14 comments on “Happy Birthday, Suraiya and Sajjad!

  1. Richard,
    You have made a nice connection of Sajjad Husain sharing his birthday with Suraiya. I regard Teri nazar mein main rahun as her best duet. This with her swan song makes Sajjad Husain an importat composer for her. Another Sajjad trivia: He was very particular that Husain was spelt with single ‘s’, and double s was enough to make him hit the ceiling.

  2. Anything and everything about composer Sajjad is extremely delightful considering the very little he composed . A loss to his fans.Thanq for this blog post.

  3. Sajjad’s big rival was Naushad, whom Sajjad considered inferior to his talent, so much so that Sajjad named his pet dog Naushad!!!

  4. I’ve read some pretty interesting stuff relating to Sajjad’s eccentricities, too. That was, I had heard, the main reason behind him – despite his immense talent – getting far fewer big films to compose for. Thanks for this post, Richard. The only song I’m really familiar with is Yeh kaisi ajab daastaan ho gayi hai, am just starting to listen to the others, and they sound wonderful too.

  5. AK, thank you for the good words. By the way, I have looked at your Suraiya-Naushad post, too. (And this time I knew almost all the songs in your post – with one exception, which was #2 on your list.) I started to write a comment, but I would have been the first there and I didn’t have all that much to say (except, “I like it, yes I do!”), so I thought I might wait to see if some of your very knowledgeable readers introduced more interesting conversation, as they often do.

    Regarding “Husain” vs. “Hussain”… Well, I felt very uncertain, myself, about whether there were one or two “s”es (and, btw, I am not exactly sure if I am noting that the right way :) ), but I double- and triple-checked, and every informational Web site that I saw spelled it with two. Where did you get the information about his strong objections to that? (Or is it just inherited common knowledge?) It would be nice to see an article describing that.

    I will consider changing that spelling, but it’s getting late in the day for me anyway (which is actually even later here for people who have normal sleeping hours – not reflected in the time that shows here, which is four hours further into the next morning), and since everybody spells it the way I did, I’ll leave it alone for now. :)

  6. Hi, Madhu. I just saw your comment after writing my reply to AK… Thank you for the good words, too, and I am glad that you are enjoying these so much! And yes, I have seen a few of those stories about his personality getting in the way… Glancing just at Wikipedia now, there is some very amusing stuff. And there is another Web site that had yet more stories, which I want to find and return to soon.

  7. Ah, more comments were up for approval. Maybe I will reorder all of this tomorrow…

    Priya, you’re welcome… And I agree, yes, he was an extremely delightful composer.

    Nick, that is a funny story. I would still consider Naushad to be my favorite, but I can see Sajjad as being a worthy rival talent-wise.

    In fact, a few years ago, when I was trying to keep a favorite list of soundtracks, Sajjad had the number one position, because I was so enchanted by Noor Jehan’s songs in Dost. But it really is impossible to rank these composers or their songs in such a way, and it’s a shame if they felt such a need to be competitive (though maybe Sajjad was the only one who felt quite such a need :) )…

  8. Hi Richard, nice to see a write-up on one of my favourite music directors. And one of my favourite singers as well. :) :)

    I was reading an interview with Sajjad’s son where he said that his father was a very contented man, and had no regrets about his limited output in films. He was happy, apparently, that he had never compromised on his principles.

    I wrote about Sajjad some time ago; do check it out.

  9. This comparison of Sajjad Husain with Naushad is inaccurate. We cannot take one film of Sajjad and says that those songs are better than Naushad’s therefore Sajjad was excellent. Naushad had a much bigger body of work and Sajjad only a few films. All these secondary Music Directors complain that they are not signed to important films. But the opposite is true. Important films need to hire hit makers like Naushad, S.D. Burman, C.Ramchandra, Shankar-Jaikishan. while Sajjad had one hit in “Dost”, Naushad had over a dozen like “Anmol Ghadi”, Andaz”, Aan, Deedar, Baiju Bawra””Dulari”,”Shahjahan”
    Nice to rediscover forgotten geniuses, but there is good reason they are not remembered.
    Please Richard, this is not a criticism of you or your readers. I am grateful for your website.

  10. Anu, thanks for that information about the interview with Sajjad’s son. I did kind of think that one had to give credit to Sajjad for saying what he felt and not giving a damn whom he was talking to. :) On the other hand, some of the anecdotes I read were a bit bizarre and didn’t show much in the way of principles. For instance, from Wikipedia:

    “When Shaukat Hussain Rizvi gave the credit for the musical success of Dosti (1944) to his wife and singer Noor Jehan, Sajjad vowed never to compose a song for Noor Jehan.”

    Now, that looks more than the product of a grossly overgrown ego than sticking to principles. :)

    And regarding your post on Sajjad… I will look at that soon. I probably did already, actually. (I was trying to remember other sites or blogs where I had read about him, but I just couldn’t recall…)

  11. Now, answering Kumar… Well, I did say that there was a point when Sajjad had my favorite soundtrack on the list, but I didn’t say that I concluded he was better than Naushad. (What I concluded, as I mentioned, was that I didn’t want to rank composers, etc., in such a way at all.) On the other hand, I disagree that the fact that Sajjad produced an excellent soundtrack did not make him excellent. I think even one excellent soundtrack would have proven him excellent and he did produce a few. (I agree, based on my own listening, that Dost was the best, but not the only…) And if there is a reason why a “forgotten genius” is not remembered, it is not always a direct result of his abilities or limits thereof. A lot may have to do with personality and making the right connections. (The personality point is certainly clear where Sajjad is concerned. Whether it was the only reason…I don’t really know.) Sometimes it might have a lot to do with luck and timing, and, anyway, hits and sales don’t always determine who the great geniuses are. (There have been many instances when works did become recognized as genius many years after they were produced due to increasing influence over time, even though they never approached being hits during their own time. I know this has happened now and then in Hindi cinema and related music… I know it has been pretty common in western rock/pop music during certain eras. (BTW, long ago, I was a part-time pop/rock critic for a few publications, incongruous though that may seem. :) ))

    From what I have seen, heard and learned, it does seem to me that during these particular times in Hindi films, music, etc.(i.e., the Golden Age and Vintage era), a lot of truly wonderful stuff was often commercially encouraged (if not always), and that maybe it is not so much the case today. (Actually, some would say that is a gross understatement.) But I do believe that during any era, there are going to be lots of geniuses in any area whom no one will hear about.

  12. Richard, Excellent answer and analysis. When I was younger I did not think much of Madhubala but watching her films now, I have come to appreciate her multiple talents.
    Always glad to read you. Thanks

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