Shamshad Begum, the legendary Bollywood playback singer endowed with a dulcet voice, passed away here aged 94.
Begum’s end came at her Powai residence on Tuesday in the presence of her daughter Usha and son-in-law Yog Ratra.
Born in Amritsar, Begum made her debut as a playback singer in Hindi films in the 1930s after being introduced by Lahore-based composer Ustad Ghulam Haider and she touched the pinnacle of her career in 1945-55.
And she was Bollywood’s playback queen until the advent of Lata Mangeshkar.In a nearly 40 year-long singing career, she belted out several popular numbers including ‘Mere Piya Gaye Rangoon’ in the 1949 film ‘Patanga’, ‘Leke Pehla Pehla Pyar’ from the 1956 film ‘CID’ and ‘Kajra Mohabbat Wala’ from Kismat (1968). Begum was honoured with the Padma Bhushan in 2009.
“She had no regrets. She lived her life like a tigress. I am proud to be her daughter,” Usha said.
The funeral ceremonies were held on Tuesday night in Andheri east, at a small, private affair with a few friends and admirers attending. “She was not keeping well for a while now. She was in ICU six months back. The last rituals were done on Tuesday evening,” said Usha, 74, who is married to armymen Yograj Ratra.
Meanwhile, tributes have poured in for the late singer with her one-time rival Lata tweeting, “I felt very sad after I came to know about the demise of Begumji. I sang with her in many films. She had a simple and jovial personality. I offer my condolences.”
Amitabh Bachchan said in his tweet, “the golden voice of Begum, playback singer of great eminence in some of the most historic film songs... now silent...RIP.
Bappi Lahiri recalled that Begum had a unique style of singing. “Her ‘Kajra Mohabbat Wala’ was a super-duper hit and we still listen to it. I’m a big fan of her and wanted her to sing for ‘Paanch Qaidi’ but it didn’t happen somehow because she was in Delhi then. I deeply regret her death,” he said. Madhur Bhandarkar tweeted, “Begum can truly be called the Indian nightingale. he’ll be immortal because of her songs. RIP.