Khurshid Anwar: A lasting legacy
By Anis Shakur
Brilliant composer, Khurshid Anwar, was born on March 21, 1912, to a well to do, highly enlightened
family in Mianwali, Punjab.
His father, Khwaja Feroze Uddin, happened to be a renowned lawyer in Lahore at the time.
Additionally, his two brothers, Khwaja Sultan and Khwaja Afzal, also practiced law.
During college days, Khurshid Anwar and Faiz Ahmed Faiz, were classmates and close friends, as well.
Ironically, in their earlier life, Khurshid Anwar was vehemently interested in Urdu poetry and literature.
While Faiz had an aptitude for music.
However, in due course of time, the opposite happened. That is, Khurshid Anwar achieved immense success
as a composer.
On the other hand, Faiz became one of the greatest poets of his times.
After completing his masters (philosophy) Punjab University and passing the Civil Service examination, as
well, Khurshid Anwar spent time in Lahore radio station as program producer.
Those were good old days, when three great minds, Khurshid Anwar, Krishin Chandar and Feroze Nizami, worked
for Lahore radio station.
Khurshid Anwar got his start as a composer in 1940.
Soon afterwards, he relied on movies, forsaking radio job for the music that was to become his lifelong
The film 'Kermaai' was his film debut. (1940, composer: Khurshid Anwar, director:
J.K. Nanda, starring: Radha Rani, Wasti, released under the banner of Nishat productions).
In 1943, he composed songs for the film 'Ishara' (Director: J.K. Nanda, 'Ishara' was released under the
banner of D.R.D. productions, cast: Sauran Lata, Prithvi Raj, Surraiya, Satish Jagdesh Sethi, Masood and K.N.Singh).
Music was his crucible, and Khurshid Anwar was born to be a successful composer. He had a predetermined
knack for music and the drive to succeed, on top of it.
Popular Indian director, Sohrab Modi, directed the film 'Parakh' for Central Studios. The music was a joint
effort by female musician, 'Sarsoti Devi', and Khurshid Anwar. (starring: Mehtab, Shahnawaz, Sobhana, Samrath, Balonath Singh,
Yaqoob and Sadiq).
Khurshid Anwar was a rare combination of thinker and composer.
Above all else, he wanted passionately to understand music.
Next, he composed songs for the film 'Noor Arab', which was released in 1946, under the banner of Puncholi
films and directed by A.M.Khan.
In 1946, Khurshid Anwar also composed songs for the film 'Silver Queen' directed by Raja Yaking and released
under the banner of 'Puncholi films'.
Highly revered, Khurshid Anwar moved boldly in matters of style, as well. His independence of mind and ability
to focus on his work also served him well.
In 1947, he composed songs for the following three movies:
The film 'Aaj Aur Kal', which was released under the banner of Chitra Productions. (Director: Khwaja Ahmed
Abbas, composer: Khurshid Anwar).
The film 'Pugdundi', which was released under the banner of 'Pancholi films'.
(Composer: Khurshid Anwar, Director: Ram Narain Dev).
The 'Junaid Productions' film 'Perwana'. (Composer: Khurshid Anwar, Director:
J.K.Nanda, singer: Surraiya - Kundan Lal Saigal).
As a composer, Khwaja Saheb believed that music could change lives for the better-that it could foster emotional
development and enhance all the good aspects of life.
In 1949, he made music for the film 'Singhar', which was completed under the banner of H.Nanda Productions.
(Director: J.K. Nanda, 'Singhar was released in the early 1950s in Jubilee Cinema, Karachi)
He believed, as well, that music could soothe those parts of life that are most difficult.
In every sense, Khwaja Saheb was a defender for the power of music.
The film 'Neelam Pari' was released under the banner of Chander Laikha, composer, Khurshid Anwar.
Khurshid Anwar moved to Lahore in 1955.
Later on, he made music for the film 'Nishana', which was directed by Wajahat Husain Changezi.
Then he made composition for the film 'Yateem'. Zia Sarhadi directed that movie.
Khwaja Saheb had a knack for making music come alive.
He achieved enormous success as a composer and quickly became one of the foremost composers of the 1950s.
The first movie for which he composed songs after migrating to Pakistan was 'Mirza Sahebaan', which was
released in 1955. (Director: Dawood Chand, the popular song of 'Mirza Sahebaan' is 'Verun meray waari mein teray', picturised
on actress Yasmeen).
With the release of 'Mirza Sahebaan', Khwaja Saheb went on to become one of the three most loved composers
of the Pakistani cinema.
In 1956, he composed songs and wrote the story for the super hit movie, 'Intezaar', which was released under
the banner of 'Select Pictures'. Scriptwriter:
Syed Imtiaz Ali Taj, Director: Masood Pervez.
The entire cast including Noor Jehan, smartly dubbed as blind lover, Santosh Kumar in double role, And Aasha
Posley as vamp, gave performances of a lifetime.
