- Birth Date: 14 Apr 1919
- Birth Place: Amritsar
Even after six decades after she began singing she is remembered for her immortal voice and unforgettable songs...
Shamshad Begum, the nasal voiced legendary classical and playback singer of yesteryears was born in Amritsar. Making her debut on radio in Lahore in 1937, the Amritsar-born singer captivated the hearts of listeners with the enchanting depth of her voice. The then AIR Lahore helped her in entering the world of movies as frequent broadcasting of her songs induced music directors to use her voice for film songs. Shamshad Begum also recorded naats and devotional songs for a couple of gramophone recording companies which where then located in the Bakshi Market of Anarkali, Lahore.
Lahore-based composer Ghulam Haider used her voice skillfully in some of his earlier films, mostly in Punjabi. When he shifted to Bombay in 1944, Shamshad Begum went with him as a member of his team. In 1944, when Mehboob Khan launched his historical venture, Humayun, Master Ghulam
Most of her songs were memorable hits. Even the one rendered in 1960s for Kismat, after her retirement: "Kajra mohabbatwala ankhiyon mein aisa dala" composed by O.P. Nayyar, proved a superhit. Her duet with Kishore Kumar, Meri neendon main tum, meri khwabon mein tum from Naya Andaz (composed by O. P. Nayyar), similarly, remains almost a touchstone of melodious romance.
Shamshadóreputed to be a stunningly beautiful woman in her youth - performed live, both on stage and the All India Radio (AIR) through her musical group The Crown Imperial Theatrical Company of Performing Arts, set up in Delhi. Her crystal clear voice caught the attention of sarang maestro Ustad Hussain Baksh-wale Saheb, who took her as his disciple.
Shamshad went to Mumbai in the late 1930s to try her fortune. She was immediately grabbed by master music directors like Naushad Ali, Ram Ganguly, S D Burman, O P Nayyar and Khemchand Prakash. Throughout her film singing career, she remained a particular favorite with Naushad and Nayyar who used her voice not only to its fullest range but to the maximum extent possible. Shamshad became a national rage between the 1940s and mid-1960s rendering songs in her nasal voice which helped her carve her independent niche in the world of music.Her songs like O, Lagi Lagi (Aaan) Dhadkar Mera Dil (Babul), Teri Mehfil Main Kismat Azma kar Hum Bhi Dekhange (Mughal-E-Azam),
Similarly, she gave superhits for Nayyar like Kabhi Aar, Kabhi Paar (Aar Paar), Poochh Mera Kya Naam Re, Nadi Kinare Gaon Re (CID). Among other notable numbers she rendered were Saiyan Dilmain Aana Re, Aake Chhup Na Jana Re (Bahaar - S D Burman), Ai Dil Na Mujhe Yaad Dila (Saawan Aaya - Khemchand Prakash) and Kaahe Koyal Shor Machaye (Aaag - Ram Ganguly).