(Part I) – Remembering Mubarak Begum

I was thinking about the post since last year. But the blog’s anniversary which is on 16th July didn’t allow me to do so. This time I decided to skip the anniversary celebration and concentrated on the Mubarak Begum post. I could get a lot of her interviews on YouTube and I also referred to Manek Premchand’s book.

Let’s remember the versatile singer on her 4th death anniversary. Today’s part will focus on her solos.

mubarak_begum_1

Mubarak Begum was born in 1930s in Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan. Wikipedia mentions her birth date as 5th January 1936. Her mother’s name was Chandbibi and father, Nazir Hussen was a trained Tabla player. So naturally he was interested in music and perhaps that’s why little Mubarak had music in her genes. Financial conditions brought her to her grandparents in Ahmedabad. There she started watching films with her father. As a child she was interested in watching films, and after that she would recite the songs at home. She was mainly influenced by Noorjahan and Suraiya, more so the latter. She was Suraiya’s fan. As her father had an ear for a good voice, he recognized her potential.
Her father brought Mubarak to Mumbai to have a career in film music. But of course to enter in Hindi films as a playback singer wasn’t easy at all.

She started as a radio singer on AIR. She sang ghazals for the radio. She also started formal training in Indian classical music with Ustad Riyazuddin Khan and Ustad Samat Khan, of Kirana Gharana. She continued it for a couple of years. Music director Rafiq Ghaznavi came to know about her and he suggested her name to Yakub. The latter was producing a film called Aaiye, featuring Sulochana Chatterjee and Masood Rana. Shaukat Dehlavi (Nashad) was the composer. Little Mubarak was in her teens, when she sang for the film, her first Hindi film playback solo. The film was released in 1949. She also sang her first duet for the same film, with none other than Lata Mangeshkar. The latter was also a newcomer then.

Mohe Aane Lagi Angdai – Aaiye (1949) / Shaukat Dehlavi – Nakshab Jarchavi
I think, we can appreciate Suraiya’s influence on Mubarak Begum. Her voice is good, though doesn’t have her signature quality, which she must have developed later.

Manek Premchand’s book mentions that, even before the film, Aaiye, Rafiq Ghaznavi and Shyamsunder offered her songs in Manjhdhar and Ek Roz respectively. But the little girl wasn’t comfortable in front of the microphone. She would rehearse good, but the ‘final take’ would fail. Finally on both the occasions the recording was cancelled. It was in the year 1947.

The upcoming years were not so successful, though she sang for a few films, Basera, Dolti Naiya, Phoolon Ka Haar, Mamata, Sheesha to name a few. But the songs were unnoticed and didn’t help her. In majority of the films except Phoolon Ke Haar, her contribution is limited to a song or two. But the composers were giving her a chance for playback.

O Zalim O Bedardi Balam – Phoolon Ke Haar (1951) / Hansraj Behl – Kaif Irfani
Mubarak Begum is yet to develop her own style, and a little influence of Suraiya can still be appreciated. Her expressions and pronunciations appear improved a lot. The deep pathos is well portrayed, though her typical touch is missing. She has several songs to her credit in the film.

O Sitamgar Aasman Jaaun Kahan – Mamta (1952) / Sonik – Shyam Hindi
Yet another song dipped in anguish. I think she was yet to get typecast for Mujra songs. She has sung mainly sad songs in majority of the films. Music director Sonik, was Manohar Sonik who later formed a duo with his nephew Om Prakash Sonik (Sonik-Omi)

Then one day, she was recording for Bhagwan’s film, Dharam Patni under music director, Jamal Sen. He was happy with her voice. Kamal Amrohi’s film ‘Daaera’ was also on the sets. He wanted the songs recorded in a short time. Jamal Sen recommended Mubarak Begum to him. When Amrohi listened to her voice, he finalized her for Daaera. She had an opportunity to sing a good number of songs and it was a big break for her. But the failure of the film again put a breaks on her career. The film is mainly remembered for Devta Tum Ho Mera Sahara, which has three parts in the movie and none is a solo.

