Shamshad sings with Mangeshkar sisters

When the month of April started this year, I was a little uncomfortable! I had planned a post about Shamshad Begum, but wasn’t sure about the theme. I mean, you just can’t have a single post on Shamshad’s songs. She was so versatile and has sung a wide variety of songs with nearly all the composers of the golden Era. I thought of having separate posts on her associations with major composers like Ghulam Haider, O P Nayyar, C Ramchandra, Naushad etc. But with forthcoming posts, no scope for a series of posts.
Relatively lesser talked about subject is her duets or trios with other singers. This year I would take up, her duets with the Mangeshkar sisters.


Shamshad was already a renowned singer, when Mangeshkar sisters entered the Hindi film industry. Her stern, nasal voice was in demand, and her expressions used to be superb! She sang for all the composers, and all types of songs. She was comfortable with Mujra, a lullaby,a dance number or a romantic song. She was very cooperative, never denied any composer. Having said this, I remember an incidence, of the film Mehbooba that was released in 1953. Roshan composed for the film, to start with, but was later replaced by O P Nayyar, due to conflict between K Amarnath and Roshan. And singers were appealed not to sing for the film. But remembering her past association with Nayyar, Shamshad sang for the film.
She sang for many composers for their first film, and though they went for Lata Mangeshkar in later part of their career, she continued singing for them. She sang with dedication and devotion, any song that was offered to her. She never had conflicts with any singer. She never allowed anyone to click her photograph, and never entertained any gossip. Very late, I think, in late 70s or so, her photo with bob cut was released.

She was the preferred voice for main leads, for many years in 40s decade. When tsunami called Lata Mangeshkar hit the shore, she was gradually side tracked for side character’s songs, or dance numbers. Even the stalwarts like C Ramchandra, Naushad started offering her ‘other’ songs. Lata was replacing her. The 40s were ruled by nasal, sturdy voices, and were in demand. But as Lata Mangeshkar overpowered all the voices with her thin voice, the scenario changed. Partly, I will agree that Shamshad’s voice didn’t suit the heroines of 50s and later. And a more important factor was, the composers now, began styling their songs with the view of Lata singing it for them. So only the songs, specifically carved for Shamshad, came her way and their number unfortunately declined over the period. Still she stood firmly throughout the 1950s. I like Shamshad’s voice a lot, but my mind doesn’t accept her singing for Meena Kumari in Naya Andaz. I personally believe it didn’t suit her.

C Ramchandra used to have light hearted, comedy songs in his films. It was his forte and Shamshad suited perfectly for such songs. But as Lata entered into the picture, the scenario changed. Now Shamshad’s place was limited only to that type of songs. Finally Lata took over, and Shamshad’s voice started fading from C Ramchandra’s compositions. He started offering such songs to Asha Bhosle. I do not intend to blame anyone or do not want to declare someone a villain! I am just stating my observations, while going through Shamshad’s journey with C Ramchandra.

Geeta Dutt and Shamshad used to share songs in films by O P Nayyar. Sometimes, one of them would be offered more songs, the other less! But again, as Asha Bhosle appeared, and I think Geeta Dutt’s family problems might have played equal role, Shamshad’s place became secondary.

In early days, Naushad also experimented with multiple female singers, sometimes he would call for Shamshad, sometimes, Amirbai, or at times, Zohrabai. Once, Lata Mangeshkar’s magical soft voice took over, Shamshad was reduced to other songs. She lost the position of main lead singer. Right from Andaz, this change manifested. Still, in my opinion, Naushad was quite generous over the period of time. In 1957, he offered her equal number of songs for Mother India. I have heard, when her husband suddenly expired in 1955, an incident that left her heart broken, she was not able to concentrate on her singing career. At that time, Naushad was the one to offer her songs for the prestigious ‘Mother India’ and helped her come through the emotionally difficult period.

The first song by Lata & Shamshad was a trio, from Khidaki (1948), C Ramchandra was the composer. The other singer was Mohantara Talpade (Mohantara Ajinkya). The song was very popular.
In all, Lata and shamshad sang around 21duets, and three quadrates, and one trio. Naushad was the one to offer maximum number (5) of duets to them.
Followed by – C Ramchandra (4), Chitragupt (4), Husnalal Bhagatram, Nashad, Ghulam Mohammad with a couple of songs each, and Shyam Sunder offering just a song.

