20070715: My family and I visited him again this summer and obtained
lots of songs, movies and old magazine articles, as usual. He
gave me a mounted 78 record, displayed as below. It is hanging in my
home theater room! Thanks, MLK.
NWFP, as it has been called for a long time, the area known for the
Khyber Pass and its Pathan sapoots is naturally in the North-Western
corner of the subcontinent. So many famous filmi people have come from
e.g. all the Khans and most of the Kapoors (or Kapurs). Everybody knows
about the giant Prithviraj and his clan. Fewer know about W. M. Khan,
the first singer of the first song in Hindi films. Even fewer know
about the Late Allahdad Khan, a very generous and rare collector of old
discs. (He had listening meetings in his house where people came from
all over and were offered food, drinks and copies of any material they
wanted to take home.) Our fellow RMIMer and host of an RMIMmeet,
Dr. Manohar Lal Kapur was also born in that region. He is a graduate of
the AIIMS (1963) and has been in US since 1967.
In the late 80s I had written to the US weekly India Abroad about
their article on Lata repeating the 25,000 song statement and how it
had been disproved already. In their wisdom, they published my letter
to the editor. I received many phone calls and letters after that. But
the one that is still fresh in the mind was from a Panjabi-Hindi
speaking person with a twinge of a Pathani accent! We chatted for a
long time. He turned out to be a fan of NT music and movies and of Har
Mandir Singh. He declared that he was the number one fan of Naushad!
The vanity license plate of his car says simply, NAUSHAD. The first
picture below is a recent one, but the second one below was published
in the July 1997 issue of Sushma on page 19 with commentary by the
Of course, since the article was written, he has visited Naushad
times at his house in Bombay and, in turn, Naushad has met him many
times when he visited US. Here is one photo.
While talking to him in 1989, I mentioned that I am a fan of
He sent me all the videos of all the Saigal movies he had collected! I
had never met anyone like that before! I am proud to know him and count
him as one of my friends. Everybody who attended the RMIM meet held in
his house will certainly agree with me. (BTW, I realized that he was
from NWFP when I detected a few similarities between the way he and W.
M. Khan spoke. Of course, you can hear the exaggerated Pathani accent
in many movies, e.g. Balraj Sahni in Kabuliwala).