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Books > Performing Arts > Naushadnama (Tha Life and Music of Naushad)
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Naushadnama (Tha Life and Music of Naushad)
Naushadnama (Tha Life and Music of Naushad)
Description
An authourtative, comprehensive and enthralling narrative-studded with rare nuggets of information-that records the life and times of ‘the composer of the century’ who music was poetry in motion

About the Book

An authoritative, comprehensive and enthralling narrative-studded with rare nuggets of information-that records the life and times of ‘the composer of the century’ who music was poetry in motion.


The seven letters in Naushad’s name are like the seven notes of Hindustani music. After just a couple of years in films, Naushad (1919-2006) went on to rule the Hindi cine music world through two decades, beginning with the landmark Rattan (1944). His oeuvre (from 1940 to 2005) consists of an unmatched array of jubilees, many of which are musical milestones such as Andaz, Baiju Bawra, mother India and Mughal-e-Azam.


No individual remains supreme without putting in a Herculean effort to reach the pinnacle and stay there unchallenged for as long as our maestro did. And no composer probably moved more cleverly, behind the scenes, than did Naushad to sustain his hold on the public imagination. Even as we marvel at the incredible variety of his mellifluous creations that have stayed evergreen through 70 years, how little do we know about Naushad the man. Renowned song historian Raju Bharatan fleshes out the real Naushad – his triumphs and tragedies – bringing into play more than 50 years of personal interaction with the tuneful titan. In the process, the author makes the book sparkle with a string of anecdotal gems.


This volume also throws light on the relations and interactions between Naushad and his singers (notably Suraiya, Mohammed Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar, Ahsa Bhosle, Mukesh and Shamshad Begum); his songwriters (prominently D.N. Madhok,Shakeel Badayuni and Majrooh, Sultanpuri); and his ‘unsung’ instrumentalists (some of whom were innovators with inputs integrating into the musical score).


Raju Bharatan has drawn upon his vast and varied experience to come up with a revelatory work – which will evoke a medley of memories – and is sure to find pride of place in your collection.


About the Author

Raju Bharatan is widely recognized as the last word on Hindi film music in India – as the only one physically there ‘on the scene’, through the decades, when music sittings and song recording took place. He has written extensively on film music in various publications such as the illustrated weekly of India, filmfare, SCREEN and the Hindustan Times. He is the author of Lata Magneshkar: A Biography (1995) and A Journey Down Melody Lane (2010). He regularly appears on TV as a music scholar.


PREFACE

Renowned for his prolific output as a journalist, writer and translator, nonagenarian Khushwant Singh was on song as he rhapsodized: ‘Urdu is the most musical of all languages in the world.’ Likewise, the creator of the most beautiful music in the world did Naushad Ali sound. If he sounded that, it was because Urdu was the leitmotif of his music. ‘Music by Naushad’ attuned to Shakeel Badayunized poetry it had to be. Or was it Shakeel poetry attuned to Naushad music? You could never quite find out and therein lay Naushad’s hold on the public imagination.


You could never find out because Naushad had achieved the same entrancing results teaming with Shakeel Badayuni (on, say, Babul, 1950) as he had while pairing with Majrooh Sultanpuri (on Andaz, 1949). So lyrical was Naushad’s equation with Shakeel that he could get this Urdu aesthete to thematize no less evocatively, in Hindi, for Mohammed Rafi in Baiju Bawra (1952). Short point: Naushad had the kind of poetic control over his musicality that no other composer did.


This book is as much about the aura of his universal music as it is about the texture of the Urdu poetry going with it. Via the elegant variation that he brought to his compositions, Naushad all but turned Urdu into the lingua franca of song-loving India. His sense of commitment as a composer, his philosophy on life, are summed up succinctly by this musician’s musician as: Kyun na kashti uski pahunche kinare Khuda hi jis ka nakhuda ho? (Why would that boat not reach the shore safely whose boatman is none other than God Himself?)


