Our beloved Pakistan

Khalil Ahmed

Umar Sharif
Moin Akhtar
Ahmed Rushdi
Mehdi Hassan
Shamim Ara
Runa Laila
Nazia Hasan
Zeba Bakhtiar
Barbara Sharif
Musarrat Nazeer
Ajab Gul
Salma Agha
Ghulam Abbas
Kausar Perveen
Firdausi Begum
Waheed Murad
Nayyara Noor
Gulshan Ara Syed
Atiqa Odho
Javed Sheikh
Humayun Saeed
Aijaz Aslam
Riaz Shahid
Salim Nasir
Aslam Pervez
Surraiya Multanikar
Naheed Niazi
Rasheed Attre
Khalil Ahmed
Sohail Rana
Munir Husain
Mohammad Ali



Khalil Ahmed: Passing it back

By Anis Ahmed Shakur


Dheeray deeray nindia tu akhion mein Aana

Meethay meethay pyaray pyaray sapnay dikhana

Peryoan ki nagri ki sair karana


Jab tak mera munna soye taro tum na sona

Mehkay hamesha yoon he phuloan ka bichona

Kheilay kuday jug jug mera salona


Chanda kay hindolay mein uran khatolay mein

Ammi ka dulara Abbu jee ka pyara soye

Nindiya jhulaye tujhay jhula



Composer Khalil Ahmed, poet Himayat Ali Shayer, film director Al-Hamid and singer Ahmed Rushdi, were able to have that most precious, rare thing—an enduring and rewarding friendship.


Khalil made his music debut with director Al-Hamid’s film ‘Aanchal’, which was released on December 7, 1962. Starring: Shamim Ara, Darpan, Saba, Talish.


He quickly became one of the stalwarts of Pakistani music. Perhaps it was then that the seeds of an artistic revolution were sown. The secret of Khalil’s success lies in an indomitable commitment to honesty in selection of singers.


Khalil devised pathos and anguish others could not imagine. On top of that, he combined the two and, in so doing, moved the film ‘Aanchal’ to the “next level”—to something relevant and required. Example:


‘Kisi chaman mein raho tum bahar bun kay raho, khuda karay kisi dil ka qarar bun kay raho’ (singer: Ahmed Rushdi).


The following song was recorded in separate voices of Saleem Raza and Naheed Niazi, for the film ‘Aanchal’, and with it the sure, poignant strains of Khalil’s melody emerged:


‘Tujh ko maloom nahi, tujh ko bhala kya maloom.’


Khalil reached the pinnacle by following his own instincts. Example:


‘Meri nazroan mein kya ho tum’ (Duet: Naheed Niazi-Ahmed Rushdi, composer: Khalil Ahmed, the film ‘Aanchal’)


Khalil excelled in the comedy music, as well. Example:


‘Khatti kari mein makkhi pari, hai meri Amma, kaisay Anari kay palay pari hai meri Amma.’ (singer: Ayereen Perveen, the film ‘Aanchal’)


Khalil also used to be the host of the music program for children, which was telecast from the Lahore television station. Additionally, he also showed a knack for tapping into the moods of the times.


He composed the following national song, which was sung by Sabiha Khanum, among others:


‘Jug jug jeeye mera pyara watan, lab pay dua hai dil mein lagan.’


His magnificent compositions for the film ‘Meray mehboob’ is another chapter in a remarkable music career:


‘Her qadam per nit naye saanchay mein dhal jaatay hain loag, deiktay he deiktay kitnay badal jatay hain loag.’ (Director: Al-Hamid, singer: Noor Jehan)


‘Koi meray mehboob sa duniya mein nahi hai’: (singer: Noor Jehan, the film ‘Meray mehboob’)


‘Kali muskuraye jo ghunghat uthaye’ (Duet: Noor Jehan- Masood Rana, the film ‘Meray mehboob’)


Khalil always had his finger on the pulse of what the listeners wanted to hear on radio, television and in his films. His name became a household word, and millions fell in love with his music.


He composed the following two romantic scores in true Khalil style!


‘Gul kahoon, khushbu kahoon, saghar kahoon, sehba kahoon’ (singer: Ahmed Rushdi, the film ‘Khilona’, director: Al-Hamid)


‘Chand say chandni juda ho sakti hai’(Ahmed Rushdi, ‘Khilona’)


Below is a number, composed by Khalil, sung by Runa Laila, a mother’s love for her baby, in the film ‘Khilona’:


‘Ammi ki bahoan mein pyara.’


An accomplished composer for television and films, Khalil’s many contributions to music have embedded themselves in the Pakistani psyche. Example:


‘Us kay gham ko kya kaheye’ (singer: Mehdi Hasan, the film ‘Guriya’, producer-director: Himayat Ali Shayer, the film could not be released).


Khalil just loved to compose songs. Greatness is not a race. What defines Khalil best was his eagerness, his need, and his ability to use the most appropriate singer, according to the situations in his movies.


