Legendary playback singer Shamsad Begum passes away

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Mumbai, April 24: Legendary playback singer Shamshad Begum, who mesmerised music lovers with classics like Kahin Pe Nigahen Kahin Pe Nishaana, Mere Piya Gaye Rangoon, Kabhi Aar Kabhi Paar and Kajra Mohabbat Wala, died at her Mumbai residence from age related ailments. She was 94.

"She was not keeping well for past few months and was in and out of hospital. She passed away last night at our home (Powai in northeast Mumbai). The funeral was a solemn affair with a few friends present," Begum's daughter Usha Ratra told PTI.

The singer was living with her daughter and son-in-law Yog Ratra in Mumbai, ever since her husband Ganpat Lal Batto died in 1955.

"She kept herself away from glamour of the industry despite being one of the top singers of her era as she did not like limelight. My mother used to say that artistes never die.

She wanted to be remembered for her songs," Usha added.

Born on April 14, 1919 in Amritsar, Punjab in a traditional family, Begum made her debut on Peshawar Radio in Lahore on December 16, 1947, captivating the hearts of her listeners with her enchanting voice.

A versatile singer, Begum enthralled millions with her songs in Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Gujarati, Tamil and Punjabi. She sang for almost all the top composers of her time including Ghulam Haider, Naushad and O P Nayyar.

Her major hits include Kahin Pe Nigahen Kahin Pe Nishana, Boojh Mera Kya Naam Re and Leke Pehla Pehla Pyar (CID-1956), Saiyan Dil Mein Aana Re (Bahar-1951) and Chod Babul Ka Ghar (Babul-1950) and Kajra Mohabbat Wala (Kismat-1968).

Singing was a passion for Begum from a very early age but her conservative family did not encourage her at that time. It was her paternal uncle who convinced her father to allow her to sing.

She soon had a contract with record company Xenophone.

Her father agreed to let her sing on the condition that she would attend the recordings in a burkha and would not get herself photographed.

Begum continued to honour her father's wishes even after getting married to Ganpat Lal Batto at the age of 15 in 1934.

PTI

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