No one more influenced me in rounding my musical outlook than did Naushad. With due deference, it was I who wrote the first-ever film music column in India - as ‘On Record’ in Filmfare. As I wondered how to get going, willy-nilly had I to pick out the music of Naushad as my punchline to accomplish a straight breakthrough (‘Maestro Minus the Midas Touch’, Filmfare, 5 August 1966). That column — my maiden in the era when melody was still queen — had me asserting: ‘Quality is not everything in the sphere of film music: it has to be matched by novelty.’


On this point, Naushad took me up during August 1966 itself at a South Bombay function in the Cricket Club of India, as he queried: ‘So the lad who first met up with me [late in 1948] — seeking to be enlightened on a Mela film musical point — is now sitting in judgment on my scoring, is he?’ In the next moment, typically, he held out his hand, expressing his personal joy at someone whom he knew so well having landed such a coveted assignment as that of the Filmfare music critic.


After all, in the 10 formative years preceding that prized column happening — as I began writing on cinesangeet by even ‘ghosting’ Filmfare articles for our top composers — I had absorbed my first real lessons in classical music from Naushad. To call him a friend would be to insult his memory. He was at all times like a beacon to me. His singular trait — he never protested if I critiqued him. ‘In the case of anything that you write on me’, he tellingly remarked, ‘I get an instant feedback. And that is what truly counts in my estimate. My music must be noticed. After that, how you perceive it is your privilege’.


From being merely acquainted with him as my idol through the first five years (1949—54), I got to know Naushad fairly well by end-1955. I came to tune with him even better as I visited his West Bandra Ashiana music room any number of times. These were my crucial years in the audio world, as I awakened to the sound of classical film music under his melodic guidance.


Soon I divined that, without ever saying so, Naushad had begun making my music listening classically oriented. In this sense, he was my mentor. The fact that, even before we embarked upon such a journey, he was my favourite music director helped. Yet Naushad as a communicator demanded unswerving attention. He got it as he cast a classical spell all his own, on the piano, in re-playing his finest tunes with verbal notes as accompaniment for me to jot down.


Naushad had expected me to write his biography while he was living. (He passed away on 5 May 2006.) I am coming around to doing Naushadnama only now because it took me all of 50 years — during which I came to know him well — to fathom the full strength of his music. As I started work on this book, the idea was to go beyond anything written on Naushad so far. No easy job, considering that Naushad remains our most written-about music maker. Only as I gathered momentum did I feel convinced that I really was adding to the sum total of Naushadian lore.


For Naushad was something more than his music. His personality presented a study in career management. He worked like a beaver to sustain the status that he had attained as the number one music director in our films. Such a meteoric rise had to be backed by solid all-round effort to stay at the summit. Here Naushad never once relaxed his grip. He worked with the same assiduity on his career as he did on his music.


It is this little-known Naushad attribute — of always being one-up on his rivals even while doing his job with total sincerity — that I have endeavoured, relevantly, to underscore. In the process, I have been careful to keep in sight the fact that Naushad never lost the human touch. He brought to the art and craft of music making an integrity balanced by a magnanimity deftly buttressed by his eloquence as an Urdu orator. Go deep down into sangeetam-aware South India and you will find that the music enthusiasts there have not only heard of Naushad but have savoured his tunes and regard him highly. The reach of his music was phenomenal. Where our assembly-line music directors manufactured eminently predictable ditties for the hit parade, he scored for the aficionado. Yet never lost his feel for the man in the street — since that is where he had begun his career. Everything about Naushad and his melodizing was so finely tempered, his scoring, at all times, being distinguished by the imprint of individuality.


During my 40 years in The Times Group, comprehensively did I write on his music. In fact, on a six-page career review that I did, I even invited his daughter, Fehmida Naushad, to pen two additional pages in a personalized vein. Prefixing my own comments to her observations, I have extracted select portions from Fehmida’s piece — something that gives me the opportunity to thank The Times Group for its role in shaping my career. It was this premier group’s Filmfare editor, B. K. Karanjia, who gave me my first opening in film music writing. I wrote regularly for Sunday Times too. As for even the Hindi Dharmayug.


