Remembering Naushad Ali, on his punya tithi

OV Digital Desk
3 Min Read
Naushad Ali

Naushad Ali (25 December 1919 – 5 May 2006) was an Indian Musician, Composer, Film Producer, Writer, Poet & Screenwriter who best-known for his work in Bollywood industry.

Early Life

He was born on 25 December 1919, in Lucknow, UP, India. His father, Wahid Ali, was a munshi. As a child, he attended the annual fair for qawwals and musicians at the Deva Sharif in Barabanki, where all the famous musicians and qawwals of that era would perform. Under Ustad Ghurbat Ali, Ustad Yusuf Ali, Ustad Babban Saheb and others, he studied Hindustani music. Also, he repaired harmoniums.


In 1937, he moved to Mumbai for career as a musician. He worked as an assistant for composer Khemchand Prakash, after much struggle. He got his first break as a music director with the movie “Prem Nagar” in 1940. He continued to get work even after the movie and its music went unnoticed.

A.R. Kardar’s film Nayi Duniya (1942) gave him his first credit as “music director” and he began to work regularly for Kardar Productions. His first big break came with Rattan (1944) and he was able to charge Rs 25,000 a film during those days.

He collaborated with several lyricists, such as Shakeel Badayuni, Majrooh Sultanpuri, D. N. Madhok, Zia Sarhadi, Yusufali Kechery, and Khumar Barabankvi.

In 1957, he composed the music for Mother India, which became the first Indian film to receive an Oscar nomination.

He formed a sought-after alliance and close friendship. Many of their songs are considered among the best in the industry, including those for “Mother India”, “Mughal-e-Azam”, and “Baiju Bawra”. Also, he introduced classical singers for playbacks, such as Bade Ghulam Ali Khan for “Mughal-e-Azam“, and Ustad Amir Khan for “Baiju Bawra“. Among other singers, Naushad’s staples were Lata Mangeshkar and Mohd Rafi. Rafi ended up singing 149 songs for him for 41 films.

The last film he composed for was “Taj Mahal: An Eternal Love Story” in 2005.

From 1942 until the late 1960s, he was one of the top music directors in Hindi films. During his lifetime, he produced 65 films, 26 of which were Silver Jubilee films, 8 were Golden Jubilee films and 4 were Diamond Jubilee films.


In 1992, he received the Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award of India.

In 1981, he was awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke Award. He also received the Sangeet Natak Academy Award.


He died on 5 May 2006, in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.

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