Robin Ghosh: Finders gold
By Anis Shakur
What man can conceive man can achieve
The above maxim holds true for the renowned music composer, Robin Ghosh.
Robin Ghosh was born in 1939 in Baghdad, Iraq and he received his primary education in a convent school. His father was an
educated person and he worked for the international Red Cross. He was posted in Baghdad where he served during the Second
When the Second World War ended in 1945, six-year-old Robin migrated to Dhaka, Bangladesh, pre-partitioned India at the time,
along with his family members.
Robin showed keen interest in music since his earlier days. He managed to incorporate the basics of music rapidly. He also
collected gramophone records of the then famous singers like Kundan Lal Saigal, Pankaj Malik and Kanan Bala.
Additionally, Robin made every effort to reinvent those songs in his music. He played harmonium as well. He was a youngster
performing at the level of an acclaimed adult professional. Time passed by as Robin pursued his academic education. Later,
he successfully graduated in Bangladesh.
In the 1950s, a financier took the lead to produce a Bengali movie. Soon other filmmakers followed the suit. One of those
days, a sympathizer offered a job to the young, promising Robin at the Dhaka Radio Station. For Robin it was a day of splendor
Thus Robin embarked upon his working life as a musician in 1960. That same sympathizer had a sister, Jharna, who worked as
an ‘extra girl’ in the Bengali films. Pretty predictably, Robin and Jharna became fast friends. In due course
of time, Robin married Jharna. Their only child, Rufi, was born in 1966. Rufi grew up and inherited his parent’s optimism
One day visionary film director, Captain Ehtesham, visited the Dhaka Radio Station. Ehtesham came across Robin and asked him
if he would like to compose music for films.
It was an eye-widening offer and Robin immediately accepted and signed the contract. Hence, Robin debuted as a composer in
the Bengali film ‘Raj Dhani Bokay’, in 1961. Robin composed songs for the second Bengali film in quick succession.
Most definitely, Ehtesham orchestrated Robin’s destiny—his music career. The 1962 film ‘Chanda’ was
the first Urdu film for both the film director, Ehtesham, and the composer, Robin. Theatrical release was in Nishat cinema,
Sultana Zaman was the lead actress, while Jharna changed her name to Shabnam and appeared in the title role of ‘Chanda.’
Hence, ‘Chanda’ was also the first Urdu film of Shabnam.
Robin, a sagacious composer, came up with two long compositions, ‘Akhian tori raha takain’ and ‘Maut ko
day doon sada.’ Both in Firdausi Begum’s voice, were instant success in the film ‘Chanda.’ Robin’s
dedication was absolute as always during the recording of ‘Akhian teri roop nehari’ which was also in the film
Indubitably, Ehtesham catapulted Robin into instant fame and he remained one of the big screens most sought-after composers
for years to come. In 1963, Ehtesham’s younger brother, Mustafeez, released his Urdu film, ‘Talaash.’ Rehman
– Shabnam played the lead, while Robin composed its music.
Robin’s hearty tones made music soar, while he gave ‘Talaash’ the meaning and drive as nothing else in those
times. Below are two examples:
‘Kuchh apni kaheye kuchh meri suneye,’ singer, Basheer Ahmed.
‘Mein riksha wala bay chara,’ singer, Basheer Ahmed, pictured on actor Subhash Datta.
Robin earned tremendous success in man’s short time span. Those were the days of stiff competition as Robin forged his
way up. He added to his success while composing the song, ‘Mein to naachon chan chana nan.’ The film ‘Paisa,’
singer, Firdausi Begum.
Robin luxuriated in his music compositions, holding notes with extra care and pleasure. Most notably in the 1966 film ‘Bhiya’,
in which Waheed Murad – Chitra played the lead. Its duet ‘Janay mujhay kya ho gaya,’ Ahmed Rushdi –
Naheed Niazi, is laudable.
Robin secured a prominent place along side classic music composers of the 1960s. In mainstream music arena and even more so,
in popular entertainment, Robin’s musical accomplishments are outstanding. Below are two examples:
‘Jab tum akeley ho gey,’ singer, Basheer Ahmed, the film ‘Karwaan.’
‘Teri tasweer banata hoon,’ singer, Basheer Ahmed, the film ‘Karwaan.’
