He was one of the most popular singers of India, known for his soft velvety voice. He was a significant part of the Golden Era of the Indian music film industry, gave several memorable hits from the ‘40s – ‘70s. Known as the King of Ghazals, he was the first to bring the genre of ghazals to mainstream filmi music. He was the voice for all top actors including Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand, Raj Kapoor and Sunil Dutt, to name a few. Songs such as ‘Jalte hain jiske liye’ , ‘phir wahi sham’ continue to be remembered by people in his inimitable style event today.
When interviewed at the Joe Franklin Show in the ‘80s, he was introduced to the American audiences as ‘Frank Sinatra of India’. He as the first ever singer to have started the trend of world tours, making his first performance trip in the ‘50s, which was in the prime of his career.He toured all over the globe, performing to packed halls such as Royal Albert Hall, London and the Madison Square, USA.
His good looks and mild mannerisms made him an instant heartthrob too! He starred in more than a dozen films as the main lead cast opposite top actresses of the time such as Nutan, Suraiya, Shyama and Mala Sinha.
This special memorial dedicated to his music and career was recently held in Delhi, with a mould-breaking tribute of multi-disciplinary arts curated by his grand-niece Sahar Zaman. It is an effort of several months of reaching to the youth and re-introducing his music in colleges and shopping malls, through a series of singing competitions and flash mobs.
“It has been an effort of several years which is culminating on 4th March. It was a long-standing dream of mine to do a special tribute to my grand uncle. I’m glad to have organized and curated an evening which will be seen as a game changer in how we receive the works of our legends of yester-years and make it equally relevant to the youth today”, says Sahar Zaman, Chief Curator of Jashn-e-Talat and the legend’s grand-niece.
The event was a culmination of an ongoing series since October 2017, where college singing competitions in Delhi University and flash mobs in popular malls of the Delhi-NCR region have taken place. Several college students who sung his songs and ghazal in competitions are now marvelling at this genius they have just discovered! The visitors in shopping malls were surprised to see how contemporary dance can be done on the vintage music of Talat Mahmood.
As a result, the line up of artists are both the youngsters and seasoned performers, from the field of music, dance, arts and literature. It is a multi-performance show.
Starting with short listed college students singing Talat Mahmood’s romantic duets, there was ghazal exponent Dr Radhika Chopra, ghazal legend Talat Aziz and AIR artist Sanjeev Choudhury, singing his best-known hits. Kathak exponent Vidha Lal also made a special exception to dance on film music sung by Talat Mahmood. For the youth element, there was a surprise Salsa piece by the Moving Souls Troupe dancers Ravi Rastogi and Dispasree Chatterjee.
Apart from this, there was LIVE portrait art of Talat Mahmood’s image being painted by Amit Srivastav on stage. A special book written by historian and musicologist Manek Premchand called “The Velvet Voice – Talat Mahmood” , published by the Manipal Universal Press was also on offer.
GHAZAL LEGEND TALAT AZIZ QUOTE, talking about Talat Mahmood – “His song Sham-e-gham-ki-kasam that people instantly identify with, even though the younger generation might not know its his song, but they would still be familiar with the melody. That’s the great contribution of any artist. Even after they’re gone, the memories they leave behind through their work, it goes on and on. Even though generations change but the melody and art lives on as long as people have hearts”
KATHAK EXPONENT VIDHA LAL QUOTE – “When I heard his classically rich songs I really wanted to do my Kathak on them. Because during his time, even the filmi songs had very strong classical compositions. This show organized by Sahar is going to be benchmark because of the youth involvement. Many of these children would have heard of Talat Mahmood only after Sahar’s ground series on Talat Mahmood.”
GHAZAL EXPONENT DR. RADHIKA CHOPRA – “I’m a huge admirer of Talat Mahmood. And to introduce his voice and songs to youngsters today is a big thing. And these youngsters are short listed to sing at Jashn-e-Talat.”
ARTIST AMIT SRIVASTAVA – “Inspired by his charming demeanor and singing style, my work is a classical style limited palette portrait of Talat Mahmood saheb. Something I feel gels with his life and times.”
SAMIR OF RAAG MANTRA MUSIC FOUNDATION – “I feel Sahar Zaman has come up with a very unique concept for this tribute a legend of yester-years which involves the youth as well. This is very close to the philosophy of the Raag Mantra Music Foundation which is why were are proud to be on board as Jashn-e-Talat Music Partners.”
SALSA DANCER RAVI RASTOGI – “I spend my childhood listening to Talat Mahmood . Since i have always been passionate about Latin dance and Bollywood music, it’s a lifetime experience for me to especially choreograph and dance on an original Talat Mahmood song. “