Rasheed Attre: Rhythm of Sound

By Anis Ahmed Shakur

Qarar lutenay walay qarar ko tarsay

Great composer of the Indo-Pak subcontinent, Abdur Rasheed, who is widely known as Rasheed Attre, was born in Amritsar, Punjab, India, in 1919.

His father, Khushi Mohammad, was also highly acclaimed singer-musician in his time.

Young Rasheed acquired his initial music lessons from Khan Sahib Ashfaq Husain.

Brilliant enough, Rasheed soon mastered the musical instruments in general and tabla, in particular.

In the early 1940s, Rasheed decided to consolidate his efforts towards composition and started his music career from Mahishori pictures, Lahore, for whom he composed two songs for the film ‘Pagli'.

The rest of ‘Pagli's' songs were composed by Ustaad Jhanday Khan.

For the first time in 1942, Rasheed independently composed songs for Indira Puri picture production, the film ‘Mamta' (Director: Hafiz Jee, lead actor:Kalawati)

Rasheed exudes an altogether different tune and it was all the more evident in the Naueek Chitar Pat's 1944 movie, ‘Pana' (Director: Najam Naqui, lead actress: Geeta Nizami, formerly known as Mohani, lead actor: P.J. Raj).

Attre collaborated with the musician Ameer Ali to compose ‘Pana's' songs, which was an instant hit, largely due to its powerful lyrics and superb music.

Some of the songs from ‘Pana' are:

Ut bahay Ganga, ut bahay Jamana (tuhmri)
Her cheese yahan ki fani, mela do din ka.
Kaali ghata chayee Raja, sheeshay ki paalki mein teri lal pari Aayee.
Himmat ko na haar musafir.

Rasheed also composed songs for Naueek Chitar Pat's another production, the film ‘Kamra No.9.'

In fact, before ‘Kamra No.9, Rasheed and his co-musician, Pundit Amar Naath, had immortalized the songs for the Pancholi Art pictures production, ‘Shireen Farhaad' (released in 1945,director: Paro Hala Dutt, starring: Raagni, Junait, whose real name was Zakaria Khan and who was the father of Indian actor Amjad Khan).

Music lovers feel that Attre has a special resonance today, when they think of the mid 1940s, when Attre became the first music director to compose songs for the Bombay talkies first muslim social film ‘Nateeja', whose superhit ghazal ‘Kahan mein aur kahan deen-e-haram ki kashmakash, Nakhb, kis kay naqsh-e- paper rakh diya ghabra kay sar mein nay' is popular to date. (‘Nateeja' starring: Shamim Banu, Yaqoob S. Khaleel, Randheer, Jalo bai, Majeed, director: Najam Naqui)

Wistful magic of Rasheed was quite forceful in Roop kay Shoori's film ‘Paaro' (cast: Geeta Nizami or Mohni and Randheer)

Afterwards, he came out with magnificent music for director Shahid Lateef's movie, ‘Shikayat'

The first Pakistani film for which Rasheed lent his music was director Masood Pervez's ‘Beli'.

Three years after ‘Beli', Rasheed was in-charge of music for director Nazeer's punjabi film, ‘Shehri Babu', whose evergreen songs still reverberates in our ears:

Galan sunn kay maahi day naal meriyaan dopatta bay emaan ho gaya.
Bhagaan waaliyo, naam chabu mola naam (singer-actor: Enayat Husain Bhatti)
Rataan meriyaan bana kay raba, neeryaan nasibaan walay taray dub gaye
Ik munda dee cheese gawa chee pal kay cheeta Aaway ga.

Attre's music for director W.Z. Ahmed's 1954 family-friendly film ‘Roohi' was a success, two of its songs are listed here below:

Deikho jee moray mun mein.
Meri zindigi mein inqilaab Aa gaya.

Rasheed Attre's music is all very praise-worthy in director Nazeer's film ‘Khatoon', which was popular for its tuhmri.

Attre's composition exhibits an astonishing range and power in director Anwar Kamal Pasha's superhit film
‘Sarfarosh':
Teri ulfat mein sanam (singer Zubeida Khanum)
Ik chore ik lutera.
Aye chand unsay jakar: (singer: Zubeida Khanum)
Mera nishana deikhey zamana: (singer: Zubeida Khanum, picturised on Meena Shori)

In 1954, Rasheed was also given the responsibility of composing songs for director Anwar Kamal Pasha's golden jubilee punjabi film ‘Chan Mahi' (lyrics: Tufail Hoshiyar Puri, starring: Bahar, Aslam Pervez). Four of its songs are written here below:

Banday chandni day, sonay dee nath lay kay.
Saadhay ung, ung witch pyar nay payngan payi aan neer.
Nee chadye sajna deye.
Phair luteyaan chan mahi akhian.

