One interesting thing came out after the recorded was stopped was regarding the famous song, "More Jobana Ka Dekho Ubhar" from Man Ki Jeet 1944. Shamshad Begum was asked to sing the song. She objected to the vulgar lyrics and refused to sing. Music Director, S. K. Pal mentioned her objection to famous song writer, Josh Malihabadi. Josh ji pointed out to Shamshad ji that, it is a Mujra song and if there will be any criticism, he will be blamed for it. Shamshad begum agreed and sang the song for the film. The record was however issued in the voice of singer Zohrabai Ambalewali.
I found Shamshad Begum to be an extremely simple and folksy woman. Having met when she is over 92 years old, I did not expect her to go back and extrapolate her early life. She jokingly told me in reply for a question, that the point under discussion was about a century ago! Indeed many incidents happened long back but I must say that her memory is surprisingly good and she retains a great sense of humor. At times she would be short of breadth but her enthusiasm to talk about the golden era was infectious. I had limited my scope of questions as I was not sure how much she would remember. In hindsight, I think I could have easily asked some more questions. On a number of occasions, her daughter, Usha Ji provided many valuable details. Shamshad Ji did touch upon not harboring any ill feelings even though people have wronged her. For us music lovers, the main thing is to enjoy treasure of her songs. At this age she is extremely content with her life, which is perhaps the reason for her good health and longevity.
It was such a joy to meet the legendary singer. May She continue to enjoy good health and spirits forever.
Abhay ji's weekly radio show on Radiodil of old theme/artist based songs can be listened on internet at the following location:-
Thursday: 8-10 PM EST USA (live)
Sundays, 12:30-2:30 afternoon IST (rebroadcast)