The Unlucky Genius Ghulam Mohammad’s best songs for Talat Mahmood

February 24, 2016

Ghulam Mohammad and Talat MahmoodGhulam Mohammad was Naushad’s senior in the music industry by several years. He was an established tabla player, earning Rs 60 per month, with Ustad Jhande Khan, when Naushad joined him, in 1937, as a piano player at Rs. 40 per month. Fate catapulted Naushad to commanding heights, making him the greatest Mughal of Movie Music. And fate destined Ghulam Mohammad to work for several years as his Chief Music Assistant. Concurrently, he also composed music independently in several films, giving outstanding music. When Naushad broke with AR Kardar finally in 1952, Ghulam Mohammad, too, decided to cease being his assistant. Dil-e-Naadan (1953) was launched with great fanfare typical of Kardar and its music was entrusted to Ghulam Mohammad, hoping that he would repeat the magic of Naushad. Its music was absolutely mesmerizing – not a poor copy of Naushad, but very different and very original. But Ghulam Mohammad was not lucky, the film bombed.

A year later, Mirza Ghalib was a masterly work, earning a well-deserved National Award. It boasted of all-time great music. But the film flopped, and Ghulam Mohammad came to be known as unsaleable in the soulless world of commercial cinema.

His most famous work, Pakeezah (1972), which also eventually became a great commercial success, came to be released four years after his death on 17 March 1968. His soul must be turning in his grave to see that the film’s credit titles mention Naushad’s name first, under the heading “Title and Background Music”, followed by his name under the title “Music”. Naushad publicly claimed that besides the background score, a number of songlets and three songs – Inhi logo ne, Chalte chalte and Mausam hai aashiqaana – were composed by him. Ghulam Mohammad would have been further mortified to see Shankar-Jaikishan singing away Jai bolo Beimaan ki with the Filmfare Award. The film took over ten years in the making as Kamal Amrohi-Meena Kumari marriage hit the rocks. Meanwhile black & white was no longer in vogue and the film had to be redone in colour, but Meena Kumari’s severe drinking and health problems would have made her quite unpresentable compared to what she was ten years ago. Many shots had to be taken in profile or long shot; in some dance sequences, Padma Khanna had to be used as a double. The film opened to a tepid response, but soon Meena Kumari passed away, and the film became a roaring success, which was attributed to a sympathy wave for the Tragedienne. Poor Ghulam Mohammad!

Born in village Naal in Rajasthan, Ghulam Mohammad learnt the dholak and tabla from his father, Nabibakhsh, in childhood. He was also a trained dancer and worked with travelling theatres, such as Lahore’s New Albert Theatre Company and Bikaner’s JB Company. He got further training in the tabla, dholak and pakhavaj from Hyderabad’s Ghulam Rasool Khan. He got work as a tabla player in Saroj Movietone’s film Bhartrihari (1932). Thereafter, he associated with Anil Biswas, and later with Naushad from 1943 (Sanjog) to 1952 (Aan).

In all, Ghulam Mohammad gave music independently for over 30 films. There is some uncertainty about his first film. Pankaj Raag’s Dhunon Ki Yatra mentions Mera Geet (1946, with some other MDs), Doli (1947) and Tiger Queen (1947) as his first films. However, several sources, including HFGK, mention Mera Khwab (1943) as his first film. HFGK also mentions one Ghulam Mohammad as the music director of a much earlier film, Baanke Sipahi (1937). Sudhir Kapur speculates on Atul’s site that this could be the same person, and HFGK might have missed to make the correction when the first volume (1931-40) was published later than the second volume (1941-50). This is completely in the realm of conjecture. One doubt arises because there is a long gap of six years between Baanke Sipahi and Mera Khwab. No song from the first film is available as of now. Even if we take 1943 as the beginning of Ghulam Mohammad’s independent career, he is among the earliest music directors, spanning both the Vintage and the Golden Era. Besides the films mentioned above, his music in Grihasthi, Pagree (1948), Shayar (1949), Bikhare Moti (1951), Amber (1952), Laila Majnu, Rail Ka Dibba (1953), Paak Daaman (1957), Maalik (1958), Do Gunde (1959) and Shama (1961) became very famous and is popular among music lovers.

Ghulam Mohammad has always been mentioned with high respect on Songs of Yore. His songs have apeared in a number of posts, such as in the detailed review of the best songs of 1951 and 1953, which was his big year. His Rafi-Late duet Bheegi palkein utha from Do Gunde has been listed very high in their best ten, above Nuahshad. His Suraiya’s songs – Mast aankhon mein shararat kabhi aisi to na thi and Aapse pyar hua jata hai – has been listed in her best songs. There have been several other mentions, and request by the readers that he needs to be covered independently. I am his huge admirer. Except for a few songs, his well-known songs are very different from Naushad’s style. I can’t say the same for another similar case of Dattaram with respect to Shankar-Jaikishan.

The best way to start Ghulam Mohammad is with Talat Mahmood. He used him in seven films: 1. Nazneen (1951), 2. Ajeeb Ladki, 3. Sheesha (1952), 4. Dil-e-Naadan, 5. Laila Majnu (1953), 6. Mirza Ghalib (1954) and Maalik (1958). There are others who have used him in more films, or might have composed more songs for him. For example, I could count nine films in which Shankar-Jaikishan have used Talat Mahmood’s voice. But whenever I think of Talat Mahmood’s best songs, Ghulam Mohammad’s name springs to my mind. If you associate Anil Biswas, C Ramchandra, Madan Mohan and SD Burman for the best of Talat Mahmood, I put Ghulam Mohammad at equal footing with them.

Let me start my tribute to the Unlucky Genius with his best songs for Talat Mahmood as a tribute to the singer, too, with velvet voice on his 92nd birth anniversary.

1.  Zindagi ki qasam ho chuke unke hum from Maalik (1958), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni

If you can’t tire of Zindagi denewale sun, here is another one in the same league. This song is up there in the list my best songs of Talat Mahmood by any music director.

