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Forgotten & Unsung – Yesteryear Musicians In Dire Straits

This article is written by Mr. Anmol Singh. Persons who wish to add a silver lining to their lives may please contact:

Bollywood is rocking and cash registers ringing. These are exciting times of remakes, remixes and plagiarism, everything sells. In the music field ‘nasal sounds’ has surprisingly made its ascendancy.

M e l o d y is also staging a come back through songs of yore.

These evergreen numbers do not seem to carry the “expiry date” tag on them. But…. few of yesteryear artistes who created ‘great works of art’ are forgotten – unheard and unsung, languishing in penury, facing stark realities of life in the sunset of their lives.

‘Pankh Hoti To Udh Jaati Re’ sung by Lata; ‘Tum To Pyar Ho Sajna’ a Rafi / Lata duet; ‘Taqdeer Ka Fasaana , Jaakar Kise Sunaye’ sung by Rafi and Lata separately and ‘Teri Khayalon Mein Hum’ sung by Asha, are all unforgettable gems of yore.

Ramlal Choudhary its music composer is today old enough to make any gainful employment ant it’s difficult for him to make both ends meet.

Another musical stalwart whose name is enshrined in the ‘hall of fame’ is yesteryear female crooner – Mubarak Begum. She has left her indelible mark on such memorable numbers such as:

‘Kabhi Tanhaiyon Me, Hamari Yaad Aayegi’, ‘Mujhko Apni Galle Lagalo, Ai Mere Humrahi’ a duet with Rafi, ‘Bemurrawwat Bewafa Begana’ from the film Susheela and many other gems.

In a recent interview Mubarak Begum spoke her mind; how her wings were clipped, but refused to take any names. Her husband walked out on her and today she is a recluse not even a shadow of her former self, vainly trying to tide over her destiny.

Both Ramlal Chaudhary and Mubarak Begum live in the suburbs of Mumbai. Unheard, uncared – in the twilight of their lives.

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9 Blog Comments to “Forgotten & Unsung – Yesteryear Musicians In Dire Straits”

  1. luke says:

    Thanks for the wonderful page and the info. I am related to Mr. Ramlal choudhary and have been looking for him and family, can you please provide info. his wife is anglo Indian and he has a surviving daughter, should you have info please would like to get in contact.

    Thank You.

  2. M.Ganesh says:

    I came across a news item in today’s edition of Free Press Journal. It mentions that Sharad Kala Kendra in association with Mumbai Marathi Sahitya Sangh has organised a function to honour Mubarak Begumji. The legendary singer will present her popular melodies like ‘kabhi tanhaimein yun hamari yaad aayegi” in the presence of Shri.Kiran Shantaram,ex-Mumbai Sherrif. The function will be held at KARNATAK SANGH HALL,KATARIA MARG,MAHIM,MUMBAI on MARCH 23rd at 7pm. The singer will be assisted by the popular orchestra group ‘Kalakar” who will also present some of the old popular numbers.
    It is further mentioned that the Kendra had come across an article that said that Mubarak Begumji is going through financial difficulties.However Mubarak Begumji being a strong personality has strictly rejected money that comes as a donation or from well wishers. The only way she said she will accept money is if she performs and if someone pays for it. It is this that triggered the thought of orgainising a programme for her.The money that will be raised out of the sale of tickets etc will be given to Mubarak Begumji.

  3. prakash shah says:

    Ramlal was connected as instumentalist player (sarangi,tabla)with Rajkamal studo a{ V.Shantarms}dadar,and given an oprtunity by V.shantarms in sahera.Vasantdesai was also taken his assistance in many film like gunj uthi sahenai,janak janak payal baaje etc.May be badluck only was the reason that he didn’t get famous.
    The other MD who were also talented but melt like ice in open air are G.S.Kohli (Robin hood – Shikari),Iqbal qureshi(Love in simla,Ye dil kisko doo),Dansing -(My Love),even sonik omi were talented but didn’t got recognition what they deserve.

  4. binus2000 says:

    for simlote:

    shri ramlal ji lives above – up in the heaven; may be seeing his
    music being appreciated now….. He died in poverty and his
    wife , a foreigner is living in poverty, its learnt – in mumbai…

    binu nair.
    the rafi foundation…mumbai..

  5. simlote says:

    Could someone varify if srri Ramlal Chaudhary ji still lives in Mumbai?

  6. binus2000 says:

    MUBARAK BEGUM could be contacted on below nos. The singer
    needs medicines for her daughter who is afflicted with Parkinson’s
    disease. Mubarak has sung some lovely songs and with Rafi saab
    she has sung about eight songs; the most popular being Mujhko
    apne galle lagalo, Ai mere hamraahi….
    She says at Jogeshwari and I appeal to generous people to contact
    us on humanitarian grounds.

    binu nair
    9833 259 701, 9122-26787459 Mumbai.

  7. JB PUYRAUD says:


    These are really sad news indeed. I am currently preparing a anthology of 1950s Hindi movies songs for Universal in France and one of the CD will be dedicated to Female singers such as Mubarak Begum, Geeta Dutt, Rajkumari, etc. All these great artists had a really tough life but only few informations are available (especially in France !!!). It’s really difficult to find books or reviews or magazines about all thoses singers.
    When you listen to the music and their voices, you really think that they deserve more than that…
    As I’m preparing these compilations, I was wondering if anyone would know the exact birthdate of Mubarak Begum (I can’t find any informations in books, internet or magazines…).
    Thank you for your article,

  8. kalyani says:

    yes Anmol and Binu Nair
    Truly emotional and sad state of affairs. Can we thru our Rafian group highlight their plight to the musicians association in Mumbai. Iam sure they have funds and contacts to help the yesteryear artistes like Mubarakji.
    Thanks for ur sensible article. Wish that Rafi Sahab was with us and he would have helped these unfortunate talented artistes by giving free shows as he used to do many times for good cause in the past.

  9. Anmol Singh says:

    An update to readers.

    It is believed that Music Composer Ramlal Chaudhary is no more with us. Since he was not in lime light possibly could not get much media coverage. Ramlal made a significant contribution as a composer in Rafi Saab’s over all success.

    May his soul rest in peace.

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