After I finished with The Times Group as the assistant editor of The Illustrated Weekly of India through 22 years, I contributed extensively to the SCREEN weekly of the Express Group. It is here that my music writing acquired a certain dimension. Udaya Tara Nayar, then still new as the editor of SCREEN, threw open her pages to me. This enabled me to stay in live contact with our music icons. Yet, as I sat down to doing this portraiture of Naushad, I habitually ‘wrote into’ whatever I had chosen to draw from The Illustrated Weekly of India, Filmfare and SCREEN. No one quite believed me when I said that I knew ten times more about cricket than I did about music. They laughed up their sleeves as I pleaded: ‘Cricket is my passion, music is but my pastime.’


A pastime so mellifluously rewarding it has been in my vintage listening lifetime. Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammed Rafi, in this Naushad book, run like a golden thread through the music of this composing exemplar. So was Shamshad Begum (of the rapturous Punjabi voice) sonorously dominant in our tuning maestro’s repertoire through his peaking years (1947—51). Indeed, I had made a promise to the venerable Shamshad Begum that I would be graphically presenting her case vis-à-vis Lata Mangeshkar. That Shamshad Begum did not live to see what I have written about her is my one point of regret.


Hopefully, you can no more put down this Naushad book than Asha Bhosle can put down Lata Mangeshkar. I have praised Lata generously where due. But I have taken diligent note of how artfully she managed to stay at the pinnacle. The very way in which I have taken pertinent cognizance of the zeal with which Naushad strove to remain in the forefront from the word go. Who but Lata Mangeshkar could have lived down the fact of her entry of 30,000 songs, ultimately, getting to be knocked out of the Guinness Book of World Records — at Rafi—Naushad instance? It was only 37 years after Lata in 1974 that Asha Bhosle got a Guinness look-in — for having ‘recorded up to 11,000 solos, duets and chorus-backed songs in over 20 Indian languages since 1 947’ As Asha ruefully put it while accepting the citation: ‘I always knew that I had the maximum number of songs to my credit, still I never said anything all this while’.


At least that places Asha Bhosle she is nearer 13,000 songs by now in the numbers game — miles ahead of Lata Mangeshkar, who still totals no more than 6000 songs in all categories. Yet, from those 6000 songs, look at the sheer longevity of the 167 numbers for Naushad that Lata eternalized in the twosome’s 47 years together.


Not a single facet of Naushad’s life and times have I left unexplored. If this book is discovered to be strong on detail, I owe that to the indefatigable inputs of that super historian Harish Raghuwanshi. He is not so much a historian as a magician. In my eyes, Harish Raghuwanshi is close to being the best film historian in India today. Yet it was the illustrious Hindi Film Geet Kosh originator Har Mandir Singh ‘Hamraaz’ who gave this effort its initial impetus by furnishing some vital movie-release dates pertaining to Naushad’s early career. Here I unearthed a new talisman in Sudhir Kapur, a connoisseur whose ready grip on the subtleties of film music found him to be filling critical gaps. A vote of thanks, therefore, to the troika of Har Mandir Singh ‘Hamraaz Sudhir Kapur and Harish Raghuwanshi.


Even after all this, just no one could help out with the music credits (as they appeared on the screen) of Kamal Amrohi’s 1972 Pakeezah. Here is where Rupa Dore from Los Angeles dug up an old CD (originating in a shop closing down) to plug a vital-vital lacuna. All through the book, Rupa was at my beck and call, chipping in with musical minutiae only she had at her tapering fingertips. She made Sudhir Kapur and me look ‘mere males’ as she nonchalantly identified the key women performers for us in Naushad’s Aan (1952) — from among those doing that frenzied chorus singing-dancing in the film. If far away from India, Rupa was always very near this book where it came to generating instant computer clarification with unerring precision.


I have recorded that such a work could not possibly have been completed without the dedicated help, at each twist and turn, of Harish Raghuwanshi. Well, the book might not have got started but for the tenacity with which my long-time friend Shiva Shetty kept rooting for my subject having to be Naushad and no one else. He brought heaps of my ‘lost’ writings on Naushad to press his point. Shetty also came home six-seven times after that and spent long hours with me as we checked off the nitty-gritty of each Naushad song. My one problem is that I write entirely from memory. In consequence, the task of checking out facts becomes doubly knotty Here is where Shiva Shetty was of invaluable assistance, never ever shying away from the slog.


