An evening with Mubarak Begum

January 5, 2013

Kabhi tanhaiyon mein hamari yaad ayegi: Happy Birthday to you (January 5)

Mubarak BegumFrom various accounts on the internet I had taken Mubarak Begum to be lost for the civilization. Supposedly she was living in anonymity, in penury in some Bombay chawl with her son, who was said to be an autorickshaw driver. Therefore, I was astonished to get a message from Sudhir Kapurji (one of the mainstays of Atul’s site) a few months ago whether I would like to attend a concert to felicitate Mubarak Begum on October 7, 2012 at India Islamic Centre, New Delhi. There was a possibility that she might also sing.  भला नेकी और पूछ पूछ.  Putting everything aside I had planned for Sunday, the October 7, I headed for the venue.

A very frail Mubarak Begum was brought to the stage, supported by two women. She could not sit down, so a chair was brought for her. Her singing, to be honest, was equally frail and tired, though her unmistakable tang was there. What was important was the nostalgia, and the very sincere affection of the audience, who was familiar with her songs. Their farmaishes pleased her no end, and she valiantly tried to sing a few lines of each, but finally had to give up the effort.

The bonus of the evening was that I could meet her in her room after the concert, again courtesy Sudhirji. She was quite spontaneous in chatting about her life. From whatever I could make out, all the unflattering stories about her living in a pitiable condition in some Bombay underbelly seemed to be grossly exaggerated – at least, as of now. She does live with his son, who has four daughters, the youngest of whom was escorting her on the Delhi trip. The granddaughters had the usual middle-class concern of education, jobs and marriage. Mubarak Begum gave me her elegantly designed ‘Visiting Card’, which indicated a middle class address.

Mubarak Begum_Visiting Card

Her only lament was the state of her health, which required a constant companion to be with her. There was a sadness, but devoid of rancour, that the industry was not fair to her. She narrated stories (which sounded quite familiar) how, at times, a song was rehearsed with her, but when she reached the recording studio, she was told it had already been recorded in another voice. This was the fate of many female singers, who might have had intrinsic merit, but for whom getting mainstream songs and banners was an uphill task because of the overwhelming domination of Lata Mangeshkar in the Golden Era.

Born on January 5, 1936 in Jhunjhunu (Rajasthan), she spent her early childhood in Gujarat. She was formally trained in classical music. She went over to Bombay, Mecca of the show-biz. She debuted as a playback singer at the age of 13 in the film Aiye (1949), music by Shaukat Hyderi, in which she sang a solo and a duet with Lata Mangeshkar. She struggled for a few years till she got a big break as the lead singer in Kamal Amrohi’s Daera (1953). But this film bombed at the box office, even though her songs were outstanding. After struggling for a while, she got big success with a mujra song in Devdas (1955), Wo na ayenge palat kar, composed by SD Burman. This unfortunately typecast her as a mujra singer. But she also got some very good songs as a lead singer. The title songs of the film Hamrahi, composed by Shankar Jaikishan, and the film Hamari Yaad Ayegi,  composed by Snehal Bhatkar, are not only major landmarks in her career, but also among the best scores of the Golden Era.  She was a prolific singer of private ghazals and naats. And a trivia – she also had a small acting role in the film Sabse Bada Rupaiya (1955)

About two years back I wrote on niche singers like Jagjit Kaur and Kamal Barot. I had Mubarak Begum in mind since then. The delay was unintended but it gave me a wonderful opportunity to meet her. Let me present some of my favourite Mubarak Begum songs as my greetings to her on her birthday (January 5).

1. Kabhi tanhaiyon mein hamari yaad ayegi from Hamari Yaad Ayegi (1961), lyrics Kedar Sharma, music Snehal Bhatkar

Kabhi tanhaiyon mein hamari yaad ayegi is to Mubarak Begum what Afsana likh rahi hun is to Uma Devi (Tun Tun) or Tum apna ranj-o-gham apni pareshani mujhe de do is to Jagjit Kaur. That is, if she did not do anything else in her life, this one song was sufficient to make her immortal.

Kabi tanhaiyon me hamari yaad ayegi


2. Mohe aane lagi angadayi from Aaiye (1949), lyrics Nakhshab Jarchavi, music Shaukat Hyderi

This is her first song, which has a distinct Suraiya touch.  Suraiya being a top actor-singer of the period, it is understandable that Mubarak Begum, being a newcomer, might be consciously imitating her style.

Mohe ane lagi angadaayi


3. Nigahon se dil me chale aiyega from Hameer Hath (1964), lyrics Swadesh Kumar Deepak, music Sanmukh Babu Upadhyay

The combination of Mubarak Begum and Helen creates a classic dance song.

Nigahon se dil me chale aiyega


4. Wada humse kiya dil kisi ko diya from Saraswatichandra (1968), lyrics Indivar, music Kalyanji Anandji

While the good wife (Nutan) waits for her man with the puja thaal of Karva Chauth, the guy is being entertained by the mujra dancer, Madhumati. No singer can do it better than Mubarak Begum.

Wada humse kiya


5. Wo na ayenge palat kar unhe lakh hum bulayen from Devdas (1955), lyrics Sahir Ludhiyanvi, music SD Burman

This song had come in a for a good deal of discussion on this blog earlier while discussing the best songs of the year 1955.  But this mujra song occupies such an iconic place in Mubarak Begum’s career that I am tempted to use it again.   As the doomed lover, Devdas, leaves Chandramukhi, perhaps for their last parting, this prophetic song filters in from the nearby kothas.

