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Not to be confused with Shamshad Begum (classical singer) (d. 1998), mother of Naseem Banu, and grandmother of actress Saira Banu.
Born April 14, 1919 (1919-04-14) (age 90)
Amritsar, Punjab, India
Genres Playback singing
Years active 1934–1975
Shamshad Begum (born April 14, 1919) is an Indian singer who was one of the first playback singers in the Hindi film industry.
Begum was born in Amritsar, Punjab. She was a big fan of K.L. Saigal and watched Devdas 14 times. She earned 15 rupees per song and was awarded 5,000 on the completion of the contract on Xenophone, a renowned music recording company.
Sometime back, a controversy erupted in the media, when several publications gave the false news of her death, before it was clarified that the Shamshad Begum who died in 1998 was Saira Banu's (Dilip Kumar's wife) grandmother with the same name. The singer has been living with her daughter Usha Ratra and son-in-law in Mumbai, ever since her husband Ganpat Lal Batto died in 1955.. Recently, she celebrated her 89th birthday at her elder sister's house and now she stays at Hiranandani Gardens, Powai, Mumbai  She was conferred the Padma Bhushan in 2009.
Begum made her debut on radio on Peshawar Radio in Lahore on December 16, 1937, captivating the hearts of her listeners with the enchanting depth of her voice. Shamshad was very much conscious of her not so beautiful face and she never posed for any pictures and not many people saw her pictures anywhere. Until the end of the 1970s, nobody knew her face at all, though everybody could recognise her melodious voice as it was used by the great maestros like Naushad Ali and O. P. Nayyar. Even today, her songs from the 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s are popular and continue to be remixed by music directors.
Begum sang for the All India Radio (AIR) through her musical group 'The Crown Imperial Theatrical Company of Performing Arts', set up in Delhi. The then AIR Lahore helped her entering the world of movies as they frequently broadcast her songs, which induced music directors to use her voice for their films. Shamshad also recorded "naats" and devotional music for a couple of gramophone recording companies.
Her crystal-clear voice caught the attention of sarangi maestro Ustad Hussain Bakshwale Saheb, who took her as his disciple. Lahore-based composer Ghulam Haider used her voice skillfully in some of his earlier films like Khazanchi (1941) and Khandaan (1942). When he moved to Bombay in 1944, Shamshad went with him as a member of his team, leaving behind her family and staying with her Chacha (paternal uncle). She is credited with singing one of the first Westernised songs, Meri jaan...Sunday ke Sunday by C. Ramchandra. O.P. Nayyar describes her voice as that of a "temple bell" for its clarity of tone. Begum became a national rage between the 1940s and the late 1950s, having a voice different from her peers like Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhonsle, Geeta Dutt and Amirbai Karnataki.
* Leke pehla pehla pyar - CID (1956) - music O.P.Nayyar
* Milte hi, aankhen dil hua - Babul - music Naushad
* Kabhi aar kabhi paar zara dere chalo - Aar Paar - music O.P.Nayyar
* Meri neendon mein tum - Naya Andaz - music O.P.Nayyar
* O Gadiwale - Mother India - naushad
* Kahin pe nigahen kahin pe nishana - CID (1956) - music O.P. Nayyar
* Boojh Mera Kya Naam Re - (1956) - music O.P.Nayyar
* Mere piya gaye Rangoon - Patanga - music C.Ramchandra
* Ek Tera Sahara – Shama - music Master Ghulam Haider
* Holi aayee re Kanhaai - Mother India (1957) - Lyrics: Shakeel Badayuni, Music: Naushad
* Naina Bhar aye neer - Humayun - music Master Ghulam Haider
* Chod Babul Ka Ghar - Babul - music Naushad
* Kajra Mohabbatwala Ankhiyon mein Aisa dala (Duet with Asha Bhosle) - Kismat (1968) - Music: O.P. Nayyar
* Meri neendon main tum, meri khwabon mein tum (Duet with Kishore Kumar) - Naya Andaz - Music: O.P.Nayyar
* Teri Mehfil Mein Qismat (Duet with Lata Mangeshkar) - Mughal-E-Azam