YOU KNOW THAT ......
.......... Music Director Naushad says in INDIAN EXPRESS 20.9.81
: "I have a very high opinion of Talat Mahmood. He has a fine style. When he sings ghazals it is in his own unique inimitable sweet style.
Sweetness is indispensable to a proper singing of the ghazal. Besides,
he has mastery over the language.
He knows which words to emphasize
which not to. You will never hear any lines misread from Talat Mahmood's
.......... Radio singer Suman Hemmadey's ( later Suman Kalyanpur ) first
film song was a duet with Talat Mahmood in "Darwaza".
A rank newcomer, her career
hit the big league when Talat agreed to sing the duet with her, making
the film industry sit up and take notice of her.
.......... Talat Mahmood and Dilip Kumar would meet regularly for a game
of badminton at Bandra Gymkhana during the sixties. Dilip Kumar
and his entire family of brothers and sisters were very close to Talat
and his wife and they would meet often.
.......... Doordarshan's documentary on Talat Mahmood "Sham
e Gham Ki Qasam" was to have been the first color documentary
by Doordarshan after television went color in early 80's, but it got delayed by a few
months and was
released a little later than scheduled. Viewers loved "Sham e
Gham Ki Qasam" and Doordarshan was flooded with requests for
repeat telecasts of this show. Even today it is shown on TV due to
a public demand for it! This documentary
on Talat was of one and half hour duration and it's budget could rival that of a
small budget commercial film! This was Doordarshan's first
color documentary on any playback singer!
Talat's US Concert Tour, Talat's popularity prompted famous New York
television host Joe Franklin to invite Talat on his hugely popular
programme "The Joe Franklin Show" watched by over 25 million
Americans. He introduced
Talat to American audiences as "The Frank Sinatra Of
.......... Bombellis restaurant on Breach Candy was a one time favorite haunt of Talat and his
close friends music directors Madan Mohan and Jaikishan (Shankar-Jaikishan).
Being bachelors, they would compete to see who had the largest following
of girls by counting how many came to ask each one for autographs! Talat usually won hands down, as being a singer and star he was a more
recognizable face, much to the 'dismay, annoyance and chagrin' of Madan and Jaikishan!
Talat would never stop pulling Jaikishan's and Madan's leg over this!
.......... Talat first met music director Madan Mohan when Madan came to
live in Lucknow for a while. Their love for ghazals made them good friends. In a
friendly gesture, Madan promised Talat that once he went back to
MumBai and signed on films as a music director he would definitely use Talat's voice. Madan was true to his promise and Talat and Madan
teamed up for many hits in many films including Jahan Ara, Madhosh, Ashiana, Haqeeqat
and others. They enjoyed a close bond of friendship throughout their
........... In 1961 the Maharashtra State
Government instituted the first ever Marathi Film Awards. The very first
"Best Marathi Playback Singer" Award by the Maharashtra State Government
went to Talat Mahmood for his Marathi hit song "Yash hey amrit jhale"
from the film 'Putra Wah Wah Asa'. Lata Mangeshkar was the first singing
collegue to call early in the morning and congratulate Talat
profusely when the news broke. Such was the love and respect all singers
shared with each other!
.......... Talat loved cars and driving. His line up of cars through the
years included Morris Minor, Hillman, Ambassador, Maruti Van, Maruti
1000, Cielo (fully Automatic version). He would enjoy long drives out of
.......... Talat's favorite foreign singers were Nat 'King' Cole, Pat Boone,
Bing Crosby, Elvis Presley and Connie Francis. His favorite stars were
Gary Cooper, Clark Gable, Rock Hudson, John Wayne, Richard Burton and Sean Connery. He immensely enjoyed the antics of Laurel & Hardy and Charlie
Chaplin and possessed a good collection of 8mm movies of the two! On a concert
tour, Talat would relax by reading novels of authors like Arthur Hailey,
Harold Robbins, Jacqueline Susann, Ian Flemming and James Hadley Chase.
was very fascinated by the 'UFO' or Unidentified Flying Objects theory
and loved reading about them! He was a regular subscriber to Newsweek,
Time and Life magazines. Well informed on World events, Talat
could hold his own in any discussion on World matters.
.......... Asked by 'The Metropolis' 27.2.93 : You sang many duets
with Lata, Geeta, Asha. How would you compare them ? Talat replied -
"Lata was musically far ahead of the rest. She was a
perfectionist, working hard on each song. Geeta was very good at
catching the mood of a song, she could do it spontaneously. Asha,
would say, had the maximum variety. She could sing any kind of song
effortlessly. Singing duets with them was always a challenge - each singer tried to outdo
the other. It was great fun!"
.......... Producer-Director-Studio Owner Mehboob Khan of 'Mother India'
fame, would always put his finger on Talat's throat and tell him "Khuda ka noor tumhare gale mein hai!"
.......... Talat loved sweets and no meal was complete without a sweet
dish. His favorite sweets were things like rasgoola, kheer, phirni,
gaajar ka halwa,
pastries, imported chocolates, etc.
