Playback singer Shamshad Begum dies

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Legendary playback singer Shamshad Begum, who dominated the Hindi film industry during the 1940s and 50s, has died at her Mumbai residence at the age of 94. Known for famous hits like ‘Leke Pehla Pehla Pyaar’ (CID), ‘Chod Baabul Ka Ghar’ (Baabul) ‘Kabhi Aar Kabhi Paar’ (Aar Paar) and ‘Teri Mehfil Mein Kismat Azmakar’ (Mughal-E-Azam), Begum was unwell for a while and died on Tuesday evening, according to her family members.

Born on 14 April 1919 in Amritsar, Punjab; Shamshad Begum was one of Bollywood’s early playback singers who touched the hearts of many with her charismatic voice before her contemporary Lata Mangeshkar dominated the industry in the 1950s.

Begum’s funeral has already been held and her daughter Usha Ratna made the following statement to the Indian media regarding her death. “She was not keeping well for past few months and was admitted to the hospital. She passed away last night. The funeral was a solemn affair with a few friends present.” Usha also mentioned that during her mother’s
career, “(she) kept herself away from the glamour of the industry despite being one of the top singers of her era as she did not like limelight.”

Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh paid tribute to Begum in an official statement. He emphasised how she was one of the most popular singers in India for over three decades and will forever be remembered for her enchanting voice. “She was an artist of extraordinary talent and abilities, and the songs she has left behind in her long career, which she started with AIR in 1947, will continue to enthral music lovers,” said Dr Singh.

Begum had only celebrated her 94th birthday on a few weeks ago. She made her debut on Pehawar Radio in 1947 and then went onto become one of India’s top playback singers.

Bollyspice would like to pass on its sincere condolences to Shamshad Begum’s family.

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