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Ahmed Rushdi: We Miss You

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One fine morning in 1954, people were listening a song from radio Pakistan Karachi’s station: The message of the song was unique, the voice was clear and forceful and the lyrics were "Bunder Road say Keamari". Little did the listeners realized that the boy who was singing then, is going to become the part and parcel of the golden era of Pakistan film industry for the next twenty nine years, and in the transaction he would leave two thousand assorted songs.
In fact, he wanted to become an actor but ended up as a playback singer.

Ahmed Rushdi was born in 1938 in a middle class, respectable family in Hyderabad Deccan, India. He migrated to Pakistan soon after independence. First he appeared in Radio Pakistan’s "Bacchon ki duniya" in the early 1950"s.
The first step in his professional career was a song for Karachi’s film "Karnama" in 1954. He familiarized the public in Karachi with his attractive voice for many years.

In 1959, he was invited to Lahore and few songs were recorded for film "Raaz". One of the songs "Chalak rahi hain mustiyan" a duet with Zubeida Khanum became very popular. What ever the secret (Raaz) was it did opened the doors of the Lahore film industry for Rushdi. After this came "Saperun, in which his memorable song, "Chand sa mukhra, gora badan" (Nigar award) ranked him amongst the three great singers of those times.

Ahmed Rushdi In 1960, actor Kamal’s "Jokar" was released and a song by Rushdi "Shauq -e-awargi,aaj is sheher mein" was an instant success. Then came "Mehtab" in 1961 and it brought "Goal guppay wala" (Nigar award). Essentially, Rushdi’s goal guppa reached almost each and every home in Pakistan. In fact, 1964 proved to be a milestone in Rushdi’s career: What happened was that an extremely sad song had to be recorded for the movie "Aanchal", since Saleem Raza was the last word in tragic songs, so the music director Khalil Ahmed was expected to go ahead with the assignment. However, Khalil had selected Rushdi. The producer/director could not afford to take any chances in the realm of the song, therefore, they insisted on Saleem Raza. Khalil, in turn, argued that he knows better whose voice is conducive for his particular music. To cut the long story short, Khalil was given the green signal to go ahead.

The future of two persons were at stake: Khalil’s, as well as Rushdi’s, for, if the song had not clicked, then both of them would have lost their credibility. Khalil, on his part, left no stone unturned regarding the composition of the song, as for Rushdi, he picked every fiber of pathos and pain which his head and heart could muster, which he dipped deeply in Khalil’s music. Result: "Kisi chaman mein raho tum"_ to this day, this song is relegated amongst the three greatest super hits of Rushdi’s twenty nine year singing career.

The 1960’s were the decade of challenges for Rushdi, since apart from Saleem Raza, he was in direct competition with highly talented singer like Mehdi Hasan (who is now considered as one of the greatest playback/ghazal singers of all time),S.B. John, Mujeeb Alam, Masood Rana, Bashir Ahmed and the list goes on and on.

However, with his God-gifted, well balanced, romantic-tragic renditions, he faced all challenges with courage and patience. All most all music directors in general and Sohail Rana in particular reaped Rushdi’s enormous talents for various situations in movies. Rushdi had that amazing quality which made him feel quite snug in a variety of audiences: Here is a man, who is going to bring cheers for millions with "Mil gaye hum ko pyar ki ye manzil (Ik nagina) and tears with "Jab pyar mein" (Armaan")

All film experts are unanimous that Rushdi’s voice best suited on the great Waheed Murad. In fact, Rushdi’s songs had a tremendous impact on the success of those movies. I personally feel that no write -up on Rushdi’s art will ever be considered comprehensive without "Aye abr-e-karam" (Naseeb apna apna). His romantic voice which mixed with the rainy/stormy midnight and the ease with which he sang on top of the thunder storm and lightning shows the true caliber of Rushdi. "Abr-e-karam" brings in my mind the sincere suggestion of Dr.Noor-ul-ain Aqeel , an avid admirer of Rushdi, who asserts that the word ‘dar’ is the theme of this song.

The 1970’s brought new faces like Alamgir, Mohammed Ali Shayki, Asad Amanat, Ghulam Abbas, A.Nayyar etc. Thanks to Rushdi’s flexibility, he survived. The 1980’s happened to be the period of tragedies for Rushdi. He had not been feeling well, the tide had turned against him. Intelligent enough, he soon realized that the time was running out for him.
Hence, at the first flickering of ill-health and before the final fretful moments he wanted to fulfil his ardent desire, which was to present his farewell distinctive gift to his myriad lovers: The greatest favor an artist can do to the society. He unleashed all his faculties and came out in flying colors with "Aanay walo suno"(Not recorded for film).
His last recorded song was a duet with Mehnaz for "Badalti rahein".

