Begum Akhtar is a very famous music artist in India. She is famous as an Indian singer with amazing skills over Indian classical music and for her strong command over Ghazals, Dadra and Thumri genres.
Begum Akhtar is nationally awarded as Mallika-e-Ghazal I.e queen of ghazals. She was one of the best known Indian singers and had a soul persona. Her journey to the music and film industry had been very tragic.
She started facing a lot of problems from the beginning of her childhood and teenage. Her father abandoned her family alone and handed the responsibility for their mother. Soon her beloved sister died due to food poisoning. These difficulties were a reason she started singing.
Singing used to give her peace at hard times. Music was the only solution to her problems. She then started to receive music lessons and gave her first performance at the age of 15 while she was just a teenager. Her skills and natural inclination towards music led her to receive encouragement and motivation from the famous poet of India, Sarojini Naidu.
Her good look and attractive personality made her way to the film industry where she started acting as well as singing her own songs. In the movies, she was really appreciated by the audience as well as the film industry people. Soon she gained a lot of fame and reached the peak of her career. She later received several honours and awards for her contribution to classical music and acting in films.
BEGUM AKHTAR Age (the Year 1914-1974)
Begum Akhtar was born on 7 October in Faizabad, Uttar Pradesh, India her parents. Her Actual Name was Akhtari Bai Faizabadi though she became more popular as Begum Akhtar. She also had a twin sister. Her mother’s name was Mushtari Sahiba who was a housewife while his father Asghar Hussain was a lawyer.
Her father disowned the family and never acknowledged them while they were very small. As a result, the responsibility of the family was all over her mother. They belonged to the upper class of society. Her mother took responsibility and recognised her talent in singing. He took help from her relatives and arranged her singing classes.
She was very keen on singing from her early childhood and hence was sent to be trained under the great Sarangi player, Ustad Imdad Khan. Also later in her life she also took lessons from great classical musicians such as Abdul Waheed khan, Mohammad Khan of Patiala and Ustad Jhade. At the age of fifteen, she gave her first public performance where people became her fans and we’re mesmerised by her magical voice.
Her childhood was a struggle itself too. Firstly her father abandoned her which forced her to become mature and take responsibility for the family. She scattered again when her sister died due to poisoning.
Begum Akhtar gave her first public performance at the age of fifteen. This event shows how talent and a great singer hanged was from her childhood. Later on, when the famous poet Sarojini Naidu heard the voice of this beautiful girl, she encouraged her to pursue the talent and become a singer. This was a turning point in her life.
Begum Akhtar recorded her first-ever song for a Megaphone Record company. Later on, she recorded Ghazals, Thumris, and dadras in several Gramophone records. Her talent and melodious voice made her began performing in public concerts leaving private gatherings.
Her melodious voice has complained of a young and beautiful personality which made her perfect to enter the world of films. In the 1930s, the era of films, she appeared in films like ‘Ek din ka Badshah’ and ‘Nal Damyanti’ in 1933.
She sang her songs on her own which became a major reason for her instant popularity. She did her work as singer and actress in movies such as ‘Mumtaz Begum’ (1934), ‘Ameena’ (1934), ‘Roop Kumari'(1934), and ‘Jawani ka Nasha’ (1935).
Even though her career was going very smooth still she remained focused on her Indian classical singing as her passion. In 1942, the movie ‘Roti’ was released. She recorded 6 Ghazals for it out of which 4 were deleted from the film. The music was composed by Anil Biswas and the music made a lot of sensation in the industry.
She was taken into this film due to her success as an actress cum singer by producer and director Mehboob Khan. While her career was at a peak and everything was smooth, she decided to get married. She got married in the mid-1940s to and took a break from singing career. She again came back after few years and resumed singing in the recording studio and sang three ghazals and a Dadra at Lucknow All India Radio Station. Her singing was inimitable and there was not anyone up-to her level. She made her own composition based on rags.
Begum Akhtar Married Life
Begum Akhtar married Barrister Ishtiaq Ahmed Abbasi in the year 1945. Due to some family restriction, she was not able to continue in the Film and Music Industry and maintained her personal life. Later after a few tears, she fell ill and the. She was advised to return to music again. In the year 1949, she returned at the Lucknow Radio station and sang three ghazals and Dadra. After recording, she felt immense satisfaction and happiness and cried with joy. She then continued singing till her very last time.
Begum Akhtar in life has done nearly 400 songs. The fact that she has a soulful and melodious voice can be proved by the fact that age us bestowed with the title of Malika-e-Ghazal that is ‘Queen of ghazals’. She was popular all over the country for her skills as a composer of rash based ghazals.
Begum Akhtar also worked with the famous director Madan Mohan in two movies namely ‘Daana piano'(1953) and ‘Ehsaan'(1954). Her songs ‘Aye Ishq Mujhe aur to Kuch Yaad’ and ‘Hamein Dil me basa lo’ were super hit and became favourite of everyone instantly.
Begum Akhtar was refined Ghazal artist. In her last move, she ended up singing a classical song in Satyajit Ray’s film ‘Jalsa Ghar’.
As being a soulful singer and actor. In 1972, she became the recipient of Sangeet Natak Akademi Award. Being a talented singer and having a stronghold over classical music. The government of India honoured her with Padma Shri Award in 1968. It was one of the biggest achievement of her life. She was also awarded Padma Bhushan posthumously in 1975.
Begum Akhtar Daughter and Personal Life
everyone knows about her influential personality and brilliant singing skills but her terrible childhood is still known to a few. Begum Akhtar, as a little girl was physically tortured by her music teacher. Further, she was molested and raped as a teenager. She presented her daughter as her sister to society. She married a Lucknow based barrister who restricted her to join music for a few years after marriage. Later when her health went bad she again started singing and made a comeback in the Film and Music Industry. She remained active till the very end and died on October 30, 1974, after giving her final performance.
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