This audio version has better sound quality and gives the full song.

Wo na ayenge palat ke


6. Hum to dil bechate hain kharidar chahiye from Mera Bhai Mera Dushman (1967), music Khayyam

If it is mujra, it had to be Mubarak Begum. She is in her comfort zone. The wordings do not attempt to camouflage anything – the dancer is selling her wares and looking for buyers. Everything about this mujra – the top quality dancing, her coquettish gestures and the actions of the customers – is perfect, complemented by Mubarak’s voice.

Hum to dil bechate hain


7. Phool bagiya me bhanwre aye from Zindagi Aur Khwab (1961), lyrics Pradeep, music Dattaram

Oh, mujra again, but this is quite different from a normal mujra. This time very fast paced, performed by one of the top dancers of the era, Jeevankala (?), and, very unusually, written by Pradeep.

Phool bagiya me bhanwre aye


8. Mere ansuon pe na muskura from More Man Mitwa (1965), music Dataram

A superb ghazal from another completely forgotten and obscure movie.

Mere ansuon pe na muskura


9. Gham chhodo ye sare zamane ka from Piya Milan Ki Pyas (1961), lyrics Bharat Vyas, music SN Tripathi

Bharat Vyas and SN Tripathi are famous for devotional, mythological films. But if they choose to create a mujra song and the singer is Mubarak Begum, the result is outstanding. The song conveys exactly why someone goes to a mujra – to forget the worries and unhappiness of the world.

Gham chhodo ye sare zamane ka


10. Hum haal-e-dil sunayenge suniye ki na suniye from Madhumati (1958), lyrics Shailendra, music Salil Chaudhary

After Wo na ayenge palat kar unhe lakh hum bulayen from Devdas, the next mujra which beme a big hit was this one from Madhumati. Vyajayantimala is a terrifc dancer, Motilal gives a repeat performance, and to complete the picture you have the sad hero Dilip Kumar walking in the joint to relieve his gloom.

Hum haal-e-dil sunayenge


Her great duets

Any list of Mubarak Begum is not complete without her duets. We regard Mujhko apne gale laga le as one of her signature songs, at times not realising that it is a duet with Mohammad Rafi. And that speaks a lot, because it is not often that a duet is remembered by the female singer.  Mujra was often performed by a pair of dancers, which gave the composers an opportunity to create some absolutely outstanding duets with other female singers, in most of which Mubarak Begum’s voice had a distinct identity.

11. Devta tum ho mera sahara with Rafi from Dayera (1953), lyrics Kaif Bhopali, music Jamal Sen

Even if this is listed as a duet with Rafi, the credit for this great song should primarily rest with Mubarak Begum. Jamal Sen has been earlier mentioned on this blog. In fact there have been requests for a separate post on him. He entirely deserves it. Surely one of the best bhajans in films. If after this, she was relegated to mujra songs and B-grade films, one tends to agree that the industry was not fair to her.

Devta tum ho mera sahara


12. Kuchh ajanabi se aap hain kuchh ajanbi se hum with Talat Mahmood from Shagun (1964), lyrics Sahir Ludhiyanvi, music Khayyam

Though she became famous for her Hamrahi’s  title duet, an incredibly beautiful duet is this one with Talat Mahmood from Shagun, which also had the Jagjit Kaur’s immortal Tum apna ranj-o-gham apni pareshani mujhe de do. Khayyam got commercial success later in his career with Umrao Jaan and Kabhie Kabhie, but musically I rate Shagun as far superior. Sahir Ludhiyanavi is at his best. What beautiful poetry – We came so close but we do not why, you became stranger to me and I too have become somewhat distant. And the lady replies, “There was just one matter which was meant only for you. But even that one thing I could not mention, because you have become somewhat stranger to me, so have I to you”.  Sahir would use the imagery of  the closest people becoming stranger to each other again in the more well known Chalo ek baar phir se ajanabi ban jayen hum dono in Gumrah.

इतने क़रीब आ के भी क्या जाने किसलिये
कुछ अजनबी से आप हैं कुछ अजनबी से हम

वो एक बात जो थी फक़त आप के लिये
वो एक बात कह ना सके आप ही से हम
कुछ अजनबी से आप हैं

ऐसी तो कोई क़ैद नहीं दिल की बात पर
आपस की बात है तो डरें क्यों किसी से हम
कुछ अजनबी से आप हैं

तुम दूर हो तो मौत भी आये ना हमको रास
तुम पास हो तो जान भी दे दें खुशी से हम
कुछ अजनबी से आप हैं

मौत एक वहम और हक़ीक़त है ज़िंदगी
एक दूसरे को मांगेंगे इस ज़िंदगी से हम
कुछ अजनबी से आप हैं

Itne kareeb aa ke bhi na jane kis liye


13. Hume dum daike sautan ghar jana with Asha Bhosle from Ye Dil Kisko Dun (1963), lyrics Qmar Jalalabadi, music Iqbal Qureshi

One of her most famous duets with a female singer is Hume dum daike sautan ghar jana. The picturisation is very unique. As Madhumati dances the traditional mujra to her engrossed patrons, you see a furious Jayshree Gadkar in the wings, in a traditional Marathi sari, defiantly throwing off her pallu and barging in a folk Marathi dancing style. Madhumati is confused; the menfolk (we recognise Agha) are shocked, which is precisely the objective of Jayshre Gadkar – the good lady challenging the straying men – what is there in her which I do not have.