Coming to the junior Mangeshkar sister, Asha Bhosle.
I had an impression that the number of duets would be less, but I found near equal number of duets. In fact I could find around 25 songs. Most of the duets were expected from O P Nayyar (7 songs), but many other composers also had their share in these songs. Ravi (5 songs) has also offered a good number of duets, along with O P Nayyar. Madan Mohan (3), Nashad (2), and only one song by, N Datta, Vasant Desai, Vinod, S N Tripathi, and A R Qureshi, each.

The major difference was that Lata-Shamshad duets were popular and picturised on main lead. Most of the Asha-Shamshad duets are picturised on other characters. And most of the duets form an insignificant part of the movie, hence less of the songs are memorable. Still, I’ve tried to list the memorable as well as good songs amongst the lesser known ones.

With Usha Mangeshkar, I could find only a couple of songs. The popular one is from Bluff Master.

So, without any more delay, let’s pay a tribute to the spectacular singer of the Golden Era, on her 6th death anniversary.
Come with me to the song list. The songs are in no particular order, but songs with one singer are listed together.

With Lata Mangeshkar

1. Dar Na Mohabbat Kar Le – Andaz (1949) / Naushad – Majrooh
One of their earlier songs, but Lata was already singing for the heroine and Shamshad for supporting actor. Still the song is shared equally between the two. A very nice song, about happiness and joy of falling in love.
Dilip Kumar plays the piano with some awkward shoulder movements and has nothing to do but to smile, which he appears to perform forcibly,not easy at all! The third line of first stanza is lip synched by both, when only Shamshad is singing.

2. Pyar Ke Jahan Ki Nirali Sarkar Hai – Patanga (1949) / C Ramchandra – Rajendra Krishna
A delightful stage song, fun to watch! The planet of Love has different rules, and the heart is the highest authority of it. It celebrates each day as Sunday. It’s really a entertaining song.
I couldn’t identify the lady dancing with Nigar Sultana.

3. Kisi Ke Dil Mein Rehna Tha – Babul (1950) / Naushad – Shakeel Badayuni
After Andaz, they immediately had this film, with a number of songs sung by Shamshad Begum,who offered playback to Munawar Sultana, while Lata Mangeshkar,who sang for Nargis, had a lesser number of songs.
Both the ladies sing in deep sorrow, one of them sacrificing for the other. Munawar Sultana gets married to someone else, and Nargis soon afterwards.

4. Jhukati Hui Nazar Ka Ada Naam – Farmaish (1953) / Husnalal Bhagatram – Qamar Jalalabadi
A less commonly mentioned and heard qawwali. But has a typical flavour of a qawwali. Though not often heard, it captures your mind easily and you find yourself humming it the whole day. Shamshad enters the song very late and has only a few lines to sing.

5. Bachpan Ke Din Bhula Na Dena – Deedar (1951) / Naushad – Shakeel Badayuni
Old Hindi films used to have female singers for children. This song has Shamshad singing for Parikshit Sahni and Lata singing for Baby Tabassum. After Lata entering the picture, Shamshad was the choice for male child.
Both of them look cute, and in the long shots, seem to enjoy the horse ride. They sing about their tender dreams, and promise each other not to forget the golden days of childhood.

6. Matwale O Matwale – Kundan (1955) / Ghulam Mohammad – Shakeel Badayuni
I accidentally found this duet, when I was researching for Ghulam Mohammad post last month. It’s not a great song, but it is a combination of club song and sad song. The club dancer is so horrible that, the director has avoided her presence in the first stanza. He had to make do with the other dancers. Nimmi suddenly breaks into the song with a sad face and talks about her poverty. But the song rhythm remains the same. Finally she asks for a job, but slaps the manager who misbehaves.

7. Chala Na Jaye Dil Haathon Se – Raj Singhasan (1958) / Chitragupt – Anjum Jaipuri
A typical Chitragupt melody, a song with absolutely sweet tune. I guess this song must have been picturised on heroine with her close friend teasing her. The friend warns her against it, while she feels it completely natural to fall in love. The lyrics are simple, but meaningful and the contrast between their voices adds to the overall effect.

