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ONE of the leading melody makers of Pakistan’s film industry belonging to the golden era of songs from 1950 to 1980s, Maestro Buland Iqbal, 83, died in Karachi on July 25 last. He spent his life in the service of music.

He would compose music at Radio Pakistan with his colleague Lal Mohammad. In the film world the duo was known as ‘Lal Mohammad Iqbal’.

Starting from the film Barah Bajay, released in December 1961, and ending with Sab Key Baap, released in May 1994, they composed music for at least 35 films.

For the songs of these films, the duo utilised the voices of about 40 playback singers, including three vocalists from India, namely Talat Mehmood, C. H. Atma and Mubarak Begum.

Their three all-time greatest hits are: ‘Duniya Kisi Ke Pyar Mein’, sung by Mehdi Hassan for Jaag Utha Insaan, ‘Ae Abray Karam, Aaj Itna Baras’, and ‘Socha Tha Pyar Na Karen Gey’, both of them sung by Ahmed Rushdi for the films Naseeb Apna Apna and Ladla respectively.

A scion of the Delhi Gharana of musicians, Buland Iqbal was son of Ustad Bundu Khan, the famous sarangi player of the subcontinent and younger brother of Umrao Bundu Khan, a sarangi player and classical singer.

Belonging to such an illustrious family of musicians, Buland Iqbal had full command over numerous ragas, which he sang with a melodious voice.

However, his passion for playing sarangi remained supreme.

He visited abroad twice to give stage performances on his favourite instrument with the cultural troupes from Pakistan.

Over the last two decades, he devoted his time to teaching classical and ghazal singing. I was his student and learnt classical singing from him.

His love for music was so intense and motivation so strong that till the age of 80 he would come to Defence four to five times in a week driving his motorbike from his residence in Liaquatabad.

He would encourage children in the house, who even could not speak, to play musical instruments and would be happy that they had got an interest in music.

The children would also wait anxiously for him on the day when he would come to impart lessons. An old student, Mrs Moti Usmani, is one of the best singers of Thumri Gaeki in Pakistan.

The maestro had a sea of knowledge in his field but his modesty touched rock bottom.