Ahmed Rushdi: Rushdi’s revival

By Anis Shakur
Monday – April 27, 2020
NEW YORK (United States): Ahmed Rushdi was born to a religious, conservative family on April 24, 1934, in Galauti, located in district Buland in state Uttar Pardesh, India. His father, Syed Manzoor Ahmed, taught Arabic and Persian at Aurangabad College, Hyderabad, Deccan, at the time of Ahmed Rushdi's birth.

Tragically, Ahmed Rushdi's father died when Ahmed Rushdi was only 6 years old. Ahmed Rushdi neither inherited music from any one, nor anybody in his family was ever affiliated to music.

During those days, radio was a rare commodity. However, a radio set made its way to his house. From a tender age, Rushdi was fond of listening to the musical programs, including songs, which were broadcast from the radio.

Additionally, God Almighty had endowed him with a good singing voice. Ahmed Rushdi's singing talents impressed a very close friend of Ahmed Rushdi's father, whom Ahmed Rushdi called uncle and who loved him dearly.

One of those days, Ahmed Rushdi's uncle introduced him to his friend, who taught music at a local music academy and enrolled Ahmed Rushdi in that school.

Moreover, two popular composers of the time, M.A. Rauf and Iqbal Qureshi, also taught music in the same school. Thus, Ahmed Rushdi learned the basics of music from the afore-mentioned teachers. Soon, Ahmed Rushdi migrated to Pakistan along with his family and settled in Karachi in 1954.

His friends insisted and convinced him to participate in variety shows. Ahmed Rushdi made his presence felt in music programs, which also took him to radio Pakistan, Karachi.

Ahmed Rushdi started participating in children's programs on radio. The most popular radio program was 'Alif say Aban'. In 1954, he also recorded his first non-film song, 'Bunder road say keamari', which was written by Mehdi Zaheer. That song proved to be a steppingstone for his future aspirations.

Ahmed Rushdi made his professional singing debut in 1956, in the film 'Karnama', composer, Nathu Khan, widely known as N. K.Nasir, director, Iqbal Husain.

Then he recorded the song, 'Mari laila nay aisi kataar', film 'Anokhi', 1956, directed by Shahnawaz K. Datta. In 1957, he sang for the film 'Maska palish', directed by Fida Yazdani.

In 1957, Ahmed Rushdi also lent his voice for the film 'Bara Aadmi', 'Kahay jalana dil ko choro gham', director, Humayun Mirza. In 1958, he sang for the films 'Sitaroan ki duniya' and 'Wah ray zamanay'.

In 1959, Ahmed Rushdi sang 'Chalak rahi hain mastiyaan', Ahmed Rushdi- Zubeida Khanum, film, 'Raaz'.

Overwhelmed by Ahmed Rushdi's determination, the composers offered him more songs, and Ahmed Rushdi made the most of those opportunities. Below is an example:

'Kisi ki nazar takra gaye', film, 'Raat kay rahi', 1960. Ahmed Rushdi went to Lahore in 1961 and recorded the song 'Chand sa mukhra gora badan', for the film 'Saperan', 1961, music, Manzoor Ashraf, producer, Shabab Kiranvi, director, Daud Chand.

His voice and his sweet-and-sour depiction of low- income class life are a never miss in the 1962 film 'Mehtaab': 'Goal gappay wala Aaya goal guppay laya', music, Manzoor Ashraf- Nazir Ali.

'Naheen khabar kab mili nazar', Ahmed Rushdi- Nazeer Begum, 'Mehtaab'.

Ahmed Rushdi's lovely tragic score did the magic in composer Khalil Ahmed's music, 'Kisi chaman mein raho tum', film, 'Aanchal', 1962.

The innocence of those earlier songs like the one below influenced myriads of cine-goers:

'Sama jab pyara pyara ho, pyar ka dil ko sahara ho', Ahmed Rushdi- Nazeer Begum, film, 'Maan kay Aansu', 1963.

Remarkable singers like Ahmed Rushdi inspired some of our favorite romantic songs like 'Wallah sar say paoon talak mauj-e-noor ho', film, 'Daman', 1963, and 'Meray mehboob tera saath hai, tanhai hai', Ahmed Rushdi-Mala, film, 'Daman'.