2.  Ishq mujhako nahi wahshat hi sahi from Mirza Ghalib (1954), lyrics Ghalib

With such soulful singing, it is no wonder Talat Mahmood came to be known as Ghazal King.

3.  Phir mujhe deeda-e-tar yaad aya from Mirza Ghalib

Mirza Ghalib had only two solos and a duet by Talat Mahmood out of 11 songs, but Talat Mahmood became ever etched in our memory as Ghalib going on Bharat Bhushan. Many years later, Ghalib was brought alive by Jagjit Singh on Naseeruddin Shah for the eponymous TV serial by Gulzar.

4.  Chal diya kaarwan from Laila Majnu (1953), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni

Before the transformation by OP Nayyar and Shankar-Jaikishan, Shammi Kapoor was a serious hero, singing such poignant songs like his other peers. Now it may seem discordant on him, but for the music lovers we only knew it as a Talat Mahmood song, and what a beautiful song at that.

5.  Chaandni raaton mein jis dam yaad aa jaate ho tum from Naazneen (1951), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni

This should be their first song together, but Ghulam Mohammad captures the emotion in Talat Mahmood’s voice perfectly.

6.  Jo khushi se chot khaye wo jigar kahan se laaun from Dil-e-Naadan (1953), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni

The best ten male solos of 1953 were topped by six songs by Talat Mahmood, including Zindagi denewale sun from this film. Dil-e-Naadan was a cornucopia of several outstanding songs; forget how the movie fared. Jo khushi se chot khaye is another gem from this film.

7.  Ye raat suhani raat nahin ai chaand sitaaron so jaao from Dil-e-Naadan

Here is another one which was lost in the bountiful Talat riches of 1953.

8.  Dil-e-Naadan tujhe hua kya hai (with Suraiya) from Mirza Ghalib

This beautiful duet with Suraiya brings up the third Talat Mahmood song in Mirza Ghalib.

9.  Ek bewafa ko dil ka sahara samajh liya (with Lata Mangeshkar) from Ajeeb Ladki (1952) lyrics Shakeel Badayuni

Ajeeb Ladki had two Talat-Lata duets, the other being Chhodo chhodoji piya mora todo na jiya. But Ek bewafa ko dil ka sahara samajh liya is more in the line of Talat in a blue mood.

10.  Man dheere dheere gaaye re (with Suraiya) from Maalik (1958)

And here is a pleasant romantic duet with Suraiya.

11.  Mohabbat ki dhun beqaraaron se poochho (with Jajit Kaur and Sudha Malhotra) from Dil-e-Naadan (1953), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni

I can’t help repeat an earlier song, because it is among the songs I can hear endlessly. This figured in the Best duets of 1953 (as duets include triad and mixed songs in my classification). Incidentally, several songs of Ghulam Mohammad figured in different best lists of that year. He was such a genius. It is a tragedy that he was ‘unlucky’, but for music lovers it does not matter. He is among the greatest, and I end this post with a repeat song which is absolutely charming.

{ 71 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rakesh Srivastava February 24, 2016 at 10:19 am

AK Ji,
All songs are mesmerizing and magical. Ek Bewafa Ko Dil…is my most favorite.

2 Ashok M Vaishnav February 24, 2016 at 10:42 am

AKji has further upped the bar – this time picking up a very unique subject that would do full justice to both protagonists.
Ghulam Mohammad certainly deserves such an adulation, even though it may not ever help in removing the ‘unlucky’ tab.

3 Dinesh K Jain February 24, 2016 at 10:54 am

Thank you, AK, for another engrossing write-up, on a topic of my particular interest too.

But the main reason for my ‘feedback’ is to walk into a big controversy: Naushad’s claim to the three top songs of Ghulam Mohammad’s from Pakeezah. To my mind, it seems obvious that all Pakeezah numbers belonged to GM and GM alone; after all he had so many long years to compose and recompose them and then also fine-tune them, and his musical prowess is well beyond any doubt. What seems to have happened is that upon GM’s demise when Naushad was brought in, he may have given a touch here and there to some of the numbers, and then he was swayed by the temptation to claim the top songs when Pakeezah’s music became superhit, with nobody out there to contest his tongue-in-cheek claim. I would even add that it was beneath Naushad to make such a claim, and the fact is that no one from anywhere came forward to support it even if nobody questioned it either. Insofar as I am concerned, the Pakeezah songs belonged in their entirety to GM, and it was a top effort by any reckoning.

4 A. N. Gandhe February 24, 2016 at 10:56 am

Excellent write up. Sir, i am happy that My favorites of Shama and Malik figure in the list. It was really unfortunate that all his movies including Shama and Mirza Ghalib flopped.

5 Mahesh February 24, 2016 at 11:19 am

AK ji,

Many Thanks for this treat.
Its a collection of a genius superimposed on class singer.
I personally would rank Lata’s solos for him the greatest of his compositions.
Hope to have more and more on Ghulam Mohammed.

6 N.S.Rajan February 24, 2016 at 11:46 am

Truly said. A genius condemned to remain in the background, unrecognised and terribly under utilised, only because he was never lucky.

And, yes. The songs he composed for Talat were as good as any composed for Talat by Ghulam Mohammad’s more lionised peers.

This is a commendable selection. However, I cannot help recalling one of his compositions from “Mirza Ghalib” ( a special favourite of mine), that fills the bill perfectly: ” Hain aur bhi duniyaan mein sukhanwar bahut achche. Kehte hain ki Ghalib ka hai andaaze bayaan aur. Just substitute “Mausikaar” for sukhanwar and ” Ghulam Mohammad” for Ghalib, and everything clicks into place.

Thank you for a delightful perspective.

7 ashok kumar tyagi February 24, 2016 at 12:54 pm

AK ji,
A lovely write-up. GM’s beautiful music and Talat’s unique voice. It is a great combination.
GM was very strong in percussion section because of his family background ,and additionally, because of advanced training in Hydrabad. He brought with him high tradition of Rajasthani music and he added to it lovely rhythm patterns because of his expertise in playing tabla, dholak, mridangam, ghatam etc. His brothers/cousins were also experts. MDs like him raised the standard of rhythm from the ordinary standard of the films of1930s.

