Tabla player Ghulam Mohammed’s music for ‘Pakeezah’ and other films


There have been few percussionists among the Hindustani musicians who also took up the baton as music directors for Hindi cinema. One of the leading percussionists was tabla maestro Alla Rakha, whose work in this sphere we discussed in the third episode of the current series.

Today, we turn to Ghulam Mohammed, a film composer, who was not so widely recognised as a Hindustani music performer, but was trained in tabla, dholak and gained proficiency on percussion instruments from the folk realm like the matka.

According to biographical information available here. here and here), Ghulam Mohammed trained under his father Nabi Baksh and under tabla player Ghulam Rasool Khan/Rasool Khan of Hyderabad. Originally from Bikaner in Rajasthan, Ghulam Mohammed was engaged as a percussionist in film music ensembles before he became a music director.

Unfortunately, we do not have access to his tabla solo recordings, but we will revisit some of the songs he composed in the tenth episode of our series on Hindustani musicians engaged as composers for Hindi cinema.

We begin with a duet sung by Shamshad Begum and Mukesh for the film Grihasti (1948).

Geeta Dutt sings the next song for the film Dil ki Basti (1949).

Here is a duet presented by Amirbai Karnatki and Muhammad Rafi for the film Bikhre Moti (1951).

The next track is sung by Talat Mehmood in the film Dil-e-Naadaan (1953).

Ghulam Mohammed’s music direction for the film Mirza Ghalib (1954) is represented here through two songs sung by Muhammad Rafi and Suraiya, respectively.

We end with a song from the film Pakeezah (1972), which has been immortalised by its music composed by Ghulam Mohammed. The music for the film was completed by Naushad, as Ghulam Mohammed died during the making of the film. The song is sung by Lata Mangeshkar.

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.

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