G.M. Durrani was a legendary Bollywood playback singer. His singing career started from AIR (All India Radio). It was the British era and singers working in AIR were not allowed to do private recordings. Durrani Saheb was working as a full time singer in AIR. When Shoran Modi heard his voice, he liked it much that he decided to take him as a play back singer in his movie Saaed-E-Hawas. Durrani lent his voice for the song titled "Mastonko Shem Farz Hai Peena Sharab Ka, Gutti Mein Meri Padh Gaya Qatara Sharab Ka" under the music direction of Bundu Khan, better known as the "Taan-Talwar" Bundu Khan.
During those days there was no concept of play back singing but when after few years this concept came up, Durrani Sahib was asked to do play back singing by Rafeeq Gazanavi (music director). As private recording was not allowed during those days so Durrani Sahab agreed to sing under certain terms and conditions. He asked Rafeeq Gazanavi to schedule the recording on a Sunday so that only the required people can come to the studio. He also requested not to print his name on the song discs or anywhere else. He sang the song with an Anglo Indian named Miss Rose and got paid Rs 75. This amount was much higher that what he was paid for singing in AIR which was Rs 70 a month. He gave up singing for AIR on 31st December 1940 to pursue his career as an independent play back singer in Bollywood.
Durrani Sahib had sung quite a number of songs during his short lived career. In those days there was no demand for versatile voice. Although his career was short lived, he sang in some of the most famous movies. Some of these hit movies for which he sang are Shama, Humlog, Namaste, Magroor, Sabak. He had worked with the top music directors of the industry namely, Naushad, Khurshid Anwar, Shankar Rao Vyas and A.R. Qureshi. Durrani sahib was a very modest and helpful person. Many singers started their career during that time and he helped and inspired these young singers a lot. He was liked a lot by people of the industry. His talent was liked and appreciated by Mohammad Rafi as well. Rafi Sasheb first recording with Durrani Saheb was in the year 1944 for the movie Gaon Ki Gori. Our very own Nightingale of India Lata Mangeshkar had sang her first song with Durrani Saheb. The title of the song was Ae Chorre Ki Jaat Badi Bewafa. Famous singer Geeta Dutt also sang a song (a lot of songs) with him. It was composed by S.D. Burman and the song title was Aaj Preet Ka Naata Toot Gaya.
|Akashpari||1958||Ho gaye barbad hum acchha hua|
|Akashpari||1958||Ho khel nahin dil se voh dil ka lagana|
|Awara shahzadi||1956||Hum tum se raazi|
|Badshah salamat||1956||Dil ke darwaze mein hui khatkhat|
|Baghdad||1952||Dile beqarar kahe baar baar|
|Baghdad||1952||Yeh pyar ki baatein|
|Dil ki basti||1949||Kadam hai...nazuk dil hai tod na dena|
|Dil ki basti||1949||Yahi hai dil ki basti|
|Do bhai||1947||Aaj preet ka naata toot gaya|
|Geet govind||1947||Chamkat damkat damini|
|Geet govind||1947||Viyogan deepshikha si jare|
|Ghayal||1951||Daiya re daiya|
|Ghayal||1951||O rani mainawati|
|Heer ranjha||1948||Kafas ki qaid mein humko|
|Hip hip hurray||1948||Hip hip hurray 2,dubeyji ko pakwan mila|
|Jalte deep||1950||Nai ek duniya basayenge 19sardul kwatra ,|
|Khel||1950||Teri nazaron ne mere seene pe fire kar diya|
|Man ka meet||1950||Machalta hua yeh dil|
|Nazare||1949||Bahar aayi chaman|
|Nazare||1949||Duniya ki andheri raat mein|
|Nazare||1949||Mere man mein dol|
|Nazare||1949||Milate ho usiko|
|Neelampari||1952||Jab tak chamke chand|
|Nirmal||1952||Tu jo mere pyar ki khichdi pakayega|
|Patal bhairvi||1952||Jaoongi maike jaaongi|
|Pehli shaadi||1953||Tum haan kah do|
|Sansar||1951||Lucknow chalo ab rani|
|Sheikh chilli||1956||Madhoshi mein tanhai mein|
Durrani Saheb's career was short lived. There are many stories which states reasons for his career fall. According to some stories, he had a bad argument with a famous female playback singer due to which music directors stopped hiring him. According to others he went to Hajj and after that he was asked not to sing for a while. By the time he decided to come back, his career was over.
It is said that after a decade or two some one spotted an old man singing in a studio for jingles. He approached the old man to appreciate his voice and was taken aback to see it was G.M.Durrani. Durrani Saheb died in poverty (the year of his death is not known).