. His mother was a deeply religious lady who was very fond of music. She used to take young Kundan to various religious functions where Bhajan, Keertan and Shabad were sung in traditional styles. Kundan Lal often accompanied his father to the interior parts of the State where he would soak into the folk music of Punjab and Kashmir straight from the wandering shepherds.
His formal schooling was brief and uneventful. He started earning by working in the Railways as a timekeeper and later at the Remington Typewriters as a salesman, which allowed him to tour to several places in India. Meanwhile, his passion for singing continued and became more intense with the passage of time. Finally, he landed at Calcutta in early 1930s and met R C Boral, music director of New Theatres. R C Boral took instant liking to his talents and Saigal was employed on a contract basis.
K L Saigal – Ek Bangala Bane Nyara (President 1937) :
K L Saigal – Babul Mora Naihar (Street Singer 1938) :
K L Saigal – So Ja Rajkumari (Zindagi 1940) :
K L Saigal – Jab Dil Hi Toot Gaya (Shahjehan 1946) :
It was in 1933 that his four Bhajans in the film Puran Bhagat created a sensation throughout India. Thereafter, Saigal never looked back. The real breakthrough came soon thereafter with the film Devdas in 1935, which established K L Saigal as the first superstar of the Indian cinema. It created history and the songs of this film were hummed in all corners of India. In 1941, K L Saigal shifted to Bombay where he acted and sang in a number of hit films.
K L Saigal – Hum Joliyon Ki Thi Toliyan (Non-Film) :
K L Saigal – Jhulan Jhulao Ri (Non-Film) :
K L Saigal acted in 36 feature films which include 28 Hindi, 7 Bangla and 1 Tamil. In all, K L Saigal rendered 185 songs which include 142 film songs and 43 non-film songs. In the film songs category, there are 110 Hindi, 30 Bangla and 2 Tamil songs. In the non-film category, there are 37 Hindi and 2 each in Bangla, Punjabi and Persian languages. By this time, alcohol had become a predominant factor in K L Saigal’s life. His dependence on alcohol had begun affecting his work and his health. It was said that he could only record a song after being fortified with liquor. He died on 18th January, 1947, at the age of 42. In 1995, The Government of India released a commemorative stamp in K L Saigal’s honour.
Parul Ghosh was an eminent playback singer of Hindi and Bengali movies of the 1940s. She is best remembered for the song Papiha Re, composed by her brother Anil Biswas for the film Kismat (1943). In her early career she was associated with New Theatres, Calcutta. She was married to the eminent flautist Pannalal Ghosh. Parul married Pannalal Ghosh around 1925 when he was 14 and she just 9 years old. She is often credited as the first playback singer of Hindi films for singing as early as in 1935 for Dhoop Chhaon. Her musical prowess is evident from the fact that even Lata Mangeshkar paid tribute to her in her Shraddhanjali series by singing Papiha Re.
Parul Ghosh – Papiha Re (Kismat 1943) :
Parul Ghosh – Mere Chhote Se Man Mein (Basant 1942) :