MUMBAI: Indian singing legend Shamshad Begum, who was one of the first playback singers in the Hindi film industry and the voice behind some of the most famous songs in Bollywood musicals , has died in hospital in Mumbai, her family said on Wednesday. She was 94.

Begum made her singing debut in 1947 when she began working on national radio and later became one of the most in-demand playback singers who supply the pre-recorded vocals that are then mimed by Bollywood’s leading ladies.

One of her most famous performances came in the blockbuster movie “Mughal-e-Azam”, considered a milestone in Indian cinema. She was the voice behind hit songs like ‘Mere Piya Gaye Rangoon’, ‘Kabhi Aar Kabhi Paar’ and ‘Kajra Mohabbat Wala, ‘Kahin Pe Nigahen Kahin Pe Nishana’, ‘Boojh Mera Kya Naam Re’, ‘Saiyan Dil Mein Aana Re’, ‘Leke Pehla Pehla Pyar’ and ‘Chod Babul Ka Ghar’ and etc

“She passed away last night (Tuesday),” Begum’s daughter Usha Ratra told the Press Trust of India news agency, adding that her mother had been unwell for several months.

Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari said Begum’s singing style had set new benchmarks and described her death as an “irreparable loss” to the world of music.

Born in 1919 in the northern Indian city of Amristar, Begum hailed from a conservative family and promised her father to never appear on-screen.

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Comments (30)

