(Part II) – Remembering Mubarak Begum


Welcome all the readers to the second and the final part of the series. I started the series on Mubarak Begum’s 4th death anniversary, and the part focused on the solos. Today’s part focuses on the duets or trios by Mubarak Begum.

collage mubarak begum

Her first duet was with Lata Mangeshkar for the film, Aaiye (1949). Lata Mangeshkar was also an upcoming singer then. Later she sang a couple of duets with Mubarak Begum.

Aao Chale Chale Wahan – Aaiye (1949) with Lata Mangeshkar and Chorus / Shaukat Dehlavi – Nakshab Jarchavi
I won’t call it a great song! But I retained it for its historical significance. Mubarak Begum’s first duet for a Hindi film.

Dil Hum Se Woh Lagaye – Baradari (1955) with Lata Mangeshkar / Nashad – Khumar Barabankavi
A good qawwali. Their contrasting voices complement each other.
Meenu Mumtaz and another actress (though she looks familiar) singing the song for Pran, who enjoys his drink, making faces.

Similarly Mubarak Begum sang duets with Asha Bhosle and some of the songs are my great favourites. I’ll take the opportunity to present a few. Nearly all the songs are picturised on supporting characters or dancers or the lead actresses of low budget films.

Chah Karani Thi Chah Kar Baithe – Punarmilan (1964) with Asha Bhosle / C Arjun – Raja Mehdi Ali Khan
A very well written, well composed melody. Both the ladies sing with precise expressions. Shashikala and Amita both look good and di full justice to the singer’s renditions. Listen to Mubarak Begum’s pronunciation of words. It’s as perfect as Asha’s. Click here for the video.

Saqiya Ek Jaam Woh Bhi – Neend Hamari Khwab Tumhare (1966) with Asha Bhosle / Madan Mohan – Rajendra Krishan
An excellent song, with an exquisite rendition by both the singers. It’s a pity that such dance numbers are always forgotten, and we tend to remember the songs picturised on lead actors.
I listened to the song for the first time, when I was compiling Asha Bhosle with Madan Mohan list. I liked the song then and there. It’s a dance performance by Madhumati and Bela Bose. They dance at a housewarming, thrown by Shashi Kapoor’s father. Now if you wonder why a Mujra song on such an occasion, you must watch the movie.

Humen Dum Daike Soutan Ghar Jana – Yeh Dil Kisko Doon (1965) with Asha Bhosle / Iqbal Qureshi – Qamar Jalalabadi
Mubarak Begum sings for Madhumati, the dancer and Asha Bhosle for Jayashree Gadkar. The former is bewildered to see Jayashree Gadkar entering furiously, singing and dancing. The latter replies back in typical Marathi andaz, when Madhumati sings Sargam. Again I will say the same thing, a song overshadowed by the other popular songs from the movie. Of late, in the internet era, I guess, It has been quite popular among Hindi film lovers.

Jab Ishq Kahin Ho Jata Hai – Aarzoo (1966) with Asha Bhosle and Chorus / Shankar Jaikishan – Hasrat Jaipuri
A song that I’m familiar with since my childhood. We had it on a cassette collection, maintained by my father. And I like it since then. Though Mubarak Begum sings it in a high pitch, which gets too high at places, in general she manages to impress us. It starts in a qawwali style with the fusion of Indian and western music in the interludes. It is said that it was the only song composed by Shankar for the film, all other solos were composed by Jaikishan.
Picturised on Daisy Irani and Nazima, who along with the whole gang of friends tease Sadhna no end. Sadhna is in a sad mood and gets irritated.

Let’s listen to some of her songs with other well known and lesser known female playback singers.

Mehfil Mein Aap Aaye – Mohabbat Isko Kehte Hai (1965) with Suman Kalyanpur / Khayyam – Majrooh
It’s again a Mujra song, that has been overshadowed by other popular songs of the movie. Though Suman Kalyanpur sings for Nanda, she also joins Mubarak Begum for the song.
Picturised on very young Laxmichhaya and Rani, who appear to be completely charmed by handsome Shashi Kapoor, it’s quite an enjoyable song. Click here for the video song.

