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Master Ghulam Haider


For the 37th episode of Guzra Hua Zamana on January 10-11, we have selected Ghulam Haider, a name that evokes a whole lot of respect and gratitude in other legends of HFM. Despite a short career, he has left an indelible mark in the film music scene of the sub-continent. Let’s enjoy and relish his creations on these two days.

On behalf of the SKS family, I would like to express our sincere thanks to Khantha Mahadevan for putting together this fantastic write-up that is not only written so lucidly, but is also one of the most comprehensive account of the maestro’s life and work one would come across anywhere.


Master Ghulam Haider



The legacy of a composer is determined primarily by the quality of his compositions. The creative beauty and styles used to juxtapose melody, harmony, rhythms into preludes, interludes, vocal, choral and orchestral sections reveal the mastery of a composer. Additionally, a composer can leave behind a rich legacy by introducing new talent, by being an effective teacher, by nurturing fellow musicians, by being a responsible member of the fraternity and by being a role model for younger generation of composers. Most of the best music composers revered by the masses and connoisseurs have left an indelible imprint on utmost a few of the above criteria. Some have reigned supreme for a few decades and have left an immense treasure trove of songs, that, one does not even pause to measure their legacy using any other criteria outlined above. Some have had a short career but each of their musical compositions is so unique that those become their defining legacy. Some composers have won laurels only after their death when the beauty of their compositions has been absorbed.

Amidst the tortuous and fleeting pathways of stardom in the galaxy of Indian film music, there is only one music composer whose name evokes unbridled love, respect, admiration and gratitude. To date, he is regarded as the ultimate mentor, a supreme composer, a trailblazer, an excellent teacher, a superb voice trainer, adviser, a mega talent hunter, and above all, a most beloved human being who cared deeply for the welfare of his singers, musicians and colleagues. This Polaris of film world is none other than Master Ghulam Haider. His career in films spanned a mere eighteen years from 1935 until 1953. He gave music to approximately thirty six films but his legacy is far-reaching that he shall always remain the North Star of film music.

No matter which yardstick is used, Master Ghulam Haider’s legacy is everlasting. Simply put, his knowledge of music was extensive, his ability to recognize vocal talent was extraordinary, his potential to mentor, nurture and groom the juvenile talents he discovered remains unsurpassed, his prophetic statements have come true even beyond his wildest imaginations, his service to fellow composers and the industry remains unforgettable, his treasury of non-film songs is as exquisite as his compendium of film songs, the reverence he commanded from his singers and musicians is unmatched, his revolutionary style of music opened a cosmos of melody, rhythm and fusion that rules the film music world even today. Master Ghulam Haider (MGH) remains the Master of masters of film music.

MGH was a pioneer who was recognized and revered during his brief career and his persona continues to draw glowing tributes even in this seventh decade after his death. A beautifully crafted four-part video tribute, put together by Inaam Nadeem running to a total of 45 minutes ( ) is a recommended must watch to appreciate the enormous influence of MGH. Before elaborating on his short life of 44 years, it is appropriate to quote what famous people have said about their Master. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on January 10, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Ghulam haidar and Umrao Zia Begum (umaraziya begum)

on 9th nov (death anniversary of  music directer master ghulam haidar) .
Here is an extremely rare and lovely duet by the talented husband and 
wife team of Umraziya Begum and Ghulam Haider.

Ghulam haider

A singing- star by the name of Umrao Zia Begum was the talk of the town in those exciting times. In fact, she was renowned for her melodious voice than as a film actress. Further, she earned the title of ‘Bulbul Hazaar Dastaan’ from the music buffs.Ghulam Haider composed music for Umrao Zia Begum and recorded songs and ghazals in her voice. 
Her name appeared on the gramophone records as well. Perhaps, Umrao Zia Begum’s greatest achievement was the recitation of one of the most popular Naat ” Mera Salam Leja Woh Jan Lenge Sab Kuch “, composed by Ghulam Haider.

