Murad's Music Hub 2010 September - Murad's Music Hub

Archive for September, 2010

AWARA

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

AWARA

(“The Vagabond”)
(1951), B&W, Hindi, 170 min.
Directed by Raj Kapoor. Lyrics by Shailendra and Hasrat Jaipuri.
Music by Shankar-Jaikishen.

This much-discussed film was Kapoor’s first to feature his trademark Chaplinesque character “Raj/Raju” (“little Raj,” though the homage to Chaplin is less pronounced than in the sunnier SHRI 420), here a hapless “vagabond” (avaaraa) who, as the film opens, is on trial for the attempted murder of a pillar of society, Judge Raghunath (brilliantly played by Prithviraj Kapoor, R. K.’s real-life father). He is defended by a beautiful young lawyer, Rita (Nargis), an orphan who also happens to be the Judge’s ward. Her interrogation of the latter leads to a long flashback that occupies most of the film. Its opening segment evokes the Ramayana, with Judge Raghunath (an epithet of Rama) abandoning his pregnant wife Leela (Leela Chitnis) because he wrongly believes she has been raped during a brief abduction by the robber Jagga (K. N. Singh), and the Judge’s conviction that the “seed” of a criminal necessarily seals the fate of his offspring (ironically, we learn that Jagga only became an outlaw after being wrongly convicted of rape by the same Judge). Leela raises her son in the Bombay slums, slaving to send him to school so that he may become a lawyer and judge like his father, but with Jagga always hovering in the background, intent on luring him into a life of crime. As a schoolboy, Raj falls in love with the carefree Rita, despite the class gulf between them, but Judge Raghunath (a friend of Rita’s father who takes an instinctive dislike to the “wayward” boy) contrives to separate them. Jagga and the Judge’s struggle for Raj’s soul – a variation on the nature-vs.-nurture debate, with resonances of caste ideology – continues when Raj and Rita reconnect after twelve years.


The film, generally considered one of Kapoor’s finest, is notable for its darkly surreal sets, especially the Judge’s baroque-deco mansion, and for its remarkable dream sequence, which echoes this architecture in an evocation of heaven and hell. Despite its ultimate vindication of patriarchy and capitalism, the film became an enormous hit in the U.S.S.R. and, thanks to Chairman Mao’s reputed fondness for it, in China (to this day, millions of middle-aged Chinese can hum its title song).

ARADHANA

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

ARADHANA
(“adoration, worship”)
1969, Hindi, 180 minutes
Produced and Directed by Shakti Samanta

Story and screenplay: Sachin Bhowmick; Dialogue: Ramesh Pant; Lyrics: Anand Bakshi; Music: S. D. Burman; Art Direction: Shanti Das; Cinematography: Aloke Das Gupta

When thinking of the dynamics of gender relations in India, I sometimes recall Garrison Keillor’s description of his fictional hometown of Lake Woebegone, Minnesota: “…Where the women are strong and the men are good-looking.” This could serve as a kind of summary-sutra for ARADHANA, a weepy drama of female self-sacrifice, buoyed by a famous Bakshi-and-Burman score, that casts Sharmila Tagore as the ill-starred heroine Vandana (a name that, like the film’s title, connotes “praise” or “worship”) and Rajesh Khanna in the double role of her lover and then son. Its dramatic success as a “golden jubilee” film (one that played for more than fifty weeks in major urban centers) made Khanna a superstar and led to a string of hits in which he starred (many directed by Samanta or by Hrishikesh Mukherjee) between 1969 and 1973—when the actor’s career went into abrupt decline due to the advent of the Next and Bigger Thing, Amitabh Bachchan.

As the credits roll, we see a radiant, white-clad Vandana being denounced in a courtroom, and (after tearfully refusing to speak in her own defense) being sentenced to life imprisonment for murder. One need not have taken Hindi Cinema 101 to grasp that she is doubtless Innocent, but the film will defer explaining her “crime” for its first half, which unrolls as a flashback from her lonely prison cell. As it opens, Vandana is returning from college to her hill-station home, where she lives with her father, Gopal Tripathi, a medical doctor and widower. As she rides the narrow-gauge train through the mountains, she hears a young airman, Arun Varma (Khanna) on the adjacent motor road singing the amorous song Mere sapnon ki rani (“Oh Queen of my dreams, [when will you come to me?]”) while he eyes her flirtatiously. Their paths soon cross in her hometown, where Arun begins to woo her more ardently; and although she is the very model of maidenly modesty and deferral, her jovial and progressive father proves to have no objection to a “love match.”