Nigahon Se Dil Ka – Cobra Girl (1963) with Suman Kalyanpur / S N Tripathi – Prem Dhawan
Picturised on Madhumati (oh! Today’s list has a number of her dances) And Rani, the duet enchants us. Good costumes, good sets, good dancing and good singing on a good tune make it a perfect package. I think female dance duets could be a very good and interesting topic for a post.

One of the most popular songs of Mubarak Begum is a trio under the baton of Kalyanji Anandji. Naaz, Tanuja and Nanda sing the song in three different and unique voices.

Neend Ud Jaye Teri – Juari (1968) with Suman Kalyanpur and Krishna Bose / Kalyanji Anandji – Anand Bakshi
The song is very popular where the first part, picturised on Naaz is sung by Mubarak Begum. The faux anger in her expressions is different from the other two singers, who portray genuinely distressed ladies. Krishna Bose sings for Tanuja and Suman Kalyanpur lends her voice to Nanda.

Baba Ban Gaye Gentleman – Khandan (1955) with Yashodhara / A R Qureshi – Sarshar Sailani
I stumbled upon the song accidentally. But it sounded so much fun that I decided to add it to the list. Two small kids describing their father in a funny way. He owns a pocket watch, carries a stick in his hand, wears a hat and a necktie. His umbrella and boots have been sent from different places. He is an officer. But unless he hears from his mother from Mumbai he is not at ease. Have fun with it.
The film as well as the co singer both are unknown. But both of them sing it perfectly.

Yeh Moonh Aur Masoor Ki Daal – Around The World (1968) with Sharda / Shankar Jaikishan – Shailendra
It’s good to listen to, but picturisation is not that good, in my opinion. I kept on remembering, Dekho Ab To Kisko Nahi Hai Khabar and Woh Pari Kahan Se Laaoon. You can watch the song here.

Ghunghat Hataike Nazare Milaike – Rangeen Raaten (1956) with Sudha Malhotra / Roshan – Kedar Sharma
Again a song that has been neglected due to more popular songs from the movie. Though it’s not a great song, certainly an enjoyable number.
A stage performance by three dancers. The rumbustious audience is busy whistling.

She also sang with Geeta Dutt and Shamshad Begum. Even though she sang with the majority of the female playback singers, she couldn’t sing a duet with her favourite singer, Suraiya, though their careers did overlap a good deal.

Before we go the songs with male playback singers, let me add a few funny or interesting incidents of her life.

  • She has sung a number of Mujra songs with a stern voice, but in reality she was very shy. Once when Amin Sayani invited her for a radio show, she asked if she would have to speak as well! Her sister, Vijaybala, who appeared in a few films in minor roles, accompanied her. While Mubarak Begum did sing songs on the radio, all the questions were answered by Vijaybala.
  • Mubarak Begum also told in her interviews that Geeta Bali and Meena Kumari used to like her. Meena Kumari even gifted her a beautiful Sari with a broad Zari border. The sari proved lucky for her. She had a belief that whenever she wears the Sari, the recordings take place without any trouble and for quite a long time, she managed to wear it for her recordings. Her belief never failed.

As far as the male playback singers are concerned, she used to respect Rafi a lot and she had an opportunity to sing quite a good number of songs with him. In fact her most memorable duets are with Rafi.
In one of the interviews, she acknowledged that during the recording of one of the duets, she was not comfirtable with the scale. So on her request, Rafi allowed to lower one note to make her at ease.

Devta Tum Ho Mera Sahara – Daaera (1953) with Rafi / Jamal Sen – Kaif Bhopali
All the three parts have Rafi in a subsidiary role. The main singer is of course Mubarak Begum, who excels in all the parts. Though Rafi was an established singer by then, he still sang as a chorus. And the other songs were sung by Talat. That’s Rafi’s greatness as a human being.

The film has it in three parts. But the audio songs available have a different combination of verses than from the actual film songs. Here’s the link where the solo and the duet are together.

Mujhko Apne Gale Lagalo – Humrahi (1963) with Rafi / Shankar Jaikishan – Hasrat Jaipuri
The song is still hugely popular. And it’s a great song! It is said that the song was to be dubbed in Lata’s voice, but finally wasn’t. Whatever reason might have been, Mubarak Begum got a spectacular hit and she entered SJ camp. Later the duo did offer her songs. But those songs couldn’t match up with the popularity of this song.