Hame dam daike sautan ghar jana


14. Nigahon se dil ka salam aa raha hai with Suman Kalyanpur from Cobra Girl (1963), lyrics Prem Dhavan, music SN Tripathi

This one is a treat to watch and listen to. The dancers Rani and Madhumati play sisters of Ragini in the film. Beautiful and graceful steps, golden colour permeating the set, typical of a fantasy B-grade film (cobra-country, naagmani, sorcerer etc), beautiful singing by two of the unfairly-treated singers Mubarak Begum and Suman Kalyanpur, and exquisite music by another great composer, not given his due recognition, SN Tripathi – all these combine to make this one of the greatest female dancing duets.

Nigahon se dil ka payam aa raha hai


15. Hai mohabbat bahut hi tumse mujhe with (?), from Teesri Qasam (1966)

I end this with a terrific dancing duet I have discovered recently from the iconic nautanki film Teesri Qasam.  We remember Waheeda Rahman’s famous dance numbers by Lata Mangeshkar (Mare gaye gulfam and Aa bhi ja, Raat dhale lagi) and Asha Bhosle (Haye ghazab kahin tara too and Paan khaye saiyan hamaro) from this film. But the real quintessential nautanki song performed to Laila-Majnu theme is this one sung by Mubarak Begum for Waheeda Rahman. There is an unknown singer (apparently a professional qawwali singer) for the male dancer. There are musicians in the pit with the harmonium, sarangi, flute and the sarangi.  Among the spectators, the imperious zamindar, Iftekhar, who covets Hirabai and desires to have her as a matter of right, and the innocent gawk-eyed simpletons led by Hiraman (Raj Kapoor) complete the authentic village nautanki scene. But the best part is the high pitch nautanki-style singing and Waheeda Rahman’s unrestrained, but graceful dancing. If Mubarak Begum was a superb mujra singer, this song of hers is the defining nautanki song.

Hai mohabbat bahut

{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

1 ASHOK M VAISHNAV January 5, 2013 at 10:00 am

One could never ever have thought of a better way to open the year with a living (and very very lively) tribute for Mubarak Begum, that too on her birthday.

If AKji’s ‘that evening’ will be the memory embedded to be cherished, ‘this morning’ is definitely to going to ‘ring’ in my heart for years to come.

The songs selected certainly present the full repertoire of Mubarak Begum. Tessari Kasam song is a real gem (so are all others, too).

2 dustedoff January 5, 2013 at 11:05 am

Thank you for sharing your experience of Mubarak Begum’s concert. That must have been quite interesting. Thank you, also, for the songs – very nice ones, especially the ones from Hamaari Yaad Aayegi (this used to be one of my favourite songs when I was a child), Shagun and Teesri Kasam. I’m listening to the others that I hadn’t heard before, and am liking them a lot too.

3 jignesh kotadia January 5, 2013 at 12:57 pm

Good noon Akji… fact its an icy noon….very cold weather in Surat…so how terrific it wd be in North !?!!
Delivered a fantastic topic abt Mubarak begum,,,half the songs r strangers for me…but i will listen them….. I ve already 7 or 8 songs of shaukat hyderi’s ‘aaiye’ in my PC, there r many lata songs in it,,and know there is a mubarak begum’s song in it but cant remind it…i will reopen it…Thanx

4 AK January 5, 2013 at 6:43 pm

Madhu, thanks a lot for your compliments. It was no doubt a terrific evening. I have some video clippings of her singing also from that evening, but these are very unflattering, so I decided not to include them. Teesri Qasm song was a serendipitous discovery. I have seen the film more than once, but do not recall this song. Even the encyclopaedia, Hindi Film Geet Kosh, does not mention it. I remember you have reviewed this film. Do you remeber if this song is there in the film?

@Ashok Vaishnav
This was sitting with me for a couple of months as you can see. With some other posts lined up, including yours, I thought it better to begin the new year with this one. It was a good coincidence that her birthday fell on Jan 5. She is also one of the important female singers of the Golden Era who remained on the margins.

If Surat is very cold, Delhi is Antarctica! We are freezing. You are lucky to have Aaiye songs. As per records, Mubarak Begum has just another duet in the film, with Lata Mangeshkar – Aaiye aa ha ha, aao chale wahan, bolo chale kahan. If your collection has some more that would be a real discovery.

5 Naresh P. Mankad January 5, 2013 at 8:05 pm

When I think of Mubarak Bebum, the first song that comes to my mind is Bemuravvat, befafa, begana-e-dil aap hain..from the 1964 film Sushila sung under the baton of C. Arjun, with the duet you mentioned – Mujh ko apne gale lagalo.

6 jignesh kotadia January 5, 2013 at 9:35 pm

@Akji….i ve download all ‘aaiye’ (1949) songs from YT b4 2 months..and yes mubarak begam’s song is there.

7 ASHOK M VAISHNAV January 5, 2013 at 9:57 pm

I am collecting some of the other equally gem-of-songs of Mubarak Begum. As my search, partly down my memory lane and partly aided by You Tube / Google takes up a definitive shape, let me share these interviews that I have stumbled upon:

Radio Interview –

With Rais Siddiqui on DD Urdu –
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
An Interview:
Part 1 of 4
Part 2 of 4
Part 3 of 4
Part of 4 of 4

And, just to complement the Jignesh Kotadia , here is one song from Aaiye:
Mohe Aane Lagi Angadayi – [ Said to be the debut song] – Aaiye (1949) -Nashad –

8 jignesh kotadia January 6, 2013 at 9:11 am

@Ashok vaishnav…yes…thats….CLAPS
And this 1 of lata is wonderful ”aa bhi jaa o aanewale jee bahot ghabraye hai”
AAYIYE (1949)_LATA_2 beautiful songs…..

