Renowned playback singer Mubarak Begum was introduced to the music industry by music composer Nashad in 1949. Begum was a mere 13-year-old girl when she sang ‘Mohe Aane Lagi Andaai’ for the film Aiye. She also sang a duet “Aaiye Aao Chalen Chalen Wahan” with another fledgling talent, Lata Mangeshkar. That year however Mangeshkar got her first hit song “Aayega Aanewala” from Mahal, while Mubarak Begum’s career never quite hit the same high notes.
On July 19, Begum died in the wake of a prolonged illness. The 80-year-old had been living in the northern Mumbai suburb Jogeshwari for the past several years with her son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter. It was said that the singer’s health started deteriorating after her daughter’s death in Septeber 2015. Also, there were reports that she was struggling to take care of her medical expenses.
Mubarak Begum was born in 1936 in Sujangarh in Rajasthan and raised in Ahmedabad in Gujarat before moving to Mumbai. Once in a TV interview in 2012 she said she decided to become a singer – after watching a movie featuring the voices of Noor Jehan and Suraiya.
Her father put her in the Kirana gharana of classical music, where she trained with Ustad Riazuddin Khan and Ustad Samad Khan Sahab. Begum also began performing for All India Radio, which led to her first break with Nashad.
Subsequently, Mubarak Begum sang for Kamal Amrohi’s Daera (1953). Her voice emerged in the bhajan “Devta Tum Ho Mera Sahara”, composed by Jamal Sen and featuring Meena Kumari. The film flopped, but the song boosted Mubarak Begum’s popularity. She got a solo number “Woh Na Aayenge Palat Kar” in Bimal Roy's Devdas (1955) with music by S D Burman. Roy used her voice once again in Madhumati (1958), in which she sang “Hum Haal E Dil Sunaenge” for music composer Salil Choudhury.
The legendary singer’s last rites will take place today.