Monday, March 23, 2009

Finding Begum: A work of great Karmic proportions

If any one remembers the song 'Kabhi Tanhaiyon mein bhi Hamari Yaad Aayegi' from the 50s black and white film ‘Hamari Yaad Aayegi’, then you must read this blog post further. ‘Mubarak Begum’, the singer who sang this really beautiful song was tracked down recently by fans. This mesmerizing singer, like a lot of artistes from her years has fallen on hard days, and living a life of penury. I first read about her on a Orkut community of Rafi fans, where there was a drive to collect money for her. I was quite intrigued, as I have always remembered this song in really pensive moments in life. Somehow, it automatically comes from deep within the recesses of the your memory, where it holds a special place.

Mubarak Begum

Listen to the song here:

Infact the music of the song itself begins in such a way that it seems to come from deep within you, or deep within the sky as it does in the movie. I very faintly remember the movie for the first movie role played by Tanuja, a simple girl who falls in love with a man who comes to her village from the city. Infact I was actually trying to get hold of the other song of the movie ‘Farishton ki nagri main mein’ a gem of a song from Mukesh, which is very rare now, when I came across ‘kabhi Tanhaiyon mein…”

The story of Mubarak Begum, then unfolded before me.. and I was soon lost in another world invoked by this voice and song. I heard this song over and over again and couldn’t believe, what was written about someone who had sung a song so beautifully that it remains in memory of a nation forever. A singer, musician or a songwriter’s work is also art…not very different from that of a painter or a sculptor. Visual art also brings out as many emotions as do songs and even a movie. So, its not fair that one type of art and the artiste are not given their due.

Our story today is as much about Mubarak Begum as it is about Samarjit Acharjee, a software engineer with a heart of ‘Gold’. He is admittedly the biggest fan of Mohammad Rafi and even runs a ‘Rafi Foundation’ in Hyderabad. Samarjit, who moderates the Rafi fan club on Orkut. where I first read about Mubarak Begum, had also come across an interview with her about her present life, on rediff. Infact he was so affected that he could not hold himself back from doing something about it. And the ‘softie’ that he is, he immediately began a drive to collect some money for her from other Orkutians because as he put it "Rafiji would have done the same, and he would be proud of us."

Samar’s simple explanation in doing this great deed is of great Karmic proportions. He won a lot of people to his cause. His efforts culminated in inviting Mubarak Begum to Hyderabad for a conert in July 2008, where she sang at least five songs from her old movies, including ‘Hamko apne gale lagalo’ from the film Hamrahi. The most touching part of this evening was her meeting with Jamuna, the star of yesteryears who was the heroine in Hamrahi and had lip-synched the above song….all arranged by Samarjit!
Read his article on the evening when Mubarak Begum sang again for her fans after years, at his Blog…

Earlier, when he had told me that he was planning this function he was still unsure if it would ever happen. Later, when I asked him what motivated him to come out and support someone, who has been forgotten by the public for years, his simple answer was “Its just that sometimes I get involved in something and want to do my best."

Recently I talked about Mubarak Begum with a friend who hosts classical and ghazal evenings at his house in South Delhi, and now he is so excited that he is planning to invite Mubarak Begum to Delhi for a concert. I hope Samar will be there to see this..what he gave his best to, moving forward the want he would have wanted best!

Pictures of Mubarak Begum's visit to Hyderabad. Pics courtesy Samar:


spilledbytes said...

Thanks for your kind words Ranjit Ji. I read through your blog and I really like the way you write.

I spoke to Begum Sahiba today and she was happy to know about the possibility of her Delhi visit. Let's hope for the best.


Ranjit Monga said...

Hey Samar, Thanks for appreciating. Im happy that you like the article.

My friends who are arranging the Delhi concert have made some plans...will be meeting them in a day or two and will let u know about it! It would be a great help if u coordinate with her as of now, as you have a good equation with her.

Anil said...

i must have listenend to 'kabhi tanhaiyon mein' several times on the radio during my childhood but could never find who the singer was, until today. i was listening to this song and had this desperate urge to find out the singer who has rendered this so beautifully. i googled the song and i'm so delighted to learn about mubarak begum and what samarjit has done for her. keep it up guys. being an ardent fan like you, i'd love to do my bit too, when i'm back in hyderabad, my city. cheers.

Priyanka said...

Very nice article, Ranjit. Thanks for not letting her fade into oblivion.

Ranjit Monga said...

Thanks Anil and Priyanka for your comments!
Like here there are many artistes who fall on to bad days, after they are no longer popular in cinema, So many stars of yesteryears are in bad shape because of that. I feel bad for them.