Yesteryears' playback singer Shamshad Begum named for Padma Bhushan


New Delhi : Legendary playback singer Shamshad Begum, who became a rage in the 1940s and 1950s with songs like "Leke pehla pehla pyar" and "Kabhi aar kabhi paar", has been named among the Padma Bhushan awardees this year.

According to media reports, the singer now 80, is not keeping well.

Begum, who started her career with All India Radio in 1937, became a sensation during the 1940s and the late 1950s and worked with maestros like Naushad Ali and O.P. Nayyar. She is credited with singing one of the first Westernised songs, "Meri jaan... Sunday ke Sunday" in the Hindi film industry, and her singing was characterised by a nasal twang.

Some of her memorable numbers are "Kahin pe nigahen kahin pe nishana”, “Poochh mera kya naam re", “Mere piya gaye Rangoon”, and “Holi aayee re Kanhaai”.



shamshad begum

The information about shamshad begum is often sketchy and incomplete on the internet, and some of it is quite wrong. For instance, Shamshad Begum does not have a nasal voice, like Geeta Dutt. Then, she was the main playback singer in films before Lata started dominating the film music music scene. For instance, in 'Mela' (1948) all songs picturised on the heroine (Nargis) were in the voice of Shamshad Begum. Then, in Raj Kapoor's 'Aag' (1948, all the songs lip-synced by Nargis in the film were in the voice of Shamshad Begum. Similarly, in 'Deedar' (1951)Shamshad Begum playbacked for the heroine, Nargis.
Shamshad Begum has sung hundreds of songs but only a few are remembered today. Many of her songs are now not available in music shops. It would be in the fitness of things if music companies collected and marketed those songs for Shamshad Begum's countless fans.