Those who grew up watching old Urdu films on the NTM (Network Television Marketing) channel in the 1990s, could boast of knowing the local film industry better than others in that generation, which had mostly lost touch with the dying world of cinema in Pakistan. By watching the films of yore, they were at least familiar with all the actors from the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s and their iconic dialogues, and the film directors, musicians, etc.

Additional info was provided to them by their parents, and so an average ’90s film-obsessed kid knew about the ‘stars’ and ‘moons’ of the industry. Later, they were also responsible for the mini-revival of the film industry, by supporting movies such as Haathi Mere Saathi, Jeeva, Mushkil and Munda Biggra Jaye. Perhaps the only confusion they had was regarding music director Nashad and legendary Indian music composer Naushad Ali.

Celebrated music composer Shaukat Dehalvi aka Nashad was behind the soundtrack of many Pakistani movies from the late ’60s and ’70s, and dozens of songs composed by him are still hummed to this day. Gori ke sar pe sajj kay, Rafta rafta woh meri hasti ka saamaan ho gaye, Kabhi tau dil-i-zaar, Khuda karay ke muhabbat mein woh muqaam aaye, Zindagi me tau sabhi pyar kiya kartay hain, Mera dil na-jaanay kab se, Tu meri zindagi hai and Yeh tau wohi jaga hai guzray thhay hum jahan se are just a few of his many melodious tracks.

Meanwhile, legendary Indian music composer Naushad Ali, known to the world as Naushad, is regarded as one of the greatest music directors from the Indo-Pak subcontinent. He was very active between 1945-1970, and was the main reason why many local dads ended up praising the Indian Naushad’s music instead of the local favourite, Nashad. Pyaar kiya tau darna kya, Mujhay dunya walo sharaabi na samjho, Tu kahay agar, Bachpan ke din bhula na dena, Aaj purani rahon se and Mohay panghat pe are just a few of the gems produced by Naushad, and rendered by singing legends such as Lata Mangeshkar, Mohammed Rafi and Mukesh.

Naushad and Nashad. The confusion between the two music directors’ names is what kick-started the career of Shaukat Dehalvi. And behind it all was a vengeful lyricist known as Nakhshab Jarchavi who wanted to get back at Naushad

The ‘birth’ of music composer Nashad was directly linked to a much written about controversy, and brainchild of the infamous lyricist Nakhshab.

In 1945, the then up-and-coming director Shaukat Hussain Rizvi’s Zeenat had turned out to be the biggest hit of the year. Its song, the first-ever female qawwali Aahen na bhareen, shikway naa kiye had become immensely popular among listeners. Rendered by Madam Noor Jehan and others, the song was written by Nakhshab Jarchavi. Zeenat was produced by Shiraz Ali Hakim of Bombay Talkies, who later initiated Mughal-i-Azam, before Partition stopped its production.

Nakhshab was born Akhtar Abbas in Jarcha, U.P., of then undivided India. A talented lyricist, he knew the art of playing with words and situations. With the right connections at the right time, he had made a name for himself by the early 1950s. Those were also the days when the acclaimed music director Naushad Ali was riding the wave of success as a music composer.

Film director Saeed Fazli, who was associated with films in Pakistan during the 1960s, helped this scribe in tracking down the actual facts: “Nakhshab’s two songs, Aayega aane wala and Mushkil hai bohat mushkil by Lata Mangeshkar had clicked with the audience and the film Mahal had become a rage.”

The unprecedented success of Zeenat and Mahal went to Nakhshab’s head, who thought he could force the legendary Naushad Ali to compose music for his unannounced film. “But with the services of Majrooh Sultanpuri and Shakeel Badayuni at hand, Naushad Ali would not dare think of another poet, let alone a wannabe,” recalls the 87-year-old Saeed Fazli.

Saeed Fazli, son of ISP officer and poet-turned-filmmaker Fazal Karim Fazli, has been residing in Los Angeles for the last four decades. Faizi, as he is called by his friends, was the man who signed the legendary music composer Nisar Bazmi for the film Aisa Bhi Hota Hai (1965) in Pakistan. He was also quite close to Naushad Ali, who treated him as his son. Whenever Naushad was visiting his daughter in California, Saeed Fazli would drive 120 miles daily just to meet him.

