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Mubarak Begum was born in Churu district of Rajasthan in 1940. She was a Ghazal playback singer in her time.
Her career was started at All India Radio where she used to do light music recitals. After sometime she got a chance to sing for a film ‘Aaiye’. It was her first film offered to her and she sang song such as ‘Mohe Aane Lagi Angrayi, Aja Aja Balam’. Its composer was Shaukat Dehlvi. She also got an opportunity to sing duet with then upcoming singer Lata Mangeshkar.
She struggled for getting complete song for singing in the films because mostly composers were giving her only few lines. Later on in her career, when she got the chance of singing seven songs in Kamaal Amrohi’s film Daayaraa, film didn’t work well and she also couldn’t make big as playback singer in the Hindi film industry
Again she got big opportunity when legendry film maker Bimal Roy gave her chance to sing the song ‘Haal-e-Dil Sunayenge’ for the film ‘Madhumati’. The movie was hit and along with other songs of the film Mubarak Begum’s song was also hit.
Still Mubarak Begum’s career didn’t flourish as it should have been, in the next coming years of her life, she could only give occasional hit songs. She used to sing melodious songs and her voice was soulful but she didn’t get that much success in her life as much she should have been gotten.
Another hit song of Mubarak Begum was ‘Kabhi Tanhaiyon Mein Yun’ for the film Hamaari Yaad Aayegi. It was Kidar Sharma’s film and its composer was Snehal Bhatkar. Mubarak Begum’s this song is still regarded as a classical rendition.
Her voice quality was immensely melodious and it was liked by millions of people. Mubarak Begum had said that her contemporaries in the Hindi film industry had stifled her voice.
Mubarak Begum said to the PTI, "I don't want to name them. Everyone knows them. They snatched away work from me, ensuring that no music director or film-maker ever gave me any."
Mubarak Begum has an ailing daughter and a son and she lives in house of Behrampauda area in western suburb Jogeshwari. Her son is a taxi driver. She added, "It's a struggle to take care of the grocery, phone and electricity bills."
Long time back film industry has forgotten this talented singer. Mubarak Begum has mesmerized an entire generation of music lovers with her soulful songs such as ‘Mujhko apne gale lagaa lo’, ‘O mere Humrahi’ from the movie ‘Humrahi’ and ‘Bemurrawwat bewafa begana dil’ from the film Susheela.
Though she was acknowledged by film fraternity in the 50s and the 60s but still she could not establish herself in the industry as playback singer.
Mubarak Begum said, "Music composers wanted to give me work but these singers, who later became globally famous, ensured I did not get work as it would have meant competition. I had no godfather in the film industry. Mukesh had Raj Kapoor, Mahendra Kapoor had BR Chopra... there was no one for me."
She also expressed her view about her faith in Allah, she said, "I trust that Allah rewards those who do good and punishes those who snatch other people's livelihood. They (her detractors) told the music composers, if you let Mubarak Begum sing, we will not work for you."
Talented singer Mubarak Begum who gave hit songs such as 'Kabhi tanhaiyon mein yun hamari yaad aayegi...' has been forgotten by film industry. Her financial condition is not good. Her daughter is bedridden with advanced stage of Parkinson’s disease.
Mubarak said, “It is a tough task arranging for her medicines or run household expenditure. I have a constant back-ache and waist pain for which I need to take medicines regularly."
When she was child, she used to live in Ahmedabad and Vadodara and once his father who was fruit seller, realized her talent in singing, moved to Mumbai. Mubarak Begum recalled, "My father thought I would get work here. In Mumbai, initially I sang 'ghazals' for the All India Radio and music composers took note. I started getting work."
She also revealed that she got her house with the help of Actor turned politician late Sunil Dutt.
During her days of singing Mubarak Begum was paid Between Rs.150 to 500 per film. she said, "I must have recorded between Rs500 to Rs1,000 songs, including in Hindi, Gujarati and also Rajasthani folk songs."
She added. "There are some ardent fans who keep calling me for some functions. I recently went to Jaipur where everyone recalled my career."
Mubarak Begum also said that she did not like todays’ music of Hindi film industry. She said, “Today, there are no songs... it's all a tamasha (farce)."
She feels that she didn’t get enough chance of being heard by large number of audiences. She said, “I’ve done only 25 per cent of the work I could have. My wings were cut before I even began to fly. And I’ve never been able to understand why – since I was a niche singer, there was no question of treading on anyone else’s toes. But just as I was getting popular, composers stopped calling me for work. Finally, I reached a stage when I had no work at all.”
So far she has sung with almost every composer and singer – she’d had duets with Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Geeta Dutt, Rafi, Mukesh, Talat Mehmood, Manna De. She also sang for a Sindhi film.
Now, Mubarak Begum sings for stage shows – “I have to survive.”
Though she couldn’t make big into the industry but listeners will never forget her because she has given many hit songs to them. Her work has never been recognized and she did not receive any award in her life. She said, sadly, “Forget appreciating talent with an award, we’re not even invited for the functions any more. So completely have we been forgotten.”
Below is the list of her famous songs.