Soon, with the further blessing of Arun’s avuncular boss Air Commodore Ganguly (Ashok Kumar), the engagement is sealed (and celebrated with the sun-drenched love songs Kora kagaz tha, “My heart was like a blank page,” and Gunguna rahe hai, “The bees are buzzing,” both performed against a backdrop of forests and snow-covered peaks). But before the planned nuptials can occur, Arun and Vandana pay a visit to a Shiva temple where, at the prompting of a cheerful priest, they impulsively exchange garlands and “marry before God.” A sudden storm then forces the lovers into a nearby bungalow where they doff their wet clothes—she substituting an artfully wrapped blanket for her soaked sari, and he building a fire. The blanket is red, and the firepit resembles a Vedic altar; eyeing each other hungrily, they circle the blaze while (substituting for a mantra-chanting priest) an amorous young man in an adjacent room sings the sultry Roop tera mastana (“Your beauty intoxicates me”).

The film’s most erotic song picturization thus simultaneously manages to encode the key elements of a perfectly dharmicHindu marriage ritual, although it necessarily remains a scandalous secret, unsanctioned by family and “society.” The obvious ensues (off-camera, of course) and though the virtuous Vandana worries about it the next morning, Arun assures her that they will be formally wed in just a few days, when he returns from a flying trip to Delhi.

But alas, Fate is cruel, and the young airman’s plane crashes. He survives only long enough to remind the weeping Vandana, at his bedside, of his dream of having a son named Suraj (“sun”) who, like him, will become a pilot and range the skies; he extracts from her the promise to make this dream come true. Soon after his death, the distraught Vandana indeed discovers that she is pregnant, and reveals to her shocked father—who could arrange a face-saving abortion—that she intends to keep and raise the child, dedicating her life to the “worship” (aradhana) of her lost love. Despite her father’s blessing, Vandana’s plight now grows grimmer. Arun’s family (eager to inherit his property) mocks her tale of a secret “marriage” and denounces her as a loose woman, and soon after this her father expires. When she gives birth to a beautiful son, a lady doctor advises leaving him at an orphanage door and then coming the next day to “adopt” him—the only means by which she can salvage respectability as a single mother. But this plan too goes awry, as the baby is accidentally given to a prosperous couple, the Saxenas, whose own child was stillborn. When Vandana contacts the husband and attempts to retrieve the boy, admitting the real facts behind his birth, Mr. Saxena convinces her to join the household as a nursemaid, so that her son can grow up with the advantage of the family’s wealth. Thus begins Vandana’s long, worshipful “penance” for her romantic indiscretion, as she nurtures the child, indeed named Suraj, maintaining the illusion that he is someone else’s son, while nevertheless forming a close bond with him, celebrated in the lullaby-like song Chanda hai tu (“You are my moon [and sun]”).

Worse trials lie ahead. When the greasy, foreign-returned brother of Mrs. Saxena, Shyam (Madan Puri) tries to rape Vandana, eight-year-old Suraj comes to her defense. She now gladly accepts a jail sentence for murder rather than endanger her child. When she is released on good behavior after twelve years, she learns that Mr. Saxena has died and his wife and son have moved to an unknown place. Homeless once more, she accepts the invitation of the kindly jailer (himself a widower and about to retire) to come to his house in Delhi as his adopted sister and assist in the raising of his spirited teenage daughter Renu (Farida Jalal). It is not long before Vandana learns that, like her “aunt” before her, Renu too has a weakness for daring young men in flying machines, and in fact is in love with a twenty-year-old pilot named….. Ah well, watch the movie—keeping a hankie or two handy—and everything will (in time) be revealed.

The songs of Aradhana were very popular and several remain well known today. Although most are romantic duets performed by Lata Mangeshkar and Kishore Kumar or Asha Bhosle and Mohamed Rafi, the film’s most haunting tune is perhaps the bhajan-like Kahey ko roye (“Why do you weep?”), unusually and soulfully sung by composer Burman himself as a voiceover commentary on Vandana’s many trials.

