Ahead of his 80th birthday on December 5, Narendra Kusnur picks the ghazal maestro’s most popular songs ever
One of the leading maestros in the ghazal field, Ghulam Ali has been a craze in India ever since his ‘Chupke Chupke Raat Din’ was used in the 1982 film Nikaah. Known for his effortless command over classical nuances, the Pakistani singer rendered songs which have been played again and again by fans.
Ahead of his 80th birthday on December 5, we choose 10 Ghulam Ali favourites. While the first three are arguably his most popular songs, this list is, as they say, in no particular order.
1. Chupke Chupke Raat Din
Uttar Pradesh poet Hasrat Mohani wrote the lines “Chupke chupke raat din aansoon bahaana yaad hai, Hum ko ab tak aashiqui ka woh zamaana yaad hai”. The song and its singer became suddenly popular after it was used in B.R. Chopra’s Nikaah, and filmed on Deepak Parashar and Salma Agha.
2. Yeh Dil Yeh Paagal (Aawaargi)
One of Ghulam Ali’s eternal favourites, this was written by Mohsin Naqvi. The lines were “Yeh dil yeh paagal dil mera kyon bujh gaya aawaargi, Is dasht mein ik shahar tha, woh kya hua aawaargi”. The line “Hum log toh uktaa gaye, apni suna aawaargi” always got an applause.
3. Hungama Hain Kyon Barpa
Sung in raag Darbari, it became hugely popular because of Akbar Allahabadi’s lines “Hungama hai kyon barpa, thodi si jo pee li hai, daaka toh nahin daala, chori toh nahin ki hai”. The live versions were known for Ali’s rendition of intricate sargams.
4. Apni Dhun Mein Rehta Hoon
A ‘chhoti behr ki ghazal’ (short meter), it was written by Nasir Kazmi. The lines were simple, and went “Apni dhun mein rehta hoon, main bhi tere jaisa hoon” and later “O pichli rut ke saathi, abke baras main tanha hoon”. Most often, the audience would hum along.
5. Faasle Aise Bhi Honge
For the more purist listeners, this was the ultimate Ghulam Ali ghazal. Poet Adeem Hashmi handled the subject of separation wonderfully, writing, “Faasle aise bhi honge, yeh kabhi socha na tha, Saamne baitha tha mera aur woh mera na tha”. The way the singer kept repeating the word ‘faasle’ was magical.
6. Dil Mein Ek Lehar
Another gem penned by Nasir Kazmi, it had the lines “Dil mein ik lehar si uthi hai abhi, Koi taaza hawa chali hai abhi”. Later, Ali sang, “Shor barpa hai khana-e-dil mein, koi deewaar si giri hai abhi”. Sung beautifully with intricate harkats, it’s been one of his evergreen songs.
7. Ae Husn-e-Beparwah Tujhe
One of Ghulam Ali’s most romantic songs, it was set in raag Kirwani but loosely based on an Afghan folk song. The lines were “Ae husn-e-beparwah tujhe shabnam kahoon, shola kahoon; Phoolon mein bhi shaukhi toh hai, kisko magar tujhsa kahoon”. There is some uncertainty about the poet. While some websites credit the song to Bashir Badr, the old cassettes and CDs say the writer is unknown.
8. Humko Kiske Gham Ne Maara
A sad song, this became hugely popular in bars and among people who remembered lost love. Masroor Anwar’s lines went, “Humko kiske gham ne maara yeh kahaani phir sahi; Kisne toda dil hamara yeh kahaani phir sahi”, and Ghulam Ali’s singing reflected that pathos effectively.
9. Para Para Hua
One of the most soulful ghazals sung by Ghulam Ali, it was written by Razi Tirmizi, also known for Mehdi Hassan’s ‘Bhooli Bisri Chand Umeedein’. Based on raag Mishra Kirwani, its lines were “Para para hua pairahan-e-jaan, phir mujhe chhod gaye charaagaran”. Some 16-minute versions are worth checking out on YouTube.
10. Dayaar-e-Dil Ki Raat Mein
A brilliant duet by Ghulam Ali and Asha Bhosle, it was written by Nasir Kazmi and featured in the 1984 album Meraj-e-Ghazal. The lines “Judaiyon ke zakhm dard-e-zindagi ne bhar diye; Tujhe bhi neend aa gayee, mujhe bhi sabr aa gaya” were intense. Many singers have been covering the song online after the lockdown.