Several years ago, I asked sitar virtuoso Abdul Halim Jaffar Khan the names of musicians trained in Hindustani music who also worked in film ensembles during the time that he did too. Among these, he mentioned sitar player Muhammad Shafi, who was the brother-in-law of renowned sitar player Vilayat Khan. Not only did Shafi play sitar for films, but he even worked as assistant music director and as a music director. More about his career in films can be accessed here.
Unfortunately, I could not access any recordings that feature his sitar solo recitals, but in the ninth episode of the series on Hindustani musicians composing for Hindi cinema, we listen to some songs created by Muhammad Shafi over a period of three decades.
We begin with three songs from the film Haqdar released in 1946. According to the description accompanying the tracks, the first two songs are sung by Mohantara Talpade and the third is sung by Khan Mastana, a cousin of sitar maestro Vilayat Khan.
The next song is sung by Mohammad Rafi for the film Rishta (1947).
The three songs that follow are from the film Shikarpuri (1947). The information that accompanies the first track mentions that the singers are Razia Begum and Muhammad Shafi.
Khan Mastana sings the second track.
Listen to Shamshad Begum sing the third song.
The next two songs are from the film Gharana (1949). Paro Devi sings the first and Uma Devi the next one.
These three songs from the Annadata (1952) are sung by Lata Mangeshkar.
Lata Mangeshkar sings this song from the film Dara (1953).
The next song with traces of the nautanki style from the same film is a duet featuring Asha Bhosale and Bande Hasan.
Here is another duet featuring Lata Mangeshkar and Hemant Kumar from the same film.
Lata Mangeshkar sings the next song in the film Zindagi (1956).
Mangeshkar is accompanied by a chorus in the next song from the same film.
The third song from this film is sung by Talat Mahmood.
Suman Kalyanpur and Talat Mahmood sing the next song from the film Mohabbat ki Jeet (1960).
Listen to Geeta Dutt in the same film.
We end this episode with a duet featuring Asha Bhosale and Mohammad Rafi in the film Dayaar-e-Madina (1975).
One of India’s leading tabla players, Aneesh Pradhan is a widely recognised performer, teacher, composer and scholar of Hindustani music. Visit his website here.