Despite its suffocating patriarchal morality—which condemns a young woman to a lifetime of solitary adoration of a dead fiancé and self-effacing nurture of the son who is essentially his clone—this is a female-centered film, graced with a memorable performance by Sharmila Tagore. Her character’s two decades of tribulations recall those of two classical heroines celebrated in the Mahabharata, Shakuntala and Draupadi. Like the former, the innocent Vandana, associated with nature and the hills, is ardently pursued and eventually seduced by a more sophisticated urban lover, who then leaves her; their informal marriage is unrecognized by society and she is scorned and humiliated because she bears his child, yet she devotes herself to the boy’s upbringing so that he may one day inherit his patrimony (here, the “kingdom” of the now conquered and militarized sky). And like Draupadi in the epic’s Book of Virata, Vandana, in order to achieve her object, disguises her identity and takes employment as a maidservant in a wealthy household, wherein (in the absence of a male protector) she is sexually harassed by her mistress’ brother, who finally pays for this crime with his life; the blame for his death then falls on her. Yet the outspoken assertiveness of the two epic heroines contrasts sharply with the passive and stoic endurance expected of the modern and respectably middle-class heroine, whose resistance to injustice is here largely expressed through self-imposed suffering.

Jaddanbai

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

Jaddan Bai or Jaddanbai

When Jaddanbai composed the music for Talashe Haq (1935), she became the first female music composer of Indian cinema. In 1936, Jaddanbai established Sangeet Films, producing films featuring her daughter, Nargis, as a child artiste. However, failing family fortunes forced Jaddanbai to cast her daughter in leading roles from the tender age of fourteen and Nargis became the sole bread-earner for the family.

Are Rahul Gandhi, scion of the Nehru/Gandhi family, and actor Sanjay Dutt, son of film stars of yesteryear, Nargis and Sunil Dutt, related to each other? Yes, if you believe IMDB, an Internet Movie Database site, owned by Amazon.com, a Fortune 500 company. Jaddan Bai, mother of Nargis, was born in Benares, around the year 1900. She was rumoured to be the illegitimate daughter of Motilal Nehru and famous courtesan Daleep Bai. Her mother (before she became a courtesan) hailed from a Brahmin family but was abducted by a group of trained tawaifs. Jaddan Bai was born a Hindu, picked from a mela of dancing girls when she was a child and groomed a tawaif. Though Jaddan was born in Benares, she was brought up in Allahabad. Jaddan Bai, became a disciple of noted Thumri singer Ustad Moijuddin Khan and the equally noted Ustad Barkat Ali Khan, younger brother of Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. Jaddan Bai became a very famous singer, composer, actress and filmmaker and was a good friend of Mehboob Khan who later became Nargis’s mentor.

Jaddan Bai had three children from three different men. The story of the union of Jaddan and Mohanbabu is very interesting. Uttamchand Mohanchand belonged to an orthodox Mohyal Brahmin family of Rawalpindi. He was to go to England to study medicine but heard the voice of Jaddan Bai and fell in love with her. His family refused to accept Jaddan Bai as their daughter-in-law but that did not deter him from marrying her and dedicating his entire life to her. Nargis was named Fatima A Rashid by her father but she later adopted the name Nargis for Hindi movies. Jaddan Bai’s two sons from different men, Akthar Hussain and Anwar Hussain became film directors and actors

Jaddan Bai cast Nargis in Talashe Haq (1935), becoming the first woman composer of Indian cinema. In 1936, Jaddan Bai established Sangeet Films, producing films featuring her daughter, Nargis, as a child artiste. However, failing family fortunes forced Jaddan Bai to cast her daughter in leading roles from the tender age of fourteen and Nargis became the sole bread-earner for the family. Jaddan Bai died on 8th April, 1949.

Another Version of Her Biography

Jaddanbai (b. 1892 or 1908 – d. April 8, 1949) was an early singer, music composer, actress and filmmaker of Bollywood and one of the pioneers of Indian cinema. She was the mother of well-known actress, Nargis.

Jaddanbai was born in Banaras, Uttar Pradesh in 1892 or 1908. She was rumoured to be the illegitimate daughter of Motilal Nehru and Allahabad’s famous courtesan, Daleepabai. Jaddanbai later even tied a rakhi to Jawaharlal Nehru.Jaddanbai was born a muslim, picked from a mela of kothawalas and kothewalis when she was a child, and groomed as a tawaif. Though Jaddan was born in Banaras, she was raised in Allahabad.

Jaddanbai became a disciple of the noted thumri singer, Ustad Moijuddin Khan, and the equally noted Ustad Barkat Ali Khan, younger brother of Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. Jaddanbai became a noted film and singing star and was a friend of Mehboob Khan.

