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Mohammed Rafi sings with Shamshad Begum – Oh leke pehela pehela pyaar

This article is contributed by Mr D.P.Bijoor

Mohd Rafi and Shamshad Begum

Mohd Rafi and Shamshad Begum

Shamshad Begum was born in Amritsar, Punjab on 14th April 1919 and she was a very big fan of K L Saigal. Presently the singer is staying with her daughter Mrs Usha Ratra and her son-in-law in Powai, Mumbai ever since her husband Late Mr Ganpat Lal Batto died in the year 1955. She celebrated her 89th birthday at her elder sister’s place.

Shamshad Begum made her debut on radio on the Peshawar radio in Lahore on 16th December 1937, captivating the hearts of her listeners with the enchanting depth of her voice. In fact Shamshad was not so conscious of her not so beautiful face and she never posed for any pictures and not many people saw her pictures any where.

Until the end of 1970s no body knew her face at all, though everybody could recognize her melodious voice as it was used by the great maestros like C Ramchandra, O P Nayyar, Naushad Ali, Roshan and various other music directors to be precise. Even today, her songs from the 1950s 1960s, and early 1970s are very popular and continue to enthrall the music lovers and her melodious songs still continue to be remixed by music directors.

Initially Begum sang for the All India Radio (AIR) through her musical group The crown Imperial Theatrical Company of the Performing Arts which she had set-up in Delhi. The then AIR Lahore helped her entering the world of movies as they frequently broadcast her songs which induced the music directors to use her voice for their films. Shamshad also recorded “naats” and devotional songs music for a couple of the gramophone recording companies.

Her crystal clear voice caught the attention of the sarangi maestro Ustad Hussain Bakshwale Saheb who took her as his disciple. The Lahore based music director Ghulam Haider used her voice skillfully in some of the earlier films like “Khazanchi” in the year 1941 and “Khandaan” in the year 1942. When he moved to Bombay in the year 1944, Shamshad went with him as a member of his team leaving behind her family. She is credited with singing one of the first Westernized songs, “Meri jaan — Sunday ke Sunday” by C Ramchandra.

Begum became a national rage between the 1940s and the late 1950s having a different voice from the peers of her other popular contemporaries..

Rafi Saab and Shamshad Begum have sung almost 160 duets in Hindi plus 24 exclusive duets in Punjabi totaling to almost to 184 songs approximately.

As all are aware Mohammed Rafi started his career in the year 1944 in the Punjabi film “Gulbaloch” whereas Shamshad Begum began her career in the year 1939 and her first film was also a Punjabi film titled “Yamlajat” Both Rafi & Shamshad have entered the industry through their respective debut films in Punjabi.

With Rafi Saab she started singing the Hindi film songs since the year 1945 and the film was “Hamara Sansar” with music scored by Pandit Govindram and the first song which they both rendered together was “Chotisee ek banayenge Naiyya” which also had the voice of Joharabai and hence this first song can be categorized as a multi-duet with more than 2 singers.

In-fact the first duet with Rafi Saab was from the film “Rupa” with music by Pandit Govindram and the song was “Bala jobanwa sambhala na jaye” and “Watan kee amanat meree zindagee hai

Mohd Rafi and Shamshad Begum

Mohd Rafi and Shamshad Begum

In the year 1946 the other films were “Rangbhoomi” with music by Premnath, “Rasilee” with music by Hanumanprasad and “Sona Chandi” with music by Tufhel Farooqui and the lovely duets were “Jo aage bade use piche hata de”, “Khud samaj ho tho iltaza kya hai”, “Aag lagee tan man dhan sab mein narak bhayo sansar”, “Dil mujhako jalata hai, main dil ko jalata hoon”, “Ab ke bhagwan daya karenge, baithe hain tere darpar kuch karke uthenge

