Fazal Hussain: For the love of music

By Anis Shakur
Tuesday – October 6, 2020
NEW YORK (United States): Tu na ro meray liye janay tamanna tu na ro, teray aansu deikh kar baytaab hojata hoon mein. ‘Asking verses of a poet is asking a glass of water of a spring,’ is a statement that holds true to the exceptional poetry of the Indo-Pak subcontinent. ‘There are two guarantees of a wise rule of conduct: The thought before action, and self-command afterward,’ saint Ignatius sagely said and it befits the prominent artist of yesteryear, Fazal Husain.

That said, Fazal was born on August 1, 1935, in Lahore to a middle class family.

His father was a tailor by profession and he wanted Fazal to follow in his footsteps. However, Fazal showed a strong desire for singing and music. It seems that Fazal had a rendezvous with music.

Renowned singer-composer, Master Inayat Husain, had seen immense singing talents in Fazal. Hence, Inayat Husain recorded three songs in Fazal’s voice for the film 'Aaghosh' in the year 1953.

Fazal rendered the tragic song below with the instinctive artistry that made him one of the 1950s great performers:

'Duniya ka bharosa kya, sau rung badalti hai, ye saath naheen deiti.' The 1953 film 'Aaghosh.'

That Fazal was also a tall, smart and lovable man only helped his singing career. The tragic number below is a testament to Fazal’s singing abilities:

'Kya khabar thee keh dil toot bhi jaata hai.' Fazal - Kausar Perveen, the film 'Aaghosh.'

The romantic score that follows was recorded in a style synonymous with group cooperation, self-restraint and tightly reined instrumental virtuosity:

'O deikho jee zara mur kay ye dil nazrana hai.' Fazal - Munawwar Sultana, the film 'Aaghosh.'

Inayat Husain's magnificent composition and Fazal’s great singing voice were quite conspicuous in the 1953 film 'Mehbuba.' The film 'Mehbuba' was released before the film 'Aaghosh.' Below is a romantic number from the film 'Mehbuba:'

'Mohabbat muskurai jhoom uthi har shay jawani mein, kisi ka naam shamil ho gaya meri kahani mein.'

Anything was a treat in those happy times when poetry and music were at their zenith. An invitation to see Fazal was a double treat.

Excellence of Fazal’s singing voice attracted more composers towards him. Most notably Master Ghulam Haider. Incidentally, the 1953 film 'Gulnar' proved to be the last film of Ghulam Haider as a composer. Amazingly enough, the film 'Gulnar' was also released before the film 'Aaghosh.'

The magnificence of Fazal’s voice is evident in the highly tragic song from the film 'Gulnar' below:

'Gila hai Aasmaan walay hamein teri khudai say, raha hay baikhabar tu bhi hamari bainawai say.'

During his fifteen-year affiliation with the music industry, 1953- 1968, Fazal recorded approximately fifty songs for nearly thirty-eight movies. The love and admiration that fans lavished on him is astounding. His song in the 1954 film 'Gumnaan' is remarkable enough:

'Bhaag yahan say bhag o sathi, dagar dagar is nagri mein Aag lagi hai Aag.' Music composer, Inayat Husain.

With songs like the one below Fazal became a famous vocalist and a 1950s Radio favorite:

'Udas raatoan mein teri yadein sitara bun kar tutti hain.' The 1954 film 'Mujrim,' Music composer, Hasan Lateef Malik.

In 1954, Fazal also sang for the film 'Deewar.'

The famous music composer. Baba G.A. Chishti, was emboldened to play the challenging tragic score with an arresting blend of accuracy and spontaneity:

'Aaj ye kis ko nazar kay saamnay pata hoon mein, pyar ki bhuli hui yadoan say takrata hoon mein.' The film 'Tufaan,' theatrical release was on July 31, 1955.

In reality, those were the days of simplicity and very limited resources, but the fact remains that those exuberant early compositions are idyllic in a way that seems poignant in light of today's music. One example below:

'Kisi say na kahay ga,' the film 'Patay Khan,' theatrical release on November 18, 1955, music composer, Akhtar Husain.

Most importantly, Fazal was a believer in the simple pleasures like this song, ' Tainu saun meri.' Fazal - Mala, the 1955 Punjabi film 'Lae lug.'

Fazal, along with his music composers, might never have confronted a song they could not infuse with swinging optimism. Below is a song from the 1955 film 'Jheel kinaray:'

Teri tasweer ye keh rahi hai, kis liye tu ye dukh seh rahi hai.'

The song below proves that Fazal had a natural instinct for music. That makes the tone of his voice all the more noticeable. One example below:

'Chanda say pooch lay sitaroan say pooch lay.' Fazal - Kausar Perveen, the 1955 film 'Jheel kinaray.'