9 gaddeswarup January 6, 2013 at 11:11 am

There is a nice duet with Talat, but most of it by Mubarak Begum
‘chand ka rang liye’ from Hathar Bhakti 1956

10 dustedoff January 6, 2013 at 11:15 am

No, Hai mohabbat bahut isn’t there in the film, AK.

11 AK January 6, 2013 at 11:52 pm

@Naresh P. Mankad
You are right, Bemaurrawat bewafa is one of her most recgnizable songs. I have already used it in my post on C Arjun.

@Ashok M Vaishnav
You have located massive amount of information on her. On my hunch about Suraiya’s influence on her first song, Mubarak Begum confirms that she was influenced by her and used to sing her songs.

By the way, I have included her debut song Mohe aane lagi angadai in this post at serial no. 2.

Chanda ka rang liye is a terrific song. Thanks for introducing it. I heard it many times, partly because it is so good, but more for identifying the female singer. The voice is so far from Mubarak Begum and so close to Lata Mangeshkar, I am not convinced that it is Mubarak Begum. In Hindi Film Geet Kosh the female voice is uncredited, but there is an interesting footnote that says ‘the record mentions Lata Mangeshkar as the female singer (which is wrong), probably the singer is Mubarak Begum‘. Why, if the record mentions Lata’s name, and it sounds like her, and it does not at all sound like Mubarak Begum, why don’t we accept that it is Lata’s voice. I hope Mr Arunkumar Deshmukh is reading it to settle the question.

12 gaddeswarup January 7, 2013 at 3:04 am

AK Ji,
Thanks for a very considered reply. I would not know these things in fine detail, I think that I first noticed the song in
Meanwhile, I found another nice duet with Talat in Badal Aur Bijli 1956 ‘raat kitni hasten’. Thanks.

13 mumbaikar8 January 7, 2013 at 4:37 am

I want to repeat what Ashok Vaishnav has said about this article and all I can do is thank you once again.
Talking about Shagun’s songs lyrics I totally agree with you. I would like to add the song ” Yeh Raat Bahut Rangeen Hi Sahi” to the list
I would like to add one simply superb Mubarak Begum duet from Qawwali Ki Raat

14 ASHOK M VAISHNAV January 7, 2013 at 9:37 am

The significance of ‘Daera’ in MB’s professional career with Hindi Film World is very graphically captured in her interview @, published on September 5th, 2010 – .

I have reproduced the relevant portion here:

“Then, I landed my biggest project, ‘Daayra’, thanks to Harishchandra Rao, its composer. I’d just finished recording a song for Jamaal Sen, a relative of today’s composers Dilip and Sameer Sen. I believe Harishchandra Rao had tried to get other singers, but they’d stood him up. So, he took me to meet Kamal Amrohi.” “Busy recording with Meenu Katrak, Kamal saab sent along a representative to decide on my voice. That’s how I got to sing for ‘Daayra’. The theme song, ‘Devta tum ho mera sahara, maine thamma hai daaman tumhara’ was a duet between (Mohammad) Rafi and me. I sang other numbers too – ‘Jali jo shama, deep ke sang jaloon’, for example. I had about seven songs in the film, which had Meena Kumari and Nasir Khan in the lead. Unfortunately for me, ‘Daayra’ was an utter flop. I was extremely disappointed.”

I could locate these songs on You Tube:
Jali Jo Shama Samane ( Titles Song) –
Deep Ke Sang Jaloon Main –
Aisa Jalay Jiya Mora
Suno Mere Naina –
And here is piece of Devta Ho Tum Mera Sahara which Mubarak Begum presented after a concert in Jaipur (2009)

“Daera” has been reviewed by Suresh Kohli in The Hindu –

And MemsaabStory @

15 jignesh kotadia January 7, 2013 at 10:53 am

Oh..yes..Akji…sorry, me too read and just missed from memory that u ve mentioned her debut song already at no. 2.

16 AK January 7, 2013 at 1:12 pm

@gaddeswarup, Ashok M Vaishnav
I went over the link of the song at Atul’s site you have provided. There also I see the confusion about the singer continues. I think we can let it rest at that. While there can be genuine uncertainty about some information pertaining to the old songs, I find various sources are at times very lax in cross checking obvious facts. For example, in the Cineplot interview linked by Ashok Vaishnavji, Kuchh ajanabi se aap hain kuchh ajanabi se hum has been credited to Susheela, whereas it is from Shagun. A programme I watch regularly is ‘The Golden Era with Anu Kapoor’ on Masti channel. He often commits such obvious errors on well known facts that one does not even feel like writing to them for correction.

Ashok Vaishnavji,
You have again ferreted out some wonderful information about Mubarak Begum. Daera seems to be a tedious film. But the reviewer in the Hindu has also dismissed its music completely, except some grudging praise for Devta tum ho mera shahara. But what is odd is his intemperate comments on Jamal Sen (inept compositions by the never-heard-again Jamal Sen). It is true that music is a matter of personal taste. But I suspect it is also to do with the reviewer’s own extent of knowledge. It seems he has never heard of Sapna ban sajan aye and Raaton ki neeed cheen li ankhon ke intezar ne (from Shokhiyan).