Ghulam Haider debuted as a music composer in a 1935 movie, ‘Swarg ki seerhi’, in which Umrao Zia Begum was also cast in a major role. ‘Swarg ki seerhi’ was released under the banner of National Modi Tone, Lahore and directed by AR Kardar. With the passage of time, Ghulam Haider and Umrao Zia Begum developed immense love and
understanding for each other, which reached its peak during the movie shoot of ‘Swarg ki seerhi’. Ghulam Haider, who worked for Pancholi Art pictures at that time, soon married Umrao Zia Begum.After marrying Ghulam Haider, Umrao Zia Begum said farewell to the show business. She was never seen again even in a public gathering.

She was not only a great human but an affectionate mother who possessed enormous foresightedness as well. Nothing happens to anybody, which he is not fitted by nature to bear.Ghulam Haider’s demise happened to be a tremendous setback for his beloved wife, Umrao Zia Begum, who was much younger to her husband. However, she did not lose heart. Instead, she devoted herself wholeheartedly to the upbringing of her children.

She left no stone unturned to provide her children the best possible education available at the time. Consequently, all her children grew up and achieved name and fame in their respective fields.

Most importantly, Umrao Zia Begum thanked God to see her relentless efforts come to fruition. Years later, Umrao Zia Begum breathed her last in the ‘Stork House,’ Bahawalpur, which was the official residence of her younger son, who was the General Officer Commanding in Bahawalpur in those days. She was laid to rest in the Military Graveyard, Cavalry Ground, Lahore. Ghulam Haider will stand as a musical icon as far as the eye can see.

Ghulam Haider and Umrazia Begum had two duets in punjabi movie Sehti Murad in 1941 also.The lyrics of their duets are Gallan kar kar hassde ne and Menu akhiyan di de gayo saai.

1941_Himmat__Main hun rani ek sunhari_.Ghulam haidar and umaraziya begum

Lyricist Is Aziz Kashmiri

mera salaam le ja..Darbaar nain chaka hai- Umaraz. # naat

the “Master” composer who:
– Gave the big break to Noorjehan and mentored her
– Gave the big break to Shamshad Begum and mentored her
– Was one of the early mentors of Lata and gave her some of earliest hits in HFM (Majboor, Padmini)
– Was one of the pioneers in HFM and PFM and mentored a generation of composers including Shyam Sunder
– Composed for probably the most path-breaking Hindi film soundtrack (Khazanchi) – one of the first popular soundtracks to introduce Punjabi rhythm/percussion and deviate from the classical style.

how shamshad Begum Sahiba recalled Master ji: 

“Uncle took me to the audition which was taken by the company’s composer Master Ghulam Haider. During the audition, I sang a Bahadur Shah Zafar ghazal, Mera Yaar Gar Mile Mujhe Jaan Dil Fida Karoon and some marsiya. Master sahab was impressed by my voice and told me to sign the contract the same day. I was offered a contract to sing twelve songs at a rate of Rs 12.50 each which was a big amount in those times. I asked him, taaleem? (training). He said that I didn’t need formal training and just following his instructions would be enough. I was around 12-13 years old at that time. Master sahab was a great man. He took personal interest in ensuring that we were able to absorb the nuances of singing and music. He himself was very knowledgeable in the use of instruments and his musicians looked up to him. He had his own unique style of training where, while making us sing various kind of songs, he was able to chisel our voices to be able to sing any kind of song. His method of training was hundred times more effective than formal method of training and was akin to polishing of a diamond. I can never forget all that he has done. Mera ustaad jannat mein jhoole (I pray that he enjoy all benefits in heaven). He used to call me his Chaumukhiya (versatile) artist who could do justice to any song. He taught me two very important things. First, Be a good person and second, just like water takes shape of the utensil, you should also mould yourself according to the situation.”
(as told to Gajendra Khanna)

pic courtesy : Rehan Mohd

pic courtesy : Rehan Mohd

Ghulam haider and lata  (Double click on picture) 

info# source :Arun kumar deshmukh and Gajendra khanna on sks
audio courtesy : Giridhari lal ji.
pic: inaam nadeem ji


Posted by on November 10, 2012 in Articles, info and facts


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