Attre was, indeed, a powerhouse of a musician and a case in point is director W.Z. Ahmed's all-time favorite film, ‘Wada', which happened to be a movie from a more idealistic time:

Baar,baar barsain moray nain.
Lay chal dooor mujhay lay chal.
Jab teray sheher say guzarta hoon.

Attre's immense contribution to music will never be forgotten in director Jafar Malik's 1957 film, ‘Saath Lakh":

Ghoonghat uthaoon keh ghoonghat nikaloon.
Setam gar mujhay bay wafa jaanta hai.
Qarar lootnay walay.
Jo dil ko taurtay hain.
Yaro mujhay ma'af rakho.
Aaye mausum rangeelay suhanay (singer: Zubeida Khanum, picturised on Neelo on top of the mountain,
where humanity meets nature)

Notably Attre's music in the film ‘Mukhra' is worth listening to:

Doray khich kay na kajla paa yee.
Mera dil chana kay da khadonaa.
Dil tehar ja yaar daa nazaraa lain day.

At the height of his fame, Attre came up with his magical composition for director Anwar Kamal Pasha's semi historical movie, ‘Anar Kali'. To be precise, it was a joint venture of Rasheed Attre and master Enayat Husain Bhatti:

Baanwari chakori karay duniya say chori chori: Noor Jehan.
Sada hoon apnay pyar ki: Noor Jehan.
Jaltay hain armaan: Noor Jehan.

Attre was highly successful in creating frenzied interest in the cine-goers with his lilting music for director Khaleel Qaiser's memorable film ‘Shaheed':

Nisar mein teri galyoon pay aye watan keh jahan.
Meri nazrain hain talwaar.
Habibi hya hya.

His achievements in director Hasan Tariq's film ‘Neend' similarly are impressive: ‘Teray dar pay chalay Aaye'.

Attre's music in the film ‘Salma' is an experience of breathtaking scope:

Zindigi hai ya kisi ka intezaar: Noor Jehan.

Likewise, his music in Santosh Kumar's film ‘Shaam dhalay' has become the gold standard of trend setting:

Murli baja ye ja.
Sau baar chaman mehka.

Treat your soul to Attre's music that enlighten as well as entertain you in director S. Sulaiman's film
‘Gulfaam':

Ye naaz ye andaaz ye jadu, ye adayain.
Aankhon mein Aankhein daal kay.
Utha lay Aap he khunjar utha lay.
Mushkil hai meri nazar bachhna.

His unique composition in director Luqman's visionary movie ‘Farishta' is worth listening to:

Dil ki dharkan teri Aawaaz howee jaati hai (singer: Noor Jehan, picturised on actress Yasmeen) Zamana kis qadar meher baan hai.
Wo zamana zuroor Aaye ga.

Attre's exemplary music in director Najam Naqui's film ‘Qaidi' did lend new credence to his accounts:

Mujh say pehli see mohabbat meray mehboob na maang: (singer: Noor Jehan, ghazal: Faiz Ahmed Faiz)

To talk about director-producer, Qadeer Ghori's film ‘Mauseeqar' is to listen to Attre's dazzling array of compositions at its best:

Yaad karoon tujhay shaam saweray: Noor Jehan.
Ga ye gi duniya geet meray: Noor Jehan.
Tum jug jug jeeyo Maha Raj ray: Noor Jehan.

Director Anwar Kamal Pasha's film ‘Mehboob' (Rani's first film) is as awesome as its images, which will always be remembered for Attre's wonderful tunes:

Nigahein mila kar badal janay walay:(singer: Noor Jehan, picturised on Rani)

Director S.M.Yusuf's film ‘Dulhan' is yet another instance of Attre's self-mastery in composing songs:

Bari mushkil say nigahein uthi hain.
Saza kay qabil hain is liye hum sajna dorahay Aaye.

Also, unforgettable songs from the film ‘Ghehra Daagh': ‘Agar tum haseen na hotay'

Mentioned here below are some of the films whose songs were composed by Attre:

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.

His music in the film ‘Payal ki jhankar' is a story about human possibility that demonstrates brilliance and innovation: ‘Husn ko chand jawani ko ghazal kehtay hain.

Further, ‘Mehel' is a movie which powerfully illustrates his firm grip on the songs: ‘Jeeya ra tarsay dekhan ko'.

Furthermore, Attre won the prestigious Nigar award thrice:
Nigar award for the best music director for the film ‘Saath lakh' in 1957.
Nigar award for the best music director for the film ‘Neend' in 1959.
Nigar award for the best music director for the film ‘Shaheed' in 1961.

Rasheed Attre passed on December 18, 1967, at the age of 48.

Attre's myriad adorers will always remember him for the music that conveys the true sentiments of the Pakistani nation.