Remembering Talat Mahmood

Talat Mahmood

It was on this day (May 9) fourteen years ago that legendary singer Talat Mahmood died in Mumbai. People, who were close to Talat, describe his nature as a quiet one. He is often remarked as a decent man, and his velvety and silky voice also reflected that decency and sense of calmness.

Music directors, who worked with him, claimed that while listening to him, one would develop the feeling that Talat was a soft-hearted man. Dilip Kumar termed Talat as "a perfect gentleman".

'King of Ghazals' Talat Mahmood was born in a highly cultured but conservative family in Lucknow on Feb. 24, 1924. He was one among six children. Talat showed his musical leanings from a very young age and would enjoy sitting through all-night music soiree's listening patiently to some of the biggest names in Indian classical music. Later, for a very short period of time Talat studied music at Marris Music College, before people began noticing his natural singing talent and offers to sing began to pour in.

Talat Mahmood began his music career at the young age of 16 when he began singing the ghazals of Ghalib, Dagh, Mir and Jigar on All India Radio, Lucknow. His voice had a quality distinct from all other singers. HMV was quick to notice this and offered Talat his first disc in 1941, "Sab din ek samaan nahin tha, ban jaoonga kya se kya main, iska to kuch dhyan nahin tha". Indeed how prophetic were these words. Little did Talat know that he was soon to rise to become the greatest name in ghazals on the Indian sub-continent !

In 1944 came the smash hit "Tasveer teri dil mera behela na sakegi". It took the country by storm. It's popularity was so phenomenal and unrivalled that even today it remains one of the biggest non-film hits! This disc brought Talat fame throughout India and soon he was beckoned by the Calcutta Film Industry, which was then the premiere hub of film production in the 40's. Apart from singing many hits, Talat also acted in the first 3 of his 13 films there - "Rajlaxmi", "Tum aur main" and "Samapti".

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