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Jukebox: Mausam Is Always Aashiqana With Naushad’s Music

The life and melodies of one of Hindi cinema’s greatest maestro on his death anniversary.

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Naushad Ali was one of the one of the first and foremost composers in the history of Bollywood. Since 1937, his tunes made the very foundation of Bollywood music. He is also known for introducing the playback voices of Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammad Rafi to the world and transfiguring them into the icons that they are today. While Naushad sahab gave music in less than a hundred films during his lifetime, 26 of them went on to celebrate jubilees, some of them even celebrating golden and diamond jubilees!

On the maestro’s death anniversary (5 May), here are some of his best gems-

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In the late 1930s, Naushad came to Bombay from Lucknow to become a success musician. But he had a long struggle ahead of him. Initially he faced rebuffs, and had to endure periods of utter deprivation. The maestro-to-be even spent nights sleeping on footpaths before he finally got the opportunity to be the pianist in composer Mushtaq Hussain’s orchestra, something he remained grateful for till the very end.

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Naushad had the rare ability to incorporate classical rhythms into his symphonies. He based his tunes on traditional ragas and churned out some complex and sublime creations. His signature style truly came alive in the musical Baiju Bawra (1952), in which he used classical singers to sing his ghazals.

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Despite his purist love for classical melodies, Naushad kept up with the times and adapted his compositions to incorporate western techniques and instruments. He was also the first to separately record vocal and music tracks, that were blended using sound mixing techniques. His melodies enhanced a film’s moods, situations and dialogues and really stood out from the crowd.

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Naushad’s career continued at a steady peak throughout the 1950s and 1960s, with some of his melodies being featured in now-perennial classics like Baiju Bawra (1952), Mughal-E-Azam (1960) and the epic Mother India (1957). Unfortunately and to his distaste, times were changing and filmmakers demanded more fast-paced, peppier tunes. Naushad had to struggle to keep his music pure and classical.

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But Naushad’s uncompromising attitude towards his music limited him to just a hundred films in his lifetime. Though he was still held in high regard, but the industry was now only offering him period films, the most notable of them being Pakeezah (1972). But what a job he did of them!

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Naushad’s musical legacy lives on in his purist melodies, that fans of all ages laugh, romance and cry along with. Such is the hallmark of a truly great composer.

(This article is from The Quint’s archives and was first published on 5 May, 2015. It is now being republished to mark Naushad’s death anniversary.)

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Topics:  Lata Mangeshkar   Mohammad Rafi   Naushad 

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