Mohammed Rafi Saab had sung songs in the 40s decade with various female play-back singers which were in the pure technical terms were mere songs, but the songs which he has rendered with Shamshad Begum cannot be considered as mere songs but should be considered as a “new look” and a “new sur”. In those days C Ramchandra OR Chitalkar had very beautifully experimented out his evergreen & stylish range comprising mainly of the comedy numbers in the Hindi film industry and he successfully found this “comedy look” in the songs rendered by none other than Rafi Saab & Shamshad Begum only. “Nanhee see jaan mein hai jawani ke sitam Kyoon” — from the film “Nadiya ke Paar” in the year 1948, “Ajee merabheee koyee haal suno, fifty fifty bas fifty kya hai zaman chahata” — from the film “Khidkee” in the year 1948 a multi-duet with the voice of Chitalkar also, “Namaste namaste, pahele tho ho gayee namaste” from the film “Patanga” in the year 1949 a multi-duet with the voice of Chitalkar & Mohantara Ajhinkya also, “kaliyon mein jawani aayee kaliyan lagee phulne chicbam, chicbam, chicbam” from the film “Roshini” in the year 1949 a multi-duet with the voice of Chitalkar also, “Bolojee dil loge, bolo jee dil loge, tho kya kya doge” from the film “Patanga” in the year 1949. These are the very few songs under the music composition of C Ramchandra OR Chitalkar as above which purely falls in the in the category of “Udate Gane” based on the comedy soundtrack.

This comedy styled trend of C Ramchandra was further continued by none other than the great music director O P Nayyar who had once described the voice of Shamshad Begum as that of the “Temple Bell” mainly on account of “Clarity of its Tone”. With O P Nayyar this golden pair of Rafi-Shamshad began with the 1954 film “Mehbooba” and the lovely song was “Aate jate aankh bachana hai re tera jawab nahee”.

The other great songs with Nayyar are as follows: “Thodasa dil laga ke dekh, naino se muskara ke dekh” from the film “Musafirkhana” in the year 1955, “Oh leke pehla pehla pyaar bharke aankhon mein khumaar jadoo nagari se aaya hai koyee jadugar” from the film “CID” in the year 1956 which was a multi-duet with Asha Bhosale also,  “Gulabee chandkee, he bhagwan kit jaye base ho” from the film “Shrimati-420” in the year 1956, “Aaj suhanee raat hai aha aha oye tu aaja re ke dil hai bekarar, dole re man main tera” from the film “Naya Andaz” in the year 1956 a multi-duet with the voice of Kishore Kumar also, “Main jaan gayee tujhe hat chod de re more baiyan, matlab ke yaar mujhako diya maar” from the film “Howrah Bridge” in the year 1958.

The duet with Talat Mahmood under the music composition of Naushad “Milte hee aankhen dil hua diwana kissika, afsana mera ban gaya afsana kisika” from the film “Babul”. The other popular multi-duet under the music composition of Naushad which immediately comes to mind is “Gadiwale gadee dhire hank re” from the film “Mother India” with Rafi Saab & others.

Under the music composition of Naushad her haunting solos were “Pi ke ghar aaj pyari dulhaniya chalee” from the film “Mother India” in the year 1957, “Chaman mein reh ke veerana mera dil hota jata hai” from the film “Deedar” in the year 1951, “Taqdeer bani ban kar bedri” from the film “Mela” in the year 1948 and the duet with Rafi Saab “Mohabbat Chume jinke hath” from the film “Aan” in the year 1952 were some of the greats & unforgettable renditions.

The Punjabi songs with Rafi Saab to mention a few are as follows “Tu peeng te ja bhaira posti” and “Dil tut gaye Milan ton pehlan”.

There were also some popular duet renditions with other music composers which are as follows “Bhiga bhiga pyaar ka samha” from the film “Sawan” with music by Hansraj Behl, “Tu meri heroine main tera hero” from the film “Zindagee Ke Mele” in the year 1954 with music by Chitragupt, “Iskee topi uske sar, uske topi iske sar” from the film “Miss Bombay” in the year 1957 with music by Hansraj Behl, “Mehfil barasane laga” from the film “Chote Nawab” in the year 1961 with music by R D Burman, “Aaya holi ka tyawahar, rangon kee bahar” from the film “Daku Mangal Singh” in the year 1966 with music by Laxmikant Pyarelal, “Aaj ye bijlee kahan giregee sach sach batawonha” from the film “Samsheer” in the year 1967 with music by Lala Sattar.