8. Teri Mehfil Mein Kismat – Mughal E Azam (1960) / Naushad – Shakeel Badayuni
A competition between Madhubala and Nigar Sultana. Lata sings for Madhubala and Shamshad Begum for Nigar. While Nigar regards Madhubala as a threat, and actually reveals, her plans against Anarkali, Madhubala shows complete dedication, to Shahzada Salim. Both of them do full justice to their part. I just don’t understand why Nigar, otherwise so expressive, wears a mask like face throughout the song. She even lip syncs so badly, as if obliging the director just for the sake of it.

9. Chhodo Ji Baiyan Mori – Baradari (1955) / Nashad – Khumar Barabankavi
On this position, we have a delightful pair of Cuckoo and Minu Mumtaz dancing in front of a procession. Looks like a baraat of a groom. Minu Mumtaz is dressed as a man, who’s romancing Cuckoo. A usual type of lyrics follow the mukhda. But definitely a pleasure to watch!

10. Kas Ke Kamar Hoja Taiyar – Sangram (1950) / C Ramchandra – Vrajendra Goud
Another children’s song, with Shamshad providing playback for the boy (Shashi Kapoor) and Lata singing for the girl (Baby Tabassum). A very short song, just two minutes. The children are preparing for a mission and have decided to fight for it, what may come .

With Asha Bhosle

11. Reshmi Salwar Kurta Jali Ka – Naya Daur (1957) / O P Nayyar – Sahir
This was the obvious first duet, that I remembered for the list. A stage performance, where Shamshad sings for Kumkum and Asha Bhosle for Minu Mumtaz, who’s cross dressed. A catchy rhythm makes it a foot tapping number. A thoroughly enjoyable song.

12. Sharma Ke Kyun Sab Parda Nasheen – Choudahvi Ka Chand (1960) / Ravi – Shakeel Badayuni
A qawwali, very famous once. A ladies function is going on, and one of the singers, is referring to her brother, Rehman, who’s watching Waheeda Rehman through a window. A usual question, “why do the beautiful ladies hide themselves in veils?”. The answer, “so as to avoid peeping toms!” A fun to watch. The lady receiving Shamshad’s playback, is Jeevankala, if I’m not wrong!

13. Mere Banne Ki Baat Na Puchho – Gharana (1961) / Ravi – Shakeel Badayuni
Again, a ladies function, mostly the sangeet before a wedding. Both the parties claim their superiority over the other, they don’t spare even the bride groom. The leg pulling is presented as a qawwali and you enjoy it completely. Asha sings for Shubha Khote and Shamshad for an unknown face.

14. Kajra Mohabbat Wala – Kismat (1968) / O P Nayyar – S H Bihari
One of Shamshad’s last hits. O P Nayyar was so much in awe with Asha’s voice that he hardly remembered Shamshad Begum. He called her only for a few duets, like this one! Her voice is used for Biswajit, who’s cross dressed. Gradually she preferred fading away from playback. She used to perform at stage shows, which stopped after a period and she was totally disconnected from media.

15. Nigahon Ka Ishara Hai – Night Club (1958) / Madan Mohan – Majrooh
This song has featured on my Asha’s duets with Madan Mohan. But as I like it, I repeated it on this list too. The music is very much like O P Nayyar, and the voices further add to the illusion. A romantic song, expressing the emotions of the other characters like a book in third person.

16. Nanhe Munne Raja Ki Saal Girah Aayi – Anand Bhavan (1953) / Vasant Desai – Raja Mehdi Ali Khan
I came across the song, while researching for the post. The ladies celebrating a baby’s birthday. A cute birthday song for the little ones. It stands out from other qawwalis or dances.

17. Sharma Ke Zara Ae Mast Ada – Aladdin Aur Jadui Chirag (1952) / S N Tripathi – Anjum Jaipuri
Friends teasing heroine for her love interest. A cute song, from a fantasy movie. This song stands out among others, due to an important fact. Shamshad sings for Meena Kumari, the main lead, while Asha Bhosle sings for her friend. The scene changed just in few years!

With Usha Mangeshkar

18. Kehte Hain Jisko Ishq – Aaj Aur Kal (1963) / Ravi – Sahir
I could find only a couple of duets with Usha Mangeshkar. The one from Bluff Master already featured on Usha Mangeshkar duet list. The second, from Aaj Aur Kal, picturised on Shakeela Bano Bhopali, also appears popular, though it was not known to me. A qawwali again added to the list.

And though the post is about her duets, I found a trio, a wonderful qawwali! Shamshad with Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle. So couldn’t resist.

