Nasir Bazmi

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Nasir Bazmi

Indpaedia note: Please also see the entry Nisar Bazmi Even within the present article the name hs been spelt Nasir in the beginning but Nisar later on.

Homage to a Legend

By Shanaz Ramzi


Nasir Bazmi

With the maestro Nasir Bazmi no longer amid us, the first of probably many tribute programmes likely to be held in his honour was organized by a local TV channel in collaboration with the Music Committee of the Arts Council, Karachi. The commendable feature about the programme was that not only were many of the composer’s popular songs sung by amateurs with delightful voices, information about each song, including the film it was sung for, was provided at the start of every rendition. What’s more, film star Nadeem graced the programme and lent it a touch of glamour by his participation.

Compered by Sultan Arshad and Mateen Mehmood, the programme began with a brief biography about the composer, followed by songs sung in their chronological order. Since Bazmi Sahib had begun his career in India, the first song was from the film Khoj, originally sung by Mohammed Rafi, and rendered by Kamran Suko for the programme.

The next was a song — Balamji, Baray Nadan — sung by Florence Thomas and originally rendered by Lata Mangeshkar. Interestingly, Noor Jehan had much later sung another song to the same composition, so in a strange way Bazmi Sahib’s desire to have both Noor Jehan and Lata Mangeshkar sing together for his composition was fulfilled.

After Naeem Aziz sang the evergreen number Mein Teray Ajnabi Shehr Mein, picturised on Nadeem, the hero of yesteryear was invited on stage to share his thoughts about the great composer. Nadeem recalled Naushad saying after hearing the songs composed by Bazmi for Lakhon Mein Aik: “After a very long time I’ve heard decent music – and it’s from across the border!”

So dedicated was the composer, and so unwilling to make compromises, that Nadeem recalled the musician would make at least six or seven different tunes before being satisfied with his composition. With a disarming candour Nadeeem also announced that he had sung songs composed by Bazmi Sahib for two films, neither of which was released. Bazmi Sahib then suggested he take up acting, at which Nadeem laughed, since the movies he sang for were canned, so the ones he would act in were not likely to fare any better.

Nadeem recalled Naushad saying after hearing the songs composed by Nisar Bazmi for ‘Lakhon Mein Aik’: “After a very long time I’ve heard decent music – and it’s from across the border!”

However, interestingly enough, one of the songs that Nadeem had sung for the unreleased film, Yeh Karachi Hai – Bahut Yaad Ain Gay Woh Din -- was later re-sung by Mehdi Hassan for Bazmi Sahib, for the film Anila and picturised on Nadeem. This tune became a super-hit. At Sultan Arshad’s request, the superstar was sporting enough to sing the song live for the audience, and did a reasonably good job of it.

Next came Ashfaq Hussain, who mellifluously rendered the song Yeh Zindagi Ki Rah Mein, originally sung by Mehdi Hassan for Aag. Zareen Hyder crooned Kutch Log Rooth Kar Bhi originally sung by Noor Jehan for Andaleeb, which was followed by a duet, Sathi Kahan Ho, sung by her and Naeem Aziz.

Among the other memorable numbers composed by Bazmi Sahib and sung on the occasion were Dil Dharkay Mein Tum Say, Aisay Bhi Hain Meharban – the latter sung beautifully by Naushad Ali – Abi Dhoond Hi Rahi Thi by Hina Asif and Ranjish Hi Sahi sung by Zohaib Zafar. Amir Ali also did a commendable job with Ustad Amanat Ali Khan’s ghazal Mora Jiya Na Lagay, which happened to be the latter’s last recorded song, for he died three days later.

Other people who spoke on the occasion about Bazmi Sahib were a couple of his students, and his son Iftikhar Ahmed. Understandably, everyone had only praise to shower on the legend, although it might have made Bazmi Sahib more human if at least one of them had referred to his terrible temper or some amusing trait he might have possessed. One interesting discovery during the course of the evening was that Bazmi Sahib also wrote poetry, and one of his students read out some of the verses written by the maestro, which have been published in book form by the student. Faisal Latif, also an ex-student of Nisar Bazmi, sang a non-filmi ghazal composed by Bazmi Sahib.

Most of the youngsters boasted admirable voices, and a couple of out-of-tune renditions aside, did a great job with Bazmi Sahib’s compositions, especially considering that they were all amateurs. However, the pleasant evening organised by Hum TV was marred, to an extent, by the incessant ringing of cell phones and the constant flow of traffic in and out of the auditorium. Wonder when our people will learn the etiquette of listening to good music.

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