8 D P Rangan February 24, 2016 at 1:56 pm

I fully concur with the observations of Dinesh on Pakeezah. Probably had Ghulam Mohammad been alive, Naushad would not have made such a claim, outrageous as it is even had he been called to do some not needed polishing. Naushad had already achieved his pinnacle and there was no need to make such tall claims. None of the songs has the stamp of Naushad style. I am searching for other gems of this M D and make a reference to them here before Bhatiaji bursts on the scene and steals everybody’s thunder.

9 D P Rangan February 24, 2016 at 2:01 pm

Here is a delectable duet from the film Amber (1952), lyrics by Shakeel Badauni

Hum Tum Yeh Bahar

10 D P Rangan February 24, 2016 at 2:08 pm

Here is another great piece from Nazneen (1951)

Parwane oh parwane

11 D P Rangan February 24, 2016 at 2:16 pm

Here is some more information on the music director from one of the commentators in You Tube.

Ghulam Mohammed was born in Bikaner, Rajasthan, into a family of musicians. His father, Nabi Baksh, was an accomplished tabla player.
He started his career as a child actor at age six with the Punjab-based New Albert Theatrical Company, he soon became popular and eventually became the Dance-Director of the company.[4]
In 1924, he came to Bombay, where after a struggle of eight years, in 1932 he got the chance of playing tabla in Saroj Movietone’s Productions’ “Raja Bharthari”.
In music composition, he first became an assistant, to noted music director, Naushad in Kargar Productions, and worked with him and Anil Biswas,[2] for over 12 years, before giving music independently, in the film ‘Tiger Queen’ (1947). He went on to give music in many memorable films and even won the 1955 National Film Award for Best Music Direction for his film Mirza Ghalib (1954). His score for Pakeezah is still considered one of the all time great music scores in Indian Cinema.[5]
He died on 17 March 1968, much before his magnum opus, Pakeezah was released.
In 1997, he was honoured, in the ‘Keep Alive’ music show series in Mumbai, that honours all-time film music composers of India.[6][7]
An extensive audio – visual programme on Ghulam Mohammed was presented by Mumbai based music troupe MUSICOLOR in 2010 where music lovers cherished the composers gems.

12 D P Rangan February 24, 2016 at 2:19 pm

From my memory I am posting another song of this M D from the film
Hoor e Arab (1955) sung by Lata Mangeshkar

Ta ra ra ra ram mere dil men sanam

13 AK February 24, 2016 at 2:37 pm

Rakesh Shrivastava, Ashokji
Thanks a lot for your appreciation.

14 AK February 24, 2016 at 2:56 pm

Dinesh, DP Rangan (#8)
Thanks a lot for your appreciation. I wouldn’t not use the term “outrageous” for Naushad’s claim. He could have done more to understate his role as a respect to his departed colleague. Probably no one would know whether he did the three songs from zero up, or there was a basic tune, but his own reworking it was of a degree that he had no moral dilemma in claiming these as his own. But for record sake he had profuse praise for him in this signed article. He also makes some reference to Mirza Ghalib and Pakeezah and how he was approached first and how on his recommendation Ghulam Mohammad was taken for theses films. Since this came after GM was no more, you are free to draw your own conclusions.

Incidentally, I understand Ghulam Mohammad’s family was not very happy about Naushad getting such a limelight with regard to Pakeezah.

15 AK February 24, 2016 at 3:03 pm

AN Gandhe,
Thanks a lot for your appreciation.

Thanks a lot for your appreciation. Besides Talat Mahmood, the other singers I associate with Ghulam Mohammad are Suraiya and Shamshad Begum. Of course, there are a number of Vintage Era singers he used. He gave some great songs for Rafi, too. Lata Mangeshkar is so strongly associated with several other music directors, such as Anil Biswas, Naushad, C Ramchandra, SD Burman, Shankar-Jaikishan, Madan Mohan, Roshan and Chitragupta that Ghulam Mohammad does not instantly comes to mind. Now that you mention this combination, I would have to look more carefully.

16 AK February 24, 2016 at 3:12 pm

NS Rajan,
One wonders why luck should be so unkind to such a talented person. One can only quote Bhartrihari:
यत्विधिना लिखितम्‌ ललाटपटले तन्मार्जितुम्‌ को क्षमः

You have given a very interesting play of words with the Mirza Ghalib song. Ghulam Mohammad had indeed a distinct अंदाज़े बयाँ.

17 AK February 24, 2016 at 3:17 pm

Ashok Kumar Tyagi,
Thank you Sir for your appreciation. It would be interesting to compare his Talat songs with those by other music director. I am leaving that exercise to the readers.

18 AK February 24, 2016 at 3:34 pm

DP Rangan,
Ta ra ra rum from Hoor-e-Arab would endorse Mahesh’s point that he gave some great songs for Lata Mangeshkar. Thanks for refreshing my memory. However, I find combination of C Ramchnadra and Naushad in this. Parwaane O parwaane strikes you as a C Ramchandra composition. If I may make a general statement, C Ramchandra developed a very distinct Lata Mangeshkar style in the early 50s for mellow and soulful songs, which many music directors used. You can see this trace in Madan Mohan’s songs in Ada and . It might have required some effort to get out of this powerful influence, and the MDs might have used this style instinctively. At the same time, you find very distinct compositions by SD Burman, and Roshan even in his early years. Shankar-Jaikishan were hugely talented, and their dance songs I have earlier presented are entirely their own. It would be interesting to hear what the experts say on this.

The bio-profile you have cited from YT seems to be somewhat sketchy about Ghulam Mohammad’s early career. You may like to compare it with what I have presented in my write up.