Perhaps, Robin had never been closer to perfection as he was in the 1967 super hit film ‘Chakori.’ Directed by
Ehtesham. Shabana – Nadeem played the lead.
Robin had a specialty in romantic numbers in movies. Example, ‘Kabhi to tum ko yaad Aayein gee ye baharain ye sama’
singers, Nadeem – Firdausi Begum. It was also recorded as a solo song in Ahmed Rushdi’s voice.
In fact, Robin is a shining example of one man making a big difference. In his case, through the absolute power of his music.
Two examples below:
‘Wo meray saamnay tasweer banay baithay hain’, singer, Mujeeb Alam, in the film ‘Chakori.’
‘Tujhay chahein meri bahain, tujhay dhoon dain meri Aankhein’, singer, Ahmed Rushdi, in the film ‘Chakori.’
Though Ehtesham’s film ‘Chakori’ is almost gushing in its admiration, Robin’s most effective music
upholds the sentimentality. Two examples below:
‘Khanak jaaye ray chandi ka mera jhumka’, singer, Firdausi Begum, in the film ‘Chakori.’
‘Pyaraye pyaraye yaar hamaraye’, singer, Ahmed Rushdi, in the film ‘Chakori.’
Robin shaded his fabulous melodies with Suroor Barabankvi’s brighter lyrics of love and romance: ‘Nadia behti
jaaye, behti jaaye,’ duet, Ahmed Rushdi – Ayereen Perveen, the 1967 film ‘Tum meray ho’, director,
Suroor Barabankvi. Nadeem – Shabnam paired together for the first time in ‘Tum meray ho.’
After the theatrical release of ‘Tum meray ho’, Robin and Shabnam settled in Karachi on Ilyas Rasheedi’s
Presumably, Robin did not endeavored to work with grandeur. It seems that he strived to find what spirits him away. Reverting
to his music, Robin went from proverbial success to success, from glory to glory. One may recall numerous songs to exemplify
this point. Below are two examples:
‘Aa meray diwanay dil’, the 1968 film ‘Jehan tum wahan hum,’ singer, Ahmed Rushdi.
‘Husn deikha jo tumhara,’ the film ‘Jehan tum wahan hum,’ singer, Ahmed Rushdi.
In Robin’s case, ordinary things capture the tranquility. It looks like once in a while Robin is so entranced that his
feelings are reflected in his music compositions. This partially explains Robin’s amazing musical feats like the two
‘Mujhay talaash thi jis ki,’ the 1968 film ‘Jahan tum wahan hum,’ duet, Ahmed Rushdi – Mala.
‘Usay deikha usay chacha usay bhool gaye,’ the film ‘Jahan tum wahan hum,’ singer, Ahmed Rushdi.
In 1972, the already famous Robin signed for Ilyas Rasheedi’s mega hit movie, ‘Ehsaas.’ A classic movie
to be enjoyed for generations. Robin’s tragic scores like ‘Hamay kho kar bohat pachhtaao gey,’ found their
way to our brains by way of our hearts. Singer, Runa Laila, pictured on Shabnam.
The silken touch of Robin’s music made ‘Ehsaas’ a superb movie. Two examples below:
‘Ik din kya hua waqt tha raat ka,’ singer, Runa Laila, the film ‘Ehsaas.’
Allah Allah meri mehfil mein wo dildar Aaya.’ Duet, Runa Laila – Ahmed Rushdi.
As a music composer Robin took enormous interest in his passion. Below are two appropriate examples of his passionate work:
‘Ruk jaao abhi mat jaao,’ singer, Ahmed Rushdi, the film ‘Ehsaas.’
‘Aisay mein tujh ko janay day wo dil kahan,’ singer, Shehnaz Begum.
Likewise, Robin earned encomiums for the romantic number ‘Bheegee bheegee thandi hawa’, singer, Masood Rana –
Runa Laila, the film ‘Ehsaas.
Essentially, it was Robin, with perpetual musical masterpieces, who made those movies his own, and by extension, ours. Example,
‘Thori thori see pyaz dalo,’ singer, Ahmed Rushdi – Nayyara Noor, the 1974 film ‘Bhool,’
The triumph of Robin’s hilarious compositions took him to the forefront of Pakistani cinema. Undoubtedly, Robin became
a music composer for the future. Two examples below:
‘Teray bheegey badan ki khushbu say lehrain bhi hueen mastanee see,’ singer, Mehdi Hasan, the 1974 super hit film,
‘Duniya ki sharafat deikh kar,’ singer, Runa Laila, the film ‘Sharafat.’
