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Legendary Indian singer Shamshad Begum dies

Updated April 24, 2013

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.