Below are the heart-broken lyrics from the 1956 film 'Qismat:'

'Pyar bhara dil toarnay walay pyar ka ye dastoor naheen.'

These are among the happiest effusions of music: 'Dil hamara zulf ki zanjeer kay qabil na tha.' The 1956 film 'Haqeeqat.'

Fazal recorded songs for the films 'Jeru,' 'Paigham,' and 'Nigar,' in 1957.

In 1958, Fazal sang for director Anwar Kamal Pasha's film 'Sheikh chilli.' Essentially, he expressed the same deep feelings of peace and joy:

'Tu meri mein tera, mein teri tu mera.' Fazal - Zubeida Khanum.

Fazal continues to exert a peculiar fascination through his songs like this one, 'Gori o gaon ki chhori.' The 1958 film 'Naya Daur.'

Fazal sang for only one movie, 'Lakan matti,' in 1959. In 1960, Fazal recorded songs for these four movies, 'Clerk,' 'Street 77,' 'Saheli.' And 'Mitti dian murtan.'

Fazal's songs were not just a contribution to movies. They were a commitment to quality music. Here is one example, 'Koi kisi ko jalata hai koi jalta hai, sub chalta hai.' The 1960 film 'Clerk.'

Additionally, Fazal had a knack for making music come alive, like he did in 'Maula jab bhi deita hai chappar phaar kay deita hai.' The 1960 film 'Street 77.'

Fazal was fired with ambition, determination and yearning for music. That he succeeded in making the most of every opportunity is undisputed. One example below:

'Ye duniya goal hai, is ka bheid kisi nay na paya.' The 1960 film 'Saheli.'

Fazal's very presence charmed and soothed people, and good, innocent fun is what those early singers provided in abundance. One example below:

'Dillan dian mailian ne chann jeyan surtan.' The Punjabi film 'Mitti dian murtan.' Theatrical release was on October 21, 1960.

Music kept its grip on Fazal's imagination, and he worked relentlessly to pursue realistic goals. One example is a song from the 1962 movie 'Daal mein kala:' 'Lab pay naghma dil mein dharkan tum hamaray saamnay.' Fazal - Irene Perveen.

Most definitely, Fazal found a perfect unanimity of tone with the composers and lyricist of the time. One example below:

'Har nazar say ik naya sawal ho gaya, Aap muskura diye kamal ho gaya.' The 1962 film 'Dosheeza.' Fazal - Naheed Niazi.

Fazal captivated the hearts and minds of his adorers with dignity, love and sincerity. Best of all, the music simply made people jolly, like the song below:

'O babu mein laya chana joar garam masalay daar.' The 1963 film 'Saazish.'

Fazal frequently performed for Pakistani Radio. Not only that, with the inauguration of Lahore television station on Thursday, November 27, 1964, Fazal, Saleem Raza, Baatish and Rangeela lent their voices to television's test transmissions.

In 1965, Fazal sang for the films 'Bharjai,' and 'Doli,' and in 1966 he recorded songs for the films 'Had haram' and 'Saukan.'

In reality, Fazal's version delineated the tragic story in the 1967 film 'Ailaan:' 'Ajab garbar ghutala hai, hamein to zindigi day kar khuda nay maar dala hai.'

In the year 1967, Fazal sang for the film 'Lut da maal,' as well.

Fazal recorded his last song for the film 'Sadai Kashmir' which was later released as 'Do bhai' in 1968. Fans revel in delight as they listen to 'Hum hain sipahee bhataktay rahi, sambhal kay chalo ye hain pyar ki rahain.' Fazal - Masood Rana, the film 'Do bhai.'

Fazal stopped singing for Pakistani Radio and television in 1974. Basically, Fazal was a very handsome, polite, sensitive and quiet person. He always greeted people with a smile.

Readers may be interested to know that a person of Fazal's stature should have continued to generate song after song. Then why did he call it quits? It would take a book to answer the question 'why?'

Well, Fazal was not used to requesting for work. Ego and high self-esteem prevented him from pursuing filmmakers. Further, Fazal did not frequent film studios. Hence, the music composers ignored him most of the time.

Lamentably, Fazal spent his last days without a job. Unfortunately, people like Fazal come and go quickly. That said, Fazal passed on September 26, 1992, in Lahore, at fifty-seven years of age.

His admirers sat down the other day and they laughed and sang just the way Fazal would have wanted them to.

Next in TDR’s Classics, “Zeba sahiba”

Info: Eminent storyteller, Anis Shakur, is a Pakistani born United States (US) citizen. He works for the US federal and State government. He resides at a stone-throw distance from the darting shores of the Atlantic ocean in New York, for the past three decades.