Ghulam Mohammad – A Tribute

A couple of years back, I published a post based on Ghulam Mohammad’s rarely heard songs. I promised to come back with his popular songs. It’s actually unconventional to talk first about the rarely heard songs, then of popular songs. But I did. And then I couldn’t come up with the next post. But better late than never, here I am with my favourites by Ghulam Mohammad. I hope I do include well known songs, because it’s so subjective!


When I thought about his popular songs I can safely say it was his soulful ghazals, sad songs, songs of separation, etc. But it’s not that he hasn’t composed playful, happy songs, optimistic songs, not to forget dance numbers, Mujra songs etc. This fact was the main driving force for me, to go for his lesser known songs, in my first post in the series. If you’ve gone through that post, you must have realized the wide range of genres.

Being a maestro percussionist, the use of Tabla and Dholak, has a major place in his orchestration. He also popularised the Matka rhythm, which has left an impact on other composers as well.
I have already presented his biography in the first part of the series, in the second part I’ll present a few of my favourite popular songs. He composed for around 37 films only. Reason for such a few films remains a mystery! Even after the spectacular hits, like Dil E Nadan (1953 – by Kardar films) and Mirza Ghalib (1954 – Minerva Movietone), his later years saw the majority of low budget films. The exception was of course, Pakeezah, which was a dream project by Kamaal Amrohi. Ghulam Mohammad instilled his best efforts, his best tunes into it. The songs excelled, but unfortunately he wasn’t alive to witness its grand success.

Now without a further ado, let’s hit the list. As usual the songs are in no particular order.

1. Thade Rahiyo – Pakeezah (1972) Lata Mangeshkar / Lyrics – Majrooh
It was most difficult for me to select a single song from the movie. The song borrows its mukhda from a traditional classical song. But the tune wasn’t the same. I am awestruck by the tabla piece that follows the opening lines. It gives me goosebumps each time I listen to it. Lata’s rendition makes it sound very easy. But it’s a difficult song. Ghulam Mohammad uses Dholak, along with Sitar, ghungroo, Sarangi to create an aura of a perfect Mujra song. It was his most prestigious project and undoubtedly he gave it his best. He recorded more than ten songs for the movie, but only six were included in the movie. After the success of the movie, the remaining songs were released separately as Pakeezah Rang Birang. The film was nominated for best music at the Filmfare awards, but very surprisingly lost to Beimaan. The decision was received with a lot of criticism. Looking at the huge success of the songs, it was obvious. For me the winner was certainly Pakeezah.

2. Dhadakte Dil Ki Tamanna – Shama (1961) Suraiya / Lyrics – Kaifi Azmi
Shama’s songs by Suraiya and Suman Kalyanpur were all popular, mainly it brought fame to the latter. She sang for Nimmi. The picturisation of the song is a bit interesting. And for a brief period, Suraiya sang for Nimmi. After her debut as a singer actress, it’s the only instance by the way. Beautiful use of sarangi and sitar. The tune of the second stanza is different from the rest two. Nimmi plays the title role of a girl, who sacrifices for her love and gets a lot of chances to shed tears and make sad faces, so typical of her!

3. Duniya Mein Nahin Koi Yaar – Amber (1952) Lata Mangeshkar & Rafi / Lyrics – Shakeel Badayuni
While the film makes us think of the peppy song, Hum Tum Ye Bahar, I am more inclined towards this one. It’s orchestration is amazing in my opinion.
What a beautiful mix of Matka, Chinese blocks and Dholak. I hope I haven’t messed up the details. It makes it so very rhythmic, even though it is a sad song.

4. Do Bichchade Hue Dil – Shair (1949) G M Durrani & Lata Mangeshkar / Lyrics – Shakeel Badayuni
A cute romantic song, where G M Durrani lent his voice to Dev Anand. It’s very melodious and in my opinion his voice does suit Dev Anand. It’s one of Lata’s earlier songs. I’m very much fond of the song, though the video always puts me off. Dev Anand looks so awkward and over conscious.

5. Mausam Hai Aashiqana – Pakeezah (1972) Lata Mangeshkar / Lyrics – Kamaal Amrohi
While I already listed one of the songs from the movie, I couldn’t help adding one more. And as already a Mujra was added, I went for this one. What a beautiful composition! What a great arrangement. Ghulam Mohammad’s songs sound so fabulous and different in this film. It’s most unfortunate he didn’t live to experience the magical aura of the songs. Among the loud songs of the 70s these stand out as the most melodious.