This is a work undertaken with the scale of perseverance that Naushad himself brought to refining a tune. To refining a visionary tune like Jis raat ke khwaab aaye woh khwaabon ki raat aayi, the Rafi melody via which Habba Khatoon will remain forever ‘never released’ in our memory. Verily did the dream music that Naushad made embody all seven colours of the rainbow — colours reflected in the seven notes struck on his priceless Ashiana piano.


Contents

 

Preface

9

Chapter 1

The First Footfalls of Musical Stardom

15

Chapter 2

Top Spots Up for Grabs

30

Chapter 3

A Price to Pay for Being Number One

45

Chapter 4

A Super Hero in the House

59

Chapter 5

Inside the ‘Ashiana of His Dreams

71

Chapter 6

Javed Akhtar Calling and Recalling We Go

85

Chapter 7

The Voice of ‘The Girl Next Door’

97

Chapter 8

Shamshad Scores: Lata Soars

109

Chapter 9

A Journey So Talismanic, So Poetic

128

Chapter 10

The Ego of Being from Lucknow

143

Chapter 11

When Composer Was King

157

Chapter 12

Classic Legend and Rude Reality

170

Chapter 13

The Murky Scene behind the Silver Screen

184

Chapter 14

Upfront No Longer as the Backlash Comes

199

Chapter 15

Rafi as Our Maestro’s Singer Extraordinaire

216

Chapter 16

Face and Façade

234

Chapter 17

Those Instrumental in Crafting Our Ace’s Tunes

250

Chapter 18

The ‘Background’ to Meena Kumari as Pakeezah

266

Chapter 19

The Mirage of Going High, Higher and Still Higher

285

Chapter 20

Musings of ‘The Last Mughal’

301

Chapter 21

His Shadow Never Grew Less

316

Appendix 1:

A Career Record to Play Back

329

Appendix 2:

From the Shadows into the Limelight

334

Appendix 3:

Awards and Rewards

338

Appendix 4:

Filmography

342

 

Index

343

 


Naushadnama (Tha Life and Music of Naushad)

Item Code:
NAF296
Cover:
Hardcover
Edition:
2013
ISBN:
9789381431931
Language:
English
Size:
9.5 inch x 6.5 inch
Pages:
356
Other Details:
Weight of the Books : 615 gms
Price:
$30.00
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$22.50   Shipping Free
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An authourtative, comprehensive and enthralling narrative-studded with rare nuggets of information-that records the life and times of ‘the composer of the century’ who music was poetry in motion

About the Book

An authoritative, comprehensive and enthralling narrative-studded with rare nuggets of information-that records the life and times of ‘the composer of the century’ who music was poetry in motion.


The seven letters in Naushad’s name are like the seven notes of Hindustani music. After just a couple of years in films, Naushad (1919-2006) went on to rule the Hindi cine music world through two decades, beginning with the landmark Rattan (1944). His oeuvre (from 1940 to 2005) consists of an unmatched array of jubilees, many of which are musical milestones such as Andaz, Baiju Bawra, mother India and Mughal-e-Azam.


No individual remains supreme without putting in a Herculean effort to reach the pinnacle and stay there unchallenged for as long as our maestro did. And no composer probably moved more cleverly, behind the scenes, than did Naushad to sustain his hold on the public imagination. Even as we marvel at the incredible variety of his mellifluous creations that have stayed evergreen through 70 years, how little do we know about Naushad the man. Renowned song historian Raju Bharatan fleshes out the real Naushad – his triumphs and tragedies – bringing into play more than 50 years of personal interaction with the tuneful titan. In the process, the author makes the book sparkle with a string of anecdotal gems.


This volume also throws light on the relations and interactions between Naushad and his singers (notably Suraiya, Mohammed Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar, Ahsa Bhosle, Mukesh and Shamshad Begum); his songwriters (prominently D.N. Madhok,Shakeel Badayuni and Majrooh, Sultanpuri); and his ‘unsung’ instrumentalists (some of whom were innovators with inputs integrating into the musical score).


Raju Bharatan has drawn upon his vast and varied experience to come up with a revelatory work – which will evoke a medley of memories – and is sure to find pride of place in your collection.


