Remembering Today on His Birth Anniversary
Talat Mahmood (24 February 1924 – 9 May 1998) is considered one of the greatest male Indian non-classical and semi-classical singers. He was a born singer with an intuitive sense of beauty, charm and grace, he was one of the most important and significant singers of the Golden Era of Hindi film music..
Talat apprenticed classical music under Pandit S.C.R. Bhat at Marris College of Music, Lucknow.He began his singing career at the age of 16 in 1939 when he began singing the Ghazals of Daag, Mir, Jigar etc. on All India Radio, Lucknow. His voice had a quality distinct from all the other singers. HMV was quick to notice this and offered Talat his first disc in 1941 Sab din ek samaan nahin tha, Bun jaoon ga kya se kya main, Iska to kuch dhyan nahin tha.
In 1944 came the hit Tasveer teri dil mera behela nah sake gi. Its popularity was so phenomenal and unrivalled that even today it remains one of the top selling non-film discs.This disc brought Talat the fame throughout India and soon he was beckoned by the Calcutta film industry. Talat made cameo appearances and starred in about 16 movies, for both the Calcutta (film hub of the 1940s) and Bombay Film Industry.
In 1949 Talat moved to Bombay, to sing for the Hindi film industry. His name and fame had already preceded him and soon he was flooded with offers. His big break came with the song Ae dil mujhe aisi jagha le chal jahan koi na ho composed by music director Anil Biswas for the soundtrack of the movie Arzoo.
Besides being a gifted singer, Mahmood was quite handsome as well. He acted in over a dozen films with top actresses of the time like Nutan, Mala Sinha, Suraiya and others.Some of the films were Rajlaxmi 1945,Tum Aur Main 1947, Araam with Dev Anand and Madhubala in 1951,Thokar with Shammi Kapoor in 1953,his last appearance was in Sone ki Chidiya (1958) opposite Nutan. Later he decided to give up acting to concentrate on singing.
Talat Mahmood was probably the pioneer of international concert tours – his first tour was to East Africa in 1956. Music directors felt that Talat, busy with his films and overseas concerts, wouldn’t be available to sing playback. Music directors who had earlier given him plum assignments now began favouring other singers. SD Burman, for whom Talat had rendered the sublime Jaaye toh jaaye kahan wanted Mohammed Rafi for the plaintive Jalte hain jiske liye, and it was only on Bimal Roy's insistence that Talat got to sing it.
By the 60s, things had taken a turn for the worse. There seemed to be no place for Talat’s voice by this time .Talat’s career never quite recovered. Except for the odd song in a few nondescript films, Talat Mahmood retired graciously from film music, preferring to focus on his non-film records and live shows, until ill-health saw him leave the limelight completely.
Talat recorded his first track way back in 1941 and sang around 750 songs in 12 languages.
My Tribute to this Great Singer
First Song for Hindi film Rajlaxmi 1945