The last song which Rafi & Shamshad have rendered together was from the film “Pakeezah” released in the year 1971 with music by Gulam Mohammad and the song was “Jaye tho kahan jaye, ab tera ye diwana harkar kadmon mein” however this lovely song did not feature in the film.

Shamshad Begum has recently been conferred with the prestigious “Padma Bhushan” by the Government of India in the year 2009 which probably can be considered a very small recognition of her talent over so long a period of her existence.

Indian President Pratibha Patil, left, presents the Padma Bhushan award, to Bollywood playback singer Shamshad Begum at the Presidential Palace in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, March 31, 2009. (AP Photo/Mustafa Quraishi)

Indian President Pratibha Patil, left, presents the Padma Bhushan award, to Bollywood playback singer Shamshad Begum at the Presidential Palace in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, March 31, 2009. (AP Photo/Mustafa Quraishi)

Shamshad Begum has always remained away from fame & publicity and there has hardly been any recognition for the services & the in born talent she inherently possessed. As a mark of respect to the living legend I Salute her & pray to the Almighty to usher her many many more years of peaceful life to enable her to complete the much cherished Century.

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23 Blog Comments to “Mohammed Rafi sings with Shamshad Begum – Oh leke pehela pehela pyaar”

  1. MOIZ says:

    Excellent article( & feedbacks too.).Sir can you or any one of your readers answer my query below?

    Somewhere in the sixties,there was a rift between Lata & Rafi during which they did not sing togather.what was the period? ( roughly or exact )

  2. shyali says:

    it is very nice to see or hear your melodies, i being a very big fan of yesteryear stars and and music field always wanted to meet them but i know it is not possible. i was very happy when mr. ameen Sayani brought out casettes of old timers it brings tears to hear them. it is very true old is gold. mam just if possible please send a reply to this letter it will make my day.


  3. kaveri says:

    mr Bijoor,
    thanks for the wonderful article. shamshadjee’s voice brings back some great memories from my childhood. her songs and her voice carried a straightness whose beauty is mesmerising. i would like to meet her and pay my respects and love. is it possible for me to get her address. i would consider it as my honour. hope to listen from you soon sir.

  4. varun bhatia says:

    My Dear Rafians !
    I am looking for the address of shamshad begum
    Can someone share it with me ? My e-mail ID is…
    i think now the days what i feel that people all around the world cares any one
    i came to know about her through the star tv programme based on the life of one of the finest female singer . through that programme i came to know that she is still alive “legends personalities ka yeh haal”. Shamshad begum ji one of the best singer ever which i felt such a clear voice which directly enter the heart.
    “yaha par ache logo ki koi kadar nahi hai”

    she is better than lata mangeshkar

    Thanks to one and all.
    varun bhatia

  5. Imran Rustam says:

    Dear Mr D.P.Bijoor Jee,

    very nice write up as usual……very informative.

    Shamshad Begum has such a clear and stunning voice which penetrates directly to heart. Duets with Rafi Sb are very balanced and as per Mr. D.P.Bijoor various music directors used this combination very well.
    May Shamshad Jee live long peacefully.


  6. sandeep sahab passed away peacefully – we are told – i am expressing my heart felt condolences to this gentle soul – whom i never got to see or talk.

    your writings and expression told us about you and i salute you for what ever you stood for.

    may his soul rest in eternal peace and may the lord give strength to hias familly to bear this irreperable loss.

    ramesh narain kurpad.

  7. Anwar-ul-Haque says:

    Dear D. P. Bijoor ji,

    What a nice and comprehensive article on Shamshad Begum. You provided almost all the details of this great singer in this little article. Some provided information is new to me; hence many thanks for this beautiful sharing.

    In fact, she is another singer who got little as compared to her talent and her contribution to music industry. Her songs have been re-mixed and got same popularization as in yesteryears, but her name is unknown to many youngsters. What a pity!