Raat Kaise Kati Bata Na Sake – Dharam Patni (1953) / Jamal Sen – Shewan Rizvi
It should be one of her first Mujra songs. A very well written, composed and sung. Mubarak Begum is in full form, her voice is easily recognizable. Her typical accent, typical way of singing. Excellent expressions. It was her only song for the movie. Other songs were sung by Asha Bhosle and Madhubala Jhaveri.

Deep Ke Sang Jaloon Main – Daaera (1953) / Jamal Sen – Majrooh
Mubarak Begum was fortunate enough to lend her voice for the songs of Daaera. She got to sing songs of different genres. What excellent expressions in her inimitable style. The song involves you, touches your mind. It has an enchanting quality. It must have been surprising that even after rendering the songs so wonderfully, she was not called by the leading composers.

Suno More Naina – Daaera (1953) / Jamal Sen – Majrooh
Another good song from Daera. Sounds like a lullaby, but with apt expressions. The song has a different theme, the singer is asking her eyes to listen to her advice. In contrast to the Mujra songs, we can listen to the soft, soothing quality of her voice.

Still she continued singing when she got the opportunity and was fortunate to sing for Roshan in Chandni Chowk, for Anil Biswas in Maan and for K Datta in Rishta. All the films were released in 1954.

Ae Khuda Majboor Ki Fariyaad Hai – Chandni Chowk (1954) / Roshan – Majrooh
A distressed Meena Kumari requesting help from God. Mubarak Begum sings it without any instrumental support. Every word is so very clearly pronounced and full of precise expressions.

Kya Khabar Thi Yoon Tamanna – Rishta (1954) / K Datta – Pt Phani
She was chosen even by a veteran composer like K Datta. She has sung so many sad songs, that too quite efficiently. Her expressions are perfect and her typical style had evolved by now.

Destiny brought her to Bimal Roy’s Devdas, where she was offered a song. Though not lip synced by the lead lady, it was quite popular and Burman da was also happy with her rendition. However he offered her just a duet later, or so I can remember off hand!

Woh Na Aayenge Palatkar – Devdas (1955) / S D Burman – Sahir
Mubarak Begum has said in her interviews that Burman da asked her to polish her voice. But he praised her rendition of the song. The song is played in the background when Devdas and Chandramukhi separate from each other. It is perhaps being performed in a kotha nearby. It actually expresses Chandramukhi’s feelings.

Here’s the full audio song

Bimal Roy again gave her a chance, this time under the baton of music director Salil Choudhari for the film, Madhumati. The song is still very popular and is considered one of her best songs. In an interview, she said that it was already known to her that the song would be left incomplete in the actual film. But as the song was very good, the audio records were made and hence we have the full audio song fortunately.

Hum Haal e Dil Sunayenge – Madhumati (1958) / Salil Choudhari – Shailendra
A similar situation. The full song was not pictured, it’s just over one minute. But nevertheless it’s popularity is at par with the other songs of the movie.

You can enjoy the full audio song.

During the period she sang for a number of films, though the majority of the films were B grade, costume dramas or stunt films. But as a rule even these films used to have very melodious songs. Mubarak Begum also recorded a duet for K Asif’s Mughal e Azam. But it was not retained in the film.

O Dilwale Nigahen Milale – Circus Queen (1959) / Shafi M Nagri – Naqsh Lyallpuri
And if you think Mubarak Begum knew only Mujra songs and soulful songs, the song proves she could sing a club song with equal dedication. A good song with typical western orchestration and Mubarak Begum sings it in Geeta Dutt’s style, but maintaining her own identity. Except the initial songs, when she sounds much like Suraiya, she never copied other singers.

However, a big turning point awaited her at the turn of the decade. Kedar Sharma wanted a song urgently for his film, Jawan Mohabbat. Composer Snehal Bhatkar opted for Mubarak Begum, who was available at the moment. It was her sheer luck. The song proved a landmark in her career. The song became her identity. It made her immortal. The song became so popular that Kedar Sharma finally changed the name of the film to ‘Hamari Yaad Aayegi’. The song of course, became the title song of the movie.