17 Subodh Agrawal January 7, 2013 at 8:22 pm

Let me endorse everything the others have said in praise of this excellent post. Mubarak Begum certainly deserved better. Her voice had a special quality and individuality that could have been used by the composers to create something beautiful. Unfortunately they chose to stick to the tried and tested and relegated her to the typecast role as a mujra singer.

My favourites are the first and the tenth songs. The duet with Talat and the Teesri Kasam songs are pleasant discoveries. This one post, along with the comments, has multiplied my knowledge of her repertoire by a factor of three – if not more. Thanks a lot.

18 gaddeswarup January 8, 2013 at 5:46 pm

I wonder whether some sort of voice recognition technology can be used by looking at songs from the same period to decide who sang these songs. May be it does not really matter for the listeners but it would be nice for some of the less fortunate singers to get definitive credit for their songs.

19 ASHOK M VAISHNAV January 9, 2013 at 12:47 pm

Shri AKji has broadly covered the entire range of Mubaraka Begum’s carrer in the intrduction. An article of this nature can focus on a particular aspect. Hence, in order to (partially) complete the picture, I have listed here her some other solos, just to show the range of music directors she had chance to work with. In each of the song, these music directors have utilized thew qualities of her voice and ‘gayaki’ to the hilt:
Nazare Khamosh to paigham pahunch jaaate hai –

Hum To Dil Bechte Hai Kharidar Chahiye – Mera Bhai Mera Dushman (1966) – Khayyam –

Shama Gula Kar Ne Ja – Arab Ka Sitara (1961) – Saadat

Sanwariya Teri Yaad Men – Ramu To Diwana Hai (1960) Chandru

Aankhon Men Aankhon Men Har Ek Raat Guzar Jaati Hai – Marvel Man – (1964) Robin Banerjee –

Chand Gagan Men Ek Hai – Aandhi Aur Toofan (1964) Robin Bannerjee – – As melodious cradle song as any other!

Aeji Aeji Yaad Rakahana Sanam Pyar Ki Dastan –Daku Mansoor (1960) – Pandit Gafil Krishan Kamal

Aye Dil Bata Ham Kahan Aa Gaye – Khooni Khazana – (1964) S Kishan –

Jal Jal Marun – Sheesha –(1952) – Ghulam Mohammad –

Gham Choodo Yeh Saare Zamaane Ka Piya Milan Kia Aas ( Mujhara) (1961) S N Tripathi –

and A Punjabi song – Tur Gaiyan Berriyan – Heer Sayal – Shardul Kwatra –

Here are few examples of her non-film Islamic devotional songs:

Muskil Ko Meri Taal Do – a Naat on the occasion of Ramzan –

Man Ki Baaten Man Men Rakhana

Ahmad Pak Jinka Naam Unpe Darood Aur Salam –

Wakia Tumko Sunata Hun – A solo in the format of quawwali –

As seen in my ealier comment, Devta Ho Tum Mera Sahara was so special to her as well. Mubarak Begum remembers Mohammad Rafi

20 n.venkataraman January 10, 2013 at 11:51 pm

After coming back from a ‘Health Tourism’, I was not in the right state of mind or health. I will be confined for a few more days. Nevertheless, I paid a visit to the Songs of Yore yesterday. I was both delighted and saddened at the same time. Festive period is the time for sharing. Thanks for sharing your memorable evening with Mubarak Begum. I was delighted to read the article and to listen to the 10 solos and 5 duets of Mubarak Begum. Possessing a clear, sharp and mellifluous voice, she rendered her songs with immense feeling. She was unjustifiably marginalised to render Mujra numbers and B-grade film songs. In spite of the limited opportunity, she etched a name for herself. She did not get the respect, recognition and remuneration she deserved. Situation conspired to deny her the rightful place in Hindi Film Music. After listening to her, I was left with a sense of pathos. If I am not mistaken, the current generation is not aware of any of the female singer of yesteryears, other than Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle. Seldom one will get to hear the songs of Mubarak Begum and the likes of her in the reality music shows. You have done an immense service by bring to light the songs of Mubarak Begum, Suman Kalyanpur, Geeta Dutt and others. I join you in paying my deep respects to this great singer and feel proud to be part of the Songs of Yore family.
Out of the ten Solos, the song in Raag Palasri from the film Hamari Yaad Aayegi(#1), the Khamaj song from Devdas(#5), and the Piloo number fom Madhumati(#10) are my favourites. I might have heard some of the other songs, during my ‘Jay Mala’ or ‘Aap Ki Farmaish’ days. But I do not remember. Thanks for introducing me to the heart wrenching ghazal number (#8), rendered with immense feeling of pathos.
Among the duets, the song ‘Devta tum ho Sahara’ was unknown to me till few months back. Naresh Mankadji had mentioned this song in his comments in the post on Raag Yaman. Another gem. The next duet (#12), a lilting number with a Kedar base start-off, was another enchanting piece. ‘Bemaurrawat bewafa’ is another gem in Raag Kedar.
As expected Ashok Vaishnavji has provided a lot of information, interviews and more songs of Mubarak Begum. Thank you, Ashok Vaishnavji. Having all the time at my disposal, I listened to them. The interviews revealed that she was not only a great singer but a lady with a simple and straightforward demeanour. Even at this age she retains the magic in her voice. All the songs made good listening. Specially, I liked the songs ‘Suno Mere Naina’, ‘Saawariya Teri Yaad Men’ and ‘Mushkil ko Meri Tal Do Mushkil Kusha Ali”. You might have noticed that in the Punjabi song, the introductory music resembles the song ‘Pardesion Se Na Akhiyan Milana’ from the film Jab Jab Phool Khile. Was Kalyanji Anandji inspired by the tune to adopt/adapt it?
I am in total agreement with the views expessed by AKji on the intemperate comments made by the reviewer of Dayera. He identifies the Raag of ‘Devta Tum Ho Mera Sahara’ as Bhup. I will like to have the opinion of Subodhji and Nareshji on this.
While surfing through you-tube I found that the uploader of the song ‘Kaho Dhola Utaren Kahaan’, from the film Daera, has credited the song to Asha Bhosle. But in the title credits for the film ‘Daera’ (provided by Ashok Vaishnavji), I could find only the names of Talat Mehmood, Md.Rafi and Mubarak Begum.
In her interview Mubarak Begum had mentioned about a song she had rendered for Mughal-e-Azam. But finally it was not included in the film. I could locate this song, sung by Lata Mangeshkar, Shamshad Begum and Mubarak Begum, on You-tube. I do not know whether she was referring to this song or some other song. Here is the unreleased song ‘Husna ki Baarat Chali’ from Mughal-e-Azam.

