Born On: February 24, 1924
Born In: Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh
Died On: May 9, 1998
Career: Singer, Actor
Best remembered as "The King of Ghazals", Talat Mahmood was one of India's foremost singing stars that gave India a perfect golden voice. A popular Bollywood playback singer, and a little lesser known actor, Talat Mahmood ruled the Indian music industry for nearly four decades through his soft and mellow voice. With a stunning and acclaimed career to his credit, this celebrated legend was honored with several nicknames, such as 'Velvet Voice of India', 'Man with the Golden Voice', and a 'Perfect Gentleman'. Apart from being a highly-artistic singer, Talat was quintessentially romantic that revealed through his gentle looks, chivalrous manners, and quiet reclusivity. With over 800 songs to his credit, his fans love to listen to his songs till date with the same amount of interest and passion as they were when the songs released on the first day.
Talat Mahmood was born in an exceptionally highly cultured and conservative family in Lucknow. He was one amongst the six children born to father Manzoor Mahmood. Music struck him from the time when he was a child, since his father and sisters were talented singers. With this, Mahmood had just two options: either he should maintain a low profile and remain in the background, or embark a movie career. But he chose to become a singer. He began learning music from a very young age and spent nights listening to the renowned celebrities in classical Indian music of those days. Due to his conservative family background, he did not receive much appreciation and support. However, after a decade, post his much-acclaimed success in the music and acting industry, his family accepted him.
Mahmood's music training began at Morris Music College, under the guidance of Pandit S.C.R. Bhat in the 1930s. At a young age of 16 in 1939, he delivered ghazals on All India Radio in Lucknow. The famous amongst them included Daag, Mir, and Jigar that caught the attention of thousands of listeners due to his distinct quality of voice from other similar singers. His talent was first noticed by HMV that offered him a contract for his first disc "Sab Din Ek Samaan Nahin Tha" in 1941. His 1944 hit "Tasveer Teri Dil Mera Behela Na Sakegi" sold over 10,000 copies and Talat Mahmood became a national star. This was just the first step towards name and fame. Soon, Mahmood received an offer in acting from the Calcutta film industry, the premier hub of film production in the 1940s. He acted in three movies, namely, "Rajlaxmi", "Tum Aur Main", and "Samapti", which were regional hits. He even recorded several Bangla songs under the name "Tapankumar", most of which were super hits and are still aired on All India Radio as old song reminisces.
And if you thought this was enough, fate had more success in store for Talat Mahmood when he went to the Hollywood of India, Mumbai in 1949. It was his talented singing that made people readily accept him in Mumbai film industry. Soon, he got an offer to sing a song in the film "Arzoo" filmed on the legendary actor Dilip Kumar titled "Ae dil mujhe aisi jagha le chal jahan koi na ho". The song was composed by renowned music director Anil Biswas. The recording turned out to be an overnight success and with this, began the ghazal trend in Bollywood. However, apart from being a good singer, his acting talents too did not go unnoticed. This was evident from Talat Mahmood's first Bollywood flick "Araam" wherein he was cast along with Madhubala and Dev Anand. In years to come, Mahmood acted in 13 such movies with the top-notch heroines, including Nutan, Mala Sinha, Suraiya, Shyama, Nadira, and others. Some of his noteworthy films were "Dil-e-Nadaan", "Daak Babu", "Waris", "Raftaar", "Ek Gaon Ki Kahani", "Maalik", and "Sone Ki Chidiya". However, acting did not prove to be his cup of tea and he soon bid adieu to movies to concentrate on his singing career. However, not all went good for his singing career too as with the beginning of electronic rhythms of disco generation in the 1960s, ghazals took a back seat. As such, his singing talents served as a challenge for most music directors who were keener on recording with Mohammad Rafi and Mukesh. Thus, Mahmood decided to reduce the number of film assignments, though he continued to record for non-filmy ghazal albums. The "Mere shareek-e-safar" for the movie "Wali-e-Azam", along with Miss Hemlata was his last soundtrack. The song was written by Ahmed Wasi and composed by Chirtagupt. He was honored with Padma Bhushan Award in 1992.
Talat Mahmood was the first Indian singer to perform on a foreign land. His first trip was to East Africa in 1956 where he was welcomed with house-packed audience. He, further, toured to United States, United Kingdom, West Indies, and various other countries, delivering his performances at Royal Albert Hall in London, Madison Square Garden in USA, and Jean Pierre Complex in West Indies. His last tour was in the fully packed auditorium in Holland in 1991.
Talat Mahmood had been battling with Parkinson's diseases for quite some time, which stopped him from singing further. As a result, his health started deteriorating from bad to worse. Hence, he landed up in profound depression and became bed-ridden. He suffered a heart attack and breathed his last on May 9, 1998 in his Bandra house "Sunbeam" in Northwest Mumbai. He was 74 years.
Humse aaya na gaya - Dekh Kabira Roya (1957)
Jayen to jayen kahan - Taxi Driver (1954)
Tasveer banata hoon - Baradari (1955)
Dil-E-Nadaan tujhe hua kya hai - Mirza Ghalib (1954)
Itna na mujhse tu pyar badha - Chhaya (1961)
Aansoo samajh ke kyon mujhe - Chhaya (1961)
Sham-E-Gham ki qassam - Foothpath (1953)
Jalte hain jiske liye - Sujata (1959)
Meri yaad me tum na - Madhosh (1951)
Phir wohi sham wohi gam - Jahan Aara (1964)
Aye mere dil kahin aur chal - Daag (1952)
Zindagi dene wale sun - Dil-e-Nadaan (1953)
Main dil hoon ek armaan bhara - Anhonee (1952)
Kadale Neela Kadale- Malayalam Movie "Dweep" (Music by M.S. Baburaj)
1924: Born on 24th February in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh
1930s: Started training under Pandit S.C.R. Bhat
1939: Started singing ghazals on All India Radio
1941: First disc "Sab Din Ek Samaan Nahin Tha" was recorded
1944: Over 10,000 copies of "Tasveer Teri Dil Mera Behela Na Sakegi" were sold
1949: Went to Mumbai
1949: Offered "Ae dil mujhe aisi jagha le chal jahan koi na ho" in "Arzoo" film
1956: First Indian singer to perform on a foreign land
1991: Performed on his last tour to Holland
1992: Conferred upon with Padma Bhushan Award
1998: Died on May 9th, aged 74