ABADRAFI – Rendezvous with Mubarak Begum Sahiba
This article is written by Mr. A.S.Murty
5TH July, 2008 will be remembered by music lovers in Hyderabad as a day of revival of the vintage music of the hfm. For nearly six months now, we have been trying to organize a grand musical show and also invite some well known playback singer of the yesteryears to Hyderabad. The closest we came to was the name of Mubarak Begum Sahiba and our good friend Samarjit Acharjee was in continuous contact with her. Either the glorious singer with the golden voice was not available when we had wanted to organize a show or we were preoccupied with our normal lives and thus we could not go ahead with the idea that remained in our minds. However, we did not lose heart and kept our trials going.
Almost a month back Samarjit Acharjee informed me that he would shortly be leaving India for better prospects in the U.S. and he has thus invited Mubarak Begum Sahiba to Hyderabad for a rendezvous with our musical group of ABADRAFI. He asked me to organize a musical show, however small and that the legendary singer would attend the same. That set the ball rolling. Ours is still a small group and in its infancy. How were we going to arrange a musical show where the Chief Guest would be Mubarak Begum Sahiba herself. We had to get our act together, and fast. First, we got all the details of the gifted singer â€“ her profile so to say. Websites helped. Other music lovers too helped in gathering all the data. We had wanted all her songs and our messages went in all directions seeking the rare gems of Begum Sahibaâ€™s songs. Good friends like Hussein Sheikh helped a lot in this regard. Samarjit too could gather a few from other sources. Many in our group too had not heard of some of the very best songs of Begum Sahiba.
Three songs that were know to all of us were
(1) Kabhi Tanhaiyon Mein Yun Hamari Yaad Ayegi,
(2) Hum Haale Dil Sunayenge, Suniye Ke Na Suniye and
(3) the evergreen duet with Rafi Sahab â€“ Mujhko Apne Gale Lagalo (Humrahi).
The other songs were not too common for our group. The idea was that we know all the notable songs much before Begum Sahiba comes to Hyderabad. 5th July 2008 (Saturday) was fixed after consulting many of our friends. It was convenient for some while others had to make room for attending the musical program. The basics done, we got down to the real ground work. A suitable venue had to be arranged. Orchestra had to be negotiated, photographs and videography to be arranged. Banners had to be made and so also word had to be spread around in the musical circles of Hyderabad about the upcoming event. We were running against the time and all the members of ABADRAFI got going.
Begum Sahiba landed in Hyderabad on the evening of 4th July 2008. Her accommodation was arranged by a well known music lover and organizer of musical sessions â€“ Prof. Ramchandra Reddy Sahab. Himself a good singer of Talat Mahmood Sahabâ€™s songs, Prof. Reddy is a very ardent music lover. His gesture in providing all the hospitality to Begum Sahiba not only came in very handy for us, but it would go down in the history of ABADRAFI and the Rafi Foundation as a gesture unparalleled.
Begum Sahiba wanted to meet the golden girl of Telugu, Tamil, Kannada and also Hindi films Jamuna (remember her in Humrahi, Milan, Beti Bete, Sasural, etc.?). This was immediately arranged on the morning of 5th July 2008, much to the surprise of the southern actress. Begum Sahiba invited her for the eveningâ€™s programme and the â€œMujhko Apne Gale Lagaloâ€-girl promptly agreed. In fact she arrived a good half hour before Begum Sahiba herself showed up. Mubarak Begumji had a spate of interviews throughout the day and had got delayed on account of these. However, no sooner had she entered the lovely A.V.College Auditorium, than the entire audience gave her a standing ovation. ABADRAFI invited her, Jamunaji and the Begum Sahibaâ€™s daughter-in-law Zareena Sheikh on the stage.
Inauguration of the musical session began with garlanding the photograph of Rafi Sahab in the hands of Mubarak Begum Sahiba and Jamunaji. Both paid tributes to Rafi Sahab in total reverence. Jamunaji narrated how she was pleasantly shocked and also surprised at seeing Begum Sahiba at her doorstep that afternoon and paid rich tributes to the versatility of Begum Sahiba. A rapt audience gave a thunderous applause each time Jamunaji made reference to the great human being that Begum Sahiba is. She herself had gifted a shawl to Begum Sahiba and the latter informed the gathering that Jamunaji herself was a picture of virtues and great talent.
Begum Sahiba enthralled the audience with 8 of her best songs and the sweetness and range in her voice was intact. No strain whatsoever when she sang even in higher scales and a complete control of the small orchestra that was behind her. Song after song, she gave a brief peep or two to the music lovers of what real playback singing would resemble. Rare songs like â€œDevta Tum Ho Mera Saharaâ€ from Daira went very well with the audience, just as much as the Mujhko Apne Gale Lagalo and Kabhi Tanhaiyon Mein. She took her seat in the audience for the rest of the evening to listen to the songs by members of ABADRAFI.
Begum Sahiba freely mingled with all who approached her. Autographs were freely signed by both Jamunaji and Mubarak Begumji. Many in the audience left their seats for photo sessions with her. The three-hour musical extravaganza was videotaped for posterity. The frenzied crowd patted the Rafi Foundation and ABADRAFI and words like â€œMUBARAKâ€ ho ABADRAFI were heard until the last of the audience left for their homes.
The Rafi Foundation and ABADRAFI could not have bargained for a better start. We had the great privilege to have two legends â€“ Mubarak Begum Sahiba and veteran actress Jamunaji in our maiden musical show. Begum Sahiba advised us to do bigger shows in the coming years and promised that she would come again to Hyderabad. Jamunaji too wanted her to be informed whenever such a big musical programme was being organized by us in Hyderabad.
Music lovers of Hyderabad who get to see this report may want to be in touch with us for future programmes. We welcome them all. They can contact ABADRAFI at our email firstname.lastname@example.org or on mobile number 93912 67272. BEGUM SAHIBA â€“ we salute you.
Rafi-fans have coined a new greeting â€“ ADABRAFI â€“ instead of the usual â€œhelloâ€ when contacting one another. ABADRAFI therefore greets you all with a ADABRAFI.