Reverting to his private life, Rushdi married Humaira on November 23, 1963, and had three daughters, Farah, Saba and Rana.

Regarding his songs, truth shines through every frame, thanks to Ahmed Rushdi's enormous singing skills: 'Hum ajnabi musafir tum ajnabi haseena', film 'Tauba', 1964, music, A. Hameed.

Ahmed Rushdi's sentiments was echoed in the song below by all the admirers whom I have met so far: 'Haal-e-dil hum nay sunaya to bura maano gey', film, 'Aurat ka pyar', 1964, music, Manzoor Ashraf.

Below is one of the most consistently popular song of Ahmed Rushdi: 'Mujhay tum say mohabbat hai, ik baar zara dheeray say tumhain meri qasam kehdo', film, 'Heera aur pathar', 1964.

The tragic duet below, sung to perfection by Ahmed Rushdi- Noor Jehan, enthralled millions of listeners, 'Mohabbat may teray sar ki qasam aisa bhi hota hai', film, 'Aisa bhi hota hai', 1965, music, Nisar Bazmi.

Likewise, there is a profound and poignant message for music lovers in the tragic number below:

'Pyar may hum nay khaye hai thokar', film, 'Jokar', 1966, music, Muslehuddin, and 'Aaj is sheher may, kal naye sheher mein', 'Jokar'.

Ahmed Rushdi's voice had his trademark wit and rhyme. Example below:

'Malik bana hua hai aur wo bhi Aadmi.' Ahmed Rushdi- Masood Rana, film, 'Aisa bhi hota hai.'

The song 'Tukra wo chand ka rukh-e- zeba' was a touchstone for all Ahmed Rushdi's fans.

His dedication was absolute while recording this tragic duet with Mala:

'Jab raat dhali, tum yaad Aaye, hum dooor nikal Aaye', film, 'Kaneez', 1965, music, Khalil Ahmed.

At the height of his fame, Ahmed Rushdi plunged head long into singing. During those days, literally every second movie had a hit song of Ahmed Rushdi. His immense potential was evident in the three songs below:

'Pyar mein hum aye jaan-e-tamanna', film, 'Kaneez'.
'Dono taraf hai Aag barabar lagi hue.' Film, 'Kaneez.'
'Aaha khetoan pay deikho kaisi chai bahar.' Film, 'Aag ka darya', 1966.

The emotion conveyed by the profundity of his voice is exemplary. All songs of the film 'Armaan', 1966, became a national pace setter: 'Koko korina' 'Zindigi apni thee ab tak urtay badal ki tarhan', Ahmed Rushdi- Khursheed Shirazi.

'Bay taab ho udhar tum, bay chayn hain idhar hum.’

'Akeley na jana’.

'Jab pyar mein do dil miltay hain.’

The song below depicts the reality of life:

'Tujh ko bhi banaya Allah nay, mujh ko bhi banaya Allah nay.' Film, 'Josh', 1966, music, Muslehuddin.

With the passage of time, Rushdi's voice kept getting better as this song eloquently proves:

'Aaj khushi say jhoom raha hai ik pardesi deewana', film, 'Baaghi Sardar', 1966, music, Tasaddaq Husain.

Ahmed Rushdi became the talk of the town after recording the song below: 'Bay kal raat betaai, bay chayn din guzara, kis Aas per na janay hum nay tujhay pukara', film, 'Eendhan', 1966, music, Subal Daas.

Ahmed Rushdi was more than just another singer. His was not just a contribution of songs to the movies. It was a firm commitment to work with like-minded people and share human values with the prevalent society. In tragic scores and in fast and slow numbers, Ahmed Rushdi had no parallel. Examples below:

'Dam mast qalandar Ali Ali', Ahmed Rushdi- Munir Husain, film, 'Jalwa', 1966, music, Nashad.

'Allah jhat pat say hero bana day mujhay', film, 'Aa'ena', 1966, Ahmed Rushdi- Irene Perveen, music, Manzoor Ashraf.

'Nadia behti jaaye, behti jaaye', film 'Tum meray ho', 1967, Ahmed Rushdi- Irene Perveen. Composer, Robin Ghosh.