A trendsetter, Naushad used to base his tunes on classical ragas and folk music. The man behind Aan (1951), Deedar (1951), Baiju Bawra (1952), — and Mother India (1957), Kohinoor and Mughal-i-Azam (1960) in the coming years — was busy composing for Dilip Kumar’s Amar (1954) and Urran Khatola (1955) at that time. After Naushad’s refusal, Nakhshab plotted revenge and his gaze settled on the little-known Shaukat Dehalvi.

Shaukat Dehalvi, an accomplished Sarangi player, began as part of another famous music director, Master Ghulam Haider’s, group. He belonged to the famous Dilli gharana, famous for providing musicians to the industry. Shaukat’s father, Master Ghulam Hussain Khan, was an accomplished tabla player and had mentored legends such as Ustad Allah Rakha Khan and Ustad Allah Wala Khan.

Shaukat rose through the ranks as Master Ghulam Haider’s assistant, the legendary music composer responsible for introducing Lata Mangeshkar. When Ghulam Haider migrated to Pakistan, Shaukat got a chance to come out of his guru’s shadow and, with the film Payal, he became a full-time composer in India. Ironically, Shaukat shared music credits for the film Ghazab (1951) with Nisar Bazmi. Both Shaukat and Bazmi were stuck in the ‘B’ category until Shaukat’s fate led him to Nakhshab.

“Nakhshab believed that a good song does not need an accomplished music director, so he enticed Shaukat Dehalvi into abandoning his old name and becoming Nashad, with a slight modification in spelling of Naushad’s name. The word ‘naushad’ means ‘happy’ while ‘nashad’ is literally its opposite.

Nashad was signed for the film Naghma and the change of name came in handy. With Nashad on board and most people assuming it was the legendary Naushad, it was easy to convince Ashok Kumar to act as a lead; Nadira was added to the cast, fresh from the success of Mehboob Khan’s Aan, recalls Saeed Fazli.

Naghma (1953) was a moderate success but its songs became popular. Barri mushkil se and Iss dil ki lagi samjha na koi by Shamshad Begum were chartbusters.

When asked why the legendary music composer Naushad Ali never took Nashad seriously, Saeed Fazli says, “Naushad saheb came under severe pressure to take legal action, but he did not want to harm a rising fellow Muslim composer. With composers such as Feroz Nizami, Khwaja Khurshid Anwar, Master Ghulam Haider and Rashid Attre already gone to Pakistan, there remained only a handful of Muslim music composers in India, and a court case could have easily destroyed Shaukat Nashad’s career.”

Mostly due to the confusion between Naushad and Nashad, the latter quickly rose into the ‘A’ category of music directors. Being a quick learner, and excellent at adopting tunes, he got better and better with every film.

His famous composition Tasveer banata hoon, tasveer nahin banti by Talat Mahmood for Baradari (1955) is proof of his honed skills as a music composer. Lata’s cheerful number Ab ke baras barra zulm hua is still remembered for the use of the sitar, flute and dholak. Barra Bhai and Jawaab were his famous films and, by 1958, Shaukat Nashad had become a force to reckon with.

In a telephonic interview with Pyarelal Ramprasad Sharma (from the famous music duo of Laxmikant-Pyarelal) years ago, Shaukat Nashad’s name came up. “Laxmikant used to play the mandolin while I played the violin for six years for Nisar Bazmi. When Bazmi saheb was unable to afford us, we moved to serve another ‘A’ category music director, and hence had the chance to work under aap ke [your] Nashad saheb.”

Nakhshab, Naushad and Khurshid Anwar
Nakhshab, Naushad and Khurshid Anwar

Nakhshab, on the other hand, continued writing lyrics for Bollywood films and even had credits as a director with Zindagi Ya Toofan (1958); obviously the music was done by Shaukat Nashad. Rumours were rife that when legendary director V. Shantaram, who made the film, found similarities with Mehndi (produced by A.A. Nadiadwala, directed by S.M. Yousuf and music by Ravi), he handed over the director’s credit to Nakhshab. Both films were based on Mirza Ruswa’s famous novel Umrao Jaan Ada, but Mehndi was released before Zindagi Ya Toofan.