19 ksbhatia February 24, 2016 at 3:37 pm

AK ji ;
I have no words to express my happiness . All the songs posted are Marvels . ….and what a combo Gulam Mohd. and Talat makes. Listening to….. Chal diya carvaan ….make you feel following camels foot steps on sands of time . GM had a great sense of making finely tuned composition vis a vis the command of the situation and lyrics . Simply outstanding ! I think calling him assistant to Naushad is an under statement . His style of orchestration was very different and could easily be recognised by their fan followers .

D P Rangan’ji ;
Your comment about me made me a good hearty laugh to my tears .

20 P. S. Seshadri February 24, 2016 at 3:55 pm

AKji, a very heady cocktail! Whom shall I praise, Talat, my everything, or Ghulam Mohammad who is in the exclusive category of “unlucky music directors.” Unlucky? When you listen to the songs composed by the unlucky, you will immediately realize that the term is a misnomer. AKji, thanks for the cocktail, I’m heady!!!!

21 AK February 24, 2016 at 4:15 pm

KS Bhatiaji, PS Seshadriji,
It is gratifying to know that there are so many persons out there in the world who are intoxicated by the same cocktail. Before Songs of Yore, I used to think that my taste was a bit odd. “Unlucky” I used in the context of “success” in the worldly sense.

22 gaddeswarup February 24, 2016 at 4:46 pm

A personal anecdote. I listened to ‘zindagi denewalesun ‘ when I was about ten years old and did not hear it for a long time. Somehow I remembered the first few words and the tune though I did not know Hindi. I joined TIFR in 1968 when I was 23 and became friends with one Amit Roy who could sing very well from Baul songs to film songs sounding like the original singers. One day I asked him whether there was such song and he immediately sang it just as I remembered it. Just recently, I heard a version by Trilok Kapoor which again sounded quite good. It remains one of those songs which I listen to a few times every year.

23 gaddeswarup February 24, 2016 at 4:47 pm

Oops. 1964 not 1968.

24 Mohan Lal February 24, 2016 at 5:38 pm

New Delhi, 24 FEB 2016


Under the heading “Forgotten Composers” (above under the main heading “CATEGORIES”, there is no mention of the genius, the music director Sajjad Hussain of the golden era of bollywood film music.

I hope you will kindly bring out an article/blog on this genius too for Hindi film music lowers and of course of your blog. Thanks.

Mohan Lal

25 Anu Warrier February 24, 2016 at 6:28 pm

Nice write-up, AK. I like a lot of Ghulam Mohammed’s songs for Lata. He certainly didn’t see the success he deserved. And his magnum opus released after he died.

It is unfortunate that Naushad felt the need to lay claim to his one-time assistant’s legacy. One would have thought he would be gracious in his endeavour to complete the task that his assistant had left behind. For the life of me, I cannot see Naushad’s touch in any of the songs that he claimed as his own. The truth, to quote the Bard, lies buried with his bones.

In fact, if you look at Naushad’s music while Ghulam Mohammed assisted him, and after, there’s a significant difference. I much prefer the earlier Naushad.

26 Ravindra Kelkar February 24, 2016 at 7:03 pm

Thank you for coming out with this combo of Gulam Mohammad & Talat. It’s of a very high standard & quality indeed.
I agree with Dinesh & DP Rangan that the three songs which Naushad claimed, do not sound like Naushad compositions. However, we may never know the truth. Basically, I feel there was no need for Naushad to claim the credit, Naushad being already a very successful & well acclaimed MD.

27 Ravindra Kelkar February 24, 2016 at 7:06 pm

Anu ji,
I completely agree with your views.

28 AK February 24, 2016 at 8:00 pm

Mohan Lal,
Sajjad Husain is regarded as one of the greatest and the most original of music directors. If I cover him, I wouldn’t put him in this category, but under the main list.

29 AK February 24, 2016 at 8:07 pm

Anu, Ravindra Kelkar,
Thanks a lot for your appreciation. I have the same feeling that Pakeezah songs do not have Naushad touch. By that time he was well past his prime and he was in Tangewala and Ganwaar phase. The only charitable explanation could be that even in 60s he helped his erstwhile assistant pro bono, and later he mentioned his contribution in a routine manner without meaning to minimise GM’s role.

30 SSW February 24, 2016 at 8:29 pm

Nice to pick up Ghulam Mohammad AK. Not as mentioned as some but the quality of his output was every bit as good as any.

On Shammi Kapoor and GM and TM, Talat seemed to have some difficulty in holding the long notes in “Chal diya caravan”. For Ghulam Mohammad this was an uncharacteristically slow beat and if you listen to the antara “O jaane waale” there are interesting quirks. The first line is held with high long notes but there is a quick return to the tonic in a series of steps before going into “fariyaad …”. All of this is done without actually changing the metre and does not look out of place. Its quite beautiful.

I would have thought that Lata’s song from Nazneen “Parwane O Parwane” is much closer to Khemchand Prakash’s modulation rather than either Naushad or C Ramchandra.

“Zindagi Denewale Sun” is deceptive. Seems completely western but the melody is based on raga Bhoopali though you could argue that it is a conventional pentatonic scale.

31 D P Rangan February 24, 2016 at 8:38 pm

Your analysis of the music and linking it to CR and Naushad made me think a lot. After all there are only seven swaras from which all the music is derived and hence this sort of similarities is inevitable. Still ta ra ram sounds quite original by any standards. The other song does remind one of CR. I have heard each song posted by you several times over years and Talat being a great favourite has acquitted himself very well for this MD. Congrats to you on introducing a new theme in the current year – UNLUCKY covering a singer and a music director. There are plenty belonging to this category to be brought into limelight. Considering the scanty information available on them, I think it would be an uphill task. I look forward to plenty of innovative posts from you. We all know AK is a bit soft on his favourite MD Naushad and will defend him. RK (26) thanks for supporting me.

Bhatiaji thank you very much for making light of my flippant observations and taking it in a lighter vein. If it has brought laughter and tears I feel very happy and appreciate your great sense of humour. Better be quick. I am eyeing on more songs for posting.

32 Madhupati Sharma February 24, 2016 at 8:58 pm

Good article series on Musical Unlucky ones.. Zindagi ki kasam is mindblowing. Thanks for great inputs.

