Mubaraq Begum is one of those playbeck singers of our film industry who never got her due, neither from the industry nor from her followers. She was sidelined by the recording companies as well as the producers. Mubaraq Begum emerged on the film scene when names like Lata Mangeshkar
, Asha Bhosle
and Geeta Dutt
were doing so well. Mubaraq tried to make a stand but never got much attention. Though she had an excellent appealing voice which was vastly different from the singers of her time, but she could never become the first choice of the well known composers of her time, nor even the second!!. But if you go through the songs she had sung then you'll definitely feel sorry for her. Perhaps she should have sung more songs for us to cherish.
Mubaraq Begum was born in the mid '30s in Jhunjhunu, Rajsthan. Her family moved to Ahmedabad ahen she was seven years old. She learnt classical ainging under Ustad Riyazuddin Khan saheb of Kirana Gharana. Later she started singing on All India Radio (AIR). As a teenager Mubaraq was a huge admirer of Suraiyya's singing and she used to sing her songs. It was during her one of her AIR broadcast that music composer Rafique Gazanavi heard her and invited her to sing for him. This was her chance to become a star but she was so afraid that she could not sing infront of the mike and the chance slipped away. The same thing happened when composer Shyam Sunder
gave her the next chance. This was very disturbing for her as well as the composers. Still, she got her third chance to sing for composer Shaukat Dehlvi for the film 'Aaiye'. This time she gathered some courage to face the mike and she somehow managed to sing 'Mohe Aane Lagi Angdaai...'. Her confidence boosted but she could not get any furthur chance to sing. She patiently waited for her chance to come. It was in 1953 that Kamaal Amrohi was making his film Daaera and was looking for some fresh voice. Jamal Sen was the composer. They invited Mubaraq Begum for the rehearsals. Mubaraq's luck clicked this time and she got few songs to sing for Daaera. The duet with Mohd. Rafi
'Devta Tum Ho Mera Sahara, Maine Thama Hai Daaman Tumhara...' was a hit and her work was appreciated by the masses.
Inspite of being able to sing infront of the mike Mubaraq remained a very shy person and this sometimes created problems for her. She was too shy to give give any interviews. For instance, once Ameen Sayani approached her for an interview which was to be broadcasted over the radio. Mubaraq asked 'Mujhko kuchh bolna hoga kya? Aap gaane ko kahoge to main gaa saqti hoon...' That interview did happened and Mubaraq sang few line in it but the talking part was done by her sister Vijaybala, who was an actress.
Mubaraq Begum did not get many songs to sing and most of the songs she sang were for the lesser known composers of her time. Though she worked with the names like Naushad
, Shankar Jaikishan
, Salil Choudhary
, S D Burman
and Madan Mohan,
but this could not help her in a big way. May be it was her shy nature which kept her on the sidelines or the big names that existed during her times.
She maintained to keep a low profile. Never came into the limelight. She lived in Bombay with her family and barely managed to keep her home running. Her son drove a taxi to earn the livlihood for the family. May be this is what life is all about. But we all know that she deserved much better life than this.
Mubarak Begum died on 18 July 2016 at her residence in Jogeshwari after a prolonged illness.