.......... 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 and which not to. You will never hear any lines misread from Talat Mahmood's lips!"  

    .......... 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!

    .......... On 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  India"! 

    .......... 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 Mahmood was a very helpful person at heart and has helped many in the film indusrty start their careers. A recommendation from the countries top SINGING STAR TALAT MAHMOOD was any newcomers dream come true ! ENOCH DANIELS, one of the film indusrty's finest and most popular musicians and music arranger, gratefully acceppts the help TALAT MAHMOOD gave him during the early part of Enoch Daniels career. He says in the video ("Enoch Daniels Talks To Me" by Girish Mankeshwar) that his carreer got a huge boost because TALAT MAHMOOD signed him on his 45 concert tour to EAST AFRICA. After returning from EAST AFRICA concert tour Talat Mahmood introduced Enoch Daniels to the General Manager of HMV company resulting in Enoch Daniels first dics contract wth HMV !!!

    .......... 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 lives.

    ........... 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 Mumbai with his family.

    .......... 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.  He 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, I 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!    CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO FULL CALYPSO SONG

    .........  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 in London!

...........  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 HMV) !!!

........... 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 completely. 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 financial security!




Mala Sinha with her husband Lohani, daughter Pratibha and Nimmi with Talat at a party

Talat was on a photo shoot for his new album at Hanging Gardens, Mumbai, and who should he bump into ?
None other than old friend and singing colleague Mukesh, out for a morning walk there ! Seen in this photo from
left are Khalid, Talat, Mukesh and music director C.K.Chauhan, who has composed quite a few non film songs for
Talat Mahmood and for whose album Talat was featuring in for the photo shoot arranged by HMV-EMI music company.


Sunil Dutt and Talat were close friends and have done many shows for charity, in particular for the Indian army in such remote and hostile areas like Nathula Pass. The biggest hits were given to Sunil Dutt by Talat in many films like CHAYA, USNE KAHA THA, EK PHOOL CHAR KANTE, HYDERABAD KI NAZNEEN, RAAJDHAANI ..... Film "Sujata" song 'Jalte Hain Jiske Liye' will go down in the history of Indian Cinema as one of the biggest chart-busting hits of all times! It swept every award in 1959.


Talat loved dogs and the "Talat Mahmood Family Portrait" can never be complete without their beloved family member 'TEDDY', the magnificent 'Levine Spitz' sitting in Talat's son Khalid's lap! Talat would return from foreign tours laden with the latest and most expensive gifts for TEDDY, like shampoo's, raincoats, soft leather belts, brushes etc. TEDDY was the darling of the family and surely the most pampered pooch in the world!!!




Talat photographed by his son Khalid

Talat Mahmood has always maintained that ghazals were never for the "masses". Ghazals have always been
for a class and gentry who could understand a higher level of thought and language. Those singers who take
pride in saying that "we have brought ghazals to the masses" have in fact done great harm to ghazals as they
have had to lower the standard of Urdu poetry to make it pedestrian enough for the masses to understand ! 

Talat photographed by his son Khalid


The International music company HMV, presenting Talat Mahmood a 'Lifetime Achievement Silver Disc'
on his 70th birthday in 1994 wrote in their release brochure :




Talat would get hundreds of fan letters everyday , like the one reproduced below. This fan letter appeared in the popular film magazine STAR & STYLE - July 18, 1977.  It was awarded  the 'Best Letter Prize of Rs.75/-' from this popular film magazine, beating other fan letters to stars like Dilip Kumar, Sanjeev Kumar , Randhir Raj Kapoor and others!



Despite being such a major star, Talat Mahmood possessed an extremely humble nature, his refined personality reflecting his early years spent in Lucknow. Knowledgeable in music and Urdu language, Talat's renditions were never tinged or corrupted by those telltale tones of the arrogance that creeps into some of the worlds most accomplished performers who cannot help flaunting their accomplishments in their performing style. Talat's singing style was never exhibitionistic. He forever believed in underplayed singing - a style that conferred an infinite but hushed majesty on both his solos and duets. The spirit of one-upmanship was refreshingly absent in his attitude. Such is the luster of his repertoire that Talat has the gift of making you feel that each song he has rendered is being sung only for you and you alone. It's no wonder that his fans stood so faithfully with and by him and literally worshipped him! Talat always maintained that his biggest award and reward was the love of his fans - their love and their adulation. All these, Talat got in plenty!

  An actual page from Talat's songbook.      
The superhit 'Jalte hain jiske liye' from the film 'SUJATA' in his own handwriting.  






Such was Talat Mahmood's aura, that Kishore Kumar on hearing Talat once at music director Anil Biswas's  house had remarked: "I think I had better give up singing. How can I dare open my mouth so long as such a perennially romantic voice is around!"





Receiving the highly respected PADMABHUSHAN AWARD
President of India Shri Venkataraman

Talat's son Khalid who had accompanied his father to the Rashtrapati Bhavan for the Investiture Ceremony  has this interesting recollection........