33 arvindersharma February 24, 2016 at 10:37 pm

AK Ji,
An great article on my favorite composer Ghulam Mohammed, and what a great combination with another favorite Talat, on the latter’s birthday.
All songs you’ve chosen are favorites, and I believe that Ghulam Mohammed composed great songs for Talat, Lata and Rafi, especially duets.
And the composer had a flair for melody, his strongest point.
Other readers have said much about his ill luck, and I am also on the same page on this.
Two of his lovely duets with Talat I’ll post here, a great melancholy and a sweet melody.
A duet with Asha from Laila Majnu
Dekh li ae ishq Teri meharbani dekh li

Another with Lata from Ajeeb Ladki
Chorro chorro Ji piya

34 arvindersharma February 24, 2016 at 10:54 pm

Forgot to mention another favorite from Laila Majnu
Talat with Asha
Baharein ki duniya pukare Tu aaja’
AK Ji,
An great article on my favorite composer Ghulam Mohammed, and what a great combination with another favorite Talat, on the latter’s birthday.
All songs you’ve chosen are favorites, and I believe that Ghulam Mohammed composed great songs for Talat, Lata and Rafi, especially duets.
And the composer had a flair for melody, his strongest point.
Other readers have said much about his ill luck, and I am also on the same page on this.
Two of his lovely duets with Talat I’ll post here, a great melancholy and a sweet melody.
A duet with Asha from Laila Majnu
Dekh li ae ishq Teri meharbani dekh li

Another with Lata from Ajeeb Ladki
Chorro chorro Ji piya

35 arvindersharma February 24, 2016 at 10:58 pm

AK Ji,
By mistake, my previous text has been printed again and the link to the song Baharon ki duniya has vanished. Regret the inconvenience

36 AK February 24, 2016 at 11:05 pm

Nice analysis of Chal diya karwan. Converesely, Talat was in his elements on short high notes. Zindagi denewale sun and Zindagi ki qasam are cases in point. Madan Mohan’s Meri yaad mein tum na aansoo bahana is also charming because of this quality. But isn’t it equally true for all singers – they sound better and more in control at high notes?

Parwaane O parwaane: I felt traces of Urankhatola orchestration. Hence Naushad came instinctively to mind. He had assisted Khemchand Prakash. Therefore, somewhere they have a shared tradition.

37 AK February 24, 2016 at 11:18 pm

DP Rangan,
It is not just a question of 7 notes – if you include the soft and hard notes and the micro- notes (shrutis), you are talking about 35. But you also glide between the notes continuously, making them infinite. But even that is not the issue. It is the use of particular combinations, movements or ‘chalan’, and instrumental arrangements which may strike you one as similar to another.

Did you see me defending Naushad? I thought on Ghulam Mohammad-Paakeezah episode I left no one in doubt that I was with GM.

38 AK February 24, 2016 at 11:19 pm

Madhupati Sharma,
Thanks a lot for your appreciation.

39 AK February 24, 2016 at 11:20 pm

Arvinder Sharmaji,
Thanks a lot for your appreciation.

40 ksbhatia February 24, 2016 at 11:38 pm

AK ji , Arvinder Sharma ji , D P Rangan ji ;
Whenever I think of Lata, Talat , GM the first song that comes to my mind is……Aasman wale teri duniya se jee gabhraa gaya…….from Laila Majnu . This song takes me to cloud nine whenever I listen to this sad song .
And when I wish to listen to his fast number…..the song by Shamshad Begam from Pardes makes me tap my fingers to the nearest book or table available to match its rhythm and fast beats .
……Mere ghoonger wale baal…..

41 SSW February 25, 2016 at 12:41 am

Nazneen was released a full four years before Uran Khatola, any influence should surely be the reverse. For the rest , Talat was comfortable in the mid-range and even lower notes, it was just that particular song had a slow tempo. I am not sure that singers are more in control in the higher register. That would be entirely a function of the melody. It is possible though that the human ear is more sympathetic to higher pitches maybe because it signifies youth.

42 N Venkataraman February 25, 2016 at 1:07 am

Great work. Ghulam Mohammad, Talat Mahmood and Shakeel Badayuni/Mirza Ghalib combination is absolutely fascinating.

Earlier this year, SoY has proved its uniqueness in “picking the Horses for the courses” and “at identifying birds on the wing”. Both the posts have caught of our flight of imagination and galloped our expectation further. Although you have not officially dedicated this year as the year of Shankar-Jaikishan, you have given enough indication that we are going to have more posts on SJ. And now SoY has taken up the cause of the unloved, the unlucky, the unsung etc. etc. As a result we have two more remarkable posts and may be more on the anvil. And with the accustomed features on Multi version songs of different hues, the popular post on best songs of the year to follow, the ongoing year holds a lot of promise and expectation.

Further to what you have said, permit me to add a few words about Ghulam Mohammad. After his Lahore stint (one and a half years) he, went back to Bikaner, where he joined Bikaner Company of Rajputana, and became quite popular, though via the stage. And his learning in all aspects of music, dancing, acting happened during this period. Probably this was the period he enjoyed the most. It is said that he brought to use for the first time in films such instruments as the dholak, chimta, duff, matka, khanjari etc. With all his background and talent, it is surprising that his stars did not favour him although he was born two minutes after the sighting of the holy Ramzan moon (most probably on 21st November 1903).

Enjoyed the selection of songs. The songs of Ghulam Mohammad in the voice of Talat Mahmood cannot be anything other than outstanding. And mind you, the lyrics of the selected songs were by Mirza Ghalib and Shakeel Badayuni. What more one can ask for? The pick of the lot will be the songs from Dil-e-naadan which has been extensively discussed earlier. SSWji’s knowledgeable discourse on the song Chal diya caravan and other songs adds value to the post. A slightly faster tempo could have given Talat more comfort. Yet, I felt it was quite well rendered. I share Rakesh Srivastava’s liking for the song Ek bewafa ko dil ka sahara samajh liya, based on Raag Shivaranjani, I think, and one of my favourites. Especially, I loved the stanza Jadoo bhari nigah ke dhoke mein aa gayee. Beautiful composition and good lyrics too by Shakeel.