'Usay deikha, usay chaha, usay bhool gaye', film, 'Jahan tum wahan hum', 1967, composer, Robin Ghosh.

Ahmed Rushdi sang with the most appropriate diction, inflexion and intonation, which a singer could offer to the listeners. Examples below:

'Pyar na ho jab dil mein to jeena hai adhura', Ahmed Rushdi- Naseem Begum, film, 'Lakhoan mein aik', 1967, music, Nisar Bazmi.’

'Jan-e-bahar, jan-e-tamanna tum he to ho', film, 'Insaniyat', 1967, music, Manzoor Ashraf.

'Pyar mein sub kuchh chalta hai', ‘Insaniyat.'

Rekindling the old flames is easier than you think. Especially when it comes to Ahmed Rushdi's songs. The songs below were Ahmed Rushdi's achievement that is still worthy yardstick:

'Kahan ho tum ko dhundh rahi hain ye baharain ye sama', film, 'Chakori', 1967, music, Robin Ghosh.

'Pyaray, pyaray, yaar hamaray', film, ‘Chakori.'

Ahmed Rushdi, widely acclaimed for his songs in the film 'Dewar bhabhi', 1967, appeared magnanimous and authoritative at once:

'Three cheers for bhabhi hip hip hurray.' Film, 'Dewar bhabhi', 1967, Inayat Husain.

'Tum wohi ho lo tumhain Aaj bata day tain hain.’

Ahmed Rushdi attained maturity and professional recognition as time passed by. He rendered more songs and his career blossomed. Additionally, he touched new heights after recording songs for the film 'Ehsaan', in 1967:

'Aye meri zindigi aye meray hum safar.' Ahmed Rushdi- Mala, music, Sohail Rana.

'Do akhian, ye do sakhian.’

The credit goes to the celebratory Ahmed Rushdi to have song the lyrics that gripped the heart of millions of listeners. The film, 'Doraha', 1967, is a testament to his exceptional vocal prowess:

'Bhooli hue hoon dastaan, guzra hua khayal hoon,' music, Sohail Rana. 'Haan isi moar per, is jaga bait kar.

'Tumhain kaisay bata doon tum meri manzil ho.’

'Ajnabi zara soach lo'.

His voice had tangibility, resonance, depth and strength. He sang with the utmost understanding of the lyrics. One marvels at Ahmed Rushdi's comprehension of words as one listens to the songs below:

'Masoom sa chehra hai, hum jis kay hain deewanay.' Ahmed Rushdi- Runa Laila, film, 'Rishta hai pyar ka,' 1967.

'Mausam haseen hai laikin, tum sa haseen naheen,' Ahmed Rushdi- Mala, film, 'Aag', 1967, music, Nisar Bazmi.

'Jaisay jaantay naheen, pehchaan tay naheen', Ahmed Rushdi- Mala, film, 'Aag'. 'Kuchh kuchh mujh say milta julta,' Ahmed Rushdi- Irene Perveen, film, ‘Aag'.

Ahmed Rushdi established a pattern of artistic evolution as a vocalist, which he maintained till his death. Nowadays, admirers organise benefit shows in his name, into perpetuity.

A street in Gulshan-e -Iqbal, Karachi, was named Ahmed Rushdi Road. Further, the government of Pakistan awarded him 'Sitara-e- Imtiaz, 20 years after his death, in the year 2003.

He was one of music's class acts in 1968. Five examples below:

'Duniya kay ghamoan ko thukra do, film, 'Doosri maan', 1968, music, Lal Mohammad Iqbal.

'Teray payal ki jhankar lutay dil ka qarar', film, 'Sungdil', 1968, music, M.Ashraf.

'Sunn lay O jan-e- wafa, tu hai duniya meri,' film, ‘Sungdil.'

'Jan-e- tamanna khat hai tumhara', 'film, 'Chand Aur Chandni, 1968, music, Karim Shahabuddin.

'Aye jahan ab hai manzil kahan', film, 'Chand Aur Chandni.’