About the Author

Raju Bharatan is widely recognized as the last word on Hindi film music in India – as the only one physically there ‘on the scene’, through the decades, when music sittings and song recording took place. He has written extensively on film music in various publications such as the illustrated weekly of India, filmfare, SCREEN and the Hindustan Times. He is the author of Lata Magneshkar: A Biography (1995) and A Journey Down Melody Lane (2010). He regularly appears on TV as a music scholar.


PREFACE

Renowned for his prolific output as a journalist, writer and translator, nonagenarian Khushwant Singh was on song as he rhapsodized: ‘Urdu is the most musical of all languages in the world.’ Likewise, the creator of the most beautiful music in the world did Naushad Ali sound. If he sounded that, it was because Urdu was the leitmotif of his music. ‘Music by Naushad’ attuned to Shakeel Badayunized poetry it had to be. Or was it Shakeel poetry attuned to Naushad music? You could never quite find out and therein lay Naushad’s hold on the public imagination.


You could never find out because Naushad had achieved the same entrancing results teaming with Shakeel Badayuni (on, say, Babul, 1950) as he had while pairing with Majrooh Sultanpuri (on Andaz, 1949). So lyrical was Naushad’s equation with Shakeel that he could get this Urdu aesthete to thematize no less evocatively, in Hindi, for Mohammed Rafi in Baiju Bawra (1952). Short point: Naushad had the kind of poetic control over his musicality that no other composer did.


This book is as much about the aura of his universal music as it is about the texture of the Urdu poetry going with it. Via the elegant variation that he brought to his compositions, Naushad all but turned Urdu into the lingua franca of song-loving India. His sense of commitment as a composer, his philosophy on life, are summed up succinctly by this musician’s musician as: Kyun na kashti uski pahunche kinare Khuda hi jis ka nakhuda ho? (Why would that boat not reach the shore safely whose boatman is none other than God Himself?)


No one more influenced me in rounding my musical outlook than did Naushad. With due deference, it was I who wrote the first-ever film music column in India - as ‘On Record’ in Filmfare. As I wondered how to get going, willy-nilly had I to pick out the music of Naushad as my punchline to accomplish a straight breakthrough (‘Maestro Minus the Midas Touch’, Filmfare, 5 August 1966). That column — my maiden in the era when melody was still queen — had me asserting: ‘Quality is not everything in the sphere of film music: it has to be matched by novelty.’


On this point, Naushad took me up during August 1966 itself at a South Bombay function in the Cricket Club of India, as he queried: ‘So the lad who first met up with me [late in 1948] — seeking to be enlightened on a Mela film musical point — is now sitting in judgment on my scoring, is he?’ In the next moment, typically, he held out his hand, expressing his personal joy at someone whom he knew so well having landed such a coveted assignment as that of the Filmfare music critic.


After all, in the 10 formative years preceding that prized column happening — as I began writing on cinesangeet by even ‘ghosting’ Filmfare articles for our top composers — I had absorbed my first real lessons in classical music from Naushad. To call him a friend would be to insult his memory. He was at all times like a beacon to me. His singular trait — he never protested if I critiqued him. ‘In the case of anything that you write on me’, he tellingly remarked, ‘I get an instant feedback. And that is what truly counts in my estimate. My music must be noticed. After that, how you perceive it is your privilege’.


From being merely acquainted with him as my idol through the first five years (1949—54), I got to know Naushad fairly well by end-1955. I came to tune with him even better as I visited his West Bandra Ashiana music room any number of times. These were my crucial years in the audio world, as I awakened to the sound of classical film music under his melodic guidance.


Soon I divined that, without ever saying so, Naushad had begun making my music listening classically oriented. In this sense, he was my mentor. The fact that, even before we embarked upon such a journey, he was my favourite music director helped. Yet Naushad as a communicator demanded unswerving attention. He got it as he cast a classical spell all his own, on the piano, in re-playing his finest tunes with verbal notes as accompaniment for me to jot down.


