Naushad: Composer of the century
Raju Bharatan, doyen of India's movie journalists, salutes a legend.
He was a colossus. That part is undeniable.
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For so long was he a living legend, that Naushad Ali was the only composer (in Hindustani cinema) for whom both K L Saigal and Noorjehan sang. And sang with distinction, one in Kardar's Shahjehan, the other in Mehboob's Anmol Ghadi (both 1946).
"When Lata Mangeshkar first came to me," the composer observed, while showcasing Uthaye jaa unke sitam from Mehboob Khan's Andaz (left), "I never asked that will-o'-the-wisp to sing. I merely asked Lata, first, to recite the Majrooh (Sultanpuri) song-lyric 25, 30 times. Only after she had absorbed the essence of Urdu poetry in Uthaye jaa unke sitam did I cast it in the Kedara mantle for her to immortalise on Nargis."