Exceptional Maestro Khalil Ahmed

ByKausar Fatima

Works in an international audit firm and writes for magazines


October 22, 2022

Khalil Ahmed

Kausar Fatima talks about the fantastic career of a musical wizard

Though Khalil Ahmed had made his name in the film music of Pakistan with time he became the mainstay of Pakistan television by composing some unforgettable numbers such as ‘Mein ne paon mein payal tau baandhi nahin’ scintillatingly sung by Farida Khanum. While composing music for PTV he based his tunes either on melody or folklore and gave his tunes modern instrumental treatment with recording mostly done live. Most of his tunes were sung by Naheed Akhtar, Tasawur Khanum, Parvez Mehdi, Naheed Niazi, Nayyara Noor, and Akhlaque Ahmad. Khalil Ahmed worked at a very fast pace and his tunes had a cultured touch and were tailor-made for popularity among the masses.

In his long film career, his most productive years were from 1962 to 1990 during which the first success he achieved was with his modern-sounding song in the film Kaneez “Jab Raat Dhali Tum Yaad Aaei” by Ahmed Rushdi and Mala was a haunting melody both composition and the situation/picturing wise. The other songs were “Ghair Ki Baaton Ka Aakhir” by Naseem Begum, a popular romantic melody, and “Pyar Mein Hum Aei Jaan-e-Tamanna” and “Aag Hai Dono Tarf Barabar Lagi Hui” both by Ahmed Rushdi with this movie bagging five Nigar Awards. He started his career with films by giving music in the film ‘Anchal’, released on 7 December 1962.

Khalil Ahmad’s pet voice for movies’ playback was Ahmad Rushdi who sang the song “Kisi Chaman Mei Raho Aur Bahar Ban Kei Raho”. Composer Khalil Ahmed, poet Himayat Ali Shayer, film director Al-Hamid and singer Ahmed Rushdi made a good team and were able to click when together just because of enduring and rewarding friendship. This song became a smashing hit in Pakistan and established Khalil’s name as a reputed composer.

Different Voices For the Same Song

For this film, he also recorded in separate voices of Saleem Raza and Naheed Niazi, a song “Tujh Ko Ma’aloom Nahin, Tujh Ko Bhala Kaya Ma’aloom”. With this song, he was at the crossroads of depicting emotional strains in his melodies.

Music critics believe that Khalil Ahmad graced Pakistani films with paranormal compositions and until this day remains an icon who brought beauty and brilliance to music. His composition written by Himayat Ali Sha’air “Khudawanda Yei Kaisi Aag Si Jalti Hei Seeey Mein” sung by Mehdi Hasan brought millions under its spell and is rated as a musical gem.

Another song still rated as a classic sung by Mujib Alalm was “Mein Khushi Sei Kyun Na Gaoon, Mera Dil Bhi Ga Raha Hai” along with an exceptional song portraying the power of love and gentility conveyed by Mala’s melodious voice was “Hawa Nei Chupkay Sei Keh Dia Kya Kay Hum Bhi Sharma Kay Hans Paray Hain”.

Khalil Ahmed’s contribution to the PTV music archive is also substantial and includes legendary numbers such as ‘Watan ki mitti gawah rehna’ sung by Noor Jahan and is rated as a national iconic song. Another powerful national song is ‘Har lehza hai Momin ki nai aan nai shan’ which is also sung by Noor Jahan. One of his compositions was sung by Nayyara Noor that has become a classic ‘Aye Ishq humaein barbad na kar’ Khalil Ahmed also composed one of all; time classics rendered by Ustad Amanat Ali Khan that is widely remembered and is greatly revered: ‘Inshaji utho ab kooch karo’  The Weekender


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