Saleem Raza: The Inimitable Singer

By Anis Ahmed Shakur


One of the greatest playback singers of Pakistan, whose hundred percent songs (solo's and duets) were either hits or superhits?

Answer: Saleem Raza.

The singer with whom every female singer of Pakistan considered an honor to sing duets?

Answer: Saleem Raza.

The singer who was the last word, when it came to sad songs?

Answer: Saleem Raza.

The singer about whom every music director in Pakistan was confidant that he is going to deliver the song as precisely as he is expected?

Answer: Saleem Raza.

The singer whose name once stamped on any movie, guaranteed its success?

Answer: Saleem Raza.

The singer whose singing records have not been broken to date. (meaning control on breathing, injecting pathos, correct pronunciation, knowledge of music, etc.)

Answer: Saleem Raza.

The singer whose songs are considered as precious today as they were four decades ago?

Answer: Saleem Raza.

The singer who remained unchallenged in his entire career?

Answer: Saleem Raza.

The singer who was, is and will be considered the king of sad songs?

Answer: Saleem Raza.

These are some of the comments which Saleem Raza's attentive ears were accustomed listening in his day to day life and which obviously kept him happy, healthy and hilarious every day from dawn to dusk.

Saleem Raza was a gem which have been lost forever.

The most pathetic part of the story is that great singers of very high caliber like him are not born daily. In fact, the death of such artists is not the death of one individual, rather, it is an end of a grand era, a school of thought and an institution which could never be replaced, duplicated, equalled or substituted. Such great singers are extremely rare, perhaps, as rare as a century flower.

In his illustrious singing career, he had generated two thousand memorable songs for six hundred movies. Amongst his most popular songs was: "Yaro mujhe ma'af rakho (saat lakh).

One hundred thousand gramophone records of this song were sold and Saleem Raza was also presented a silver disc from the recording company in 1960 for this song.

His songs were picturized on all great actors of his time.

He had been residing in Canada for quite sometime for personal reasons. There, he had been providing training to young music lovers. He passed over in Canada in 1983 at the age of 52.

The tremendous impact of "Shahay medina" (Na'at: Saleem Raza and fellow singers) on the Pakistanis was, indeed, overwhelming, an experience of a lifetime.

Saleem Raza's mere utterance of "Saray nabi teray dar kay savalee" in "Shahay medina" was enough to bring tears in the eyes of the people of all ages.

I have yet to see an individual who was not moved or have not praised one of the greatest feat of all times.

What, after all, was the secret of Saleem's sheer sadness, which was of such magnitude that on the one hand touched and melted even the most stone- hearted person and on the other, captivated the hearts and minds of innumerable listeners for the past fifty years (1950 to almost 2000).

This is a $64,000 question.

Perhaps, at this point in time, the only plausible explanation is unexplainable.

Some of his superhits are listed here for his innumerable admirers round the globe:

* Na aye aaj bhi tum : Saleem Raza, Mala: Dewar Bhabi.

* Bhool jao gay tum : Saleem Raza: Seema

* Meray dil ki anjuman : Saleem Raza: Qaidee

* Jaan-e- baharaan : Saleem Raza : Azra

* Zindagi mein aik pal bhi : Saleem Raza: Hamsafar

* Ghari ,ghari yoon :Saleem Raza : Salma

* Jhatak kay daman : Saleem Raza : Haaboo

* Aye nazneen tujh sa : Saleem Raza: Shama

* Ye naaz, ye andaaz : Saleem Raza: Gulfam

* Tujh ko maloom nahi : Saleem Raza : Aanchal

* Magar aye haseenai nazneen : Saleem Raza: Raah guzar

* Bana kay mera nasheman : Saleem Raza : Dau Raastay

* Husan ko chand jawani : Saleem Raza : Payal ki jhankar

* Zindagi majboor hai: Saleem Raza: Barsaat mein

* Aye dil kisi ki yaad mein : Saleem Raza , Naseem begum : IK tera sahara

* Kaheen dau dil jo: Saleem Raza, Naseem begum: Saheli

* Bay dard zamanay walon : Saleem Raza: Aas paas

* Kar saree khatayein : Saleem Raza: Daata

* Badalon mein chup raha hai : Saleem Raza, Naseem begum

* Ye na thi hamari qismat : Saleem Raza, Noor Jehan: Ghalib

* Chand takay chup chup kay : Saleem Raza, Zubeida Khanum : Ishq-e-laila

* Meri tauba tauba : Saleem Raza and associates : Tauba

* Aao baccho sair kara ain : (National song)

Saleem Raza is no more with us, but I am pretty sure that he is looking down at us with eagerness, from far, far away, smile smeared all over his face, and at this very moment, when we applaud his magnificent songs, this is what he has to say: "To all my fans: Salutations!" 3/4

Coming up next: "Shadow of those voices": Keep watching.