Here is another beautiful duet with Md.Rafi.

Bahut khubsoorat hain ankhen tumhari from Sushila (1966), music C Arjun

Here is a beautiful Mujara composed by S D Burman. Mubark Begum mentioned this song in her interview.

Hum unko dkhate hain

A satire sung by Mubarak Begum and Suman Kalyanpur.

Kabhi to pura tol prani from Hamari Yaad Ayegi

Finally a Naat sung by Mubarak Begum. The lyrics reminded me of the song ‘Bekas Pe Karam KIjiye’ in Raag Kedar.

Karam kije tajdare Madina

21 ASHOK M VAISHNAV January 12, 2013 at 10:41 am

Shri N Venkatraman has lent a much needed platform of identifying songs their classical base.
As “karam Ke Jee Ae’ reminds of Bekas Pe Karam Kijiye, “Husna Ki Baraat Chali” of Mughl-e-Azam reminds us “Tu Gnag Ke Mauj Men’ of Baiju Bawra.

In fact, quite a few of the Naat songs that one gets to listen ( that of singers like Mubarak Begum or Shamshad Begum, as examples) have great resemblance to what we know as film songs. I have observed a similar style in the way devotional songs performeda at public functions of Jains ( in Ahmedabad). In fact, the commercial players make such a cacophony that you practically miss the words, but can not miss the underlying Hindi film song.

I would also take the opportunity to present a few more of other than solo songs of Mubarak Begum, to help complete the broad canvas of her range:

Yeh Munh Aur Masoor Ki Daal – Around The World in Eight Dollars (1967) – Shanker Jaikishan – with Sharda –

Mahlon Men Rahanewale Haumen Tere Dar Se Kyaa – Shabab (1954) Naushad [Mubarak Begum and Bande Hasan have have sang along with chorus in this song , hence technically , this song is listed as Mohammad Rafi Solo. Mubarak Begum has noted this incident with a tinge of lament in her interview]

Tu Ne Teri Nazar Ne To Kafir Bana Diya – Fariyad (1964) – Snehal Bhatkar – with Mohammad Rafi –

Qafas Main Dala Mujhe – Tatar Ka Chor (1955) – Khayyam – with Talat Mahmood and Asha Bhosle –

Zara Keh Do Fizaon Se – Gogola (1965) – Roy Frank – with Talat Mahmood –

Kya Parvah…Chalaa Chal Musafir – Maa Kaa Aansoo – (1959) Sardar Malik – with Mohammad Rafi – a devotional song

Ghunghat Hatayke – Rangeen Raaaten (1961) Roshan– with Sudha Malhotra –

Oh Sanam Tere Liye Jaage Hain – Ganga Maange Balidaan (1981) Prem Dhawan [“One of last three songs recorded by the two Begums, unfortunately the last released songs for Shamshad Begum and probably Mubarak Begum too.”] –

Hame Dum Daile Soutan Ghar Jaana – Ye Dil Kisko Doon – Iqbaal Quereshi- with Asha Bhosle –

Mehfil Men Aap Aaye – Mohabbat Isko Kahate Hain –(1965) – Khayyam

2 songs from Sunehari Nagin – Kalyanji Anandji – with Lata Mangeshkar and Kamal Barot –

Hamne Suna Hai… Dil Kaise Sambhaloge Lala – Paanch Quidi (1981) – Bappi Lahiri – with Shobha Gurtu –

Ek Tum Paa Ke Saare Jahan Ko Paa Liya – Kade Dhup Kade Chhaan (1967) – A Punjabi Film – Babul – with Suman Kalyanpur –


Jab Ishq Kahi Ho Jata Hai – Arzoo (1865) Shanker Jaikishan – with Asha Bhosle – [Composition of this quawwali is credited to Shanker, who has experimented with fusion of a classical form with use of Sitar and Piano in the orchestration].

