Zohrabai Ambalewali… I’ve referred to her a few times but from now on I’m going to try to remember her full name, not the various abbreviations. (And by the way, I also just put her full name into the review of Anmol Ghadi that I wrote the other day.) She was an excellent singer, one of the best among so many good female singers that I’m discovering from the Bollywood movies of the fabulous forties. So, here are three songs with Zohrabai, though I could list quite a few more…
1. I posted this song a long while back… It’s a great song from the soundtrack that I have listed in my “Filmi Favorites” as my number one Indian film soundtrack of all time. It’s kind of impossible to pick just one (number-one) favorite, but this soundtrack, from music director Khemchand Prakash. is at least as good as any other that I can think of. Mostly, it’s because it’s also Lata Mangeshkar’s best (IMO). But even the songs without Lata are great. “Yeh Raat Phir Na Aayegi” is a mujra sung by Zohrabai with another very good singer from the ’40s, Rajkumari:
2. Here she’s singing in the famous qawwali from Zeenat (1945) with Noor Jehan. This might have been the first women’s qawwali in Hindi cinema (it was either this one or the qawwali in Village Girl, made the same year), and it’s one of the best:
3. This song from Rattan (1944), might be the most famous one sung just by Zohrabai. To his credit, Atul posted this in February. (And he pointed out that it is, indeed, a tonga song.) It was Lata Mangeshkar’s favorite Zohrabai song, too, and she sung it in a tribute.