True one can never tire listening to the song Zindagi denewale sun, the guitar prelude is quite attractive. I would like SSWji to add his embellishments. More over we are in the birth centenary year of Shakeel Badayuni and the poet has silently sneaked in, claiming his tribute too along with Ghulam Mohammad and Talat Mahmood. Eight of the songs posted by you were penned by Shakeel Badayuni and the rest were Mirza Ghalib’s work. The lyricists are the most unsung group after the musicians/arrangers. I am posting the song, Zindagi denewale sun, again as a mark of tribute to Shakeel Badayuni.

For Sheesha (1952), out of the eight songs four songs were penned by Shakeel Badayuni, two by Majrooh Sultanpuri and two by Umar Ansari. For the film Mirza Ghalib Shakeel Badayuni wrote three songs, and for the rest of the five films, mentioned by you in the post, Shakeel wrote all the songs.

In all, Talat Mahmood sang 18 songs for Ghulam Mohammad. Leave aside the Mirza Ghalib songs of Talat Mahmood, the other songs were penned by Shakeel Badayuni, except one solo. Here is the song.
Kisi Ko Banana Kisi Ko Mitana, film Sheesha (1952), lyrics Majrooh Sultanpuri.

Out of the eighteen songs, all the solos by Talat Mahmood have been posted and the only triad too has been posted. The main post covers 3 duets; Arvinderji and Bhatiaji have posted another 3 duets. Here is the other duet mentioned by Arvinderji
Baharo Ki Duniya Pukare Tu Aaja with Asha Bhosle

Finally duet with Md.Rafi from Laila Majnu, Bhar De Jholi Allah Naam. This duet might have been posted earlier, I am not sure.

Fortune did not favour him, but Ghulam Mohammad compositions were of the highest order and he will remain ever in the hearts of the true music lovers.

Thank you once again for the post and I join you in paying my tributes to the stalwarts. I too share your admiration for Ghulam Mohammad and I am sure there will be many more.

43 AK February 25, 2016 at 6:15 am

In response to DP Rangan originally, for Nazneen song, I had mentioned only CR. For the Hoor-e-Arab (1955) song I had mentioned Naushad. Later, in response to your comment there was an inedvertent mix-up. Constraints of working with mobile phone. But really we need not quibble. Ghulam Mohammad has done enough to prove that he was no one’s copycat.

44 AK February 25, 2016 at 6:22 am

Thanks a lot for your appreciation and your detailed comments. Don’t you think Zindagi ki qasam ho chuke unke hum is in the same league as Zindagi denewale sun?

I can only say SoY is immensely lucky to have so many knowledgeable patrons who are contributing to its growth.

45 SSW February 25, 2016 at 7:27 am

Mr. Venkatraman
Since you asked, I picked out the chords on the guitar, the song is in the key of C sharp (#) major . No surprising chord changes mostly alternating between C# and G# , brief usage of F# and an occasional use of the related minor chord B flat (b) minor. The main melody seems mostly pentatonic using the first second third fifth and sixth notes of the scale. I did not pick out the whole thing but the guitar prelude alternates as arpeggios between the C# and G# chords mostly. My best effort, somebody else could do better.
C# is an odd key though, I wonder why Ghulam Mohammad chose it.

46 Siddharth February 25, 2016 at 9:18 am

Thanks for the lovely post that has generated quite a response.
As I have stated earlier that whenever Mirza Ghalib’s poetry is rendered GM’s composition comes to mind.
I think this couplet from Mirza Ghalib would fit GM –

sab kahāñ kuchh lālah-o-gul meñ numāyāñ ho gaʾīñ
ḳhāk meñ kyā ṣūrateñ hoñgī kih pinhāñ ho gaʾīñ

link –

47 AK February 25, 2016 at 2:38 pm

Thanks a lot for your appreciation. You have cited a very apt couplet of Ghalib for Ghulam Mohammas. Earlier, NS Rajan has adapted:
हैं और भी दुनिया में मौसीकार बहुत अच्छे
कहते हैं कि ग़ुलाम मोहम्मद का अंदाज़-ए-बयां और

48 Mohan Lal February 25, 2016 at 2:57 pm

New Delhi, 25 FEB 2016.

Thank you AK Ji for your prompt response, I fully agree with you. But do cover him, if you can in your future posts for music lovers.

Thanks once again,
Mohan Lal.

49 KB February 26, 2016 at 7:46 pm

Sri AK,
GOOD TOPIC.Apart from Ghulam Mohammad we did have quite a few composers who despite their talent and commitment could not really flourish. Some prominent examples include Chitragupta, N. Dutta , Ganesh , C. Arjun and G. S. Kohli. They did very good work with the singers they could get and still could not shine. How about a write up on Chitragupta and N Dutta to start with ?

50 mumbaikar8 February 27, 2016 at 3:47 am

Now this is diversity!
Very good one! Long awaited !
Ghulam Mohamed has great songs with Talat Mahommed and Suraiya too.
Venkataramanji has rightly described Shakeel Badayuni’s contribution to his work. Shakeel was the common denominator between him and Naushad later.
I would like to talk about your observation on Pakeezah,though I am not a big fan of Naushad I would not blame Naushad for the presentation of the title, perhaps the producer’s insecurity with Ghulam Mohamed’s luck would have done that to cash on Naushad’s name and fame. I have checked with Myswar as well as Wikipedia the songs Naushad is credited for are

I will repeat my request for another genius MD who is equally famous for his luck as well as great music and whose master SDB was at his best when he was SBD’s assistant Jaidev!

I will repeat my request for another genius MD who is equally famous for his luck and whose master SDB was at his best when he was SBD’s assistant Jaidev!

51 AK February 27, 2016 at 7:44 am

I have covered Chitragupta and C Arjun prominently. You can click on their links on the sideroll under categories Music Directors, and Forgotten Composers. N Datta is also my great favourite and he is in my mind.

