Mohammed Zahur "Khayyam" Hashmi, fondly known as Khayyam Sahab, was born on February 18, 1927, in Rahon, Nawanshahr District, Punjab, British India. He was just 17 when Khayyam Sahab began music direction. But his musical dreams were briefly halted a year later owing to World War II when Khayyamji enlisted in the Army.
Three years later, Khayyamji came to Mumbai and resumed his musical journey. He started off composing as Sharmaji of the Sharmaji-Varmaji composer duo. They created music for the 1948 film, Heer Ranjha. But, after partition, his partner, Rahman Varma left Bombay.
That, of course, did not stop Khayyamji's journey. Five years on, it was time for his solo break.
In 1953, Khayyam Sahab composed the music for Dilip Kumar and Meena Kumari's hit Foot Path. Although Timir Baran was credited as the primary composer of the film, its success, and Khayyam's natural tendency to thrive with classical notes impressed all. And the rest is history!
Some of his early hits included songs in films such as Phir Subah Hogi (1958), Shola Aur Shabnam (1961) and Aakhri Khat (1966) - the last mentioned marking superstar Rajesh Khanna's entry into Bollywood. In picture: Jagjit Singh, Jagjit Kaur and Khayyam at the launch of new album Nivedan at ISKCON temple, Juhu.
Khayyam Sahab was honoured with the Padma Bhushan in the year 2011 and was bestowed the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 2007.
Khayyam Sahab won the National Award, and also a Filmfare Award, besides a few other recognitions for composing music for Umrao Jaan, which starred Rekha, Raj Babbar, and Naseeruddin Shah.
Khayyam Sahab's non-film songs are equally loved by his fans, especially 'Paaon Padun Tore Shyam,' 'Brij Mein Laut Chalo' and 'Ghazab Kiya Tere Vaade pe Aitbaar Kiya'.
Khayyam Sahab also gave music to the late Meena Kumari's album, 'I Write, I Recite' featuring 'nazms' (poems) sung by her. In picture: Khayyam sahab's 92nd birthday celebration.
Khayyam Sahab's forte were ghazals, thumris, dadras and other genres of Hindustani classical music. In picture: Khayyam Sahab with his wife Jagjit Kaur (left) and Asha Bhosle (right) at the launch of Naina Lagai Ke in 2010 (Picture courtesy: Anuja Gupta).
In an era when orchestra pop reigned, Khayyam was what many in Bollywood referred to as an artiste of refined expertise.
Khayyam Sahab is best known for his compositions for films such as Anjuman (1986), Razia Sultan (1983), Bazaar (1982), Dil-e-Nadaan (1982), and Noorie (1979).
After his demise, legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar took to Twitter and shared a fond memory with the late music composer. She said Khayyam made music to her liking and though she loved working with him, she was also scared because he was a perfectionist.
"Khayyam Sahab would treat me as his younger sister. For me, he used to make his special songs. I loved working with him but would also be a little scared because he was a perfectionist. His understanding and knowledge of Shayari was exceptional," mentioned Lata Mangeshkar in her tweet.
Reminiscing about the memories of the Rekha-fronted classic - Umrao Jaan (1982) - director Muzaffar Ali said it took Khayyam Sahab almost two years to create music for the film. "Day in, day out, I used to go to him. He used to stay at my house. It was an evolution of music. Today, no composer, director or producer will spend so much time on making the music. We left no stone unturned for this film's music," he said.
Khayyam Sahab passed away after a prolonged illness on Monday, August 19, 2019. He was 92. The noted composer was admitted at the ICU at Sujay Hospital in suburban Juhu due to lung infection over 10 days ago.
Khayyam Sahab is survived by his singer wife Jagjit Kaur.
When Lata Mangeshkar wrote to describe music maestro Khayyamji's demise as the "end of an era", she said it all.
In picture: Sushilkumar Shinde, Kangana Ranaut and Khayyam during the music launch of the movie Rajjo in Mumbai in 2013 (Picture courtesy/Satyajit Desai)
Legendary music director-composer Mohammed Zahur 'Khayyam' Hashmi passed away at 92 on Monday, August 19. His contribution to the music industry is unparalleled and he proved to be one of a kind. Here's a look at his journey through some rare, unseen photos, in his remembrance. (All photos courtesy/mid-day archives, Nimesh Dave, Yogen Shah)
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