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Mohammed Zahur Khayyam Biography

Mohammed Zahur Khayyam Hashmi, popularly known as Khayyam, was born on 18 February 1927 in Rahon in Punjab, British India. He was a renowned music director and composer whose career spanned four decades. Khayyam earned several awards and accolades for his great music. He received many Filmfare Awards in his life for the Best Music Director for films like Kabhie Kabhie, Umroa Jaan, Noorie, Thodisi Bewafai, Bazaar, Razia Sultan and many more.

He was also honoured with the lifetime achievement award in 2010.

Khayyam was also conferred with National Film Award for Best Music Direction for the film Umrao Jaan in 1982. 

The great music composer was also awarded the 2007 Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in Creative music. Besides, Khayyam was honoured with Padma Bhushan, the third-highest civilian award by the Government of India in 2011. That’s not all, Khayyam was also honoured with Hridaynath Mangeshkar Award in 2018.

As a boy, Khayyam ran away to his uncle’s house in New Delhi where he was trained under classical vocalist and composer Pandit Amarnath.

Khayyam tied the knot with Jagjit Kaur in 1954. The couple had a son, Pradeep, who died of a heart attack in 2012. They were so inspired by their son’s helping nature that they started a trust, “Khayyam Jagjit Kaur Charitable Trust” to help artists and technicians in need.

In his last days, Khayyam was suffering from various age-related diseases. On 28 July 2019, Khayyam was admitted to Sujay Hospital in Mumbai due to lung infection. He died of cardiac arrest on 19 August 2019 at the age of 92. 

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Mohammed Zahur Khayyam Career

Khayyam went to Lahore in the hope of getting roles in films. There he met a popular music director, Baba Chisti who was impressed by the voice of Khayyam and he gave him an offer of joining him as an assistant. He assisted him for a couple of months.

After a stint in the Indian Army in the Second World War, Khayyam went to Bombay (now Mumbai) to turn his dream into reality. He made his debut as Sharmaji of the Sharmaji-Varmaji composer duo with the film Heer Ranjha, which was released in 1948.

Khayyam went solo after his co-composer Rahman Varma went to the newly created Pakistan after the partition. He composed music in various films. The song “Akele Mein Woh Ghabrate To Honge” from the film Biwi, released in1950, sung by Mohammed Rafi was a hit. “Shaam-e-Gham Ki Kasam” sung by Talat Mehmood from the film Footpath (1953) loved by the audience. The songs in the film Phir Subha Hogi (1958), written by Sahir Ludhyanvi and sung by Mukesh and Asha Bhonsle were set to tune by Mohammed Zahur Khayyam. The songs like “Wo Subha Kabhi To Aayegi”, “Aasman Pe hai Khuda Aur Zameen Pe Hum” and “Chin-o-Arab Humara” are some of the popular songs from this film.

Khayyam’s music can take one to another world. The films in which he gave music have done great at the box office due to mesmerising music of Khayyam. The songs from the film Aakhri Khat like “Baharon Mera Jeevan Bhi Sawaron” by Lata Mangeshkar and “Aur Kuch Der Theher” by Rafi were huge hits. Other famous songs are from the film Shagoon (1964) in which Khayyam’s wife Jagjit Kaur sang “Tum Apna Ranj-o-Gham” and “Tum Chali Jaogi”.

The songs in the film Kabhie Kabhie (1976) showed Khayyam’s versatility with songs like “Kabhi Kabhi Mere Dil Mein Khayal Aata Hai” sung by Mukesh and Lata, “Tere Chehre Se Nazar Nahin” by Kishore and Lata, and “Main Pal Do Pal Ka Shayar Hoon” by Mukesh.

Khayyam’s music in the film Umrao Jaan was a super hit. The songs like “In Aankhon Ki Masti Ke”, “Ye Kya Jagah Hai Doston”, and “Dil Cheez Kya Hai” sung by Asha Bhosle are evergreen and loved by one and all.

The song from the film Kabhie Kabhie was loved by late actor Rajesh Khanna so much that he gifted a car to Khayyam. Khayyam’s song “Aye Dil-e-Nadan” from the film Razia Sultan (1983) sung by Lata is considered as a milestone.

He also composed some non-film songs like “Paaon Padun Tore Shyam, Brij Mein Laut Chalo” and “Ghazab Kiya Tere Vaade Pe Aitbaar Kiya”

Khayyam always preferred to work with poets rather than film lyricists. He used to give full freedom to the poets for expressing their views that would help them make the songs more meaningful.

This great composer’s music had the touch of ghazal but was rooted in Indian classical music. The compositions were melodious and soulful, the songs were rich in poetry and meaningful and the style was different from the popular brand of music in those days.

Khayyam decided not to celebrate his birthday after the Pulwama terrorist attack and donated ₹5 lakh to the families of the martyrs.

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Mohammed Zahur Khayyam Films as Singer & Music Composer 

Mohammed Zahur Khayyam sang a duet with Zohrabai Ambalewali for the film Romeo & Juliet in 1947. As a music director, apart from films Kabhie Kabhie, Noorie Umrao Jaan, Thodi Si Bewafai, Bazaar and Razia Sultan, he gave music in many other films such as Heer Ranjha, Biwi, Pyaar Ki Baatien, Foot Path, Gul Sanobar, Dhobi Doctor, Tatar Ka Chor, Phir Subha Hogi, Lala Rukh, Barood, Bombay ki Billi, Shola Aur Shabnam, Shagoon, Mohabbat Isko Kehte Hai, Aakhri Khat, Mera Bhai Mera Dushman, I Write, I Recite, Pyaase Dil, Sandhya, Mutthi Bhar Chawal, Sankalp, Trishul, Khaandaan, Noorie, Meena Kumari ki Amar Kahani, Chambal Ki Kasam, Nakhuda, Dard, Ahista Ahista, Dil-e-Nadaan, Baawri, Sawaal, Mehndi, Dil Akhir Dil Hai, Bepanaah, Lorie, Tere Shahar Mein, Anjuman, Devar Bhabhi, Ek Naya Rishta, Parbat Ke Us Paar, Jaan-E-Wafa, Ek Hi Manzil, Yatra, Ghulam Bandhu and many more.

Mohammed Zahur Khayyam Images on India Content 

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