6. Akhiyan Milake Zara Baat Karo Jee – Pardes (1950) Lata Mangeshkar & Rafi / Lyrics – Shakeel Badayuni
Pardes was Madhubala’s home production and Ghulam Mohammad was called in for composing songs. Being an expert percussionist, see how wonderfully he has incorporated dholak in the song. It’s so melodious and foot tapping. The song became my instant favourite the first time I listened to it . A beautiful Madhubala is the icing on the cake. Enjoy the

7. Ek Teer Chalane Wale Ne – Pagadi / Pugree (1948) Mukesh & Sitara Kanpur / Lyrics – Shakeel Badayuni
A cute romantic song with a flavour of vintage era. The song does sound like a Naushad melody, and why not? After all, Ghulam Mohammad was his assistant and arranger for a long time. So that’s obvious. Sitara Kanpur or Kanpuri wasn’t heard much frequently in Hindi films, but she has good songs to her credit. One more song, that of diwali celebrations, from the same film is my favourite too.

8. Chal Diya Karwan – Laila Majnu (1953) Talat / Lyrics – Shakeel Badayuni
How effectively Ghulam Mohammad manages to portray a caravan of camels just by the opening music of the song. At least I’ve always thought so. And a soulful rendition by Talat Mahmood. One of Shammi Kapoor’s earlier films and Nutan looks beautiful. A few songs of the movie were composed by Sardar Malik.

9. Zindagi Denewale Sun – Dil E Nadan (1953) Talat / Lyrics – Shakeel Badayuni
One of the masterpieces by the trio of Ghulam Mohammad, Talat and Shakeel Badayuni. The song is among Talat’s greatest hits and it deserves to be. An intense depiction of agony and hopelessness, woven in a heart touching melody. Actually the film has beautiful songs by Jagjit Kaur and Sudha Malhotra. But this one’s unparalleled.

10. Khushi Dil Se Hansi Hothon Se – Sheesha (1952) Lata Mangeshkar / Lyrics – Umar Ansari
I don’t know if the song is popular or not. I’m in love with it the moment I heard it. What a heart touching melody. More so because it is associated with the Matka rhythm, more commonly associated with happy songs. It portrays a lady who’s losing hopes and experiencing only sorrows. She has lost happiness and peace of mind, further she had to bid farewell to her smile too. Very soulful song!

11. Dil E Nadan Tujhe Hua Kya Hai – Mirza Ghalib (1954) Talat & Suraiya / Lyrics – Mirza Ghalib
Talking of sad songs with the matka rhythm, here’s another one! The film has a number of excellent solos by Talat Mahmood and Suraiya, but this duet enchants me the most. So many singers have rendered the ghazal by Mirza Ghalib, my favourite is the one composed by Ghulam Mohammad. No wonder the songs are still very popular. Actually Ghulam Mohammad received the first ever National Award for the best composer for Mirza Ghalib. It’s a surprise and mystery why he was not flooded with offers in the forthcoming years! Perhaps his heart condition was not allowing him a very busy schedule.

12. Barbaad Ye Dil Ko Kya Roye – Paras (1949) Shamshad Begum / Lyrics – Shakeel Badayuni
With Lata’s tsunami hitting the Hindi film industry, Shamshad Begum was slowly sidetracked. She was now singing the songs of characters, while Lata Mangeshkar was offered songs of the main lead. In this movie as well, while Lata Mangeshkar sings for Madhubala and Kamini Kaushal, Shamshad Begum sings for a supporting character. I couldn’t recognize the lady, though the song is my favourite. A well written, well composed and of course very soulfully sung by Shamshad Begum. For me it’s one of her best songs.

13. Man Dheere Dheere Gaye Re – Maalik (1958) Talat & Suraiya / Lyrics – Shakeel Badayuni
The film wasn’t successful, but had good songs. Talat Mahmood really had a few of his best songs under Ghulam Mohammad’s baton. The sweetness of the song is unparalleled. It seems the Matka rhythm was too popular those days. But it never became boring. At least I never get bored with it. This is not a pure Matka rhythm song, but has an element of it.

14. Shikayat Kya Karoon – Kundan (1955) Lata Mangeshkar / Lyrics – Shakeel Badayuni
This song is also my favourite, though I guess it’s not very popular or well known. Nimmi is in her prototype role (that of a weepy lady). To confess I like its lyrics more than the rendition or the tune. But good lyrics always make a greater impact on our mind than a good tune, or so I believe.