He had suffered two heart attacks which left him very weak. Doctors had advised him to abstain from singing. On the night of April 11,1983, he suffered a third heart attack which took his life. He was 45. The journey which Rushdi had started from Mehdi Zaheer’s "Bunder Road" in 1954 had ended at Azar Hafiz’s "Aanay walo suno" in 1983. The wistful voice of Rushdi, which had mesmerized millions for two generations is silenced for ever. Ahmed Rushdi is gone. As for his memory, it is like the blowing wind, that will touch and shake the strings of our hearts to keep us awake for years to come.


15 comments for “Ahmed Rushdi: We Miss You”

  1. This is an excellent effort to pay a tribute to asias top play back singer Ahned Rushdi.Critics are unanimous that Ahmed Rushdi has no match in giving expressions to both happy and sad songs.In whole subcontinent,no body competes him in singing talents except Mohammad Rafi.

    Posted by Umair | October 17, 2008, 4:55 pm
  2. Ahmed Rushdi is such a mtchless singer of subcontinent that even indian singers like Kishor and Mukeash cannot compete him.Only Mohd.Rafi qualifies the compition with Ahmed Rushdi.His voice quality was amazing.Nobody ever able to copy his voice or even style in which Rushdi use to sing.Ahmed Rushdi also holds the title of”Prince Of Melody”.

    Posted by Asjad | November 13, 2008, 1:11 pm
  3. Syed Ahmed Rushdi was a magician of voice.No other singer in subcontinent has the capability of playing with the voice and giving expressions as Rushdi use to do.Ahmed Rushdi had that amazing talent of taking his voice to high notes as well as to low ones without forming cones in his voice.This is on record that Rushdi didnt get any sort of formal training of classical singing but even then once it comes for classical songs,happy moods or sad numbers,first choice of music directors was always Ahmed Rushdi.Unfortunately,our young generation praises indian singers like Sonu Nigam,Udit Narayan and Pakistani incompetent singers,but they dont know none out of even Indian play back singers can match Ahmed Rushdies singing talents.Rather these singers have learned a lot from Rushdi.Ahmed Rushdi has gone but his leagend still travells.

    Posted by Amin Chouhdry | December 27, 2008, 1:31 pm
  4. Ahmad rushdi will remain ever green singer in music world with his melodius voice.His every song touch the heart.Un-fortunately his all songs are not available.

    Posted by Mansur Ahmad | January 8, 2009, 3:46 am
  5. I Love Ahmed Rushdi. Humayun Zafar

    Posted by M.Humayun Zafar | April 28, 2009, 7:59 am
  6. No doubt that Ahmed Rushdi was the greatest singer all the time. Ahmed Rushdi jaisa playback singer ager ham kisi ko kah saktey hain tou woh Muhammad Rafi hey. Main nahi samjhta kah Muhammad Rafi key ilaawa koi bhi playback singer Ahmed Rushdi key muqaabley ka ho sakta hey. Barey Saghir Pak-o-Hind main aik sey aik zaberdast gulukar aaey hain maslan K.L Sehgal, Mukesh, Talat Mahmood, Kishore Kumar, Udit Narayan, Mahdi Hassan, Masood Rana, Mujeeb Aalam, Bashir Ahmed, Akhlaq Ahmed, Mannadey, Hemant Kumar, Kumar Sanu, Sonu Nigam, Saleem Raza, Muneer Hussain, A. Nayar, Aalamgir,Abhijeet, Shaan, K.K aur Muhammad Rafi. Lekin Ager ham dekhen kah jo aik playback singer main qualities honi chahiyen yaani khubsurat mardana wajahat sey bherpoor aawas, awaaz main goonj, saaf aur wazeh aawaaz, her tarha key gaaney gaaney ki salahiat maslan ghamgeen, romantic, mazahia, bachoon key lie, naat, hamd, advertise aur singer ki aawaaz jiss actor per istamaal ki jaey tou aisa lagey kah woh actor hi gaa raha hey tou kisa mukhtasar yeh sab qualities ham ooper diyey gaey singers ki list main dekhen tou siwaey Muhammad Rafi key koi bhi singer Ahmed Rushdi key muqaabley per nazar nahi aata. Maslan Mahdi Hassan aik shaandar male singer hey aur ghamgeen gaaney aur romantic gaaney bohat zabardast gaata hey lekin mazahiya gaaney main woh kamal nahi nazar aata lekin meri apni rai hey kah bahasiatey majmuee merey nazdeek Ahmed Rushdi, Muhammad Rafi aur Mahdi Hassan teen aisey singers hain kah joh sab sey excellent singers hain. Inn key ilawa bhi bohat umda gaaney waley bhi hain jaisey Mukesh, Talat Mahmood, Kishore Kumar, Udit Narayan, Masood Rana, Mujeeb Aalam, Bashir Ahmed, Akhlaq Ahmed. Lekin aakhir main yeh hi kahoon ga kah jo baat Ahmed Rushdi ki awaaz main hey woh inn main kahan. Aur Akhlaq Ahmed aur Aalamgir ka pasandida singer bhi Ahmed Rushdi hi hey.