Kabhi Tanhaiyon Mein Yoon – Hamari Yaad Aayegi (1961) / Snehal Bhatkar – Kedar Sharma
Here’s the song that carved her name immortal. It was the biggest hit of her career and the song for which she would be remembered forever. Kedar Sharma has penned only one verse for the song, but it’s impact lasts for a long time.

Her career took a sharp turn as all the composers noticed her voice. She sang for Shankar Jaikishan, Kalyanji Anandji, Khayyam, Salil Choudhari, Madan Mohan in the 60s decade. And lesser known composers like C Arjun, Iqbal Qureshi and many others also called for her playback. And if we want to listen to her ace tracks, her songs with least heard or unheard composers are preferable.

Khud ba Khud Ishq Ka Izhaar – Professor Aur Jadugar (1966) / Sardar Singh – K Malik
I accidentally came across the song. How she modulates her voice, from softer to the high notes. And perfect expressions. Has anyone even heard of the movie? A perfect B grade movie!

Shama Gul Karke Na Ja – Arab Ka Sitara (1961) / Sadat Khan – Ehsaan Rizvi
It’s quite a melodious song from an obscure movie. I couldn’t decipher the exact meaning of the mukhda. Does it mean don’t weaken the shama so much so that she can’t even shine?

Bemurawwat Bewafa Begana e Dil – Sushila (1963) / C Arjun – Jaan Nisar Akhtar
What a gem of a song! When ace lyricist Jaan Nisar Akhtar penned songs for a lesser known composer like C Arjun, the result was a masterpiece. And Mubarak Begum does full justice to the Ghazal. It could be a Mujra song. No video is available.

Aankhon Aankhon Mein Har Ek Raat – Marvel Man (1964) / Robin Bannerji – Yogesh
A beautiful Ghazal again for a stunt film. What wonderful words and what a perfect rendition.

Not Ghazals, but a couple of my Mubarak Begum favourites,

Ae Dil Bata Hum Kahan Aa Gaye – Khooni Khazana (1965) / S Kishan – Khabar Zaman
A dreamy romantic song, with western orchestration. A good song from a B grade movie.

Sanwariya Teri Yaad Mein – Ramu To Deewana Hai (1980) / Chandru – Chandru
It’s a Mujra song. The film was started in the 60s, but was completed very late. Mubarak Begum is as usual at her best. She celebrated her entire career by singing for B grade movies. But her excellent rendition is remembered more than the grade of the movie. Such a heart touching rendition!

I want to add an interesting song from Bengali movie, Lal Patthar, where Mubarak Begum sang Gulzar’s Ruke Ruke Se Qadam, nearly a decade before it was taken for Mausam.

Ruke Ruke Se Qadam – Lal Patthor (1964) Bengali Film / Salil Choudhari – Gulzar
It’s in a completely different mood than its later version. A Mujra song in Mubarak Begum’s crisp voice. The song enchants us even more.

Mubarak Begum’s Mujra songs have a different charm, let’s listen to them. To limit the number of songs, I’ve selected just a couple of songs.

Gham Chhodo Yeh Sare Zamane Ka – Piya Milan Ki Aas (1961) / S N Tripathi – Bharat Vyas
Cuckoo dancing to Bharat Vyas’s words in Mubarak Begum’s voice. To add life to a common tune Mubarak Begum uses her typical accent.

Nazare Khamosh Ho Paigham Pahuch – Lucky Number (1961) / Anil Biswas – Manmohan Sabir
She was really a queen, when it came to singing a Mujra song. Another good number composed by Anil Biswas.

In addition, the Mujra songs from Saraswatichandra and Hameer Hath are worth mentioning too. But to limit the number of songs, I’m not adding them.
And, before you typecast her for Mujra, let me present a lullaby, which she sings with equal dedication.

Chand Gagan Mein Ek Hai – Aandhi Aur Toofan (1964) / Robin Bannerji – Faruq Kaiser
Listen how softly she sings the lullaby! Is it the same singer, who was popular for Mujra songs? Listen how the words ‘ला ला ल ला’ exude love and care for the kids.
A mother sings for her twin baby boys.