Talat had been briefed by Protocol, as to how, once his name is announced, he should walk straight up to the President, get the award, then without looking left or right, step back, turn around and go back to his seat. The Ceremony began and the invitees were giving each awardee a polite but short round of applause. But the moment Talat's name was announced, the entire hall erupted into a frenzy of clapping and cheering! The invitees began turning around in their chairs and craning their necks to catch a glimpse of the man whose music had been a part of their lives for so many decades! Talat got up from his seat and amidst this enormous cheering and clapping finally reached the President. But the moment he reached the President the Press photographers corner began calling and shouting his name "Talat sahab, this way, this way, please one photo... please look this way...." Talat did not look in their direction as he remembered Protocol telling him not to look away from the President. But the Press corp was persistent and kept up the chant of "Talat sahab, please... this way...one photo" Finally, a smiling President, realising that the photographers were not going to let go of their beloved Talat Mahmood so easily, graciously held Talat's hand and gently turned him towards the Press photographers so that they could click to their hearts content and finally get their photo of their much loved much respected and much admired Talat Mahmood!



 President of India
Dr. Radhakrishan 
being introduced to the singing superstar of the country


With Prime Minister of India
Jawaharlal Nehru, on whose request Talat went to the Nathula Pass ( the world's highest mountain pass ! ) to entertain the Indian Armed Forces 



With  former Defence Minister, Home Minister and Maharashtra's first & most powerful Chief Minister,
Y.B. Chavan - who was a great fan of the silken voiced
Talat Mahmood

Note the photo on the left signed by Y.B. Chavan and presented to Talat !


Talat performed in Kabul at the personal request and invitation of King Zahir Shah himself !  Here King Zahir Shah of Afghanistan, a great fan and admirer of  Talat, congratulates the mega-star after the concert in Kabul.
It is a tribute to Talat's huge respect and popularity as a singer, that he was given the rare honour of being the first singer to be asked to give a Command Performance by order of The King, exclusively for the ladies of the royal household, who till then, due to strict purdah traditions, had never ever before sat in the presence of a male performer !

Ministers Vilasrao Deshmukh and
Ghulam Nabi Azad present Talat Mahmood with SANGEET SHIROMANI AWARD.     

Superstars Talat Mahmood and Amitabh Bachchan were presented with 'Lifetime Achievement' Awards at this function.


Talat Mahmood at felicitation of 
Chinese premiere
Chou En Lai in Delhi.


Talat with Prime Minister Ramgoolam of Mauritius at the luncheon party hosted in Mauritius in his honour by the
Prime Minister.


Talat with the Lord Mayor and Lady in Manchester, England.


famous radio announcer


Ameen Sayani and Gopal Sharma are the 2 most recognizable voices on the radio apart from the singers whose songs they have played by the hundreds. Gopal Sharma has said in Times Of India - Jan 5/2000 :

" The most popular singer is not one who has sung the most, but one whose songs became more popular in quantity than another singer. If Talat Mahmood sang 800 songs and they all became popular then he is definitely more popular than another singer whose songs number in thousands ! "




Journalist Vinod Dhawan, commenting on ghazal singer Ghulam Ali's singing style,  wrote :  "Ghulam Ali has no depth. He can't even graze the feet of the likes of  Begum Akhtar and Talat Mahmood."




Popular Music Director O.P.Nayyar picks his TOP 10 songs for Filmfare magazine and
Talat Mahmood's "Pyar par bas to nahin hai" from 'SONE KI CHIDIYA' tops his list !


Manna Dey, Khalid, Talat Mahmood and a guest

Khalid in Tampa, USA

KHALID TALAT MAHMOOD (in black coat) landing at TAMPA, FLORIDA {USA} AIRPORT and is received by the concert promoters to join his father the 'KING OF GHAZALS' TALAT MAHMOOD for the 12 city USA Concerts tour!!!

Talat Mahmood and Khalid shopping at MARSHALLS, USA

'KING OF GHAZALS' TALAT MAHMOOD (on the right with back to camera) and singer son KHALID MAHMOOD
on the left, signing autographs for fans after a super successful concert in CANADA !!!

Khalid (left) and Talat Mahmood singning autographs after a successful PHOENIX, ARIZONA, USA concert

Khalid and wife Isha

'KING OF GHAZALS' TALAT MAHMOOD with wife NASREEN and singer son KHALID - enjoying a day
at a Shopping Mall during a concert tour of USA !

Khalid outside popular BOB EVANS in USA

Khalid has carefully and meticulously preserved his fathers music legacy and heritage at home

Talat Mahmood and son Khalid at DISNEYLAND

Talat Mahmood and son Khalid at DISNEYLAND


Naushad sahab was very fond of Khalid and always met him with a lot of affection... The deep respect for Naushad sahab can be seen in Khalid's eyes too!






KHALID MAHMOOD in the luxurious chauffered stretch limosine - talking on the PHONE and watching TV - provided by the concert promotor to him in CANADA!


Anil Biswas, Lata Mangeshkar, Madan Mohan and Talat Mahmood


Madan Mohan and Talat Mahmood


Talat Mahmood and Lata Mangeshkar


Talat Mahmood at home


Talat Mahmood and Bhupen Hazarika




Talat Mahmood Shanker (Jaikishan) and Lata Mangeshkar


Talat pulling Mukesh's leg !
Both shared a close bond of friendship through life!


Talat Mahmood in a concert. His female following can be seen by the fact that there were always more women in
his concert than men! Women adored him and loved him!


Talat Mahmood and Manna Day


Music Direcor Ravi conducts and Talat Mahmood sings












COPYRIGHT: Khalid Mahmood / EMAIL: khalid@talatmahmood.net  / PHONE: 91 9820299001