Ghulam Haider was one of the respected music directors of early films in India as well as in Pakistan. He was the one who was responsible for raising the status of music composers of that time by demanding the sum of Rs 25,000 per film. That much sum was never paid to any music director before. Ghulam Haider was also responsible for giving break to today's legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar.
Ghulam Haider was born in Hyderabad (which is now part of Sind, Pakistan), in 1908. Haider had taken education in dentistry, which he left in between to pursue career in music. He took training in music under Babu Ganeshlal. Haider left his dentistry studies in between and went to Calcutta, where he joined Alfred Theater as harmonium player. He also later joined Alexandra Theater as a harmonium player. However for a short period, he also worked at Jenaphone recording company as a composer.
Haider entered into the film world of Lahore with the father-son duo of Roshan Lal Shorey and Roop Kishore Shorey. In 1939, Haider got his first big break with a Punjabi film caleed Gul-E-Bakavali. Followed by it he also did the Noor Jehan starrer Yamla Jat in 1940. However he gave his first hit with the film Khazanchi in 1941. His music in the film caused revolution in the music world. His different music in the film surprised the audience as well as the other music directors.
His music in the 1942's Noor Jehan starrer Khandan was also became a hit. The film established him as a top music director. Haider later shifted to Bombay (Mumbai) and started working on movies- Chal Chal Re Naujawaan and Phool in 1944. In 1945 he composed music for 'Humayun'. His later well known movies in Bollywood include Majboor (1948), Shaheed (1948), Kaneez (1949) and Gulnar (1953).
Shamshad Begum had sung many of the popular compositions of Haider. Along with music composing, Haider was also responsible for supporting and giving break to great singer Lata Mangeshkar in her early career. Haider first took Lata Mangeshkar to S. Mukherjee to sing for film Shaheed. But Mukherjee denied to sign her as singer by saying that her voice is too thin. The era was filled with the heavy basy voices of singers like Zohrabai, Noorjehan, Suraiyya, Ambalewali, Shamshad Begum and Geeta Dutt, so Mukherjee felt Lataji's sweat voice too thin in front of them. But Haider challenged him by saying that this "little, thin" voice will give a backseat to all other top singers including Noor Jehan. Lataji and Haider proved it true later. Only Geeta Dutt and Shamshad Begum were survived after Lataji's entry in the film industry. Ghulam Haider gave Lataji her first break with film Majboor in 1948 and now rest is the history. Today Lataji is the most respected and veteran singer in the industry.
Besides, Lata Mangeshkar he also introduced other singers like Sudha Malhotra and Surinder Kaur.
After the India-Pakistan partition in 1947, Haider moved to Lahore, Pakistan. In Lahore, he formed the company Filmsaz along with partners- actor S.Gul and director S. Nazir Ajmeri. In 1953, he reunited with actress Noor Jehan for film Gulnar. But his career in Pakistan never matched the same height that he had in India. Unfortunately Gulnaar was Haider's last film. He died in 1953, just few days after the release of Gulnaar. He was just 45 when he died. His early death shocked his fans in India.
Ghulam Haider introduced the Punjabi folk music and instruments like dholak in the film music. Today he is not more, but his music inspired the later Punjabi music directors to take music career confedently. His work inspired many Punjabi music directors like Hansraj Behl, Husnlal Bhagatram, Shyam Sunder and Feroz Nizami.
Ghulam Haider - Popular Compositions