Zindagi Ya Toofan, with Nakhshab as director, was a moderate success in India. Around the same time, the government of Pakistan relaxed the laws regarding import of Bollywood films, and Nakhshab brought the movie to Pakistan under a shady deal and without paying a single rupee to Shantaram. The film was a success in Pakistan and Nakhshab got all the credit.

After a few days, Nakhshab began criticising the filmmakers and music directors in Pakistan. He launched Fanoos which sank without a trace at the box office; interestingly famous music director Rasheed Attre left the project midway due to Nakshab’s bad behaviour.

Nakhshab roped in the just-migrated-and-settled-in-Karachi Nisar Bazmi for his next project, Maikhana, but another altercation and another fall-out ensued. An SOS was sent to Shaukat Nashad to India and he came over to make music for Maikhana.

Although Maikhana’s songs were relayed from Radio Ceylon, it failed to shine at the box office and Nakhshab could never taste success again. However, the most modern film studio of Pakistan at the time, Eastern Studios of Karachi suffered the most, as Nakhshab never paid any studio bills for the big-budget film.

Dejected and rejected, Nakhshab, heartbroken by back-to-back flops, died at the relatively young age of 42 in 1967. The death of his mentor failed to affect the ascension of Shaukat Nashad’s career, however, and, for many years, the music director composed for the same filmmakers ridiculed by Nakhshab.

Even if he composed for dead-flop movies, his music was noticed. Famous for giving breaks to singers Mubarak Begum and Suman Kulyanpur in India, he introduced Runa Laila and lyricist Tasleem Fazli to the world of films in Pakistan.

Years later, Nashad used Mehdi Hasan to sing Mohay Panghat for M.A. Shamsi’s film Zeenat (1975) as a tribute to the maestro Naushad, who had composed the original song for Mughal-i-Azam. From 1966 till 1980, Shaukat Nashad delivered musical hits such as Hum Dono, Rishta Hai Pyar Ka, Saalgirah, Tum Milay Pyar Mila, Afsana, Duniya Na Maanay, Hill Station, Azmat, Zeenat and Azmaish, and remained a force to be reckoned with throughout.

Nashad remained a true Delhi-ite till he passed away at the age of 57 on January 14, 1981. Always dressed in kurta pajama with Kolhapuri chappals, he lived a simple life with his wife and over a dozen children. He saw his son Wajid Ali fill his shoes, who began composing for films in the late ’70s.

Wajid Ali Nashad’s famous movies are Parastish, Parwana, Haathi Mere Saathi, Miss Istanbul, Aakhri Mujra and Love ’95. Wajid is also behind the musical scores of many private TV productions, including Abid Ali’s Dasht and Doosra Aasman for STN.

Nashad’s other sons Imran Ali and Ameer Ali ventured into playback singing. Imran Ali sang a few songs in the late ’70s and Ameer Ali was quite successful during Pakistan cinema’s mini-revival of sorts during the ’90s. The famous song Karan mein nazara from Syed Noor’s film Choorriyan was rendered by Ameer Ali.

Nashad’s grandson Naveed Nashad is also a prominent name in the TV music industry, and famous for the OSTs of drama serials, most famous amongst all being ARY’s Meray Paas Tum Ho. He has ventured into films with the Eid-ul-Fitr release Dum Mustam.

Nashad’s collective legacy may not be as large as the musical giant Naushad Ali’s but, with each generation, the torch has been successfully passed on. Shaukat Dehlavi may have been tricked by Nakhshab but, as happens in movies, the good in him defeated the evil before the end.

As for Nakhshab Jarchavi, he has long been forgotten by his colleagues, the industry and well-wishers, if he ever had any. The word ‘nashad’ means unhappy while ‘nakhshab’ means man-made moon. Nashad and his sons ultimately became the embodiment of ‘nakhshab’ while the one who created Nashad, died ‘nashad’.

Published in Dawn, ICON, May 15th, 2022

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