Jaddanbai had three children from three different men. Fatima A. Rashid was named by her father (Uttamchand Mohanchand, known as Mohanbabu) and adopted the name Nargis for her films. The story of the union of she and Mohanbabu is that high-flown Uttamchand Mohanchand belonged to an orthodox Mohyal Brahmin family of Rawalpindi. He was to travel to England to study medicine but heard the voice of Jaddanbai and fell for her. His family refused to accept Jaddanbai as their daughter-in-law, yet that did not deter him from marrying her and dedicating his entire life to her.

Her second child, Akhtar, became a director and actor, however, he chose not to be as involved as his siblings, while Anwar Hussain acted in the films of Bollywood. Jaddanbai cast her daughter in “Talashe Haq” (1935) becoming the first female music composer of Indian cinema.

In 1936, Jaddanbai established Sangeet Films, producing films featuring her daughter, Nargis, as a child artiste. However, failing family fortunes forced Jaddanbai to cast her daughter in leading roles from the young age of 14 and Nargis became the sole bread-earner for the family.

Jaddan Bai artiste information:

As Artiste:
Madam Fashion (1936)
Hridaya Manthan (1936)
Talash-E-Haq (1935)
Nachwali (1934)
Prem Pariksha (1934)
Seva Sadan (1934)
Insaan Ya Shaitan (1933)
Raja Gopichand (1933)

As Director:
Jeewan Swapna (1937)
Moti Ka Haar (1937)
Hridaya Manthan (1936)
Madam Fashion (1936)

As Music Director:
Jeewan Swapna (1937)
Moti Ka Haar (1937)
Hridaya Manthan (1936)
Madam Fashion (1936)
Talash-E-Haq (1935)

Ustad Bismillah Khan

Friday, September 24th, 2010

Ustad Bismillah Khan

Ustad Bismillah Khan (1916-2006) was perhaps single handedly responsible for making the shehnai a famous and popular instrument and bringing it into the mainstream Indian classical music. He was credited with having almost monopoly over the instrument as he and the shehnai were almost synonymous. Bismillah Khan was born in a small village called Dumraon in the state of Bihar, on November 21, 1916. His early childhood was spent in Benares, on the banks of the Ganga, where his uncle was the official shehnai player in the famousVishwanath temple. His father was a musician for the Dumraon state.
He started his training under the guidance of his maternal uncle, Ali Bux, at the age of six. He often accompanied him to perform at marriage celebrations or music conferences. Bismillah Khan made a recording for the first time in 1930. However it was sold in the name of a relative, Vilayat Hussain, a more popular musician at the time. He made his first major public appearance in 1930 at the age of 14, when he played along with his uncle at the All India Music Conference in Allahabad. His second performance was at the Music Conference at the Lucknow exhibition, where he won a gold medal for his recital.
Bismillah Khan had the ability to produce intricate sound patterns on theshehnai which, till before his time, were considered impossible on this instrument. The Government of India bestowed on him the title Padma Shree in 1961, and later, the Padma Bhushan and the Padma Vibhushan. In 2001, he became the third classical musician to be awarded the Bharat Ratna, after M S Subbulakshmi and Pandit Ravi Shankar. Bismillah Khan died of cardiac arrest on August 21, 2006. He was 90. The Government of India declared one day of national mourning on his death, an event unprecedented for any musician.

Ustad Bismillah Khan (1916-2006) was perhaps single handedly responsible for making the shehnai a famous and popular instrument and bringing it into the mainstream Indian classical music. He was credited with having almost monopoly over the instrument as he and the shehnai were almost synonymous. Bismillah Khan was born in a small village called Dumraon in the state of Bihar, on November 21, 1916. His early childhood was spent in Benares, on the banks of the Ganga, where his uncle was the official shehnai player in the famousVishwanath temple. His father was a musician for the Dumraon state.He started his training under the guidance of his maternal uncle, Ali Bux, at the age of six. He often accompanied him to perform at marriage celebrations or music conferences. Bismillah Khan made a recording for the first time in 1930. However it was sold in the name of a relative, Vilayat Hussain, a more popular musician at the time. He made his first major public appearance in 1930 at the age of 14, when he played along with his uncle at the All India Music Conference in Allahabad. His second performance was at the Music Conference at the Lucknow exhibition, where he won a gold medal for his recital.Bismillah Khan had the ability to produce intricate sound patterns on theshehnai which, till before his time, were considered impossible on this instrument. The Government of India bestowed on him the title Padma Shree in 1961, and later, the Padma Bhushan and the Padma Vibhushan. In 2001, he became the third classical musician to be awarded the Bharat Ratna, after M S Subbulakshmi and Pandit Ravi Shankar. Bismillah Khan died of cardiac arrest on August 21, 2006. He was 90. The Government of India declared one day of national mourning on his death, an event unprecedented for any musician.