Robin moved boldly in matters of style as well. Example, ‘Ik saya sa roaz nikalta hai,’ singer, Rubina Badar,
the film ‘Sharafat.’
Most of all, Robin had the strength, gumption and independence to come up with innovative music compositions. He promoted
the music as family friendly and mostly uplifting. Below are two glaring examples:
‘Sawan Aaye sawan jaaye,’ singer, Akhlaq Ahmed, the 1974 super hit film ‘Chahat.’
‘Pyar bharay do sharmelay nain,’ singer, Mehdi Hasan.’
Robin’s immense appeal and his absolute belief to move on made him the favorite of the moviegoers. Just think of the
spell Robin cast through songs like the two below:
‘Deikho ye koan Aa gaya,’ singer, Akhlaq Ahmed, the 1975 film ‘Do saathi.’
‘Ik thi guriya bari bholi bhali, singer, Nayyara Noor.’
Essentially, Robin is an embodiment of courage, kindness and decency. The secret of his success includes flexibility, rooted
in love and understanding. Two examples below:
‘Aye meri jaan duniya say dil na laga,’ singer, Akhlaq Ahmed, the 1976 film ‘Maum ki guriya.’
‘Filhaal pyar karnay ka irada naheen,’ singer, Akhlaq Ahmed, the film ‘Maum ki guriya.’
Robin’s wistful compositions have a capacity almost to paralyze the listeners. Below is one example:
‘Pyar karein gey pal pal,’ singer, Mehnaz, the 1976 film ‘Jeeyo aur jeenay do.’
Remarkable people inspired some of our favorite movies. Robin is one of them. He inscribed in listeners mind a sense of humanity
that is exclusively its own. Further, Robin provided countless hours of pleasure to millions of cine-goers. Below are two
‘Raat bhar sajna ko yaad kiya ho ga,’ duet, Akhlaq Ahmed – Nayyara Noor, the film ‘Umang.’
‘Najarya wajarya milai lay,’ singer, Nadeem, the film ‘Umang.’
His music in the song below was remarkable enough to be applauded:
‘O ree pawan purwayya,’ singer, Akhlaq Ahmed, the film ‘Umang.’
Robin learnt something new every day and passed it on to others. His command on tempo and rhythms were breathtaking. Furthermore,
after the release of the 1977 super hit film, ‘Aaena,’ Robin’s reputation grew with unlikely speed. Two
‘Kabhi mein sochhta hoon kuchh na kuchh kahoon,’ singer, Mehdi Hasan, the 1977 film ‘Aaena.’
‘Mujhay dil say na bhulana.’ Duet, Mehdi Hasan – Mehnaz, the film ‘Aaena.’
Robin, who brightened our world with his lilting music, produced resplendent compositions for the film ‘Aaena.’
Below is one example:
‘Wada karo saajna chu kay mujhay tum abhi,’ duet Alamgir – Mehnaz, the film ‘Aaena
Indeed, Robin’s true genius was to compose songs for the film ‘Aaena,’ which began a new era of success
in his musical journey as well. The two songs below of ‘Aaena’ are remarkable enough to be remembered for an extended
period of time:
‘Rothay ho phir tum ko kaisay mana oon piya,’ singer, Nayyara Noor.
‘Haseen wadion say pucho pyar karti hain.’ Duet, Mehnaz – Akhlaq Ahmed.
Robin composed songs in a series of outstanding movies in the 1970s and his popularity continued to grow with every new movie.
Love and admiration, which his admirers lavished on him, is astounding. Two romantic numbers below:
‘Thehra hai sama hum tum hain jahan,’ singer, Mehdi Hasan, the 1978 mega hit film ‘Amber.’
‘Jis din say deikha hai tum ko sanam,’ singer, Mehdi Hasan, the film ‘Amber.’
Perhaps, it was God’s will that created the unerringly smart meeting of minds, which in turn lead to one masterpiece
after another. Two examples below:
‘Mujhay lay chal yahan say door un wadion mein,’ singer, Mehnaz, the film ‘Amber.’