    Anyway, three beautiful Panjabi duets of Rafi Sahab and Shemshad Begum (in addition to the title song of film Posti mentioned in the article):

    1. Goriye ganne diye poriye – Film Posti
    2. Jat kurhyan ton darda maara – Film Bhangrha (A beautiful enchanting duet in Panjabi folk music)
    3. Rab na kare ke chala jayen tu wichharh ke – Film Bhangrha (A beautiful romantic song)

    Thanks and best regards.


  8. Naveen Z says:

    Dear Ashok,

    I have been reading most of the posts on this site. I am really sad to hear
    that Sandeepji passed away.May Almighty rest him in peace.

    In sorrow

  9. Hussein Sheikh says:

    The song “Meri Jaan Sunday Ke Sunday…” was sung by C. Ramchandra, Meena Kapoor and Shamshad Begum from the film “Shehnai’ (1947).

  10. Mr Ashok Desai says:

    Dear fans & admirers of Rafi Saab,
    Sandeep Sir’s death arrived most peacefully in the wee hours in the morning of 21/09/2009 exactly at 3.45 am. Our session on the violin like a jugal-bandi had started at almost at 9.00 pm at night of 20/09/2009 which lasted almost up to 3.00 am in the morning of 21/09/2009 with several classic renditions of Rafi Saab making a memorable presence in the situation. But a couple of songs like “Subhaha na aaye shama na aaye” and “Dil ne phir yaad kiya barfasee leherayee mein” were amongst those which probably he liked the most were repeated on umpteen number of times from the voice of his violin which till date he played as if he was the in-born master of the instrument. Suddenly Sandeep Sir collapsed around 3.45 am and the end came up ultimately.
    A day before he had specifically called me to his residence probably being well aware that his end is approaching near-by and myself too sensing the overall situation had rushed to my master’s call immediately.
    This gentleman has donated his entire remains almost to the extent of Rs 40.00 lacs including his small dwelling a month ago to the near-by charitable trust/institution.
    The entire small village where he lived rose up to the occasion and had collected near his bed-side when this gentleman breathed his last
    He was last working on a small little article on one of the greatest music composer C Ramchandra which I shall now complete and will send it as per his wish to one of his very old counter part Mr Nitin D Dhareshwar in Mumbai for onward publication in this beautiful site
    “Indeed a hero – Sandeep Sir – please accept my Salute”

  11. bijoor sahab,

    you so very articulately encompassed the entire singing career of shamshad begum sahibaa, that reading it was like – living those times. an indepth insight into her simple but sporadic accomplishments in realm of playback singing of those times. she is truly great as she always sang duets with the greatest – rafi sahab. naturally they must have shared impeccable chemistry between them to render such beauties.

    i wonder, how god created people like shamshad begum sahibaa and mohd rafi sahab, so very simple, with absolutely no qualms about themselves and having very little needs/demands of their own. they lived simple, they spoke simple but sang gems to be remembered for ever.

    our nation – bharat – a great nation – sometimes behaves as if it does not have a heart – or does not beat enough to recognise such great humans and their talent.

    after remaining so very simple ( like pardey key peechey ) and rendering some epoch making compositons, the two greats mentioned above never got their rightful due.

    2009, when she is 89 years of age our nation confers upon her the padma bhushan. this should have been given to her almost 30 years back.

    the true value of ” bharat ratna ” will be understood by the world when it will be conferred upon ” Mohammed Rafi Sahab “.

    bijoor sahab your last words for begum sahibaa were moving and I reciprocate you sentiment. may she live to score that coveted century in fairly good health and i wish the authorities take note of their contributions in the right perspective and acknowledge their existance.

    ramesh narain kurpad,

  12. santoshvishwanath says:

    Very sad to note the death of shri sandeep nadkarni sir.May his soul rest in peace and my heart felt condolensces to all our family of rafi saab fans and to his family also.I am sure he will meet rafi saab in heaven and share their expreinces.

