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100 years of Naushad: 8 classics that show how he changed the landscape of Hindi film music

Naushad introduced classical music into mainstream cinema in a way that got Indian audiences hooked to his fusion compositions.

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New Delhi:Jab pyaar kiya toh darna kya, jab pyaar kiya toh…”

Who can forget this iconic song of love in the face of adversity and opposition? Much like the film it is from, Mughal-e-Azam (1960), this song inspires Indians to think, re-evaluate, rally and not lose faith in the power of love — and it is popular even among today’s generation.

The man behind the film’s soundtrack? Naushad Ali. The music director, composer and writer who revolutionised Hindi film songs by introducing classical Indian music in a way that was enjoyed and consumed by everyone.

Born in Lucknow on 25 December 1919, Naushad grew up loving music. He not only learnt Hindustani classical music under maestros like Ustad Ghurbat Ali, Ustad Yusuf Ali and Ustad Babban Saheb, he also started learning how to curate music in films at a very young age.

In the 1930s, when the talkies came to India, Naushad was mesmerised by the way music was used in tandem with storylines. Despite his parents’ disapproval, he joined a theatre group and eventually ran away to Mumbai to make it big in the film industry.

While his career in Mumbai started out with Naushad sleeping on the sidewalk across Broadway Theater, it ended with his greatest hits playing in that very theatre. On his 100th birth anniversary, ThePrint celebrates this musical great by looking at some of his best work.

1. Suhani Raat Dhal Chuki (Dulari, 1949)

This song marked the start of the evergreen musical duo — Naushad and Mohammed Rafi. The film was a box-office, hit but the song was, perhaps, even a bigger one.

2. Aaj Gawat Man Mero (Baiju Bawra, 1952)

Baiju Bawra is regarded as one of Naushad’s masterpieces. The musical film did exceptionally well at the box office, running for a full 100 weeks in theatres. This song is one gem that stood out.

3. Mohe Panghat Pe (Mughal-e-Azam, 1958)

From using a 100-member chorus to asking Lata Mangeshkar to sing in a bathroom in order to capture the echoes for Pyar Kiya Toh Darna Kya, Naushad went all-out for this film. This particular song shows how masterfully he blended classical music with modern touches and delivered a superhit.

4. Nain Ladte Hain (Ganga Jamuna, 1961)

Another example of how Naushad incorporated folk music into mainstream cinema, Ganga Jamuna was another super hit in India and abroad, achieving cult status. And it was in no small part thanks to this song.

5. Chale Aaj Tum Jahaan Se (Uran Khatola, 1955)

This Dilip Kumar-starrer is another film where Naushad’s easy mastery shone through the music. It was also one of the first films in which he introduced sound mixing in the score. This Rafi solo brought out his perfectionist side as well. Naushad apparently made Rafi sing it seven times over, just to bring out the raag — Bhim Palasi — more evocatively.

6. Dil Ki Mehfil Saji Hai (Saaz aur Awaaz, 1966)

Naushad worked so well with Rafi because the two really understood each other and were on the same musical wavelength. This song is another example of how well Naushad knew to use Rafi’s versatility and bring out that lilting effect in the song.

7. Apni Azadi Ko Hum (Leader, 1964)

This patriotic anthem sticks out in Naushad’s discography. It is not his usual style, because during this time he experimented with western orchestral music, which you can hear in the background scores of the film.

8. Nazariya Ki Maari (Pakeezah, 1972)

Pakeezah is a classic for many reasons, one being the music. While most of the original scores were composed by Ghulam Muhammed, Naushad was brought in later to finish the songs. Naushad fine-tuned the music, and added the very important thumris that were relevant to the period piece.

Also read: Jailed for anti-Nehru poem & celebrated for Bollywood songs, Majrooh Sultanpuri had it all


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  1. While I appreciate that you have remembered this great son of India, it would have been better if some authority on the subject such as Raju Bhartan had written this article.

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