.......... Among the many gifts Talat received through his lifetime was a beautiful Persian carpet presented to him by
King Zahir Shah of Afghanistan who was a great fan of Talat's.
Another preserved gift was a beautiful white marble statue of a woman presented
to him by the Maharani of Rajpipla. King Birender of Nepal gifted Talat with
a beautiful ornate 'bell'.
.......... Talat was very fond of electronic gadgets and was always the
first to buy them the moment they hit the market - things like video
player, electric shaver, the first Phillips cassette player, electric
toothbrush, the Walkman, 8mm camera and Projector etc.
.......... Talat was to perform at a public concert in Khatmandu, Nepal,
which was to be attended by King Birender and his family. Knowing that
the King wrote poetry, Talat procured a book of poems written by the
King, composed a tune for it and sang it as a surprise item at the
concert, much to the
delight of King Birender and his family!
......... World renowned classical flautist Hari Prasad
Chaurasia's very first film recording was for Talat Mahmood's hit song 'Phir
wohi shaam wohi gham....' from the film JAHAN ARA. Hari Prasad Chaurasia
cherishes memories of this first recording even today!
.......... During the 80's ghazal "boom" when every bathroom
singer felt he could sing ghazals and
cut discs by the dozens,
music companies had got into the cheap publicity gimmick of generously "gifting" these singers gold / platinum /
double platinum / triple platinum albums, ( even for sales as paltry as 500
copies! ) to stimulate album sales. The popular women's
magazine SAVVY - Feb. '86, calling Talat "The God of Ghazals"
asked him this question: 'What do you think of all these gold and
platinum discs these singers have been getting?' To which Talat
replied: "It's very amusing. At every twist and turn they seem
to be getting discs. Even Elvis Presley ( Guinness Book's world
record holder ) would have got a complex !!! ".
.......... In his lifetime, Talat Mahmood had completed two Umrah's to
the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. The first time with his wife
Nasreen and the second time with his son Khalid and daughter Sabina
.......... Raju Bharatan, well known journalist and human encyclopedia
on cricket and music, writing an article in Times of India -
17.12.89, paying tribute to India's finest "touch artiste supreme" - cricketing legend Mushtaq Ali,
headlined his article with : "MUSHTAQ IS TO CRICKET WHAT TALAT IS
TO GHAZALS !"
.......... The extremely popular group 'West Indies Steel Band' created
a song to welcome Talat to Trinidad for his 1968 West Indies Concert
Tour: "Talat Mahmood we are proud
and glad - to have a personality like you here in Trinidad". This
song, composed in Calypso style, was played over and over on the radio, at the airport and in all music shops in
West Indies to welcome the immensely popular, loved and admired singing
star Talat Mahmood to their country!
......... In the wake of the record breaking 58,000 attendance at Talat
Mahmood's concert at Karachi in 1961, Pakistan's 'Mallika E
Tarannum' Noorjehan, called up Talat from Lahore requesting him to join
her in a concert at Lahore. Talat politely refused and expressed to her
his inability to do the concert as he had to get back
to Mumbai for his scheduled film recordings and other engagements. Feeling that maybe Talat's
refusal was on account of her not offering him the correct remuneration, she then
offered to send him a blank
cheque, to fill in any amount he desired! But Talat once again very politely
refused her offer! Talat and Noorjehan met once again many years
later, in 1982, when Noorjehan, as guest of
honour, came down to Mumbai to attend the "Mortal Men Immortal
Melodies" concert where all the major names in Indian music
performed. Meeting Talat warmly she said to him "Talat bhai,
aap ki awaaz mein wohi kashish ab bhi hai !"
......... Talat Mahmood the singing legend of India passed
away on 9th May 1998 and across the other side of the world in America
singing legend Frank Sinatra passed away on 14th May 1998. The worlds
two largest democracies had lost their greatest ever singing stars in
the space of a week. Talat Mahmood was usually introduced to American
audiences by television and radio hosts in USA during his concert tours of
America as the Frank Sinatra of India!
.......... For 1955 film 'AZAAD' most listeners think that
the song "KITNA HASEEN HAI MAUSAM" playbacked for Dilip Kumar is sung by
Talat Mahmood. Wrong! It was sung by the film's Music Director
C.Ramchandra. This song was to be recorded for the film by Talat, as the film's shooting
schedule was coming up. The song was rehearsed by Talat, but
because of the untimely death of Talat's father Manzoor Mahmood in
Lucknow, Talat had to rush to Lucknow and had to stay back longer
than expected, as it was necessary to complete all the formalities
associated with the closure of his fathers estate etc and Talat could
not return in time for the scheduled recording. Knowing that Talat was
emotionally distraught because of the sudden death of his father, C.Ramchadra did not want to be inconsiderate and rush Talat back to
Mumbai for the scheduled recording. Instead, trying to sound as close to
Talat as he possibly could, C.Ramchadra sang the song himself for the
recording, so that the shooting schedule for the film would not be
disturbed or delayed and film would proceed as per schedule.