Ahmed Rushdi, who dominated the music world for three decades, endeared himself to the Pakistani people. His adorers may recall numerous songs to exemplify this point. Below are six examples:

'Kiya hai jo pyar to paray ga nibhana', film, '"Dil mera dharkan teri', 1968, music, Inayat Husain,

'Root gaye kyun mujh say teri payal ki jhankar', Ahmed Rushdi- Mala, film, 'Dil mera dharkan teri.’

'Guzray na sham akelay O albelay', Ahmed Rushdi- Mala, film, 'Dil mera dharkan teri.'

'Kaash koi mujh ko samjhata, meri samajh mein kuchh naheen Aata', film, 'Behan bhai', 1968, music, A. Hameed.

'Hello, hello, Mr. Abdul Ghani', Ahmed Rushdi, Irene Perveen, film, 'Behan bhai.’

'Aye baharo gawah rehna', film, 'Saiqa', 1968, Ahmed Rushdi- Mala, music, Nisar Bazmi.

The choices he made and the life he lived was driven by the values he so dearly cherished, which were honesty and perseverance. His story is essential reading for those who won't settle for stereotypes. Ahmed Rushdi is the voice of Pakistani entertainment. Below are examples:

'Saathi tera mera saathi hai leherata samandar,' film, 'Samandar', 1968. 'Yoon root na gori mujh say', film, ‘Samandar.'

'Tujhay apnay dil say mein kaisay bhula doon,' film, 'Shehnai', 1968, music, Sohail Rana.

'Accha kiya dil na diya hum jaisay deewanay ko', film, 'Pyasa', 1969, music, Subal Daas.

'Mil gaye, mil gaye, mil gaye, hum ko pyar ki ye manzil', film, 'Ik Nagina', 1969, music, Amjad Bobby.

'Dil naheen to koi sheesha, koi pathar he milay', film, 'Ik Nagina.' 'Aisay bhi hain meherbaan, zindigi ki raha mein,' film, 'Jaisay jaantay naheen', 1969, music, Nisar Bazmi.

The three songs below exude an overwhelming happiness and vividness: 'Hai socha tha pyar na karain gey, hum na kisi pay marain gey', film, 'Ladla', 1969.

'Gori kay sar pay sajh kay sehray kay phool kahain gey', film, 'Tum milay pyar mila', 1969, music, Nashad.

'Ho dil ruba kaisa ye jadu kiya,' Ahmed Rushdi- Irene Perveen, film, 'Tum milay pyar mila.’

Ahmed Rushdi's long experience in singing is an inspiration and a tribute to future singers.

Ahmed Rushdi was Ahmed Rushdi, and there has been no one like him in the richer realm of songs. The three songs below are treasures of a lifetime:

'Dil kay chaman may phool khila, tum sa mujhay mehbub mila,' Ahmed Rushdi- Mala, film, 'Maan Beta', 1969, music, Inayat Husain.

'Khush nasibi hai meri, tum nay apna ya hai,' Ahmed Rushdi- Mala, film, 'Baharain phir bhi Aayain gee,'1969, music, Shamim Nazli.

'Deikh mein kitni Aas lagaye', film, 'Daagh', 1969, music, Karim Shahabuddin Rushdi was successful in keeping the listeners engaged in the tragic story through these tragic songs:

'Lub per tera naam, haath may gham ka jaam', film, 'Daagh', 1969, music, Karim Shahabuddin

'Bohoth yaad Aa yein gey wo din,' Ahmed Rushdi- Mala, film, 'Anila', 1969, music, Nisar Bazmi.

His name became a household word, and millions of listeners started taking interest in Ahmed Rushdi's singing voice. Through his perennial songs, Ahmed Rushdi proved for the umpteenth time that some people like him are just destined to rise to the top. Experience the exhilarating triumph of Ahmed Rushdi and his time in the songs below:

'Lazzat-e- souz-e- jigar pooch lay perwanay say,' Ahmed Rushdi- Irene Perveen, film, 'Saalgirah', 1969, music, Nashad.

'Teray waday say meri zindigi saji', Ahmed Rushdi- Irene Perveen, film, 'Saalgirah, 1969

'O meri mehbuba batla to kya hua', Ahmed Rushdi- Mala, film, 'Nai laila, naya majnu',1969, music, Tasaddaq Husain.