Naushad had expected me to write his biography while he was living. (He passed away on 5 May 2006.) I am coming around to doing Naushadnama only now because it took me all of 50 years — during which I came to know him well — to fathom the full strength of his music. As I started work on this book, the idea was to go beyond anything written on Naushad so far. No easy job, considering that Naushad remains our most written-about music maker. Only as I gathered momentum did I feel convinced that I really was adding to the sum total of Naushadian lore.


For Naushad was something more than his music. His personality presented a study in career management. He worked like a beaver to sustain the status that he had attained as the number one music director in our films. Such a meteoric rise had to be backed by solid all-round effort to stay at the summit. Here Naushad never once relaxed his grip. He worked with the same assiduity on his career as he did on his music.


It is this little-known Naushad attribute — of always being one-up on his rivals even while doing his job with total sincerity — that I have endeavoured, relevantly, to underscore. In the process, I have been careful to keep in sight the fact that Naushad never lost the human touch. He brought to the art and craft of music making an integrity balanced by a magnanimity deftly buttressed by his eloquence as an Urdu orator. Go deep down into sangeetam-aware South India and you will find that the music enthusiasts there have not only heard of Naushad but have savoured his tunes and regard him highly. The reach of his music was phenomenal. Where our assembly-line music directors manufactured eminently predictable ditties for the hit parade, he scored for the aficionado. Yet never lost his feel for the man in the street — since that is where he had begun his career. Everything about Naushad and his melodizing was so finely tempered, his scoring, at all times, being distinguished by the imprint of individuality.


During my 40 years in The Times Group, comprehensively did I write on his music. In fact, on a six-page career review that I did, I even invited his daughter, Fehmida Naushad, to pen two additional pages in a personalized vein. Prefixing my own comments to her observations, I have extracted select portions from Fehmida’s piece — something that gives me the opportunity to thank The Times Group for its role in shaping my career. It was this premier group’s Filmfare editor, B. K. Karanjia, who gave me my first opening in film music writing. I wrote regularly for Sunday Times too. As for even the Hindi Dharmayug.


After I finished with The Times Group as the assistant editor of The Illustrated Weekly of India through 22 years, I contributed extensively to the SCREEN weekly of the Express Group. It is here that my music writing acquired a certain dimension. Udaya Tara Nayar, then still new as the editor of SCREEN, threw open her pages to me. This enabled me to stay in live contact with our music icons. Yet, as I sat down to doing this portraiture of Naushad, I habitually ‘wrote into’ whatever I had chosen to draw from The Illustrated Weekly of India, Filmfare and SCREEN. No one quite believed me when I said that I knew ten times more about cricket than I did about music. They laughed up their sleeves as I pleaded: ‘Cricket is my passion, music is but my pastime.’


A pastime so mellifluously rewarding it has been in my vintage listening lifetime. Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammed Rafi, in this Naushad book, run like a golden thread through the music of this composing exemplar. So was Shamshad Begum (of the rapturous Punjabi voice) sonorously dominant in our tuning maestro’s repertoire through his peaking years (1947—51). Indeed, I had made a promise to the venerable Shamshad Begum that I would be graphically presenting her case vis-à-vis Lata Mangeshkar. That Shamshad Begum did not live to see what I have written about her is my one point of regret.


Hopefully, you can no more put down this Naushad book than Asha Bhosle can put down Lata Mangeshkar. I have praised Lata generously where due. But I have taken diligent note of how artfully she managed to stay at the pinnacle. The very way in which I have taken pertinent cognizance of the zeal with which Naushad strove to remain in the forefront from the word go. Who but Lata Mangeshkar could have lived down the fact of her entry of 30,000 songs, ultimately, getting to be knocked out of the Guinness Book of World Records — at Rafi—Naushad instance? It was only 37 years after Lata in 1974 that Asha Bhosle got a Guinness look-in — for having ‘recorded up to 11,000 solos, duets and chorus-backed songs in over 20 Indian languages since 1 947’ As Asha ruefully put it while accepting the citation: ‘I always knew that I had the maximum number of songs to my credit, still I never said anything all this while’.


At least that places Asha Bhosle she is nearer 13,000 songs by now in the numbers game — miles ahead of Lata Mangeshkar, who still totals no more than 6000 songs in all categories. Yet, from those 6000 songs, look at the sheer longevity of the 167 numbers for Naushad that Lata eternalized in the twosome’s 47 years together.


