Master Ghulam Haider The trendsetter

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Mega hit

Popular music as we hear it today is deeply indebted to Master Ghulam Haider for its present shape. He is acknowledged to be the trendsetter of modern popular film music as his innovative talent transformed it from a staid affair to the deeply penetrating and riveting genre that still retains its lustre. Master Ghulam Haider was a dentist by profession whose passion for music pulled him towards the Cineworld where he made his mark in film music as an innovative musical genius.

Hailing from Narowal he was the first music composer to take advantage of three-minutes recording disc that revolutionised popular music. He quickly adapted to the changing technique of recording and playing songs on silver-screen as well as on radio waves. His grip on film songs was so strong that he was known as the master of prelude and interlude. His intense command of tempo and rhythm was primarily responsible for popularising Punjabi nuance ‘ang’ in popular music that soon replaced the long practiced Bengali musical traditions.

Master Ghulam Haider also created his own niche in rhythmic
matters as while most of his
contemporary composers
normally used two standard taals (beats) Dadra and Kehrwa
but he introduced a number of taals that were
mostly uncommon such as rupak

His original mind noticed the close relationship between the lyrics and the quality of the singer and composed songs containing both qualities. The result of his effort was that popular songs were successful in conveying enough emotion to create the situation a scene in the film demanded. His individual style soon made him the leading music composer in the subcontinent in the 1940s and 1950s who demanded astronomical amount of Rs.25,000 to score film music and got it! His example paved way for musicians to get their financial due and earn decent wages.

His most outstanding contribution to music industry was his discovery of Lata Mangeshkar as a play-back singer. Lata was shunned by composers due to her rather thin voice but Master Ghulam Haider championed her cause. He went to extraordinary lengths to get her a chance and personally took her to various film studios to get her singing assignments. He was frequently quoted as saying that Lata’s phenomenal talent will one day make producers and composers fall on her feet to sing for them. He gave her first break in film Majboor and her duet with Mukesh Dil mera tora hai kahin ka na chora tere pyar ne became popular.

The virtuoso

Lata duly acknowledged his role in her career during an interview at her 84th birthday in 2013 mentioning “Ghulam Haider is truly my Godfather. It was his confidence in me that he fought for me to tuck me into the Hindi Film Industry which otherwise had rejected me”. Recollecting her earlier lack of success she once said “Ghulam Haider was the first music director who showed complete faith in my talent. He introduced me to many producers including S. Mukerji, a big name in film production, but when he too declined me, Ghulam Haider was very furious. Hence, finally he convinced Bombay Talkies, a banner bigger than S. Mukerji and introduced me through their movie Majboor”.

Master Ghulam Haider also created his own niche in rhythmic matters as while most of his contemporary composers normally used two standard taals (beats) Dadra and Kehrwa but he introduced a number of taals that were mostly uncommon such as rupak. His stature in popular film music was very high and his pioneering work later inspired many famous composers such as Husnlal Bhagatram and Feroz Nizami. His assistants were accomplished composers Madan Mohan, Nashad and A. Hameed.

Last film
Khazanchi
Collection

He gave music for many films that became popular hits. His outstanding success was film Khandan in 1942 in which Noorjahan sang her hit song Tu kaunsi badli mein mere chand hai aja that is a lilting composition. Another film for which he scored music, Kazanchi, also became a hit. His last film was Gulnar produced in Lahore in 1953 which he composed a very powerful song sung by Noorjahan Lo chal diye woh hum ko tassali diye baghair that conveys deep emotive feelings.

Ghulam Haider is also credited for discovering many phenomenal singing talents as well as giving them professional breaks including Noorjahan, Shamshad Begum, Ali Bakhash Zahoor, Mohammad Rafi and Surinder Kaur. His son-in-law Munir Hussain also became a popular film singer.

Noor Israr has a discerning taste in music and he is a trained singer

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