Feroze Nizami was born in Lahore in 1916. He belonged to a family well versed in the art of music. Love for music was his passion since his childhood and as he grew, so did his love for music grow. He had learnt art of classical music from Ustad Abdul Waheed Khan, who is a big name in classical singing in the subcontinent. Because of this reason, he can safely be stated to hail from Kirana Gharana of classical music tradition. Feroze Nizami was a graduate of Islamia College, Lahore. He opted to make music as his profession and joined All India Radio and served in Lahore, Delhi and Lukhnow Stations of All India Radio before partition of India. Then he moved to Bombay, the hub of Indian Cinema where he got his first break in Indian movies, in 1943. The movie he composed music for was “Vishwas”. It was released under the banner of Wadia Modi Tone.
Feroze Nizami had enormous amount of range in his compositions, from classical to semi classical, thumris to western music. His orchestrations were rich and unique, often each line of the antara ending with a different instrumental ditty which captivated the mind.
It has been mentioned that Mohamaad Rafi learned classical music under Firoze Nizami in Lahore.
Some of his other hit pre-partition films include Umang, Us Paar, Aankhein, Nek Parveen, etc. up to 1946.
1947 marked the release of Jugnu directed by Shaukat Hussain Rizwi, starring Dilip Kumar and Noor Jehan. It was a runaway hit with the first hit song of Rafi with Madam resonating across the border even as millions migrated amidst untold horrors and loss of lives.
Firoze Nizami migrated to Pakistan soon after partition. His first film Hamari Basti (1949) as a music director flopped in Pakistan. However, 1951 saw Noor Jehan come back after a four years break from silver screen producing and directing her own Punjabi film Chan Way. In this film, Feroze Nizami’s music reached new heights and almost all the songs created waves in subcontinent. The song ‘Chan Deya Toteya’ established Nurjehan’s mastery in rendering sharp alaaps.
After Jugnu and Chann Vey, In 1952, Dopatta was third hat-trick of success by Feroze Nizami and NoorJehan. “Dopatta” was the only Pakistani film to celebrate an outstanding success in the sub-continent.
Firoze Nizami composed for many other films but none of them had the success of his hat-trick films, Jugnu, Chan Way and Dopatta. He bagged a Nigar award in 1959 for Raaz where he had invited Mubarak Begum to sing a song. Zanzeer, Manzil, Mongol were some of his last urdu films. He also gave music for a few Punjabi films, the last one in 1974.
Feroze Nizami was one of the first people who wrote on music in Pakistan. His book ‘Asraar-e-Mausiqui’ is considered as a masterpiece in the field of music. He also published a booklet giving the details of all Thaaths, Raags, their timings, ‘Arohis’ (ascending notes), ‘Amrohis’ (descending notes), ‘Wadi’ (King) note and ‘Samwadi’ (Minister) note of each Raag.
Feroze Nizami passed on November 15, 1975, in Lahore, at the age of 59. His brothers Nazar Muhammad and nephew Mudasar Nazar became international cricketers.
My main song before migration is the uniquely composed sad song from Jugnu where he cleverly incorporated the pesky coughing amidst the sorrow to great effect. I know of no other song where such naturalness has been incorporated in a composition. It is done so cleverly that it does not sound like a recorded song..Listen to the conversation before the song begins..