15. Sun Dard Bhari Fariyaad – Paak Daman (1957) Asha Bhosle / Lyrics – Shakeel Badayuni
To end the list, let me present a lesser known song. The song has very minimal orchestration and tune closely resembles that of Naushad’s, who had a lot of songs with Lata Mangeshkar. Ghulam Mohammad also had a good number of songs for Lata Mangeshkar. In comparison Asha Bhosle sang very few songs for both Naushad and Ghulam Mohammad, more so for the latter. And none of them is popular either. But this one is a good song, dedicatedly sung by Asha Bhosle. Actually I heard the song after quite a few months, but added it on today’s list.

Would you add your favourite 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 convenience of music lovers. The copyright of these songs rests with the respective owners, producers and music companies.

13 Replies to “Ghulam Mohammad – A Tribute”

  1. Anup ji,
    Well done in highlighting the popular songs of Ghulam Mohammed.
    He was one of those unfortunate ones, who, despite talents, never succeeded in terms of honour and respect. Talent yes, but in film industry, Luck plays an important role. He did not have enough of it to be c ounted amongst the A grade composers. He was always remembered as Naushad’s assistant !
    Here is one song which i like very much. From film Paak Daaman-1957.


    1. Thank you Arunji for your appreciation. I agree, luck plays a big part in films. There are a few artists in film industry who were always lucky, though they were not so talented. While some talented ones like G M were not lucky to experience success.
      Thank you for the song from Paak Daman. I wasn’t aware of this one.


  2. Anup,
    Ghulam Mohammad is my great favourite. I don’t see him as Naushad’s assistant, but as a highly talented composer in his own right. I remember his songs which I hold in very high esteem, distinct from Naushad. I would like to mention two out of many:
    1. From ‘Shair’ my favourite is ‘Ye duniya hai, yahan dil ka lagana kisko ata hai’.
    2. From ‘Dil-e-Nadan’ ‘Mohabbat ki dhun beqaraaron se poochho’.


    1. Yes, he shouldn’t be remembered just as an assistant to Naushad or just for tye film, Pakeezah. He was far more than these.
      Thanks for adding two wonderful songs. Both are my favourites too.


  3. A great list, Anupji. I agree with AK’s comment that he doesn’t see Ghulam Mohammad as Naushad’s assistant. In fact, my father (who knows Naushad’s music fairly well) always insists that Naushad’s best music was composed in films where Ghulam Mohammad assisted him – which says a lot for Ghulam Mohammad!


    1. Thank you Madhuji for appreciation. In my opinion too, Naushad had his best when G M was his assistant. He left his imprints on many of Naushad’s songs with his tabla and dholak and matka. I really feel bad for him, despite being talented, he remained on backfoot. I find it very unfortunate. God is unfair at times.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Anup ji,

    Incidentally, I had glanced through your first post on Ghulam Mohammed only a couple of days back. “Someone was sort of missing in it.” I thought it was to do with the title of the post. Now, in the second post too, that someone is again not mentioned (in body of description) though the duet is included.

    Well, Mukesh is not the first name to be associated with many composers, but then he has sung a handful of songs under the baton of Ghulam Mohammed.

    The films were Hanste Ansoo (5 songs) and one duet each in Shair, Pugree and Grahasthi.

    AK ji has mentioned Shair. That famous duet with Lata (Mukesh singing for Dev Anand) and one with Shamshad Begum from Grahasthi are here.

    Lastly, the pertinent question which I keep asking is why Ghulam Mohammed preferred to remain behind the curtains of Naushad despite his immense capability.

    Ghulam Mohammed deserves to be remembered, praised and celebrated frequently.
    Many Thanks for your two posts on him.


    1. Thank you Mahesh ji. Glad you went through both the parts. Mukesh was never an important part of Ghulam Mohammad’s films. So I didn’t mention him particularly, though I added the song from Pugree.
      Glad to see you adding the songs from Grihasthi.
      Let ma add a couple of songs from Hansate aansoo by Mukesh.

      A duet with Rajkumari


      Qismat Mein Yeh hi likha tha

      Thank you for mentioning the missing name, and making me reflect about these songs. I had forgotten those songs completely.



  5. Nice compilation of great composer. Equally enjoyed comments,replies and additions. I miss comments by Venkatraman ji in recent times.


  6. A wonderful compilation of songs of Ghulam Mohammad, Anupji! The one thing that struck me was that Shakeel Badayuni who wrote songs largely for Naushad is one lyricist who worked closely with Ghulam Mohammad as well. The songs of this post amply prove this.


    1. Thank you for your appreciation Anita Ji.
      And you’re correct. Shakeel Badayuni had equally popular association with Ghulam Mohammad too. Even for the movie, Mirza Ghalib, Shakeel had a couple of songs.


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