Shamshad Begum dies in Mumbai aged 94
Famous Indian singer Shamshad Begum has died in the western city of Mumbai, aged 94.
Shamshad Begum was indisposed for the past few months and died at her residence late on Tuesday, family members told the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency.
She was one of the earliest singers in Bollywood with a number of hit songs.
Among Shamshad Begum’s hits were Mere Piya Gaye Rangoon, Kabhi Aar Kabhi Paar and Kajra Mohabbat Wala.
Born in Punjab’s Amritsar district, Shamshad Begum made her debut on a radio station in Lahore in December 1947.
She has been described as a woman who captivated the hearts of her listeners with the enchanting depth of her voice.
Shamshad Begum has also been credited as being one of the first singers whose voice was pre-recorded for use in movies.
The singer has been living with her daughter and son-in-law in Mumbai ever since her husband died in 1955, reports say.
“The funeral was a solemn affair with a few friends present,” her daughter Usha Ratra told PTI.
Usha Ratra said her mother “kept herself away from the glamour of the industry despite being one of the top singers of her era as she did not like limelight”.
“My mother used to say artistes never die. She wanted to be remembered for her songs.”
Shamshad Begum was a versatile artist, singing in Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Gujarati, Tamil and Punjabi languages.
She sang for top composers of her time, including Ghulam Haider, Naushad and OP Nayyar.
According to accounts on her life, Shamshad Begum’s singing ambitions met opposition from her family.
When Shamshad Begum finally got a contract with a recording company, her father agreed to let her sing on the condition that she would record in a burka and not get herself photographed.