Bollywood neglected Shamshad Begum over others: Pakistani daily

Islamabad, April 28 (IANS) Although India is “much kinder” to its creative artists than Pakistan has ever been, Shamshad Begum was “stepped over” for other singers in the 1960s, as her voice was considered too powerful for the cinema in those days, a Pakistani daily said.

Lauding the voice that gave immortal songs like “Kajra mohabbat wala”, “Leke pehla pehla pyar” and “Teri mehfil me kismat”, the News International said the singer lived a “relatively reclusive life” after retiring from playback singing in 1965.

One of Bollywood’s earliest singers, Shamshad Begum died at her home in Mumbai this week. She was 94, and is survived by a daughter.

The daily said Bollywood films are “largely defined by the music they offer, and Shamshad Begum represented those great playback singers of yesteryears, when lyrics were poetry and composition an art and skill both”.

“The depth and beauty of Shamshad Begum’s musical talent is evident in the fact that her songs, recorded chiefly between 1945 and 1965, continue to be re-recorded, remixed and featured in Bollywood movies to this day,” the daily said.

This also, “unfortunately”, says much about the quality of music being produced today, it said, adding that people continue to prefer the “golden oldies”.

“Although India is much kinder to its creative artists than Pakistan has ever been — probably because of the status Bollywood holds — there is still a lot more that can be done for these artists who seem to fade away once they are no more at the peak of their careers.”

“In some ways Shamshad Begum too faced a similar fate – being stepped over for other singers in the 1960s, her voice considered too powerful for the mood of the cinema of those days,” the daily said.

However, it said there was no doubt that with Shamshad Begum gone, fans of pure classical Bollywood music “have truly lost a singing legend”.

Artists like Shamshad Begum “live on in the music and art they create”, it concluded.

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