The following four numbers from the film ‘Khamosh raho’ are good examples of his selection of the singers:


‘Jaagnay walo jaago magar’ (singer: Naheed Niazi, director: Jameel Akhtar)


‘Mein nahi maanta zulm kay zaabtay’ (singer: Ahmed Rushdi)


‘Jaray, jaray meray dhol sipahe’ (singer: Naheed Niazi)


‘Kya ishara tu nay’ (Duet: Ahmed Rushdi- Naheed Niazi)


Through his splendid compositions, he took movies that had been at a certain level for many, many years and stirred things up. With the passage of time, Khalil’s star has not faded. Hundreds of songs owes it all to him.


Khalil was Khalil and there were few like him on the music horizon, especially when it comes to sad songs. Below is a shining example of his tragic composition:


‘Jab raat dhali, tum yaad Aaye, hum dooor nikal Aaye, is yaad kay saye, saye’ (The film ‘Kaneez’, director, Hasan Tariq, starring, Waheed Murad- Zeba- Sabra Sultana- Mohammad Ali, duet, Ahmed Rushdi- Mala, picturised on Waheed Murad- Zeba)


Below are five consistently popular songs up until today, from the film ‘Kaneez’:


‘Hum bhi hain pyar kay qabil.’ Mala.

‘Dono taraf hai Aag barabar lagi huye’ Ahmed Rushdi.

‘Pyar mein hum aye jaan-e-tamanna jaan say jayein to maano gey’ Ahmed Rushdi.

‘Ghair ki batoan ka Aakhir aitebaar Aa he gaya.’ Naseem Begum.

‘Ye duniya kisi ki huye hai na hogi.’ Masood Rana.


Khalil was one of Pakistan film industry’s most versatile musicians. He was that one composer, who excels at all attributes.


By an enormous ensemble of familiar stars, songs from the film ‘Daman’, directed by Qadeer Ghauri, boasts all the right stuff at precisely the right time.


The lead song ‘Na chura sako gey daman, na nazar bacha sako gey’, sung to perfection by Noor Jehan, enthralled the listeners. Two more songs from the film ‘Daman’ are listed below:


‘Wallah sar say paoon talak mauj-e-noor ho, qudrat ka shahkar ho tum raksh-e-hoor ho wallah’: Ahmed Rushdi.


‘Aap kay dar kay siwa mera yahan koi nahi’: Noor Jehan.


Khalil graced the Pakistani films with magical compositions and to this day remains an icon who suffused beauty and splendor in music.


As a musician, Khalil had the savvy to motivate the singers. Khalil possessed the rare commodities that allowed success in films.


Listening to the eloquent lori in the film ‘Lori’, one quickly realized Khalil’s music-making must have come straight from heaven. Such uncommon dazzle is a rarity:


‘Chanda kay hindolay mein’ (Director: S.Sulaiman, Producer- song writer: Himayat Ali Shayer, script writer: Zakir Husain, Dialogues: Ahmed Nadeem Qasmi, singer: Surraiya Hyderabadi, picturised on Zeba, starring: Zeba- Mohammad Ali- Santosh Kumar- Master Rufi, released on November 14, 1966)


Millions came under the spell of Khalil’s powerful, tragic composition, rendered by Mehdi Hasan in the film ‘Lori’:


‘Khuda wanda ye kaisi Aag see jalti hai seenay mein, tamanna jo na puri ho wo kyon balti hai seenay mein’



Below is a tragic score, sung by Mujeeb Alam and authoritatively composed by Khalil for the film ‘Lori’:


‘Mein khushi say kyon na gaoon, mera dil bhi ga raha hai, ye faza haseen hai itni keh nasha sa cha raha hai’.


The transporting power of love and gentility were successfully captured and conveyed by Khalil’s music and Mala’s melodious voice in the film ‘Lori’:


‘Hawa nay chupkay say keh dia kya kay hum bhi sharma kay hans paray hain’.



Below is a birthday song from the film ‘Lori’, which is a testament to Khalil’s understanding of music:


‘Taali bajay bhy taali bajay, munna hamara dudo nahaye, phuto phalay.’


Always the innovator, Khalil went on to compose songs for director S.Sulaiman’s film ‘Tasweer’. Foremost was his sweeping masterpiece sung by Mehdi Hasan:


‘Aye jaan-e-wafa dil may teri yaad rahay gee, duniya-e-mohabbat meri Aabad rahay gee’.


As the driving force behind director Wazeer Ali’s film ‘Aap ka Khadim’, Khalil composed the following song, recorded in Mehdi Hasan’s voice:


‘Kehnay ko ye ik geet hai, dar-asal hai chehra tera’.


Further, Khalil also lent music to the films ‘Aanj’, and ‘Dard-e-dil’, directed by N.K.Zairi.

The films ‘Buzdil’ and ‘Husn ka chore’, directed by Saqlain Rizvi.

The film ‘Choti see duniya’, directed by Riaz Ahmed Raju.

The films ‘Inspector’ and ‘Baalam’ directed by Al-Hamid.


Furthermore, he also composed songs for the films ‘Masoom’, ‘Chakkar’ and the Punjabi film ‘Chore no moar’.


Khalil, who was truly a once-in-a-lifetime composer, died on July 22, 1997, in Lahore. He left behind an enormous and varied legacy of exceptionally great compositions.


There could not be a better tribute to late Khalil, other then the one below:


Pakistani film music is never going to shake off the influence of Khalil Ahmed’.


Anis Shakur works for the Downstate Medical Center and V.A. Hospital, N.Y.