Rasheed Attre — One of the finest music composers of the subcontinen (Part 2)
By Dr Amjad Parvez
In my private mehfils even today, I am asked to croon Munir Hussain cum Zubeda Khanum’s song ‘Dila Theher Ja Yaar Da Nazara Lein Dey’. I also sang it for Syed Qaiser Ali Shah’s ‘Sunehrey Geet’ for PTV some years ago. This song is from Rasheed Attre’s movie ‘Mukhra’. The other hit song from this movie was ‘Mera Dil Channa Kutch Da Khidona’. This shows that Rasheed Attre gave maximum break to crooner Zubeda Khanum, perhaps because at that time Noor Jehan had not yet entered as a background singer and had only sung only for the movies she acted in. Then came the time for competition to compose for Noor Jehan’s movie ‘Anarkali’ directed by Anwar Kamal Pasha with Sudhir and Ragini as hero and vamp, respectively. Javed Attre’s son told me that initially all the songs were to be composed by Master Inayat Hussain but after two songs had been recorded, Anwar Kamal Pasha had a change of heart and he contacted Rasheed Attre to compose the music. The latter asked the producer to obtain Master Sahib’s permission on the condition that all songs would be composed by him (Rasheed Attre).
However, when the movie was released it had songs composed by Master Inayat as well, for which Rasheed Attre remained estranged with Pasha until his death. Four songs ‘Banwari Chakkori’, ‘Jo Bhi Nagah-e-Yaar Kahey Maan Jaaiye’, ‘Tumhari Arzoo Mein Koocha-e-Qatil’ and ‘Sada Hun Apney Pyar Ki’, all of which were hits had been composed by Rasheed Attre. Humera Arshad, a contemporary singer, remixed the last song, which got popular. Director Khalil Qaiser made a movie named ‘Shaheed’ which was based on Muslims’ struggle. How can anyone forget Naseem Begum’s ‘Us Bewafa Ka Sheher Hei Aur Hum Hein Dosto’ written by Munir Niazi.
I also rendered this ghazal in PTV’s programme ‘Meri Pasand’. The other songs from this movie were ‘Nisaar Mein Teri Galiyon Pey’, ‘Meri Nazarein Hein Talwar’ and ‘Habibi Haiya Haiya’, the last two by Naseem Begum. The first was by Munir Hussain, who was among the favourites of Rasheed Attre, perhaps because Mehdi Hassan had not entered the Pakistani film scene by then.
Noor Jehan sang for Rasheed Attre in Hasan Tariq’s movie ‘Neend’, for which Rasheed Attre bagged Nigar Award in 1959. I still recall having watched this movie in Regent Cinema, Lahore. Noor Jehan, Neelo and Nighat Sultana were coal pickers in the movie and Aslam Parvez played the hero but in a negative role.
The movie was dominated by Noor Jehan’s songs ‘Chan Chun Bajey Payal Bajey’ and ‘Terey Dar Par Sanam Chaley Aaei’. One of its songs ‘Akeli Kahin Mat Jana Jamana Najuk Hei’ was remixed by the composer’s grandson Jimmy Attre lately. Rasheed Attre also composed modern songs such as Noor Jehan’s ‘Zindigi Hei Ya Kisi Ka Intizar’ from the movie ‘Salma’. His unique composition in director Luqman’s visionary movie ‘Farishta’ is in line with our observation. We are talking of ‘Dil Ki Dharkan Teri Aawaaz Howee Jaati Hai’ by Noor Jehan, pictured on actress Yasmeen. Javed Attre told me recently that his father had understood the psyche of music lovers of his time and he could give music of any sort to them as per their requirements. His personal forte, however, was to ‘dilute’ classical music into film songs. As far as the famous Sufi Tabasum’s ghazal ‘Sau Baar Chaman Mehka’ sung by Naseem Begum for the Santosh Kumar’s movie ‘Sham Dhaley’ is concerned, she sounded so close to Noor Jehan that the latter complained to Rasheed Attre many times as to why ‘her’ ghazal was given to Naseem Begum, Javed Attre revealed. Javed Attre has three elder brothers, late Liaquat Attre and Sadaqat Attre, both assistant directors, and the third, Wajahat Attre, is himself a famous music composer.
Young director S Suleman, younger brother of Santosh Kumar and Darpan, now thought of using Rasheed Attre as his eldest brother had done. He decided to directed a movie, titled ‘Gulfam’. The movie had the following songs:‘Ye Naaz Ye Andaaz Ye Jadu, Ye Adayain’, ‘Aankhon Mein Aankhein Daal Kay’, ‘Utha Lay Aap Hee Khunjar’ and ‘Mushkil Hai Meri Nazar Bachhna’.
Rasheed Attre was a gentleman if his character is to be summed up. He used to smoke pipe and would wear a three-piece suit most of the time. He was an educated person with love for good poetry. That is why he picked Faiz Ahamd Faiz’s poetry from Najam Naqvi’s movie ‘Qaidi’. The poem ‘Mujh Sey Pehli Si Muhabbat Merey Mehboob Na Maang’ has been popular across the world for the past five decades. Another of Rasheed Attre’s hallmark movie is Jaffar Malik’s ‘Mauseeqar’. The song ‘Gaei Gi Duniya Geet Merey’, which fits the story of crooner Noor Jehan that everybody will hum her songs when she is no more, is a gift of Rasheed Attre to her. Fifties was the decade of musicals on both sides of the border. With this movie Pakistan did its bit. The other popular songs of this movie were: ‘Yaad Karoon Tujhay Shaam Saweray’ and ‘Tum Jug Jug Jiyo Maharaj Re’, sung by Noor Jehan and Salim Raza.
The list of songs given up is enough to prove that the success of the movies, which they were part of, had a lot to do with Attre’s music. Now Anwar Kamal Pasha decided to launch Rani as heroine in the movie ‘Mehboob’. Attre was the natural choice when it came to selecting a music composer. He lived to his name by composing Noor Jehan’s ‘Nigahein Mila Kar Badal Janey Waley Mujhey Tujh Sei Koi Shikayat Nahin Hei’ pictured on Rani. The director SM Yousuf, who had migrated from India, utilised the services of Attre for his movie ‘Dulhan’ followed by Attre composing famous song ‘Gar Tum Haseen Na Hotey’ for the movie ‘Gehra Daagh’. I can, however, never forget Noor Jehan’s melodious alaap at the start of the song ‘Jiya Ra Tarsey Daikhan Ko’ from the movie ‘Mahal’, again Attre’s innovation. Another ghazal that I sing in my concerts is Salim Raza’s ‘Husn Ko Chaand Jawani Ko Kanwal Kehte Hein’ from the movie ‘Payal Ki Jhankar’. The last two are classic examples of Rasheed Attre’s brilliance as a composer.
The other movies for which Attre composed music are Laila Mujnu, Rukhsana, Gulshan, Saahil, Dakoo Ki Larki, Aik Manzil Do Raahain, Aazaad, Shabab, Hazaar Dastaan, Al-Hilal, Jeedar, Mirza Jat, Baau Jee, Zaalim and Chataan. By giving the maximum number of hit songs to the Pakistani film industry in a short span of time, Rasheed Attre made it proud, especially when outstanding music was also being created by giants such as Sajjad Hussain, Khem Chand Parkash, Naushad Ali, SD Burman, Anil Biswas, Shankar Jaikishen, Salil Chaudhry, Madan Mohan, OP Nayyar, Khayyam and others across the border.