It was in 2001 that he began this noble journey. Setting up base in Mumbai, he would wake up as early as 4 am everyday and head to Mumbai's famed Chor Bazaar with only one mission in mind, just like Arjun. In his case, the mission was to get hold of as many records of Shamshad Begum as possible. Any lover of vintage music shall tell you this is no easy task. But when one is so determined nothing can stop you.
His search for Shamshad songs took him all over from Mumbai to Surat. He would painstakingly listen to songs in search of the mellifluous voice which had entranced him for decades. After few years he was nearing the goal. But, somewhere in his mind he knew that if he wanted his book to be really complete he must go where it all began - Lahore.
Shamshad Begum had begun her career at AIR Lahore and information on her early songs could only be found there. Some of Begum's family and acquaintances still stay there. Chandrakant ji spent over one and a half months in Lahore to get complete information on that era. A nephew of Shamshad Begum even showed him an extremely rare photograph of Begum taken during those years! With this Chandrakant ji was able to complete his book after seven long years.
He also got the chance to meet Shamshad Begum herself who not only blessed the project but also provided lots of impossible to get information, like the four Pashto naats she had sung in those days! With her blessings the manuscript was thus getting ready.
Unfortunately, His struggle was far from over since he was yet to get a publisher. Due to commercial reasons, He would have to make lots of compromises if he listened to what they said. This was a major hurdle. But, then, probably Chandrakant ji's blood group is probably B +ve and his motto is the same, Be positive! He decided to publish the book himself and it has turned out to be a real "labour of love" which fans of Begum shall cherish for years to come.
The book is published on extremely good paper and very eye pleasing. It has the following wonderful features:-
- It provides list of over 1650 songs sung by Shamshadd ji in languages including Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu and Tamil.
- The songs are classified according to solos, co-singers (duet, trio, more partners) and also according to language, composers, lyricists etc which is extremely valuable for the researchers among her fans.
- It is bilingual in Hindi and English. This is a very good feature since those familiar with either language can use the book very well. Fans staying abroad shall specially love this feature.
- As far as possible, the author has indicated the record numbers of the songs also. This shall prove valuable for song collectors.
- The book has a rare pictures of various artists associated with Shamshad Begum.
- Listing of non-film songs in hindi, urdu, punjabi, pashto etc are also covered.
- The book is published in extremely good paper and is ideal for keeping at home as well as in libraries.
- It focusses on the songs instead of being a biography. This information is rare.
The book is modestly priced at Rs 850 per copy (Rs 100 extra for postal charges).
The book is directly available from the author.He can be contacted on his mobile number +91-9819883628 to make bookings and discuss arrangements.