By Quaid Najmi
Mumbai, Oct 27 (IANS) Renowned National Award winning music director Mohammed Zahur Khayyam Hashmi, better known as “Khayyam”, was conferred this year’s prestigious Hridaynath Award for Lifetime Achievement late on Friday night here.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis gave away the award, comprising a cash prize of Rs.100,000 and a memento, named after the famous Hridaynath Mangeshkar on his 81st birthday on Friday.
Speaking on the occasion, Fadnavis recalled Khayyam’s great contributions to the music world since the launch of his musical career from the age of 17 at Ludhiana in 1943.
“Khayyamji is a 92-year-young man. Presenting this award to him is indeed an honour for me,” said the 48-year old Fadnavis.
Lauding the role of the Mangeshkar family for their music legacy which was as tall as the Himalayas, Fadnavis said they are “a gift to the country”, and listening to their music is itself a “divine experience.”
Terming Khayyam as his inspiration’, Hridaynath Mangeshkar, praised his musical creations and said that “conferring the award named after me on him, is actually a reward for me.”
“Hridaynath is the only and youngest brother of the legendary Mangeshkar singer-sisters – Lata, Asha, Usha and Meena, all children of the great composer the late Master Deenanath Mangeshkar,” said Avinath Prabhavalkar, an official of the Hridayesh Arts.
Responding to the felicitations, Khayyam said the Mangeshkar family has made a significant contribution to the cause of music in the country and he felt humbled by the honour.
Present at the ceremony in Deenanath Mangeshkar Hall, Vile Parle, were several eminent personalities like Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, Jabbar Patel, members of the Mangeshkar clan and celebrities.
The veteran composer, lyricist and writer Khayyam, 92, started his music career in Ludhiana in 1943 at the age of 17. Later, the Padma Bhushan awardee teamed up as Sharma of the music-director duo “Sharmaji-Varmaji” to compose music for films like “Heer Ranjha” (1948) and others.
However, after Partition, when his partner Rahman Varma moved to Pakistan, Khayyam continued solo and his earliest notable works were for “Footpath” (1953) in which Talat Mehmood’s song “Shaam-e-Gham ki Kasam, Aaj Gamgeen Hain Hum” and the film “Biwi” in which a song sung by Mohammed Rafi, “Akele mein woh, ghabrate toh honge”, and other major films like “Phir Subah Hogi” (1958) with Mukesh’s “Woh subah, kabhi to aayegi”, became the rage of the masses.
It was the 1961 blockbuster “Shola Aur Shabnam” which firmly established Khayyam as a top-notch music director followed by films with superhit music like “Mohabbat Isko Kehta Hain” (1965) and “Aakhri Khat” (1966), that was the late superstar Rajesh Khanna’s debut film with memorable songs like “Bahaaron, Mera Jeevan Bhi Savaaron”.
Not looking back, he composed memorable music for films like “Kabhi Kabhi” (1976), “Trishul” (1978), “Noorie” (1979), “Thodisi Bewafai” (1980), “Dard” and “Ahista Ahista” (1981), “Dil, Akhir Dil Hai” and “Bazaar”(1982), “Razia Sultan” (1983).
In 1981, he composed music for the sensitive blockbuster film “Umrao Jaan”, ranked among the all time best Bollywood films and considered the jewel in the crown of Khayyam’s compositions, for which he bagged the National Award, and also a Filmfare Award, besides a string of other honours.
“Umrao Jaan” is oft compared with another cult masterpiece “Pakeezah” (1972) for a courtesan-based musical theme, both became superhits and now occupy their own unique pedestals in Bollywood music history.
Explaining this, Khayyam once said: “My biggest challenge was that “Umrao Jaan” should not only look different, but asound different’ to make it stand apart from “Pakeezah” in which most songs were sung by Lata Mangeshkar for the heroine Meena Kumari. So, nearly a decade later in aUmrao Jaan’, I only used Asha Bhosale’s voice for the heroine Rekha.”
In 2016, Khayyam and his singer-wife Jagjit Kaur endeared themselves to the masses when they set up the ‘Khayyam-Jagjit Kaur KPG Charitable Trust’ in memory of their actor-son Pradeep who passed away in 2012, and donated their entire wealth to be utilized to fund upcoming artistes and technicians in Bollywood.
The other past recipients of the awards are Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Amitabh Bachchan, Sulochana Latkar, A.R. Rahman, Pandit Jasraj, and Javed Akhtar, besides chess champ Vishwanathan Anand.
(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at [email protected])