Not a single facet of Naushad’s life and times have I left unexplored. If this book is discovered to be strong on detail, I owe that to the indefatigable inputs of that super historian Harish Raghuwanshi. He is not so much a historian as a magician. In my eyes, Harish Raghuwanshi is close to being the best film historian in India today. Yet it was the illustrious Hindi Film Geet Kosh originator Har Mandir Singh ‘Hamraaz’ who gave this effort its initial impetus by furnishing some vital movie-release dates pertaining to Naushad’s early career. Here I unearthed a new talisman in Sudhir Kapur, a connoisseur whose ready grip on the subtleties of film music found him to be filling critical gaps. A vote of thanks, therefore, to the troika of Har Mandir Singh ‘Hamraaz Sudhir Kapur and Harish Raghuwanshi.


Even after all this, just no one could help out with the music credits (as they appeared on the screen) of Kamal Amrohi’s 1972 Pakeezah. Here is where Rupa Dore from Los Angeles dug up an old CD (originating in a shop closing down) to plug a vital-vital lacuna. All through the book, Rupa was at my beck and call, chipping in with musical minutiae only she had at her tapering fingertips. She made Sudhir Kapur and me look ‘mere males’ as she nonchalantly identified the key women performers for us in Naushad’s Aan (1952) — from among those doing that frenzied chorus singing-dancing in the film. If far away from India, Rupa was always very near this book where it came to generating instant computer clarification with unerring precision.


I have recorded that such a work could not possibly have been completed without the dedicated help, at each twist and turn, of Harish Raghuwanshi. Well, the book might not have got started but for the tenacity with which my long-time friend Shiva Shetty kept rooting for my subject having to be Naushad and no one else. He brought heaps of my ‘lost’ writings on Naushad to press his point. Shetty also came home six-seven times after that and spent long hours with me as we checked off the nitty-gritty of each Naushad song. My one problem is that I write entirely from memory. In consequence, the task of checking out facts becomes doubly knotty Here is where Shiva Shetty was of invaluable assistance, never ever shying away from the slog.


This is a work undertaken with the scale of perseverance that Naushad himself brought to refining a tune. To refining a visionary tune like Jis raat ke khwaab aaye woh khwaabon ki raat aayi, the Rafi melody via which Habba Khatoon will remain forever ‘never released’ in our memory. Verily did the dream music that Naushad made embody all seven colours of the rainbow — colours reflected in the seven notes struck on his priceless Ashiana piano.


Contents

 

Preface

9

Chapter 1

The First Footfalls of Musical Stardom

15

Chapter 2

Top Spots Up for Grabs

30

Chapter 3

A Price to Pay for Being Number One

45

Chapter 4

A Super Hero in the House

59

Chapter 5

Inside the ‘Ashiana of His Dreams

71

Chapter 6

Javed Akhtar Calling and Recalling We Go

85

Chapter 7

The Voice of ‘The Girl Next Door’

97

Chapter 8

Shamshad Scores: Lata Soars

109

Chapter 9

A Journey So Talismanic, So Poetic

128

Chapter 10

The Ego of Being from Lucknow

143

Chapter 11

When Composer Was King

157

Chapter 12

Classic Legend and Rude Reality

170

Chapter 13

The Murky Scene behind the Silver Screen

184

Chapter 14

Upfront No Longer as the Backlash Comes

199

Chapter 15

Rafi as Our Maestro’s Singer Extraordinaire

216

Chapter 16

Face and Façade

234

Chapter 17

Those Instrumental in Crafting Our Ace’s Tunes

250

Chapter 18

The ‘Background’ to Meena Kumari as Pakeezah

266

Chapter 19

The Mirage of Going High, Higher and Still Higher

285

Chapter 20

Musings of ‘The Last Mughal’

301

Chapter 21

His Shadow Never Grew Less

316

Appendix 1:

A Career Record to Play Back

329

Appendix 2:

From the Shadows into the Limelight

334

Appendix 3:

Awards and Rewards

338

Appendix 4:

Filmography

342

 

Index

343

 


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