'Tu hai nai laila, mein hoon naya majnu', Ahmed Rushdi- Mala, film, 'Nai laila naya majnu.’

'Masti mein jhumay faza, geet sunaye hawa,' film, 'Nazneen', 1969, music, Manzoor Ashraf.

Lyrics matter-that from lyrics man can transcend the realities of his own time. Additionally, lyrics could also lift the spirit of the listeners. The above-mentioned songs were followed by another spate of magnificent songs by Ahmed Rushdi:

'Kuchh loag root kar bhi lagtay hain kitnay pyaray,' film, 'Andaleeb.' 1969, music, Nisar Bazmi.

'Gaisuon kay Aanchal mein kya rang hai sunehra,' film, ‘Andaleeb.'

'Meray dil ki mehfil saja day nay walay tera shukriya,' film, ‘Andaleeb.'

'Bhabhi meri bhabhi tum jeeyo hazaroan saal,' film, 'Anjuman', 1970, music, Nisar Bazmi.

'Yadash ba khair bachpan mein,' film, 'Anjuman.'

'Lag rahi hai mujhay Aaj sari faza,' film, ‘Anjuman'.

What has sparked the Rushdi revival? Perhaps, the answer is hidden in Ahmed Rushdi's resonant voice, which is a translation of music through the soul. He was an embodiment of kindness and decency who is also well-known for the songs below:

'Teri tasweer kya banaye koi', film, 'Shama Aur Perwana,' 1970, music, Nisar Bazmi.

'Choti see ye titli urti chali', film 'Unjaan', 1970, music, Manzoor Ashraf.

'Aye abr-e- karam Aaj itna baras', film, 'Naseeb apna apna, 1970, music, Lal Mohammad Iqbal.

'Dil tum ko day diya hai', film, 'Naseeb apna apna.’

'Hum say na bigar aye larki', film, 'Naseeb apna apna.’

'Mili hai Aaj zamanay ki har khushi', Ahmed Rushdi- Noor Jehan, film, 'Afshan', 1971, music, Nashad.

Stirring renditions of classics are integral to the Pakistan's independence day celebrations. Ahmed Rushdi sang the three songs below in the true, soaring spirit of Pakistan:

'Himmat say her qadam uthana tu hai Pakistani, tujh say he ye mulk banay ga duniya mein la sani.’

'Har lehza hai momin ki naye shan, nai Aan, kirdar mein guftaar mein Allah ki burhan.’

'Aanay walo suno, meray pyaro suno, hum na hoan gey magar, hogi ruhay safar.’

Skillful and proficient, Ahmed Rushdi was an adept singer. Well- wishers can't say enough good things about the singer who gave so much of himself to the cause of music.

Rushdi's loyal fans strengthened his faith in his own resourcefulness. A huge number of music buffs were drawn, and they are still attracted to the songs below:

'Tu agar bura na manay, tujhay pyar mein sikha doon', film, 'Insaaf aur qanoon', 1971, music, Manzoor Ashraf.

'Lakhoan haseen hain mujhay tum kyon pasand ho', Ahmed Rushdi- Mala, film, 'Khamosh nigahain', 1971, music, Manzoor Ashraf.

'Alif say achhi, gaaf say guriya, jeem say Japani,' film, 'Khamosh nigahain.’

'Meri mehbub haseena, teri chahat hai jeena,' film, 'Khamosh nigahain.’

'Kabhi to maango, kabhi to lay lo', film, 'Khamosh nigahain.’

From the tragic scores to the jolly numbers, Ahmed Rushdi was the first Pakistani singer to apply vocal caricatures to the songs. Always the innovator, he went on to record such hit songs as the six below:

'Salam-e- mohabbat, bara khubsurat', film, 'Salam-e- mohabbat', 1971,music, Khwaja Khurshid Anwar.

'Zindigi kay safar mein akelay thay hum', film, 'Afsana zindigi ka', 1972, music, Manzoor Ashraf.

'Aik baat kahun, dil ka raaz kahun', Ahmed Rushdi- Runa Laila, film, 'Ilzaam', 1972, music, Nashad.

'Aag lagaye mun tarpaye, ik albeli naag', film, Naag muni', 1972, music, Nisar Bazmi.