52 AK February 27, 2016 at 8:38 am

Thanks a lot for your appreciation. Commercial interest was one driving factor in producers giving Naushad a prominent billing. At most Nushad can be held responsible for acqueiscing in it.

Jaidev is in my mind. I have not forgotten your earlier mail.

53 ksbhatia March 1, 2016 at 12:27 am

AK ji , D P Rangan ji ;
It is a fact that whenever we think of Gulam Mohd ‘s songs our search begins with Lata , Talat , Suraiya , Shamshad and we rarely go beyond them thinking that GM is a soft composer ; hence his songs could find some limitations . As a counter to this belief I am posting as my first inputs of some songs of Asha ji’s solo and duets with Talat as well .

1. Yaad teri zindgi ka…….Solo……Laila Majnu

2. Mere sarkar tere ishq…….Solo…….Laila Majnu

3. Lijo balam hamaro salam le……Solo…..Dil E Nadan

4. Dekh li Ae ishq teri merbani…….Duet……Laila Majnu

5. Sahil ki tammanaa thi ………Solo………Maalik

6. Yaad teri zindgi ka…………Solo………Laila Majnu….[ audio video poor]

7. Ya elahi ho mubarak……..Solo……..Laila Majnu

54 KB March 1, 2016 at 9:32 am

Dear AKji,

Fantastic post on Ghulam Mohammed – Talat Mahmood combo!

I read SSWji’s post where he made a mention of Zindagi Denewale Sun in Raag Bhoop. But I thought the song was composed in Shuddh Kalyan. SSWji, am I mistaken?

About SSWji’s inference on the high notes of Chal Diya Carvaan, I concure with him that Talat has struggled a little with high notes. However, it is quite surprising to note that Talat has sung sustained high notes in the beginning “Aaja” of the song “Baharon ki Duniya” in the same film Laila Majnu with no conspicuous discomfort.

55 Shalan Lal March 1, 2016 at 4:48 pm

To All
The post titled as “The Unlucky Genius Ghulam Mohammad’s best songs for Talat Mahmood”
has appropriately brought out the best of Ghulam Mohammad as N.S. has aptly described in Ghalib’s manoeuvred confident and proud verse about himself
हैं और भी दुनिया में मौसीकार बहुत अच्छे
कहते हैं कि ग़ुलाम मोहम्मद का अंदाज़-ए-बयां और
But many commentators felt Naushad’s petty mindedness of taking a big credit for the music of Pakeezah. Naushad had successes and success from Rattan well into seventies.
Mr. Ak always uses the epithet “Moghul” whenever Naushad has to mention. There is a cruel streak in all great ‘Moguls” from Humayun to Aurangzeb who killed their own brothers. So Naushad has to take this “Daag in his Chunari” up to his grave and Kayamat.
Shalan Lal

56 KB March 1, 2016 at 7:11 pm

Shri AK,
Comment at #54 does not belong to me.I do not know whether any mistake has occurred ?

57 ksbhatia March 1, 2016 at 11:27 pm

AK ji;
Ghulam Mohd as singer in Madhumati .

….Kancha le kanchi lai…….Asha , Sabita , Ghulam mohd….Salil da.

This song reminds me of two such songs/ situations…….one from Yeh gulistan hamara by Lata, SDB, chorus…..Yeh kaisi zindgi hai …..and other one as a chorus background dance sequence [ Assam’s ? ] in Professor .

58 N Venkataraman March 2, 2016 at 12:03 am

True, Akji, Zindagi ki qasam ho chuke unke hum matches upto the song Zindagi denewale sun. And I believe both are based on Bhupali.
SSwji’s comments support my belief.The use of F# (Suddh Madhyam), as suggested by SSWji, although brief, is a deviation. Thank you SSwji for your response.

59 SSW March 2, 2016 at 6:46 am

Not KB @54 🙂 . I don’t think it is Shudh Kalyan. There is no trace of either the tivra Madhyam or Shudh Nishad that would differentiate it from Bhoopali. The word “zindagi” is sung with the notes G# G# A# which is the Pa Pa Dha and then comes back on the scale touching Pa Ga Re. No madhyam and in the antara at places like “zakhm aisa jiya hai” where it moves into the upper tetrachord and then descends there is no trace of the Ni.
I am not even saying the song is based on Bhoopali. I am saying that the scale is pentatonic like Bhoopali using the same notes but that doesn’t mean it is in that raga . A raga is not a scale and there is no specific emphasis on the Ga which would give it the inflexion of Bhoopali.

I also did not say that Talat had problems with high notes in Chal Diya Caravan. I said he seemed to have issues with the low slow notes.

Mr. Venkatraman , when I said there was the usage of F# in the song, I did not mean that the melody at any point had that note. What I meant was that the chord F# was used at points like “pareshaan hai”. This means that the root note in the bass was F# but the melody would be sung in usually the third or the fifth i.e A# C# . These notes would translate to the sixth and tonic respectively in the case of key of C# (dha and sa).

Now I am not saying I am 100% right here. I’m just picking out the song on the guitar so there could be mistakes but it certainly isn’t Shuddha Kalyan to me. Sorry for any confusion I may have created.

60 AK March 2, 2016 at 10:03 am

Shalan Lal,
Very strong words you have used for Naushad! I would be more charitable to him, not because I am his fan, but looking at all the circumstances the worst I would say for him was that he acquiesced in his name being given a prominent place in the film.

You had made your point about the word ‘Mogul’ earlier, too. I did not imply any value judgment. I used it only in the common parlance of a dominant figure, as in Media Mogul or Corporate Mogul.

61 AK March 2, 2016 at 10:08 am

KB (#56),
I checked up. The comment #54 is by another KB (Kiran Begari). I face this problem on another blog I try to visit regularly where another AK appears. Our comments are so very distinct that it is possible to distinguish the AK of SoY. In your case, one of you have to help me by choosing another identity. But thanks both KBs for your participation.