Ae Jaan e Nazar Chilman se Agar – Qawwali Ki Raat (1964) with Rafi / Iqbal Qureshi – Shewan Rizvi
Both the singers sing excellently without any rhythm instruments, just a subtle support. The song has fine lyrics too.
My favourite Kumkum is accompanied by very young Aruna Irani and the former sings with good expressions. The film is full of qawwalis, though the songs were not much popular before the internet era. Mubarak Begum has a couple of duets with Rafi in the movie. Out of the two, this one enchanted me a lot!

Itne Qareeb Aake Bhi – Shagoon (1964) with Talat / Khayyam – Sahir
A beautiful Ghazal rendered perfectly by the singers. Mubarak Begum’s typical accent makes it a musical treat. Talat’s soft gentle voice and Mubarak Begum’s stern yet expressive voice create an interesting contrast.

Zara Keh Do Fizaon Se – Gogola (1966) with Talat / Roy-Frank – Balkavi Bairagi
A good romantic song from a least known movie. The composer duo Roy and Frank is equally unknown. Mubarak Begum had a couple of solos in the movie, the other one was with Mahendra Kapoor.

  • In one of interviews, when she was asked about the pay, she used to get per song, she told that Rs 500 to 1000/- per song for the big banners and Rs 150/- per song for other films. As she sang very rarely for the big banners, she had no significant savings towards the end of her career. The late years of her career were again full of struggle. With no income from playback singing and the responsibility of two children, it was very difficult for her to manage even the daily expenses. Later even if her son used to be a chauffeur, in the absence of fixed income, he also was more or less dependent on his mother. She even didn’t have a home, but later she was allotted one through government quota. The home with a single room at Jogeshwari wasn’t adequate for her, but at least now there was a shelter. Her pension was too inadequate to run the family. Later her own medicinal expenses were also on the rise.
  • Her biggest complaint was with the Hindi film Industry, which she was a part of, for more than three decades. No one inquired about her whereabouts. When she appealed them finally, which was against her self respect, a few people did help.

Before I end the post, I would add a couple of songs. The songs may not be well known, but are definitely worth a try. May be the song from Teesari Kasam would be known to a handful of readers. It’s not much talked about.

Nautanki song – Teesari Kasam (1966) with Shankar Shambhu Qawwal / Shankar Jaikishan – traditional lyrics
While we always remember and praise Lata’s and Asha’s songs from Teesari Kasam, Mubarak Begum’s contribution to the film has been overlooked. She sings the nautanki song with ease and makes it worth listening to. The song has one more female voice, which I couldn’t recognize.

Mohabbat Hote Hote Ho Gayi – Phoolon Ke Haar (1951) With Devendra / Hansraj Behl – Indeevar
A cute romantic song by Hansraj Behl. The couple ultimately falls in love, though they aren’t aware of it in the beginning. I haven’t ever come across the singer Devendra. If anyone knows about him, please add the information.

  • Her daughter used to look after her and was her dependable support. She died in 2015, leaving behind her helpless mother in agony. Her life became more miserable. She felt very bad for the daughter, as the latter didn’t marry just for her mother’s sake, so that she would be able to care for her always. It’s beyond my imagination, how she must have felt. After her death, Mubarak Begum’s health took a rapid downfall. She died on 18th July 2016.That was the end of an era.

However, the fragrant memories of her songs will be with us forever in sorrow, in happiness. Her sparkling voice will resonate in our minds forever.

May her soul rest in peace.

Please add your favourites to make my list more vibrant.

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.

19 Replies to “(Part II) – Remembering Mubarak Begum”

  1. Anupji,
    Without her duets, any article on Mubarak Begum will remain incomplete.
    Thanks for presenting a bouquet of her duets of different genres and flavours.
    Except for half a dozen songs, the songs initially appeared to be unknown. But once I started listening, I could recall a few more songs. We listen to these songs less frequently or rarely, hence the delay or lack of instant recall. Another reason which you have rightly pointed out is we tend to remember the songs picturised on lead actors.

    The duets Mujhko Apne Gale Lagalo & Devta Tum Ho Mera Sahara are the instant recall songs of Mubarak Begum.

    Nineteen songs in all. Neend Ud Jaye Teri, Baba Ban Gaye Gentleman and the last two songs were new to me.