‘Milay do saathi khili do kalian,’ singer, A. Nayyar, the film ‘Amber.’
Basically, Robin possesses the rhythm and melody, the blend of sounds, the energy and compassion. Below is one stand-out song:
‘Sona na chandi na koi mehal jaan-e-mun tujh ko mein day sakoon ga,’ singer Akhlaq Ahmed, the 1980 film ‘Bandish.’
Below is one more well-remembered duet:
‘Do piasay dil aik huay hain aisay,’ singers, Mehdi Hasan – Mehnaz, the film ‘Bandish.’
Robin composed the songs with inspiring conviction, stirring the public like nothing else. In the transaction, Robin made
himself a very special person. Successive songs continued to attain popularity. Below are two examples:
‘Achha achha lagay ray,’ singer, Nayyara Noor, the film ‘Bandish.’
‘Tujhay dil say laga loon,’ singer, Mehnaz, the film ‘Bandish.’
Robin’s music in the film ‘Bandish’ was remarkable and represents an act of grace. In the vast array of
hits are the two songs below:
‘Hello, hello sajan hello hello,’ singer, A.Nayyar, the film ‘Bandish.’
‘Jaatay jaatay sunn lo bichhray jo hum say,’ singer, Nayyara Noor, the film ‘Bandish.’
Ultimately, Robin’s unrequited love and veneration for the music did the trick in the 1980 film ‘Naheen abhi naheen.’
Below are three examples of Robin’s ingenuity:
‘Samaa wo khwab sa samaan,’ the film ‘Naheen abhi naheen.’
‘Us nay deikha mein nay deikha,’ the film ‘Naheen abhi naheen.’
‘Wo waqt tha purana,’ the film ‘Naheen abhi naheen.’
The high profile reputation, which Robin achieved in the 1960s and 1970s, has only increased in recent years. Moreover, Robin’s
music is also exemplary for its stylistic elegance. Below are two examples:
‘Mein shola hoon tu shabnam hai,’ singer, Nayyara Noor, the 1981 film ‘Kiran aur kali.’
‘Zindigi ka safar kabhi rukta naheen,’ singer, Akhlaq Ahmed, the film ‘Kiran aur kali.’
The 1982 film ‘Aahat’ became a memorable experience for Robin. It was as though both his career and his life were
charmed. The two songs below of ‘Aahat’ have become a staple of Pakistani film scores:
‘Yaad-e-maazi azaab hai ya Rab,’ singer, Mehdi Hasan.
‘Chaman chaman kali kali,’ singers, Akhlaq Ahmed – Nayyara Noor.
Obviously, Robin’s music lifted the spirits of the listeners in most instances like the one below:
‘Tujh bin tha jeewan adhura,’ the 1983 film ‘Bheegey badan.’
Apparently, moviegoers were treated to a succession of films with wonderful stories. Below is one emotionally charged song:
‘Bus ik teray siva koi naheen,’ the 1984 film ‘Dooriyaan.’
Excellence of Robin’s work is quite evident in the song below:
‘Neeli neeli Aankhon mein,’ the 1985 film ‘Hum aur tum.’
The song below accorded Robin instant popularity as it did on previous occasions:
‘Churi kach di, o kach di,’ singer, Humaira Arshad, the 1995 film ‘Jo dar gaya wo mar gaya.’
Robin Ghosh earned the Nigar Award for best composer in the film ‘Talaash’ in 1963.
Robin Ghosh earned the Nigar Award for best composer in the film ‘Chakori’ in 1967.
Robin Ghosh earned the Nigar Award for best composer in the film ‘Chahat’ in 1974.
Robin Ghosh earned the Nigar Award for best composer in the film ‘Aaena’ in 1977.
Robin Ghosh earned the Nigar Award for best composer in the film ‘Amber’ in 1978.
Robin Ghosh earned the Nigar Award for best composer in the film ‘Dooriyan’ in 1984.
Robin Ghosh, who dominated the music world for four decades, from 1960 –
2000, now lives a retired life with Shabnam in Bangladesh. We have a huge number of people who relate to his style of music.
May be that is the reason why his musical accomplishments leapt over so many national boundaries and still retains the atmosphere
of long ago.