Talat Mahmood was a popular Indian actor and playback singer, who ruled India for four decades (40s-80s) with his soft and mellow voice. He was popular for singing romantic, soft, lyrical and ghazal songs. He was nicknamed with many names like Velvet Voice Of India, Man With The Golden Voice, A Perfect Gentleman and King of Ghazals.
Talat Mahmood was born on Feb 24, 1924 in Lucknow, India. He was born into a highly cultured and conservative Muslim family. Talat was bitten by the love of music since his childhood. In his young age he was used to sit and listen the great singers in Indian classical music through all the night.
Talat's father Manzoor Mahmood was also a good singer. Also his sisters were good singers as well. Despite being born in the family of music lovers, Talat was first opposed by his family to become a singer. Muslim families at that time are very conservative that they didn't want their children to enter the show biz. Talat was given the options to select between singing and home. Talat chose the former one. After a decade later his family agreed with him when the film and music industry gained respect. Things become better when people from famous and respectable families started joining the industry.
Talat learnt music for some short period from Morris Music College. During college he took training from Pandit S.C.R. Bhat. Talat started his career by singing for Lucknow All India Radio, when he was just 16. Talat had very different voice quality. He had great clarity in words. He had very expressive style which made him different from other singers. His voice was fresh and new, which was soon noticed by big productions like HMV who released his debut album in 1941. The lines from the album 'Sab Din Ek Samaan Nahin Tha, Ban Jaoonga Kya Se Kya Main' were turned indeed true for the singer.
His big break came in 1944 with the song Tasveer Teri Dil Mera Behela Na Sakegi from his private album. He became overnight popular with this song. The song still stood one of the biggest non-film hits. The success soon brought him to the Calcutta's Film world. Calcutta Film Industry was the first or leading film industry in India at that time (in 40's).
He was young and handsome singer. He was also roped as a lead actor in films. Talat did 16 movies as an actor in his life. In 40's he was starred in three regional films by Calcutta Film Industry: Rajlaxmi, Tum Aur Main and Samapti.
In 1949 he moved to Mumbai, where he was soon offered a song 'Ae Dil Mujhe Aisi Jagha Le Chal' by music director Anil Biswas for film Arzoo. The song was picturized on superstar Dilip Kumar was again become a super hit. The song made a trend to include Ghazals in films. His soft, mellow and expressive voice was best suited to Ghazals and soft, romantic songs. He was later termed as the King of Ghazals.
Talat also acted in number of Bollywood films like Waris (1954), Dil-e-Nadaan (1953), Ek Gaon ki Kahani (1957), Lala Rukh (1958), Maalik (1958), Sone ki Chidiya (1958), to name a few. For the film Dil-e-Nadaan, producer A.R. Kardar launched 'All India Beauty Contest' to select a heroine for the film opposite handsome and talented Talat Mahmood. The search ended with Peace Kanwal. During his acting career he worked with the leading ladies like Nadira, Shyama, Suraiya, Nutan, Shashikala and Mala Sinha. Talat later take off from acting and gave full time to singing.
In the late 1960s the industry was influenced by the rock-n-roll and disco songs which sidelined the soft and ghazal songs. Also the music directors turned their way towards the new singers like Mohammad Rafi and Mukesh. Not so happy with the new trend, Talat decreased his number of recordings. But the singer already securely placed himself in the Indian music history. He had given number of hits to his fans to wow still today.
Talat Mahmood was the first Indian singer who did a foreign tour in 1956 to East Africa. He also addressed to the packed audiences in countries like England, USA, West Indies and other countries. He last traveled to Holand in 1991.
Talat Mahmood - Hit Songs