Qurban Gaye Tujh Pe Gori – Sau Ka Note (1955) S Mohinder – with Shamshad Begum

Dil Hum Se Ko Who Lagaye – Baradari (1955) – Nashad – with Lata Mangeshkar –

Maan Maan Maan Zamana Hai – Raaz (1959) – Feroz Nizami – a western dance – with Ahmed Rushdi – [Another clip for this song credits Zubaida Khanum for this song – – I have also heard this song for the first time. There are couple of more songs also rendered by Zubaida Kanum from this Pakistani Film.- But voice is very different there –

Dekh Meri Taraf Khamosh Ho Jana Jara – Quawwali Ki Raat (1964) – Iqbal Qureshi – with Mohammad Rafi –

Ae Jaan-e-Jigar – Quawwali Ki Raat – (1964) Iqbal Qureshi- with Mohammad Rafi –

Inki Dost Se Inki Dushmani – Lucky Number (1961) – with Shanker Das Gupta and Chorus –

Dilwalo Tumhe Ehl-e-Wafa – Merbhai Mera Dushman (1966) Khayyam – with Balbir –

22 AK January 13, 2013 at 2:11 am

@Ashok M Vaishnav, N Venkatraman
You have added days of listening pleausure of Mubarak Begum. I have heard them once, which took me a few hours, but it was thoroughly rewarding. Mubarak Begum did deserve better. With your coments and songs, this blog, I believe, has now the best of her at one place. Thanks for this valuable contribution.

You have more than compensated for your absence. Mughal-e-Azam‘s unreleased qawwali, Husn ki baraat chali has all the old magic of Naushad. Ashokji mentions its similarity to Tu Ganga ki mauj main. Auto-plagiarism (I do not mean it in a pejorative sense, I am using it for want of a better expression) was very conspicuous in Naushad, he repeated his signature refrains quite often. For example, this song reminded me of Tumhare sang main bhi chalungi piya jaise patang beech dor from Sohni Mahiwal. I would be interested in your views on this. The qawwali/mujra by SD Burman is outstanding. Did Mubarak Begum mention that it was not included in the film? I would have to go through all her interviews again, because this song is not mentioned in the Hindi Film Geet Kosh. Kabhi to pura tol prani is an interesting song – parody, yet bearing all the elegance of Snehal Bhatkar. The antaras of the song contain spoofs of Panchhi kahe hot udas (KL Saigal’s non-film song), Main nahi makahn khayo and Pradeep’s Mukhda dekh darpan mein. Parody with a difference! Incidentally, Panchhi kahe hot udas has also been spoofed by Kishore Kumar in Ek roz hamari bhi daal galegi from Bandi (1957), music Hemant Kumar. Some classics become favourites for parodies, I think it is a sign of their greatness.

As usual you have again added another horde of gems. Two of the songs you have mentioned, Hum dil bechate hain and Gham chhro ye sare zamane ka, have already figured in my post (#6 and #9). Many of the other songs are so good that these can make another post on her. Shama ghul kar ke na ja is an outstanding ghazal. Ye ji ye ji yaad rakhana sanam pyar ki dastan – this song mesmerises you the first time you hear it. And who are the creators? Lyrics Ghafil, music Krishna Kamal, and the film Dakoo Mansoor. I think we are lucky that we had B grade films, and unknown or ignored geniuses. Tune teri nazar ne to kafir bana diya – Snehal Bhatkar is another genius. A great duet, could easily rank among Rafi’s best. Zara kah do fizaon se another magic by unknown/forgotten composer, Roy Frank from a B-grade film Gogola(!).

Sunehri Nagin‘s songs I have used in my post on Kamal Barot. Talking of B-grade films, it has a heavenly Mukesh-Lata Mangeshkar duet too – Tujhe chand kahun ya phhol kahun – which I have used earlier in the post on Mukesh-Lata duets.

Panch Qaidi song is interesting. The female duet is pcturised on two huge men in drag. I can recognise Amjad Khan, but cannot make out the other. But are the ‘men’ in the mujra scene so easily fooled?

Both you and Venkatramanji have mentioned about some naat songs bearing similarity to some famous film songs. Did you notice that Man ki baatein man mein rakhna is exact copy of Nagri nagri dware dware dhoondhu re sanwariya?

23 n.venkataraman January 17, 2013 at 8:13 pm

As rightly pointed by Ashok Vaishnavji ‘Mughal-e-Azam’‘s unreleased Qawwali, ‘Husn ki baraat chali’ and ‘Tu Ganga ki mauj main’ of ‘Baiju Bawra’ are similar, especially in the refrain part. I listened to the song ‘Tumhare sang main bhi chalungi piya jaise patang beech dor’. It was from the film Sohni Mahiwal (1958). This song was also based on Raag Bhairavi. It appears to me that the refrains and the rhythm of both the songs are somewhat similar but not closely akin. The song ‘Diya na Bhuje’ from the film ‘Son of India’ is also based on Raag Bhairavi. While listening to her interview again I noticed that she refers to the song which was not included in the film Mughal-e Azam. The song was not the one mentioned by me in my comment, but it was a Qawwali number ‘Mehfil me Nishana aur bi hai’.
Mubarak Begum did not mention that the qawwali/mujra number composed by SD Burman was not included in the film. In the 2nd part of the interview with Rais Siddiqui, she said that she went to S D Burman Saheb with her father and SDB asked her to comeback after ‘polishing’ her voice. Later she was called by S D Burman and was asked to sing the (now famous) song ‘Wo na ayenge palat kar unhe lakh hum bulayen’ in his film ‘Devdas’. On being asked whether she had sung for S D Burman in any other movie she replied in negative, but she said she had worked with R D Burman for the film Benazir. Here, she also mentions that she had worked in many films of Bimal Roy. In the film Benazir (1964) RDB had assisted SDB. Was there any other film by the name of ‘Benazir’ where RDB was the Music Director? But I am surprised to know that this song was also not included in the film.
It is interesting to note that ‘Man ki baatein man mein rakhna’ is a copy of Nagri nagri dware dware dhoondhu re sanwariya from ‘Mother India’.
Among the songs added by Ashok Vaishnavji (comment # 21) I liked ‘Qafas Main Daala Mujje’, ‘Zarah Keh Do Fizaon se’, ‘Dil Humse ko Woh lagaye’ and both the duets with Md.Rafi from the film ‘Qawwali ki Raat’.
Thanks once again.

