On Shamshad Begum

Shamshad Begum was an Indian singer who possessed a versatile style of rendering compositions.  She worked with maestros like Naushad Ali, S. D. Burman, C. Ramachandra and O. P. Nayyar.  Her songs from the 1940s to the early 1970s remain evergreen with their popularity.


Shamshad Begum was born in Lahore on April 14, 1919, and passed away in 2012.  She was conferred the Padma Bhusan in 2009.  The same year, she also won the O. P. Nayyar Award for her contribution to Hindi film music.  She was an artist of extraordinary talent who kept herself away from the politics of industry.  Shamshad Begum’s daughter, Usha Ratra, is quoted as saying, ‘My mother used to say that artistes never die.  She wanted to be remembered for her songs!’


Shamshad Begum sang over 6,000 songs in Hindi, Punjabi, Marathi, Gujarati and Tamil. Out of these 1287 songs were Hindi film songs.


Music Director, O. P. Nayyar composed several songs for Shamshad Begum which became super hits with the audience.  To name some of the songs are: Kahin pe nighahen kahin pe nishana, Boojh mera kya naam re, Leke pehla pehla pyar from the film CID and from the film Naya Daur is: Reshmi salwar kurta jali ka. Shamshad Begum lent her voice for duets with Muhammad Rafi and Kishore Kumar.  In the film, Naya Andaz, the singers sang some numbers, together.

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