How Bade Ghulam Ali agreed to sing in Mughal-e-Azam

Let’s delve into the fascinating tale of how the legendary Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, renowned as the “Tansen of the 20th century,” found himself agreeing to sing for the iconic film Mughal-e-Azam. This delightful anecdote is a testament to the serendipitous twists that sometimes shape history.

The Unlikely Collaboration: Bade Ghulam Ali and Mughal-e-Azam


Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, a maestro of classical vocal music, hailed from the illustrious Patiala gharana. His powerful renditions had graced concert halls, but he had never lent his voice to a film before.

The Meeting:

Enter K. Asif, the visionary director behind Mughal-e-Azam, a magnum opus that would go down in cinematic history. Asif sought a voice that could match the grandeur of his film—a voice that could resonate with the epic love story of Prince Salim and Anarkali. And who better than the legendary Bade Ghulam Ali?

The Humorous Twist:

Naushad Ali, the brilliant music composer of Mughal-e-Azam, took it upon himself to convince Bade Ghulam Ali to sing for the film. He arranged a meeting between the two musical giants. As they sat down, Naushad explained the project, emphasizing its significance and the impact it would have on Indian cinema.

Bade Ghulam Ali listened attentively, his eyes twinkling with curiosity. Then, with a mischievous smile, he said, “Naushad Sahab, I have a condition. If you agree, I’ll sing for your film.”

Naushad leaned in, eager to hear the condition. Bade Ghulam Ali continued, “I demand a fee of Rs. 25,000 per song!”

Naushad was taken aback. Such a sum was astronomical in those days, especially for a playback singer. But he knew the value of Bade Ghulam Ali’s voice. So, with a nod, he accepted the condition.

The Outcome:

And thus, Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan sang the timeless qawwali “Prem Jogan Ban Ke” for Mughal-e-Azam. His rich, soul-stirring voice echoed through the film, leaving an indelible mark. The qawwali became an integral part of the movie’s soundtrack, forever etching Bade Ghulam Ali’s name in Bollywood history.

So, the next time you watch Mughal-e-Azam, remember this delightful twist—a classical maestro accidentally saying “yes” to a film offer, forever altering the course of music in Indian cinema.

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