  13. Utthara says:

    Hello dosts, ref. posts 7 and 8. Meri jaan meri jaan is sung by Chitalkar(C ramchandra), Meena Kapoor(Anil Biswas’ wife) and Shamshad Begum. it is picturised on Dulari and another actress. Both Meena and Shamshad have sung along with Chitalkar. When I interviewed Anil Biswasji, Meenaji was with him. She mentioned this song and her most famous song from Chhoti chhoti baatein picturised on Nadira __ Kuch aur zamana kehta hai. Meenaji also sang the title song of the first mega serial Hum Log…aayiye haat uthayiye..



  14. P. Haldar says:

    Dear Friends,

    As a mark of respect to the departed soul, could we all observe one day’s silence (no posts)?

    P. Haldar

  15. Mr Ashok Desai says:

    It is indeed Sad & Shocking to declare the news of Mr Sandeep Nadkarni’s death. I was fortunately at the bed-side when Sandeep Sir breathed his last at 3.45 am in the morning of 21/09/2009.
    As per his wish I am submitting this news for the information of all the dear fans & admirers of Mohammed Rafi Saab.
    May his soul rest in eternal peace!!!

  16. J.K. Bhagchandani says:

    I Think the female voice in ‘Meri jaan sunday ke sunday’ is neither Shamshad Begum nor Amirbai Karnatiki, it is of Geeta Dutt. Binuji might like to confirm.

  17. manohar s nadkarni says:

    dear mr.d.p.bijoorji,
    if i am not mistaken the duet, ‘meri jaan sundayke sunday’ was sung by
    amirbai karnataki with chitalkar i.e. c ramchandra.
    please check and confirm. forgive if i made a mistake.

  18. Rajkumar Akela says:

    My Dear Rafians !
    I am looking for the song “O duniya ke rakhwale…” that Rafi Sahab sang in his LIVE concert in Albert Hall (London).
    Can someone share it with me ? My e-mail ID is…
    Thanks to one and all.
    Rajkumar Akela

  19. Akram Baig says:

    As Salaam Alaikum my muslim brother,sisters & Lovers of Md Rafi Saheb i wish u a very happy “EID MUBARAK” May Allah Bless Whole World Aameeen !!!

  20. Rajkumar Akela says:

    Eid Mubarak to all my Muslim friends !
    May Allah bless you and your family with the most joyous Eid !!!

  21. biman baruah says:

    respested bijjor saheb
    great article, great respect to great artists & human beings. very informative write-up on Rafi-Shamshad Begum combinations who rendered some POPULAR duets together, like “LEKE PEHLA PEHLA PYAR , BANKE ANKHOON KHUMAR, JADU NAGARI SE AAYA HAI KOI JADUGAAR” WHICH ARE EAVERLASTING UPTILL NOW.

  22. Utthara says:

    Bijoorji, your article tells us all that we wanted to know about the wonderful singer Shamshad Begum and some. She has a unique voice __ a nasal tone. Before the advent of Asha and Geeta, it was Shamshad who ruled the musical waves. She has given us some great songs like Sayya dil mein aana rey, Kabhi aar kabhi paar, Mere piya gaye rangoon, Meri jaan meri jaan, Mere ankhon mein tum, Chod babul ka ghar, Miletehi ankhen, Kahin pe nigahe, Door koyi gaaye, boojh mera kya nam re, teri mehfil mein kismat azmakar hum bhi dekhenge and the super hit and foot-tapping number with Asha ..Kajra muhabbatwala….

    It was Nayyar who brought her out of her retirement in 1968 to sing a duet with Asha Bhonsle in ‘Kismat’. The collaboration resulted in ‘Kajra Mohabbatwala’, which is as popular today as it was 40 years ago. Her reappearance was symbolic in more ways than one. The media hype behind her comeback was immense and many who had only heard Shamshad Begum but never seen her, could finally put a face to the name.
    Today, her songs which are remixed, are a hit with the young.
    She is truly a national treasure.
    Bijoorji, thank you for writing about this illustrious singer. You have given us a comprehensive picture of her.

    With melodious regards


  23. binu nair says:

    good one bijoor ji with lots of info….,.

    id mubarak to all music and mohd rafi lovers. may happiness and goodness prevail at every hour of the day.

    binu nair, mumbai

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