Silajit
April 25, 2013 1:32 am
You're thinking of Noor Jehan.
sanober haider
April 24, 2013 3:01 pm
She was the greatest singer and her tantlizing voice will penetrate our hearts when ever we will hear her songs.
Masood Hussain
April 24, 2013 3:01 pm
A great singer. Started her singing before creation of Pakistan ,in Pancholi 's films with Master Ghulam Haider ,A great music director..
manghirmalani
April 24, 2013 10:16 am
She will be missed
Mohit
April 25, 2013 3:28 am
She was a pride of india, She will be there in our heart forever...
sach
April 25, 2013 9:04 am
Is it only me who finds it ironic to read about a Muslim woman who started singing in 1947 in India and I am reading about this in a Pakistani new paper. Great story of a woman who defied the odds of tradition and did what she was best at. Salute madame!
Syed Hafeez imran
April 24, 2013 3:50 pm
I agree that the lyrics and songs were good, but dont forget that the recording facilities, equipment, studios and meda were rudimentary - and even then the songs turned out so well the magic of voice and the artististry of the singer. i do not know how many of the old singers mr imran (My namesake) has lsited to (such as Saigol, begum Akhtar, pankaj Malik, but these wee golden silken voices,. If i singany of the old songs, instead of it being good to look, people will either just run away or solence me
Ram
April 24, 2013 3:50 pm
Artist of Shamshad Begaum never dies they live forever thru their songs, India is truly blessed to have such a great artist
sri1ram
April 24, 2013 9:41 am
RIP begum. All of Us in the Indian sub-continent will miss you but will keep your immortal songs in our hearts forever.
Fateh Mohammed
April 25, 2013 5:39 am
I am deeply saddened by the death of Mohtarma Shamshad Begum , may God rest her soul in peace . She delighted and saddened millions with her melodious voice across the subcontinent and still does .
Umair AHMED
April 25, 2013 7:45 am
She is a legendary artist; her song is a treasure for all the people living in subcontinent May her soul rest in peace and give their family endurance to bear this irreparable loss
bali suut
April 25, 2013 3:31 pm
my favourite song of hers is gori gori raat hai. the song was on a comedian in drag
Chanakya
April 25, 2013 7:15 am
Any good listeners would say: "If Kishore was voice of Dev, Talat of Dilip, Mukesh of Raj, Shamshaad was that of Nargis". Listen to Deedar's " Chaman men rahakar weerana" or Babul Melas songs shot on Nargis. She was unique, she was great.
MONAYEM CHOWDHURY
April 24, 2013 1:55 pm
Let us not underestimate the talent of singers. If indeed, "any voice would look good" as Mr. Imran asserts, then there would not have been a difference between great singers of those times, as for instance, Shamsad Begum, Noor Jehan, Suraiya, Lata, Asha, Geeta and others. Shamsad Begum was endowned with an unique voice whose parrallel we are yet to see. May her soul rest in peace. MONAYEM CHOWDHURY USA
chait83
April 25, 2013 3:06 am
I don't think the quality of singers is better. Compare the recording facilities of those days. No editing facilities were there. Yet those old songs soothe your soul. I think that's brilliant work.
Lakhkar Khan
April 24, 2013 2:09 pm
You are gone but your music will live on forever... RIP Shamshad Begum. We will miss you.
Abdul Moktader Mamoon
April 25, 2013 2:54 am
How co-incidence !!!! It was 24 April late night probably between 12:40 am to 1:00 am while I was searching, who sung one of my favorite songs - Chod Babul Ghar?. Till then, I didn't know that it was Shamshad Begum whom I was looking for. I got the song in internet, but not the legendary singer, because she already has passed away on the same night (the news I got Wednesday night at 8:00 PM). May Allah keep her in peace !!!
Harinder Bal
April 25, 2013 8:54 am
The title of this news is so disappointing, Shamshad Begum never belonged to India she was the voice of the subcontinent. At least in arts & culture please do not bring the geographic divide.
Imran Quraishi
April 24, 2013 12:39 pm
I personally think that the lyrics and songs were such well written in those days that any voice would look good. I am not saying her voice was just ok but that the credit goes to the song writers and the supporting staff who did a wonderful job in those days. These days we don't even remember a song after a few weeks. The quality of singers is better than Shamshad Begum's times but the songs are not up to the mark.
Balwanjee
April 25, 2013 4:45 am
If I could dwell Where Israfel Hath dwelt, and he where I, He might not sing so wildly well A mortal melody, While a bolder note than this might swell From my lyre within the sky. Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)
md touhidul islam
April 25, 2013 5:02 am
Shamsadbegum is very different from other singers. if you listen to lata or other singers, the most songs look like repeated and same tune. but Shamsad is totally different. here, she is greater than other female singers. I have some personal collection of her and other.
Madan
April 24, 2013 1:09 pm
Shamshad Begumji brought joy and happiness to millions of people, the poor, the rich and those in between. She belonged to the world and now she belongs to eternity, for her music would continue to delight men, women and children as long as music lives. May God give her soul eternal peace for all the unforgettable service she did to her fellow human beings.
Abu-Salmaan
April 25, 2013 5:08 am
Indians and Pakistanis enjoyed her melodious voice equally as music has no political boundaries. We love music and we will miss her, May Allah rest her soul in peace.
jn
April 25, 2013 5:17 am
Agreed that it was Teamwork,but you are wrong about today's singers, being better. The songs of the 1940's-1970's would be around for the next hundreds of years, till we speak and understand, Hindi/Urdu/Punjabi. The songs being generated now would be soon forgotten. jn
Ravi Ingale from University of Pune.
April 24, 2013 6:55 pm
I was consider that, Shashad Begam is in Pakistan. Anyway I feel proud of it, that she was an Indian.
kamaljit Singh
April 24, 2013 4:50 pm
Full bow salute to you dear and sweet grandma of the playback singing . RIP.
Shah
April 24, 2013 10:20 pm
She had a unique style of singing.No body could imitate that. Shah
PNP
April 24, 2013 9:42 pm
Shamshad Begum, beyond any doubt or debate, vocalized the unforgettable lyrics, as well as the masterful composition of the golden era of the sub-continent's music and films. Her rendition of some of the B'wood classics will remain in our hearts and in our memory for years to come. Such artists come but once in history. Begum, RIP! Priyakant, USA
zaffar (Sweden)
April 24, 2013 8:34 pm
May your soul rest in peace.
Samia
April 24, 2013 5:50 pm
Loved you, Shamshad Befum. You will live forever in our hearts!
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