24 AK February 22, 2013 at 7:09 pm

It has been mentioned in a comment in the Listeners’ Bulletin (issue no 155) that the male voice in the song from Teesri Kasam is of Shankar Shambhu (duo?). I had rightly guessed that it had to be a professional qawwali singer.

25 gaddeswarup April 20, 2013 at 11:58 am

I did not check all the comments above and so I am not sure whether it is new. It seems to be from Basera 1950

Prem kahani chhede jawani by Mubarak Begum from Basera (1950), music MA Rauf

26 AK April 20, 2013 at 12:28 pm

The song you have discovered is an absolute gem! Again what one cannot fail to notice is the uncanny similarity with Suraiya’s voice and style. It is known she did admire her. Her voice later became very different, it developed a unique tang. Was it involuntary or did she make conscious efforts to move away from her idol?

27 gaddeswarup April 20, 2013 at 1:15 pm

I noticed it accidentally while browsing YouTube, possibly because of Bhanumati picture. I think she was very young at that time. Then I noticed your comment above in the second song which was a sung the year before. I really do not know these things. I just liked it and mentioned so that it is not missed. There seem to be so many old songs that I do not know and can still enjoy listening to them for the first time. I used to think that it is the songs that you listen when you are young that stay with you. As is often the case, I am wrong.

28 n.venkataraman April 20, 2013 at 2:39 pm

A very good find. I too initially thought that it was Suraiyya singing. Thank you Gaddeswarupji.

Hereis a beautiful duet ‘Ghar ghar aye badarwa kaare’ by Talat Mahmood and Mubarak Begum from ‘Dak Babu’ (1954), lyrics Prem Dhawan, music Dhaniram.

But there seems to be some confusion regarding the female singer.
To me the voice does sound like that of Mubarak Begum.
The uploader of this song Mirzaji also says that it is Mubarak Begum.
But the video clipping at 2:31 shows the female singer as Asha Bhosle.
And to add to the confusion ‘rumahale’ in his comments says it is Suman Kalyanpur.
I also checked with other sites and I found all the three names in three different sites.

29 ANIL B KHANNA July 24, 2013 at 11:23 am

One of her best duets and also one of the best duets of all duet songs sung so far which can be in a collectors list is from the old film Badal Aur Bijlee-Raat kitne haseen zindgi mehrban baat kuch bhi nahin ban gayee dastan. The duet is with Talat Mehmood.

30 AK July 24, 2013 at 3:04 pm

You are right. It is an outstanding song:

31 Jignesh Kotadia September 28, 2013 at 12:59 am

I saw Mubarak begum’s name in 1948 too in this song.
Film: chupke chupke, 1948
Singers: mubarak begum and sdbatish
Music: sdbatish

I saw her name in this YT link and also at I have an email discussion with honorable admin of Myswar mr. Param about the female singer of this duet whether she is really mubarak begum or anyone else. He said that he personally is unable to distinguish the voice but on SDBatish’s website(maintained by his son) lists mubarak begum as the singer of this duet so he has kept the info as it is.
Now, i have a suspicion, the singer is not m.begum but someone else like hameeda bano. Can u please solve this topic. What is there in hfgk abt this song ?

32 Jignesh Kotadia September 28, 2013 at 1:14 am
33 AK September 28, 2013 at 9:08 pm

HFGK does not mention the name of any singer in the list of songs. One of the actors in the movie is Nirmala Devi (she is probably the one who is the mother of Govinda). She was a famous classical singer who also sang several songs in films. From what I recall of her voice the song could be in her voice. It does not sound like Mubarak Begum.

34 mumbaikar8 May 30, 2014 at 10:50 pm

In this song, Kya khabar thi yu tamnna khak me, from Rishta, Mubarak Begum is very much under influence of Suraiya and as sweet as her.

35 AK May 31, 2014 at 11:23 am

Thanks a lot for sharing this sweet song.

36 VINOD KUMAR ARYA January 25, 2015 at 2:10 pm

I too am an ardent listener and collector of old songs from the days of 78 RPM & LP record times. I thoroughly enjoyed the articles on Mubarak Begum ji. Providing the forgotten songs and unknown songs to the music lovers is just great. But going through different write ups on internet by innumerable listeners of Mubarak Begum ji, it is very painful to know that today she lives in a very pathetic condition. Please, can we all of us pool together whatever money we can contribute and present a small purse to her and also arrange an appreciation program of her songs,with her presence at Mumbai? She has given us all immense pleasure through her songs and can we do what is due to her in return as a good gesture. I shall be awaiting response from the contributors of writers in SONGS OF YORE. You can reach me on my mobile phone +919845078505. vinod kumar arya.

37 D P Rangan October 5, 2015 at 11:44 pm

I am posting a song by the revered lady in Daera (1953). It is in slow meter but extremely soothing to hear. Could be mistaken for a lullaby. A very touching scene – Roopmala young bride comforting a pathos laden Meena Kumari reclining in a bed. In fact throughout most of the film Meena Kumari is shown resting in a bed. She played the role of a frustrated young woman with a halter round her neck, i.e. an aged husband to perfection as was her wont.

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