Talat Mahmood: The Ghazal Samrat
Talat Mahmood was a beacon of antique, ethereal music. His velvet-husky voice continues to reverberate many fond memories, writes Sharad Dutt.
I had a long association with Anil Biswas, my favourite music composer. Given my ardent admiration for this maestro, I had produced and directed a documentary on him, and, later, I also wrote his award-winning biography, Ritu Aaye Ritu Jaye. Anil da was primarily responsible for the career of singers Mukesh and Talat Mahmood. Once I told him that I was keen to do a documentary on Talat Mahmood, but I had never met him. Anil da assured me that I would meet him and he introduced me to the Ghazal Samrat at his residence a quarter century ago.
Talat was in Delhi in April, 1992 to receive the Padma Bhushan from President R Venkataraman. Next day, he was to meet Anil da, as he would invariably visit him as and when he was in town. On being introduced, Anil da told him that I wished to make a film on him. Talat had great regard for Anil da having made his debut as playback singer in Bombay. He welcomed the idea and promised to meet me in Bombay for further discussion. In a couple of settings for filming, he narrated his life story, the low and high points of his career in Calcutta and Bombay, and arranged my interviews with Dilip Kumar Saab and Khayyam Saab. He also insisted that I must include his daughter Sabina, who had migrated to Poland with her husband after marriage. Hence, the film was delayed.