§§ Har Baat Puchhiye Yeh Haqiqat Na Puchhiye – Chandni Chowk (1954) / Roshan – Majrooh §§
Meena Kumari enjoying being teased by her friends. An enjoyable qawwali, Meena Kumari’s young and charming looks stole my heart. The qawwali is full of Urdu words, and all the singers complement each other well. The song is entirely picturised on side characters, still it was offered to leading playback singers. Of course, to get the expected effect, experts are necessary.

Oh boy! This time the list has so many qawwalis! Majority of Asha-Shamshad songs, and a few of Lata-Shamshad songs, long with the trio and the Usha-Shamshad duet, all are qawwalis. Still how lovely and graceful each qawwali is! Because the basic style and tune is more or less the same.

Would you like to add a song?

Disclaimer –
Mehfil Mein Meri, claims no credit for any image, screenshots or songs posted on this site. Images on this blog are posted to make the text interesting. The images and screenshots are the copyright of their original owners. The song links are shared from YouTube, only for the convenience of music lovers. The copyright of these songs rests with the respective owners.

13 Replies to “Shamshad sings with Mangeshkar sisters”

  1. Good list! There were several songs that were new to me here. Here’s yet another qawwali featuring Shamshad with Asha, which I like: from Zindagi aur Toofan, Dil ka na kehna maan:

    By the way, Shamshad does sing some songs for Nargis in Baabul, including one version of Chhod baabul ka ghar.


    1. Thanks for adding a wonderful qawwali! I had come across this song, while I was collecting songs for the post.
      And, I know, Shamshad has sung ‘Chhod Babul Ka Ghar’ for Nargis, still, majority of Shamshad songs went to Munnawar, so I wrote so!


  2. Well written article,Anup ji and good selection of songs.
    I am not sure whether it is Shamshad Begum or Mubarak Begum in the all female qawwali from GATEWAY OF INDIA. What I am sure of, though,is that it has 3 Mangeshkar sisters: Lata, Meena and Usha, with 1 Begum. Do verify.


  3. What a list. It took quite a while to go thorough this.
    Shamshad Begums voice had, how can I say it, a playful quality, you know what is said as “chulbulapan’.
    “Kajra mohabbat wala” was the first one that came to my mind. Then the “Mughle-e-azam” song. But many songs were new to me.


    1. Your comment was processed as spam by wordpress, so it was in that folder. So it appeared late here.
      Thank you, Aditi ji! and glad you liked it. The ones quoted by you, are the most popular among their duets.
      In all, about 50+ songs were there, so my list also went on increasing!


  4. Anup,
    This is a nice compilation. All the best songs I could think of are already here. Congratulations.

    The contrast between the two voices is interesting. That makes the duets so delightful.


    1. Thank you Akji!
      Actually I should have left some relatively popular songs for the readers to add, But finally ended up adding so many!
      And, yes! The contrast between the voices of Shamshad & the Mangeshkar sisters adds a different effect to the songs.


  5. Anup ji ,
    U always surprise me by Ur themes.
    To write a post on songs of Shamshad Begum is a general idea , but to think of a post of her combination with Mangeshkar sisters is a gr8 innovative idea .
    Well done !!!

    I liked Ur analysis about the rise nd fall of Shamshad Begum .
    I must admire U for the observation of Shamshad singing a line for both the ladies in song of अंदाज़ .
    I njoyed all the qawwalis .
    Song of राजसिंघासन was new for me but I liked the नोंकझोंक in that .

    I agree to Aditi ji ‘s comment of the चुलबुलापन in Shamshad’s voice .
    I always find Shamshad’s voice with somewhat करारापन at the same time with मीठापन also .
    Let me help U in identifying 2 actresses . In song no.2 of पतंगा , Mohana is accompanying Nigar nd in qawwali of घराना , Krishna Kumari is singing in Shamshad’s voice .

    So Anup ji , thnx for a very different nd interesting post .


    1. Thanks Pramodji for the appreciation.
      And I wasn’t actually sure about the theme, in general a tribute post is considered to be a solo songs post. But as I said in the opening paragraph, I just couldn’t see myself choosing just ten songs. so I went for a comparatively limited songs post. But ended up with twenty songs!
      I agree with you, about Shamshad’s voice being naughty, Crisp, bubbly yet full of emotions. And, sharp like a Talwar ki Dhar, yet full of sweetness!
      She was a wonderful singer.


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