Further, it was a group effort. No one artist could have done all that alone.
Khurshid Anwar's magnificent music and Noor Jehan's resonant voice created virtual masterpieces:
'Jis din say piya dil lay gaye'.
'O janay walay ray, tehro zara ruk jaao'.
'Aa bhi jaa, deikh Aa kar zara.'
'Aa gaye, ghar Aa gaye balam pardesi'.
'Chand hansay, duniya basay, roye mera pyar.'
'Chun chun naachoon gee, gunn, gunn gaaoon gee.'
His superfluous compositions in the film 'Zeher-e-Ishq', garnered more influence amongst the cine-goers.
If we listen to the songs, they have much to say:
'Raat chandni, mein akeli' (Zubeida Khanum)
'Mohay piya Milan ko janay day' (Nahid Niazi)
The hallmark of his work was fierce concentration and energy.
Movies like 'Koel' were brought to life by an exceptional team work. The film 'Koel' was Khurshid Anwar's
monumental dramatic landmark, as well:
'Dil ka diya jalaya': Noor Jehan.
'Sagar roye, lehrain shore machayein': Noor Jehan.
'Rim jhim, rim jhim' paray phuaar: Noor Jehan.
One of Khurshid Anwar's most-telling accomplishment has been to compose songs for the film 'Jhoomar':
''Chali ray, chali ray, chali ray, mein to dase piya kay chali ray'( singer: Nahid Niazi, composer: Khurshid
Anwar, picturised on Musarrat Nazeer).
Khurshid Anwar remained one of the big screen's most sought after composers up until his death, featuring
exceptional musical numbers.
His outstanding compositions eloquently prove the continued interest in the super hit musical film 'Ghoonghat'.
(Scriptwriter -cum-director-cum - composer: Khurshid Anwar, song writer: Tanveer Naqui):
'Kabhi tum bhi hum bhi thay Aashna': Noor Jehan.
'Koi na janay kab Aaye': Noor Jehan.
'Mujh ko Aawaz day tu kahan hai': Mehdi Hasan.
The overwhelming success of the rest of his films made him the favorite of many music buffs.
Khurshid Anwar teamed up with Naseem Begum to produce a superb song in the film 'Haveli':
'Mera bichra balam ghar Aagaya'.
Furthermore, he was the story writer-cum-director-cum composer of the films 'Chingari' and 'Humraaz'.
The two mega hit songs of the film 'Humraaz' are:
'Kahan ho tum saheliyo':Noor Jehan.
'Mujhay Aisay piya ka pyar mila': Mala.
Khurshid Anwar has left behind a treasure trove of splendid music. He lives in the heart and mind of everyone,
who share enthusiasm and interest in great music.
The film 'Heer Ranjha' is a musical masterpiece of Khurshid Anwar. (1970,
director, Masood Pervez, producer, Ejaz Durrani, composer, Khurshid Anwar, singer: Noor Jehan, songs were
pictured on actress Firdous.):
'Chun mahi Aa teri rah pati takni Aan': Noor Jehan.
'Wanjli waa tarya, toon molti, aye mutyaar': Noor Jehan.
'Mein chum,chum, pay laan paa waan': Noor Jehan.
'Sunn wanjli dee mithri taan way, mein taan ho,ho, gaye qurbaan way': Noor Jehan.
'Rabba deikh liya tera mein jahan': Masood Rana.
'Teri khair howay, zulfaan dee thandi, thandi chaan dholna': Masood Rana.
'Tu chore, mein teri chorni, billu chaha niya' (pictured on actress Zamarrud.)
He is most well-known for composing the 'Naat' in the film 'Ayaz' ('Ayaz', director:
Luqman, composer: Khurshid Anwar, singer: Zubeida Khanum).
The Naat: 'Salloo Alayhay Wa'a lay he': Zubeida Khanum.
Khurshid Anwar also composed songs for the following films:
'Sarhad', 'Paraye Aag', 'Salam-e-Mohabbat', 'Shireen Farhaad', 'Haidar Ali', 'Guddu' and 'Mirza Jutt'.
In 1956, Khurshid Anwar won the presidential Award for best composer, for the film 'Intezaar'.
In 1958, Khurshid Anwar won the Nigar Award for best composer, for the film, 'Zeher-e-Ishq'.
In 1962, Khurshid Anwar won the Nigar Award for best composer, for the film, 'Ghoonghat'.
In 1970, Khurshid Anwar won the Nigar Award for best composer, for the film, 'Heer Ranjha'.
Being a highly literary and academic person himself, Khurshid Anwar spent his whole life in the company
of people of his caliber.
Most of all, his associates cherished him for his vast general knowledge and firm grip on his profession.
Khwaja Khurshid Anwar passed on October 30, 1984, in Lahore, Punjab. He was 72.
The extraordinary accomplishments of this unparalleled composer will
always live in our hearts.