On 16 June, 2016, ‘Mumbai Mirror’ had reported that Zarina Hussain Shaikh, daughter-in-law of Mubarak Begum, had finally received the Rs 80,000 that had been promised by the State Cultural Affairs minister Vinod Tawde to take care of an ailing Begum.
On 18 July, the golden-voiced singer passed away at her Jogeshwari residence at the age of 80. She had been living in poverty and anonymity for many years.
Mubarak Begum had achieved fame at the age of 13, when composer Nashad chose her to sing ‘Mohe Aane Lagi Angdai Aaja Aaja’ for the film ‘Aiye’ in 1949. She sung another song with an up-and-coming singer, Lata Mangeshkar, for the same film. Though Mubarak’s voice was regarded as being a worthy successor to Noor Jehan and Suraiya, it was Lata who rose to fame.
On Tuesday, Lata Mangeshkar wrote on Twitter: “Bahut dukh ki baat hai ki hamare samay ki gaayika Mubarak Begumji hamare beech nahi rahi. Main unko shraddhanjali arpan karti hoon.”
Born in Sujangarh, Rajasthan in 1936, she was raised in Ahmadabad before her family moved to Mumbai. She received classical training in music and performed for All India Radio (AIR), through which she was discovered by Nashad. She worked with big music directors like SD Burman, Shankar Jaikishan and Khayyam.
Some of her songs include ‘Kabhi Tanhaiyon Mein Hamari Yaad Ayegi’, ‘Neend Ud Jaaye Teri’, ‘Mujh Ko Apne Gale Lagalo’, ‘Humrin Dum Daike’ and ‘Hum Haal E Dil Sunaenge’.
Khayyam described her as dedicated and uncomplaining through several rehearsals. It was him and composer Anu Malik and veteran scriptwriter Salim Khan who helped Mubarak Begum financially in her last days.