Naushad (25 December 1919 – 5 May 2006 ) started as an independent music director from the 1940 film Prem Nagar. He made the Hindi songs popular by mixing UP and Bihar folk music with Indian classical music. It was in 1946 he got the superstar status with the two immortal songs from the film Anmol Ghadi.
The simple melody in Raag Pahari in the voice of Noorjehan " Jawan Hai Mohabbat" and the duet of Noorjehan and Surendra"Awaz Do Kahan Ho" mesmerized the music lovers. In the same year, K L Saigal gave one of his immortal songs "Jab Dil Hi Toot Gaya" under his composition in Shahjehan (1946) in Raag Bhairavi.
His classical genius was the 1952 film Baiju Bawra in which he used the voices if the great Ustad Amir Khan and D V Palusjar. The climactic contest between Tansen and Baiju Bawra in the royal court of Mughal emperor Akbar demanded music of the highest finesse to exemplify the capabilities of these historical legends. Naushad introduced classical music with deft handling, making it melodious for mass appeal and yet retaining enough artistry as the situation demanded.
There could not have been a better composer than Naushad Ali to make this film an unforgettable feature of Indian cinema. The music in “Baiju Bawra” is divine! It is, in fact, the soul of the film.
There are many moments in “Baiju Bawra” when the contribution of Naushad emerges the strongest point of the movie. Mohammad Rafi, lyricist Shakeel Badayuni and Naushad leave you in a trance with the all-time great number “Man tarpat hari darshan ko aaj”. Rafi had reportedly confessed to this being one of the toughest songs of his career as a demanding Naushad sought perfection from the legendary singer.
Raag Pahari, Raag Darbari, Raag Yaman, and Bhairvi were few of his favorite ragas. Many immortal songs in this raga were composed by him. Right from composing Rimjhim barse badarwa in raga Pahadi in film Rattan effortlessly rendered by Zohrabai Amabalewali, Naushad emphasized the durable value of classical mores.
His most durable composition Suhani raat dhal chuki was shaped in Pahadi and was from film Dulari made in 1949 that became legendary and is still considered an integral part of any singer’s repertoire in any musical gathering.
His other popular number in Pahadi was Tod diya dil mera composed for film Andaz in 1949 and rendered by Lata Mangeshkar. Naushad also utilised Pahadi to create an amazingly profound tune Marna teri gali mein for film Shabab in 1954 sung by Lata
Naushad was very mich fascinated with Bhairavi He tuned his very fine number Jab dil hee toot gaya in raga Bhairavi in a manner that this raga became his signature tune as Naushadian Bhairavi.
The quality of Naushadian Bhairvi is that it is immediately recognizable. It is amply reflected in his beautiful compositions such as Tu Ganga ki mauj mein for film Baiju Bawrarendered by Rafi that became the standard-bearer for flowing rendition based on classical ragas. Another of his hit songs was Toote na dil toote na picturised on Dilip Kumar in Andaz in 1949 and sung by Mukesh,
In Raag Yaman he composed Jaane wale se mulaqat na hone payee sung by Lata and composed for Mehboob Khan’s powerful drama Amar released in 1954 and later in Mughal-e-Azam, the song once again sung by Lata Mangeshkar "Humein kash tum se mohabbat na woti, "
Two immortal songs in Raag Darbari were created "Beech bhanwar mein aan phasaa hai dil ka safeena, Shah-e-Madina, for film Dard in 1947 for Surraya to render it and another by Mohammad Rafi "O dunya ke rakhwale" for 1952 film Baiju Bawra .
Naushad composed two sequentially modulating numbers in rather unconventional raga Jaijaiwanti This song"Hum aaj kahin dil kho bethe poignantly sung by Mukesh for the 1949 film Andaz and the other great song Mohabbat ki rahon mein chalna sambhal ke composed in 1955 for film Uran Khatol a that was playfully performed by Rafi.
One of the exceptionally brilliant compositions of Naushad, Madhuban mein radhika naache re, famous for an excellent Sitar sequence, for film Kohinoor in 1960 was laid out in raga Hameer, which is very rarely used for light music.
These are a few Raag based songs that made Naushad the Classical Genius but in the end, I must mention the song that made Mohammad Rafi a great "Man tarpat hari darshan ko aaj, a complicated semi-classical composition based on raga Malkauns for film Baiju Bawra released in 1952.