Best of Shamshad Begum’s Bollywood Songs composed by O. P. Nayyar
Shamshad Begum is widely regarded as one among the first playback singers of Bollywood. She also sang several popular songs in other regional languages. Yet she is mostly linked with Hindi songs mostly recorded in the 1940s and 1950s. Her association with music legends – O. P. Nayyar, Naushad and C. Ramchandra during this period remained very successful, and many of her songs are remixed multiple times. She sang only around 35 songs for Nayyar, but most of them remained immensely popular, and a few of them, career-defining ones.
Begum has mostly been associated with fast, joyful and relaxed songs rather than those with overloaded emotions or romance. But sadly, her unique voice and potential have not been fully utilized by composers of the golden era, who mostly preferred her voice for second lead, special appearances or dancers in the film. May be it’s the reason why we can listen most of her songs in a relaxed mood, parties or in a fun mood. Yet we can’t deny the fact that with the emergence of Mangeshkar sisters as the leading female voices with the early 1960s, the charm of Shamshad Begum slowly started fading, and she got sidelined by almost all music composers of the era. There was a time in the 1950s, when she recorded songs for Waheeda Rahman, Meena Kumari and Madhubala. Here I list some of the best songs composed by O. P. Nayyar, and sung by Shamshad Begum, and it includes solos, duets & trios.
1. Kajra Mohabbat Wala from Kismat – I would like to begin my list with one of the finest songs of Shamshad Begum – O. P. Nayyar combination, but sadly the last recorded song of the duo. She sang this popular duet with Asha Bhosle, and this dance sequence was filmed on Biswajit and Babita. Biswajeet dressed up as a girl and Babita as a Pathan as a heroine, Shamshad rendered her voice for Biswajeet. ‘Reshmi Salwar ‘ song from Naya Daur was also filmed in a similar fashion, and hence it can be said that Kajra Mohabbat Wala revived this hit song. The composer and singers also remain the same, a strange co-incidence. S. H. Bihari penned the lyrics.
2. Reshmi Salwar Kurta from Naya Daur – So, why can’t I mention this particular dance number as second song in the list. As mentioned above, both the songs were filmed in similar fashion, though time travelled more than 10 years in between. This dance sequence featured Kumkum and Minoo Mumtaz as dancers, one of them poses as a male. Sahir Ludhianvi wrote the song.
3. Hum Pe Dil Aaya To from Do Ustaad – One of the rare songs sung by Rafi for Raj Kapoor, it’s also a unique trio by Rafi, Asha Bhosle and Shamshad Begum. The song is indeed beautiful. Madhubala also appears in this song, along with Daisy Irani, Sheikh Mukhtar and Sulochana. Qamar Jalalabadi penned its lyrics.
4. Kahin Pe Nigahen Kahin Pe Nishana from C. I. D – The song featured Waheeda Rehman, who played a negative shaded character, and one of her most early works. Shamshad Begum’s solo is still popular and all the songs of the movie were penned by Majrooh Sulthanpuri, except “Ankhon Hi Ankhon Mein“. The composer also made use of Italy’s Mandolin in its orchestra. The song has been a part of many Hindi films later, like the famous Antakshari scene of Shah Rukh Khan starrer, Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, where Kajol sings its Mukda.
5. Boojh Mera Kya Naam Re from CID – Minoo Mumtaz appeared as a village belle in this solo sung by Shamshad. Film’s lead pair Dev Anand and Shakeela, who pass her in a car, watch her dance sequence. Every song in the film is well known even today, and it’s because of the some power-packed chemistry between the singers and the composer, and lyrics also played a magnificent role at least in this case.
6. Leke Pehla Pehla Pyar from CID – The list is incomplete without mentioning this popular duet sung by Rafi and Shamshad Begum. The song also had a trio version with Asha Bhosle being the third singer. The song had several remixed versions later in the 2000s. Dev Anand and Shakeela were featured in the original version, along with a singer and dancer. The dancer seen in this song is Sheila Vaz, a small time artist who regularly appeared in dance sequences mostly in B&W movies of 1950s and early 1960s. To add – Ramaiyya Vastavaiya and Dil Ka Haal Sune Dilwala (Shree 420), Ghar Aaja Ghir Aaye Badra (Chote Nawab), Chhupne Wale Samne Aa (Tumsa Nahi dekha) and Thandi Hawa Kali Ghata (Mr and Mrs 55) are some of the songs in which she appeared.
7. Kabhi Aar Kabhi Paar from Aar Paar – Aar Paar played a significant role in recognizing the talents of Nayyar during his early days, and all its songs were extremely popular. He was only 3 films old in the industry before Aar Paar happened. The lyrics penned by Majrooh Sultanpuri also played a significant role in making its songs such a huge hit. O. P. Nayyar gave some of the best songs of Shamshad Begum’s career, and this song is definitely one among the best. Guru Dutt and Shyama were featured in this song.
Quite interestingly, in 2004, within a short interval of time, three of its revived versions topped the music charts of television shows, and all the three versions were equally popular. This song stood 12th in the Binaca Geetmala annual list of 1954. The female labourer lip syncing this song is none other than actress Kumkum, who later went on to become a star. It was Kumkum’s first screen appearance too. Actor Jagdeep was seen as a boy dancing in this song.
8. Meri Neendon Mein Tum from Naya Andaaz – She sang this beautiful duet with Kishore Kumar, who played male lead in the film too. Shamshad lip-synced for Meena Kumari in this film song, and it’s one of the very rare romantic duets sung by this singer for mainstream lead actors in any Hindi film. Jan Nisar Akhtar penned its beautiful lyrics. She also sang the solo – Raat Rangili Gaye Re Mose Raha Na Jaye Re for Meena Kumari for the same movie.
A list of a few more songs of O. P. Nayyar – Shamshad Begum Combination
1. Mr. & Mrs. ’55 – Ab To Hone Kiski Surat Ka Saamna
2. Bach Ke Balam Kahan Jaoge from Naya Andaz
3. Mohabbat se tujhe inkaar… Tu laage mora baalma from Shrimati 420
4. Chana Jor Garam Babu Main Laaya from Naya Andaz
5. Hamne Jab Dil Tha Diya Koi Vaada Tha Kiya from Choomantar
6. Yun hi baaten na bana tu from Qaidi
7. Thoda Sa Dil Lagaa Ke Dekh from Musafir Khana
8. Saiyan Teri Ankhiyon Mein Dil Kho Gaya from 12 O’ Clock
9. Ruk Ja Re Piya from Sab Se Bada Rupaiya (1955)
10. Kadar Mori Jaane Na from Dhake Ki Malmal
Also read a few more interesting posts on O. P. Nayyar. Click on the images in the gallery to read.