Ghulam Mohammed
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Ghulam Mohammed

A look back: Ghulam Mohammed’s career as a composer was full of highlights, not just the indelible Pakeezah

Ghulam Mohammed

Ghulam Mohammed

Ghulam Mohammed, an underappreciated composer, passed away on March 17, 1968. His best-known work can be heard in the film classic Pakeezah. Yet, hold on… or, shall we say, Thare Rahiyo. Before Pakeezah, Ghulam Mohammed (GM) was already a busy and innovative composer.
In the 1930s, he began writing scores for Hindi and Urdu movies. In the 1950 film Pardes, starring Madhubala, Lata Mangeshkar gave unforgettable performances of GM’s songs like Jiya Laage Nahin Mora, Raat Hai Taaron Bhari, and Dil Ki Awaaz.
The duets “Ek Bewafa Ko Dil Ka Sahara Samajh Liya” and “Chhodo Chhodo Jee Piya” by Lataji and “Talat Mahmood” from “Ajeeb Ladki” (1952) were both huge hits.
In the same year as Ajeeb Ladki, Raj Kapoor and Nargis starred in the lavish costume drama Ambar. Six of GM’s ten Ambar songs featured Lataji’s singing. The duet Hum Tum Yeh Bahaar that Lataji sang with Mohammed Rafi was the most well-known of these songs.
The film Dil-e-Nadaan, in which Talat Mahmood made his debut, bombed. Although many of GM’s pre-Pakeezah favourites have changed, Zindagi Dene Wale Sunn by Talat is still highly regarded.
However, GM’s most notable score before Pakeezah was for the blockbuster film Mirza Ghalib. The film, which was based on the life of the famous poet, featured the voices of Suraiya and Talat Mahmood performing the timeless poetry of Ghalib. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was very taken with the music, especially the songs by Suraiya.
Kundan, directed by Sohrab Modi in 1955, featured a stirring score by GM. Matwale was the movie’s most intriguing song. Uh, Matwale. This fun song features a unique pairing of singers in Lataji and Shamshad Begum.
In 1961, GM released the score to the film Shama, making Pakeezah their first soundtrack since. A classic from what some consider to have been the golden age is Suraiya’s heartbreaking solo Dil Gham Se Jal Raha Hai Jale Par Dhuan Na Ho.
GM poured his heart and soul into the music of Pakeezah from 1962 until his death. On March 16, 1968, he unexpectedly passed away, leaving his magnum opus unfinished. Naushad, a close friend of Ghulam Mohammed’s, finished the music for Pakeezah. Thare Rahiyo, Chalte Chalte, Inhi Logon Ne, Mausam Hai Aashiqana, Chalo Dildar Chalo, and Teer-e-Nazar Dekhenge, however, are all timeless cinematic masterpieces written and performed by Ghulam Mohmmed. He passed away at a tender age. The lingering lilt he embraced lives on in his songs, however.

Ghulam Mohammed
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