62 KB March 2, 2016 at 1:57 pm

Sri AK,
Thanks a lot for clarifying. I hope we can distinguish in future by the nature of comments.

63 Antara April 5, 2016 at 7:28 am

Great post AK! I was till recently quite unaware of Ghulam Mohammad beyond Pakeezah, Mirza Ghalib and Shama. Each of the songs listed are gems. “The Unlucky Genius” is the most apt title, for sure. Enjoyed this article, truly.

The comments also are so very enlightening. Anu’s comment about Naushad Saab and Ghulam Mohammad made me revisit an interview of Majrooh Sultanpuri where he had outlined the role of the Music Director and his assistant in the creation of a song.

Below is an excerpt:

PS:Majrooh Sahab, we hear often that Naushad Sahab’s so-and-so tune have been composed by Ghulam Mohammed or Shafi Sahab or Burman Dada’s composition has been created by Jaidev or Rahul Dev. How much of this is true? In other words, how important is the role of the assistant music director?

Majrooh Sultanpuri: It has just as much importance as the music director accords it. Let me explain. What is the main work of any assistant or “chela”? He needs to learn from the Ustad. The Ustad gives the jumla (a small piece of lyrics) to the assistant or the situation or the scene or the opening lines and asks him to work on that. Then that work is examined closely.

For several days they sometimes work on just one jumla. If sometimes the Ustad likes something in particular, he adds it to his main tune. Just for this you can’t say that the assistant has created the composition. Yes, of course, as bragging rights the chela sometimes goes around saying that I have made the tune for that song and so on in the hope that some producer might give him work. The Ustad does not mind this at all.

PS:If you can explain this in a little more detail…? For instance, there are some songs which seem like they are Ghulam Mohammed’s but actually they are from films of Naushad Sahab. You can make out clearly. Then there are some songs that seem wholly like creations of Mohammed Shafi. But they are Naushad Sahab’s creations.

Majrooh Sultanpuri: Naushad Sahab has been a complete master of orchestration and every instrument that is played in it. He used to write the notations in our (Hindustani) style as well as in English. If he liked the work of any assistant he would accept it completely or he would sometimes change and tweak it. But the orchestration and recording he would do himself. He would also prepare the singer himself.

And Ghulam Mohammed Sahab was no less an artist himself. He used to create very high quality and beautiful tunes. He has been one of the very knowledgeable people of music. And when Naushad Sahab would not find any shortcoming in his tunes, he would accept the tune in entirety. Then he would not tweak or change it around. How much input of an assistant to accept or not, it depends totally on the perception and style and character of the Ustad.

64 AK April 5, 2016 at 7:52 am

Thanks a lot for your appreciation and for quoting the interview extensively. But I couldn’t help thinking that Majrooh Sultanpuri leaves enough scope to interpret his statement in different ways.

65 Antara April 5, 2016 at 12:58 pm

Agree with you AK,

It is a candid answer, which was characteristic of Majrooh Sahab.
He went on to elaborate on other music directors as well, including Burman Dada, Madan Mohan, OP Nayyar and how much of a role an assistant would play for each of these great composers.

Thanks to writeups such as these, music lovers are rediscovering lost gems. And the forgotten geniuses are receiving a much deserved fond recall, even if they are no longer here to savour it.

66 Ashok Kumar Tyagi July 31, 2016 at 12:55 pm

AK ji
On the subject, ‘high notes’ songs by Talat, one thinks of an Anil Biswas composition – Mohobbat tark ki Maine. Any comments?.

67 AK July 31, 2016 at 1:30 pm

In Mohabat tark ki maine you have to look inside the antara for high notes. In Zindagi denewale sun, it strikes in your face.

68 Durgasharan September 17, 2016 at 9:54 pm


Thanks for this wonderful article. I accidentally ended upon this site looking for songs based on ragas.

Talat Mahmood is my favourite singer and his songs in Dil-e-Naadaan and Mirza Ghalib are enthralling.

I used to say to my friends and relatives that I like to listen to only hindi songs composed before 60s and many would look at me oddly as I was not even born then. However looking at this site and the articles and comments I know many others have similar tastes and the knowledge of music is mind blowing. I like listening to good music and good lyrics but have no knowledge of ragas or taal.

Thanks to you all for giving so much joy.

69 AK September 17, 2016 at 10:45 pm

Welcome to SoY and thanks a lot for your appreciation.

70 Ashok Kumar Tyagi July 27, 2017 at 6:48 pm

AK ji,
My cousin brother told me about an interesting fact about the box office showing of film Mirza Ghalib and also expressed disagreement with use of unlucky before genius. In the comments I read that
“It is unfortunate that all his movies inc. Shama and M Ghalib flopped” – AN Gandhe;
“When you listen to the songs of the unlucky, you immediately realize that the term is a misnomer.” – PS Seshadri.
“Unlucky I used in the context of success in the worldly sense” – AK

India is such a large country. Hindi films were sold to various distribution centres. Film Shama may not have succeeded in Bombay/Madhya Pradesh region, however I am told that it did fair business in UP/Bihar and even Delhi. How Mirza Ghalib fared when released in Delhi-UP region is unknown to me as I was only four years old in 1955. But my cousin told me yesterday the following:
In 1957, a new, modern Cinema Theatre was inaugurated close to Connaught Place in New Delhi – name was Shiela Cinema. It competed with Plaza, Odeon and Rivoli cinemas showing Hollywood films in three shows and a Hindi movie in the noon show. For nearly four months, Shiela Cinema had a continuous and successful run of film Mirza Ghalib. Therefore this film should be considered a popular film on the box office.
I beg to add that if songs of a film are well-received, the MD should feel satisfied because he will then get more assignments.

In a somewhat parallel case, from 1950 to 1958, Madan Mohan always had ample assignments in hand though only a few of his film were box office hits in those eight years.

71 AK July 27, 2017 at 10:58 pm

At this distance of time, what remains for music lovers is their music. We received the music through radio, and didn’t care whether the film was hit or not.

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