    Posted by Anwer Ahmed Khan | June 27, 2009, 2:47 pm
  7. Nice article and excellent tribute to the verstile Pakistani singer. Is there anyone having his last song “Aanay walo suno” recorded for radio?

    Posted by Jamil | August 11, 2009, 10:49 am
  8. Thats very nice that we all have gathered here to pay a tribute to the most successful and unique palyback singer of subcontinent Ahmed Rushdi.Rushdi sahab remains an unbeatable singer during last 60 years and still there is no chance of his replacement in Indo-Pak music industry. Here I would like to bring Ahmed Rushdi’s fans attention to an issue which Indians are creating on a website (http://www.hamaraforums.com/index.php?showtopic=78058) to undermine Rushdi’s importance by declairing him Mohammad Rafi’s imitation and copier which is not true and amused me a lot. Ahmed Rushdi sahab had his own unique style of singing and he never copied anyone.Infact many Indian singers copy Rushdi sahab. When Rushdi sahab was ruling film industry,some Pakistani singers were trying to copy Rafi sahab including Masood Rana and Akhlak Ahmed, but Rushdi’s uniquness was one of the factors(other than his amazing voice quality,grip over the sur and versatility)which brought him on number one position. I want all Rushdi fans to visit this site and defend this great Pakistani singer, we all are proud of.Thanks

    Posted by Asjad Khan | November 14, 2009, 4:12 pm
  9. No doubt Ahmed Rushdi was great film singer Of not only for Pakistan but also subcontienent.His singing style was unique.He was first pop singer of indo-Pak. KoKo reena was first pop song in the history of indo-pak.we really proud of it& Salam 2 Rushdi

    Posted by Shakil Ahmed | April 7, 2010, 1:47 pm
  10. Ahmed Rushdi is the sweetest voice I ever listened to..He is undoubtly the greatest playback singer in the history of subcontinent.His amazing quality was to sing in the parameters of sur,i.e,if he was singing a high pitch song,he use to maintain its parameters and same is the case with low pitch songs.At times Mohammad Rafi use to get out of the basic boundaries and use to produce a shouting effect(though he is also a great singer and a pride of India) but it never happened with Rushdi.In Pakistan there was a comparitively little room available for singers as recording devices were of no match with Indian equipment but even then Ahmed Rushdi had a voice which never required any instrumental enhancements.He was not formaly trained in classical music but his god gifted tallents made him equally capable of singing every type of melody including ghazals and semi classical.Kishore Kumar or Mukesh cannot stand with Ahmed Rushdi.If some one asks me,I will say Ahmed Rushdi was a blessing for Pakistan.

    Posted by Radha | April 26, 2010, 5:34 am
  11. Ahmed Rushdi sahab is an amazing singer of south asia. Rushdi sahab remained a unique singer of subcontinent.His voice had a powerfull expressive throw and was capable of singing variety of songs,ghazals,qawwalis etc.No other singer in Pakistan was that much capable.Still we dont find any singer who could match his capabilities even in India.

    Posted by Saad | April 27, 2010, 10:42 am
  12. ahmad rushdi was best singer, Allah bless him

    Posted by Razi Lone | May 3, 2010, 3:59 pm
  13. Ahmed Rushdi is a great singer still now. he never died always living in people hearts.he is “PROUD OF PAKISTAN”

    Posted by MUHAMMAD BULAND AKHTAR | June 5, 2010, 3:25 am
  14. Excellent write-up for the great singer Ahmed Rushdi, but still some emotions cannot be put from pen to paper. Rushdi was beyond praise, his songs still revive my childhood and youth memories. Radio Pakistan’s Bacchon ki Dunya song “Bunder Road Se Keamari” brings back my childhood and “Ay Abre Karam” my youth and first love. Some voices are to be Amar, going to the graves of the listeners with them. Ahmed Rushdi lives with us in our minds.

    Posted by Rashid Ibrahim | July 27, 2010, 4:29 am
  15. his songs rendered for sohail rana and moslehuddin are fabelous and duets renderd with nahid nayazi, runa laila and mala are still fresh and haunting melodies listen to the song baikal raat betai bechain din guzara for film indhan reminds us of the golden era of pakistan music hats off to great ahmad rushdi

    Posted by Mustafa Ahmad | October 12, 2011, 7:49 am

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