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Shamshad Begum changed style of Indian music
Not really Kajra but the ripe old age snatched away the first legendary female singer Padma Bhushan Shamshad Begum from us. She was not keeping well for past few months and was admitted to a hospital, where she passed away Tuesday night.

Shamshad Begum was born on April 14, 1919 in Amritsar, Punjab. She made her debut on Peshawar Radio in Lahore on December 16, 1947, captivating the hearts of listeners with her enchanting voice. This bold and boisterous singer was introduced to film industry by maestro Ghulam Haider in ’40s. Haider, with the music of “Ek kali nazon ki pali” and similar songs, changed the style of Indian music.

Before Haider, film music was dominated by classic and heavy and often not very much in touch with ordinary masses. It was obsessed with Bengali and Marathi classic music. He brought the freshness of folk songs, and his free-wheeling music was supported by the effervescent voice of Shamshad Begum. Sawan ke nazaare hain, laut gayi paapan andhiyaari, Ek kali naazon ki pali, Diwali phir aa gayi sajni were the few songs that conferred super stardom to Shamshad.

At last, on 14th April 2011, someone thought it fit to recall Shamshad Begum and she was awarded the prestigious Padma Bhushan recognising her melodious contribution to the field of Hindi film music. Better late than never.

She was the most dominating singer in the 1940s and sang till 1981. Think of Mughal-e-Azam and “Teri mehfil men qismat azma kar hum bhi dekhen ge, gharee bhar ko tere nazdeek aakar hum bhi dekhen ge.” She had a unique style of singing and was admired by millions of music lovers all over the world.

In the earlier days of her struggle she was competing singers like Noor Jehan, Khursheed and Suraiyya who also were extremely popular that time. With the introduction of Lata Mangeshkar’s more natural and family-like innocence, old style of singing began to eclipse. Her uncle used to take care of her musical career. She was close to Talat Mehmood and helped him in the earlier days of his carrier. She never loved the social gathering, so rarely attended.

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