'Khuda ra mohabbat, mohabbat na karna', film, 'Mohabbat', 1972, music, Nisar Bazmi.

'Agar koi puchay baharoan ka matlab', Ahmed Rushdi- Runa Laila, film, ‘Mohabbat.'

Ahmed Rushdi was resplendent in fun songs and brilliant in slow numbers as well. It was the extraordinary lyricism of the time, which incites the pride and passion of the Pakistani nation. Ahmed Rushdi won the hearts of his devoted admirers with every new song he recorded. Below are examples:

'Allah Allah meri mehfil mein wo dildar Aaya', Ahmed Rushdi- Runa Laila, film, 'Ehsaas', 1972, music, Robin Ghosh.

'Ruk jao abhi mat jao, dil ko kaisay samjhaoon', Ahmed Rushdi- Shehnaz Begum, film ‘Ehsaas.'

'Bhola bhola mera naam, hansna gana mera kaam,' film, 'Nadaan', 1973, music, Lal Mohammad Iqbal.

'Pyar karnay ko to sub kartay hain', film, 'Gharana', 1973, music, Manzoor Ashraf.

Ahmed Rushdi went on to record two thousand songs in the twenty-nine years of his illustrious singing career. It was the mutual admiration between the public and the vocalist that resulted in the evergreen songs like the five below:

'Sharmeli Aankhon wali awazar kar gaye', film, 'Parday mein rehnay do', 1973, music, Manzoor Ashraf.

'Yaaro mein bara pareshan ik larki jawan', film, 'Parday mein rehnay do.' 'Cheir chaar karun ga, awazar karun ga', film, 'Phool meray gulshan ka', 1974, music, Manzoor Ashraf.

'Khwab jo deikhay hum nay adhuray,' film, 'Phool meray gulshan ka.' 'Dil ko jalana hum nay chore diya', film 'Mohabbat zindigi hai', 1975,music, Manzoor Ashraf.

High and low notes came to him with quite ease, which underlined and elaborated the range of his mastery over music. Ahmed Rushdi rightly prided himself on versatility. Excellence of his singing voice is quite evident in the three songs below:

'Kya pata zindigi ka, kya bharosa hai kisi ka', film, 'Jab jab phool khilay', 1975, music, Manzoor Ashraf.

'Katoray pay katora beta baap say bhi gora', Ahmed Rushid- Nahid Akhtar, film, 'Jab jab phool khilay’.

'Bankay misra ghazal ka chali Aao na', film, 'Hero', 1985, Music, Manzoor Ashraf.

Ahmed Rushdi earned the Nigar Award for best singer in 1961 for the film ‘Saperan.'

Ahmed Rushdi earned the Nigar Award for best singer in 1962 for the film ‘Mehtaab.'

Ahmed Rushdi earned the Nigar Award for best singer in 1966 for the film ‘Armaan.

Ahmed Rushdi earned the Nigar Award for best singer in 1970 for the film 'Naseeb apna apna.’

Ahmed Rushdi was essentially a self-made man, who suffered multiple setbacks at the hands of people in whom he put his trust. To the extent where he could no longer endure it. All his pain and suffering came to an end on April 11, 1983, when he went back to the Maker.

Perhaps, the song below never rang as true as it did after Ahmed Rushdi's demise:

'Chore chalay hum chore chalay lo sheher tumhara chore chalay', film, 'Phir chand niklay ga', 1970, music, Sohail Rana.

His songs are timeless and his memory has been transformed and fortified into a durable legacy. Through his voice, Ahmed Rushdi had given us the most precious gift that could be received by his adoring admirers. It is the gift of a free and loving heart.

On August 14, 2003, the president of Pakistan announced, Sitara-e-Imtiaz (posthumously) for Ahmed Rushdi. Farah, the elder daughter of Ahmed Rushdi, received it on March 23, 2004.

I sat down in the garden the other day and watched butterflies over the flowers. I closed my eyes and thought of Ahmed Rushdi's memorable song, 'Choti see ye titli urti chali, koi lay jaye ga dulhan bana kay.’

I opened my eyes again as numerous butterflies took flight.

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.