Indubala

Friday, September 24th, 2010
Indubala
A contemporary of the legendary Gauhar Jan, prima donna of early recordings of Indian music, Indubala (more famously known as Miss Indubala) was the daughter of Rajbala, a circus trapeze artiste. Rajbala married Motilal Bose, owner of The Great Bengal Circus, also known as Bose’s Circus or Professor Bose’s Circus. The marriage was not really accepted by Motilal’s family as he was already married to another woman. Indubala was born in November, 1899 at Amritsar, where the circus party had gone for performance. The initial plan was to train Indubala as a nurse and she was admitted as a trainee in a hospital in the Pataldanga locality of Calcutta. Indubala did not take fancy to the job and ran away from the hospital, much to the disappointment of her mother, who never wanted her only daughter to be forced into a life of indignity. After this incident Indubala’s musical training started. This also marked the entry of Indubala into the red light world. Amongst her trainers was Gauhar Jan. Apart from music, Indubala also learned etiquette from the elder artiste and developed a close friendship with her. This association provided Indubala with valuable musical knowledge and experience.
In 1916, Indubala recorded her first songs. In the beginning she did not take any money from the Gramophone Company and as such was credited in the records as Miss Indubala (Amateur). She was not the first amateur artiste of the company but enjoyed the privilege of announcing her name at the end of each song saying‘My name is Indubala’. The amateur status continued for a fairly long period. Later on she received Rs. 200 per record and also received a royalty of 5 per cent over the sales. To Indubala also goes the credit of being the first Bengali artiste to record Hindustani songs for the Gramophone Company. For the All India Radio, Indubala first sang on the second day of the radio’s broadcasting in 1927 in Calcutta and went on singing in this medium for nearly fifty years. Indubala sang not only from Calcutta but from several other stations by special invitation from all over India. Apart from discs and the radio, Indubala was well established by the 1930s in cultural functions all over India. In 1936 she was appointed court musician to the Maharaja of Mysore. She received a monthly salary of Rs. 250 that continued till the 1960s.
In all, Indubala had recorded some 280 songs, including about 240 classical songs, the rest being from films. The songs posted below are very rarely found anywhere else. You may easily term these as my find of the year.
The government of India never considered her name for any award. The Sangeet Natak Academy however honored her with a lifetime achievement award in 1975. In personal life, Indubala was most humble and polite but bold in her behavior and was never ashamed to admit or discuss her origin. Even when established as a major singing artiste with an all India fame, she refused to move out to a respectable place leaving her residence in Rambagan, a notorious red light area of Calcutta. Her end came on the 30th day of November, 1984 after a prolonged illness.

A contemporary of the legendary Gauhar Jan, prima donna of early recordings of Indian music, Indubala (more famously known as Miss Indubala) was the daughter of Rajbala, a circus trapeze artiste. Rajbala married Motilal Bose, owner of The Great Bengal Circus, also known as Bose’s Circus or Professor Bose’s Circus. The marriage was not really accepted by Motilal’s family as he was already married to another woman. Indubala was born in November, 1899 at Amritsar, where the circus party had gone for performance. The initial plan was to train Indubala as a nurse and she was admitted as a trainee in a hospital in the Pataldanga locality of Calcutta. Indubala did not take fancy to the job and ran away from the hospital, much to the disappointment of her mother, who never wanted her only daughter to be forced into a life of indignity. After this incident Indubala’s musical training started. This also marked the entry of Indubala into the red light world. Amongst her trainers was Gauhar Jan. Apart from music, Indubala also learned etiquette from the elder artiste and developed a close friendship with her. This association provided Indubala with valuable musical knowledge and experience.In 1916, Indubala recorded her first songs. In the beginning she did not take any money from the Gramophone Company and as such was credited in the records as Miss Indubala (Amateur). She was not the first amateur artiste of the company but enjoyed the privilege of announcing her name at the end of each song saying‘My name is Indubala’. The amateur status continued for a fairly long period. Later on she received Rs. 200 per record and also received a royalty of 5 per cent over the sales. To Indubala also goes the credit of being the first Bengali artiste to record Hindustani songs for the Gramophone Company. For the All India Radio, Indubala first sang on the second day of the radio’s broadcasting in 1927 in Calcutta and went on singing in this medium for nearly fifty years. Indubala sang not only from Calcutta but from several other stations by special invitation from all over India. Apart from discs and the radio, Indubala was well established by the 1930s in cultural functions all over India. In 1936 she was appointed court musician to the Maharaja of Mysore. She received a monthly salary of Rs. 250 that continued till the 1960s.In all, Indubala had recorded some 280 songs, including about 240 classical songs, the rest being from films. The songs posted below are very rarely found anywhere else. You may easily term these as my find of the year.
The government of India never considered her name for any award. The Sangeet Natak Academy however honored her with a lifetime achievement award in 1975. In personal life, Indubala was most humble and polite but bold in her behavior and was never ashamed to admit or discuss her origin. Even when established as a major singing artiste with an all India fame, she refused to move out to a respectable place leaving her residence in Rambagan, a notorious red light area of Calcutta. Her end came on the 30th day of November, 1984 after a prolonged illness.

