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Naushad Ali: A Tribute

By: Sunil Noronha
Friday, April 28, 2006

Naushad Ali was on born Christmas Day, 1919. He wanted to make a musician of himself which is why he shifted base to Mumbai (the known as Bombay) on the '30s. By the start of the next decade, he was one top music directors in the Hindi movie business. One of the biggest descriptions of his music was that it was the only music that held roots in Hindustani Music that Bollywood had at that time and has had so far. He used the basics of Hindustani Music to compose his music.

His inspiration started with the orchestra accompaniment given to silent films. Before moving to Bombay, he studied under Ustad Ghurbat Ali, Ustad Yusuf Ali and Ustad Babban Saheb. When he decided that it was time to give his dreams a chance, he was working repairing harmoniums. At the time he did small time composing for amateur plays. His forst offiascial movie that he composed music for was Prem Nagar in 1940. Recognition though came in 1942 when he did Sharda. His real push up the ladder came with Rattan in 1944. Songs from the movie Ankhiyaan Milake and Sawan ke Badalon the charts ablaze. Followed were Shahjehan and Ghadi in 1946, Dard and Elaan in 1947, Anoki Ada in 1948 and Dillagi, Dulari and Andaaz in 1949. They were all hits.

The first he brought to Film music were sound mixing, the separate recording of voice and music tracks and the using of the flute, clarinet, sitar, mandolin and accordion in Film music. He showed that he could go western too (Jadoo in 1951). Another first that he bought to the music of the Hindi Film Industry was the merging or adaptation of Hindustani Ragas to Film music giving it the Hindustani touch. He was so passionate of Hindustani Music that to keep the habit up of involving it in film music he set up an Academy to teach it. His films that have scored big on its music have also scored big on the screen like Mother India, Mughal-E-Azam, Baiju Bawra. His last film done was TajMahal- A Eternal Love Story. He had a "songwriting partnership" with Shakeel Badayuni who wrote lyrics to most of all his music. He was a great source of encouragement to the upcoming singers of his time some of them being Asha Bhonsle, Lata Mangeshkar and Tuntun aka Uma Devi Khatri. He gave her her first break into movie acting. But one of the greatest partnerships that he had formed was with Mohammed Rafi. After their first collaboration in Hindustan ke hum hain in Pehla Aap, he was mesmerised with his voice and was his first preference (and most of the time his only preference) for a voice for the songs that he composed for films.

His all time favourite hits were Mughal-E-Azam, Baiju Bawra, Ganga Jamuna among the many. He had composed music for only 66 films in his 62 years as a music composer in Bollywood to which he says "In my 62 years in the film industry, I composed music for 66 films. These days, you come across people who have done the music 200 films in two years. What I'm saying is that, we used to agonise over every tune and phrase in music, spend sleepless nights over a song, and work on it until it was perfected. And I am still looking for perfection".

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