However, she was receiving less number of songs in the late 1960s, or even if she recorded a song, it was not retained in the movie. Or her contribution was limited to an insignificant dance number or so. At times, her recorded songs were later offered to other playback singers and she was pushed aside.
Slowly she became aware that it was all a premeditated attempt and she was being ignored purposefully.
In an interview she stated that a popular song from the movie, Jab Jab Phool Khile was originally offered to her. But after recording, it was cancelled and was offered to another singer. But she wasn’t the kind to go and beg for songs. Finally when she stopped receiving offers for playback, she sang non film songs and naats.

Qaramat Khwaja e Ajmer Ki – Nonfilm Song / Music – Iqbal
The song describes a tale of an old lady who’s young son turns missing. He comes back after experiencing a mysterious escape from danger.

She wished for a happy married life, but on that front as well she faced bad luck. He walked over her. In any of her interviews she never mentioned about her husband. But she was responsible for the upbringing of two kids, a son and a daughter.

I’ve covered her solos in the post, I’m planning to be back with the post covering her duets and trios etc. Also the part would have more information about her personal life.

Would add a song to the list?

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 listening convenience of music lovers. The copyright of these songs rests with the respective owners, producers and music companies.

24 Replies to “(Part I) – Remembering Mubarak Begum”

  1. A good tribute to Mubarak Begum, and some of my favourite songs of hers. Thank you, especially, for O dilwaale nigaahein mila le. That was new to me; I had not known that Mubarak Begum sang club songs too, but she does it very well. Superb.

    Like

    1. Thanks for the appreciation Madhuji.
      O dilwaale nigaahein mila le. is a good song, not much known to many of us. Mubarak Begum adopted Geeta dutt’s style while singing it, but maintaining her own style at the same time.
      🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Anupji,

    Thanks for the nice and deserving tribute to Mubarak Begum. I was delighted to read the article and to listen to the songs. In spite of the limited/ restricted opportunity, she did etch a name for herself. She did not get the respect, recognition and remuneration she deserved. It seems situation conspired to deny her the rightful place in Hindi Film Music.
    Akji had met her in person in 2012 and I I am sure he would provide more substance.

    You have mentioned about her song in Mughal-e-Azam. I think the song was not included in the film. I had posted the song in the article on SoY in 2013. The link is no longer available. But am posting the link to an audio version of the triad.

    Thanks once agin Anupji.

    Like

    1. Thanks a lot Venkataramanji for the appreciation.
      and I didn’t know AKji had met her in person, such a fortunate man!
      I tried searching Husna Ki Baarat Chali on Youtube, but couldn’t find.
      Thank you so much for the link. It’s a good song.
      🙂

      Like

  3. Anupji ,
    You have mentioned about the film Basera (1950)
    Posting a lesser known song from this film.

    Prem Kahani Chede Jawani, lyrics Sardar Ilham, music M A Rauf Osmania

    Posting a song from a Punjabi film Heer Sayal (1960), music Sardul Kwatra
    I remembered this song because the prelude sounds similar to the song ‘Pardesiyon se na akhiyan milana

    Like

  4. Anupji,
    I listened to the songs and you have covered most of her favourite solo numbers.
    ‘Deep Ke Sang Jaloon Main’, ‘Woh Na Aayenge Palatkar’ , ‘Hum Haal e Dil Sunayenge’ & ‘Shama Gul Karke Na Ja’ are some of my favourites too.
    But my choice of the top two would be ‘Kabhi Tanhaiyon Mein Yoon’ & ‘Bemurawwat Bewafa Begana e Dil’.
    A special thanks for including the songs from ‘Ramu to Deewane Hai’ and Lal Patthore (Bengali). Only a portion of the her song was used in Lal Pathore.

    Posting another nice song rendered by her

    Karam kije tajdare Madina

    Like

    1. “my choice of the top two would be ‘Kabhi Tanhaiyon Mein Yoon’ & ‘Bemurawwat Bewafa Begana e Dil”

      Oh yes! I completely agree. I tried presenting in chronological order, so both the songs were much down on the list.
      A full list at the end of write up would be a little too long, sometimes looks indigestible.