aaaa

Master Saleem

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

Master Salim

Master Saleem (Punjabi: ਮਾਸਟਰ ਸਲੀਮ; born July 13, 1980) sometimes referred as Saleem Shahzada (Salim Shahzada) is an Indian singer from Punjab, known for his work as a playback singer in Bollywood films, like Heyy Babyy (2007), Dostana and Love Aaj Kal (2009). He has also released private albums, of Punjabi Music, Religious and Sufi music.

He was born Saleem Shahkoti (Saleem Shahzada), in Shahkot, near Jalandhar, Punjab. He is the son of the famous Sufi singer Ustad Pooran Shah Koti, who was also the guru of folk singers, Hans Raj Hans, Jasbir Jassi and Sabar Koti. At the age of six Saleem also became his disciple and started learning singing.

At the age of 10, he gave his first public performance at the opening ceremony of Bathinda Doordarshan (TV station), with his song, Charkhe Di Ghook, and thus earned the name Master Saleem. Soon he started appearing on TV shows like, Jhilmil Taare.

About His Father


Jalandhar, May 18 (ANI): Having dedicated his life to popularize Sufi music, Ustad Puran Shah Koti is today held in deep respect by some of the best known names of the Punjabi music world.

Ustad Koti holds the distinction of having trained some of the popular Punjabi singers including Han Raj Hans, Jasbir Jassi and Master Salim. “Singing is god’s gift to me. My father Ranjan Das taught me singing. I took further training from Waqir Hussain `Sahab’ of Patiala. My wife gave me her support during bad times -when we had nothing to eat and no shelter,” says Puran Shah Koti, the sufi singer. He narrates how he moved to Shahkot in Jalandhar and took shelter in a small hut. It was there that he taught music to Jasbir Jassi and Hans Raj Hans.

He claims to have no knowledge of any ‘technical method’ of singing. He calls himself “a nomadic singer”. “They listened to me and then followed my way of singing. I guess that’s how they have learnt singing from me,” says the legendry singer Koti.

“I wish what we have learned from our forefathers could live forever because singing is eternal. I want to sing in the same way as I have sung my whole life. I have no interest in money and I don’t want any awards. But my only aim is to make the upcoming generation aware of Sufism, classical music, heritage, culture, food and singing,” says Puran Shan Koti.

Saleem’s first album, Charkhe Di Ghook, was released when he was 10 years old. It was released on the label Sur Taal, created by his father’s friend, Majnider Singh Goli, and went on to become a hit. This led to several Punjabi music and religious albums and live shows. His song Dhol Jagiro Da also became a huge hit and giving him wide popularity. In the late 1990s, however as he was growing his voice started changing, which lessened his popularity. He made his comeback in 2000, with a hit Aj Hona Deedar Mahi da, which he sang at a New Year’s programme at Doordarshan channel, and later released albums dedicated to Goddess Durga including, Mela Maiya Da (2004), Aj Hai Jagrata, Meri Maiya and Darshan Kar Lao.

Around 2005, singer Jasbir Jassi introduced him to music director Sandeep Chowta, who subsequently called him to Delhi to record single Sajni in Sony Music album Teri Sajni.

Eventually Shankar Mahadevan, of the music trio Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, heard his performances at a jagaran at the Devi Talaab Mandir, Jalandhar, being aired at a religious TV channel, and thus Saleem made his debut as playback singer with single “Mast Kalandar” from the film Heyy Babyy (2007) under their music direction. The song was a hit and launched his Bollywood career. This was followed by most well-known singles including “Tashan Mein” from the film Tashan and Maa Da Ladla from the film Dostana (2008), and Aahun Aahun in Love Aaj Kal (2009).