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Shamshad Begum: Forgotten singer whose songs still rule the roost in all dance clubs

Enkayaar, Bollywood Trade News Network
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Jump into any night club and in the list of music that the DJ is going to play would be, ''Mere piya Gaye Rangoon, Leke Pehla Pehla Pyaar, and Kabhi Aar Kabhi Paar'', but run a quick check with the dancers on the floor about the name of the singer who originally sang these songs, not even 5 percent would be able to answer it. Shamshad Begum, the lady who sang these songs, and was the first female singer having a definite nasal twang in her voice was such a rage in her times, that no music album could be considered as complete if it did not feature a song sung by Shamshad Begum. She is probably the only singer who is alive from her era, as she has already celebrated her 90th birthday, a few days ago.

Before the advent of Asha Bhonsle O.P. Nayyar combination, it was Shamshad Begum who provided the footing to O P Nayyar in the arena of Hindi film music and the same also happened with S D Burman, before he shifted to Lata Mangeshkar as the female playback singer voice. May be, as a fitting tribute to the contribution that he made for O P Nayyar's music, she is being conferred the O P Nayyar award for her contribution to the Hindi film music. It indeed is an irony of the fate, that this lady singer has been conferred with the only citation in her musical career so far, though her oeuvre would have more than 100 songs in her repertoire that could have been awarded with a citation.

Her singing career began in 1937, and it was the legendary music director Ghulam Haider who brought her talent to the fore in the pre-Independence era. Her success as a singer of foot-tapping numbers started under the baton of C. Ramchandra under whose baton she sang ''Meri Jaan Meri Jaan Sunday ke Sunday'' and '' Mere Piya Gaye Rangoon''. S D Burman's ''Saiyaan Dil Mein Aana Re'' followed it. While Naushad exploited her voice for rendering classical songs, OP Nayyar used her voice for the peppy and foot tapping numbers for which Nayyar is famous. Her voice was a perfect foil for the songs, which were in the form of street songs, i.e. being sung by people from the street, and as this genre started fading, along with it, Shamshad Begum's voice also started fading away. But as long as Hindi songs are in vogue, her voice would be there, and as the aficionados of her voice, it is incumbent upon we fans to keep her memory alive

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