      Here’s a slighly better audio (I think with noise reduction)

      Like

  5. Enjoyed the post. Also I enjoy comments of N. Venkatraman ji. His additions are always worth reading.

    Like

  6. Anup,
    Excellent tribute to Mubarak Begum. One speculation is often made on social media that she was blocked from achieving her full potential by a powerful singer. Except ‘Kabhi tanhaiyon mein hamari yaad ayegi’ and songs from ‘Dayera’ and a few other songs, limitation of her voice is clear. She was born with the voice, she couldn’t help it. The leading singer had no reason to feel threatened.

    Your tribute is very comprehensive as usual. Congratulations.

    Like

    1. Thanks AKji for the appreciation. Your comment means a lot to me!

      Yes, actually any leading singer had no reason to feel threatened. But she has accused so for many a times, her interviews and the books also mention the same.
      Mubarak Begum herself was also aware of the limitations of her voice, as she has mentioned in one of her interviews.
      But still I think she had a wonderful voice, she could have easily achieved a good position in Hindi films.

      Like

  7. A well researched and well grafted post on this not so fortunate singer. Bulk of the songs you posted I heard for the first time. I saw the film Daera and remembered her songs. It is so difficult even to compose one comprehensive post on her, but you plan to have a sequel. A very commendable job indeed. I will be waiting for it with bated breath. I do remember a song from Hum Rahi a remake of the Tamil film – Pen Manam (Heart of a woman a literal translation), based on a novel by a prolific writer in Tamil – Dr. Lakshmi, resident of South Africa for a long time.
    Mujkho Apni gale lagalo

    0

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  8. Anupji,
    Posting few solos from her Pakistani film Raaz.

    It is believed that many sites have incorrectly tagged the songs attributing Zubaida’s songs to Mubarak and vice versa. Even EMI made this error and incorrectly included Mubarak Begum’s “Mast nazar” in Zubaida Khanum’s CD. But later the error was rectified.

    A well rendered poignant solo;
    Ae Zindagi Rulaye Ja ,Mubarak Begum, Raaz ( Pak Film, 1959), Kalim Usmani, Feroze Nizami

    Next a peppy lilting number,
    Mast Nazar Aur Patli Kamar,Mubarak Begum, Raaz ( Pak Film, 1959), Tufail Hoshyarpuri, Feroze Nizami

    Seems to be a night club song;
    Ha hola hola hola – Mubarak Begum

    Like

    1. Thank you for adding the missing part of the first post, her solos from Pakistani films.
      In the last two peppy numbers, she seems to have adapted the singing style of Geeta Dutt, (If not heard carefully, the songs would be incorrectly attributed to Geeta Dutt) though her own touch is maintained.
      The second song, Ha Hola Hola Hola Ha Hola also fits on the list of songs with anokhe bol.
      🙂

      Like

  9. She was born in Nawal Garh (Rajhistan) — Near Shikar, Near Jaipur
    نول گڑھ
    ”Nawalgarh is a heritage city in Jhunjhunu district of Indian state of Rajasthan. It is part of the Shekhawati region and is midway between Jhunjhunu and Sikar.”

    Like

      1. Thanks for your acknowledgement janab.
        I am working on the script of my new book comprising of the transcribed interviews of film personalities. Except Mubarak Begum, there are 77 personalities including Kumar a.k.a Majjan, Rafiq Ghaznavi, Rafiq Rizvi, Noor Jehan, Lata Ji, W. Z Ahmed, Shaukat Hussain Rizvi, Nakshab Jachvi etc. etc.
        Mubarak Begum explicitly told about her birth place i.e Nawal Garh.
        The said book is will soon be published in ZINDA KITABAIN,
        If you visit the below link of my flicker account, u will find there thousands of rare info about pre partition film perosnalities:

        Zinda Kitabain # 19 & 20-Dhundlay Saey & Basti Basti Roshan Thee, M.A Usmani (Former teacher of Aitchison College, Lahore)

        Moreover, I have published a coffee table book named Wo Bholi Dastan, consisting of 53 rare vintage film Booklets of Era 1931-1940. Details can be seen at the aboveink by writing the name of coffee table book Wo Bholi Dastan, in the search bar.

        Liked by 1 person

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