.......... In 1954 Ameen Sayani's BINACA GEETMALA kicked off the first and most awaitedly listened to hit parade radio
program in the Indian sub-continent and in the very first year itself
the song to reach the count down pinnacle NUMBER ONE was Talat Mahmood's
gigantic super hit
Jaayen To Jaayen Kahan from the film 'TAXI DRIVER' !
Actress par excellence Nutan loved to sing and she had a good voice too.
Nutan always ribbed Talat in friendly jest "Talat, I am so jealous of
you! In all the 13 movies that you acted as a hero in, you have sung all
the songs playback yourself. In my case, in all the movies that I have
acted in, producers have got other ladysingers to sing my playback!"
Singer Geeta Dutt (Guru Dutt's wife) last song was a duet which she sang
with Talat Mahmood in 1971 "Tum sa meet mila, dil ka phool khila" from
'Midnight' which released on long-playing disc/record in 1972
During 50's HMV wanted to copy the
West (where one hit English song was sung by many singers) and create
VERSION RECORDINGS of popular Hindi songs. Since Talat Mahmood was the
most popular singer in those days they persuaded him to do the first
recording 'Chal ud ja re panchi' which Mohd Rafi had sung for film 'BHABHI'.
Similarly, HMV wanted Rafi to sing a Mukesh hit and Hemant Kumar to
record a Talat hit. But this idea of singing other singers songs was not
going down very well with the singers and they got together to finally
decide against going ahead with this VERSION RECORDINGS idea of HMV.
Seeing the singers opposition, HMV decided to drop this idea of VERSION
RECORDINGS entirely after that. But by this time 'Chal ud ja re panchi' sung
by Talat was already in the market, releasing as 'Version Recording
FT21027 Twin/Black Label 78 RPM'. That is how one can hear the 'BHABHI'
film song "Chal udja re panchi" in the voices of both singers - Mohd
Rafi (from the film) and Talat Mahmood (from the version recorded by
........... In the
early '40's Calcutta was the center for film production and so Talat
moved from Lucknow to Calcutta in an effort to launch his career. He met
several studio bosses in New Theatre and other major film studios. They
were keen to give him a
break, as he was not just handsome, but also a terrific singer. However,
they felt the name TALAT MAHMOOD sounded very North Indian and Bengali
audiences may not accept him. They wanted to give him a screen name as
was the filmy style in those days - Yusuf Khan's screen name was Dilip
Kumar. They thought of giving Talat the screen name of TAPAN KUMAR.
Thus, some of Talat's initial Bengali releases carried the screen name of TAPAN KUMAR. But in 1942 HMV released Talat's smash hit ghazal "Tasveer
teri dil mera behela na sakegi" whose popularity spread like wildfire
across India. Talat Mahmood became a national craze with this song! Soon Bengali
audiences realised that Talat Mahmood and Tapan Kumar were the one and
same person and dropped the screen name. All his Bengali songs released
henceforth carried his original name TALAT MAHMOOD. Talat has sung over
50 Bengali hits, both in Bengali films and non-film. During Talat's brief stay in
Calcutta Talat acquired several lifelong fans and friends and also the
attentions of a lovely Bengali actress Latika Mullick who he later
married. All his life, Talat always held a soft spot for Calcutta and
Bengalis and spoke very affectionately of his stay there. He felt
Bengali's were very sentimental, emotional and very cultured people.
Even today, his Bengali songs are remembered by his fans and they are
played on the radio thru popular request!
During early '60's when Talat was the Secretary of the powerful
'Playback Singers Association', he realised that all over the world
music companies were paying royalty to the singers, except India, where
the film producer only paid the singers upfront at the time of
recording, after which singers did not receive any further residual
payments by way of royalty for that same song. Further royalties were
paid by music company only to the producers and music director but not
singers! Lata Mangeshkar was the only singer
then, who demanded and got royalty for all her film recordings. Talat got together all the singers, and
united, they started a campaign of negotiating with producers and music
company for receiving royalty from the music
company. As the producers and music company were not agreeable to this,
the singers decided to go on a strike and stopped recording film songs
Even though Lata was receiving royalty, she decided to join in the
strike as she was happy that ultimately it would benefit all singers and their
families in the long run. For 3 months there were no film song
recordings because of the singers strike and the film industry was in a state of panic as work ground
to a halt. However, two lead singers who were wrongly
instigated/misguided by groups with vested interests, decided to break away from this strike and resume
film recording. These two lead singers joined the 'Chorus Singers Association' and started
singing again. With the two lead singers now being available to
producers for song recordings, the strike
collapsed! If this strike had continued for just another 3 more weeks all the
dissenting producers/music company would have fallen into line and they
would have agreed to payment of royalty to singers. Coming so close to
sighting a victory and then loosing the royalty battle upset the
fraternity of playback singers enormously and
for 3 years an upset Lata even refused to sing duets with the lead
singer, who broke away from this strike. This loss of royalty was a crushing blow to all the
singers and their families for whom it would have meant a blanket of a lifetime of