    I think the other actress in the second duet ‘Dil Hum Se Woh Lagaye’ from ‘Baradari’ (1955) could be Cuckoo.

    Another minor information that I would like to share, in case if you are not aware; Sahukat Dehlvi and Nashad are one and the same person. Nakshab Jarchavi changed Shaukat Ali’s name to Nashad for his film Naghma (1953). He made his music debut under the name Shaukat Dehalvi in the 1947 action film Dildaar.

    Actually I should have posted her triad from ‘Mughal e Azam in this post.

    Present a beautifully rendered and composed duet;
    Hame Apna Ilaje Dard E Dil, Mubarak Begum & Asha Bhosle, Benazir (1964), Shakeel Badayuni, S D Burman


    1. Thank you Venkatramanji.
      Reading your comment is always a delight. The tribute was incomplete without her duets. I know about Nashad (Shaukat Dehlavi) as he was there on the list in one of the parts of Lata’s association with lesser known composers series.
      Thanks for sharing the song from Benzir. It was on my long list, but other songs won the race.


  2. Anupji,

    Mubarak Begum sang few songs for Pakistani films during her visit to Pakistan in late 50s; four songs for Raaz and one song for Bada Aadmi.

    Songs of Raaz were sung by Zubaida Khanum, Ahmed Rushdi and Mubarak Begum. 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.

    Posting a duet from Raaz (1959); Mubarak in a different genre;
    Maan maan maan zamana hai jawan Mubarak Begum and Ahmed Rushdi, lyrics Kaleem Usmani, music Feroze Nizami

    Mubarak Begum also sang a duet with Ahmed Rushdi, ‘Kahe jalana dil ko’ in Bada Aadmi. I could not locate this song.


    1. Actually I wanted to add the songs from her Pakistani films, but the number of songs were already more and I decided to just mention the fact about her contribution to Pakistani films. But that too was forgotten in due course.
      Thanks for reminding me about it.
      It definitely added the missing information from her biography.
      There was one club song in her solo post, now you’ve added another from Raaz.
      Mubarak Begum in a different mood. A delight to listen to.


  3. So many wonderful songs! There were plenty I was familiar with here, and I’m especially glad to see Humein dum daike and Devta tum ho mera sahara – both superb.


  4. Anup ji,

    Many Thanks for this second post on Mubarak Begum.

    I think this is the right place and occasion to ask this question here.

    Do Mukesh and Mubarak Begum have any other duet than the one in Haamari Yaad Aayegi (1962 ) ?


        1. Mahesh ji,
          Thank you for introducing the record version of the song to me. I wasn’t at all aware of it. Yes, a small portion of it is sung by Mubarak begum. I’ve always seen its film version where that portion is missing.
          I am of course not aware of any other duet by Mukesh and Mubarak begum.

          Here’s the record version

          Thanks once again.


    1. Sanjay Somani,
      Welcome to Mehfil.
      Yes, some of the singers deserved much more than they actually achieved. The lesser known personalities are always forgotten. And some of the known ones get restricted to B grade movies and are never considered first rung personalities in their respective fields.


  5. Dr. Anup,
    A brilliant two-part post on Mubarak Begum, a well-deserving tribute to her.
    The song list of both solos and duets is indeed very nice and comprehensive, providing a complete picture of her singing career.
    Mubarak begum is forever etched in our memory as the voice of “Kabhi tanhaiyon mein”.
    During my school days, this song would be shown often in Chhaya Geet on DD. I was always intrigued by her voice as well as the song picturization. At that age, I used to find both very different and interesting from the other songs that used to be shown.
    Her voice was truly different and had a special zing in it.
    It is indeed unfortunate that she was not given due respect and recognition by the hindi film music industry, despite some wonderful songs. And having her songs dubbed by another singer or not keeping them in the final film version was quite unfair!!
    You have covered her best songs in the two posts.
    I don’t have much to add except a FF duet from a typical action movie of 1981 – Paanch Qaidi. This could be one of her last film songs,
    Not a great composition, surely!!
    What I found interesting is the fact that music director Bappi Lahiri could bring Mubarak Begum and Shobha Gurtu together for a song, which was actually picturized on heroes in drag.
    Couldn’t locate the video on YT.
    Here’s the audio version:



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