Music composer Feroze Nizami’s widow wants to go back to India

Published: July 22, 2016
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According to Fatima, it was upon her request that film-maker Shaukat Hussain Rizvi decided to cast Dilip in his film Jugnu. PHOTOS: EXPRESS

According to Fatima, it was upon her request that film-maker Shaukat Hussain Rizvi decided to cast Dilip in his film Jugnu. PHOTOS: EXPRESS

LAHORE: As the wife of a renowned Bollywood music composer, the now 88-year-old Ghulam Fatima has seen many colourful moments back in the day. She has witnessed the golden era of Indian cinema first-hand, considering she along with her husband — the late Feroze Nizami — rubbed shoulders with the who’s who of the Indian entertainment industry.

“I used to entertain people such as Lata Mangeshkar, Madhubala, Vyjayanthimala and Dilip Kumar at our house; they all considered my husband their ustaad,” Fatima told The Express Tribune, whose husband was one of the finest music composers of the Indian film industry. “Dilip was actually one of his most beloved pupils,” she recalled.

According to Fatima, it was upon her request that film-maker Shaukat Hussain Rizvi decided to cast Dilip in his film Jugnu. “He had become very disappointed by the failure of his film Jwar Bhata. Feroze requested Shaukat to give Dilip a chance and luckily, Jugnu became a hit and Dilip, a superstar!”

Similar was the case with singer Mohammad Rafi who also got his big break in Jugnu on account of Fatima and Feroze.

“It was me who looked after him at my home in Bombay, when he had moved there and was struggling to make ends meet. It was upon our insistence that Shaukat and Madam Noor Jehan agreed to sing with Rafi and he became famous for the song Yahaan Badla Wafa Ka Bewafayi Ke Siwah Kiya Hai.”

Feroze went onto compose hits, such as Chandni Raatein and Tere Mukhre Da Kala Kala Til, and gave music for films such as Dupatta, Sukoon, Qismat and Chanway. Fatima takes pride in how she along with her husband helped people such as Dilip and Rafi come to the limelight. “It was Feroze and myself who brought these legends to where they are today. I am glad they remembered us and made it a point to call, even after we moved to Pakistan,” she said.

Unfortunately, their sentiments were not echoed by the Pakistani population as Faima claims her good times ended soon after Feroze died in 1975. Once the go-to guide to the stars, Fatima has now been confined to a one-bedroom rental in Jogi Mohallah at Lahore’s Bhatti Chowk. And what’s more, she is struggling to get back to her hometown of Bhendi Bazaar, India, despite being unable to leave her bed.

“In the beginning, I was satisfied with our decision to migrate to Pakistan as the film industry here was developing and Feroze was considered a top-notch music director. He was working on the music of 16 films!” shared Fatima. “I never expected my life to take such a turn after he was gone. I have five sons and all of them are doing odd jobs to make a living.”

Fatima is full of resent for the Pakistani government, which she accuses of overlooking those who help the nation’s cause. “This does not happen to artists or their families in India as the government there supports them. Here, I have submitted multiple applications to request for assistance — even to Punjab CM — but to no avail,” she revealed. “Now, all I ask is that if they cannot support me, they should kindly arrange for me to just go back to my country so I can die in peace there.”

Published in The Express Tribune, July 23rd, 2016.

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Reader Comments (14)

  • Nadeem
    Jul 23, 2016 - 12:01AM

    Go to kashmir to see real india.Recommend

  • mirestan
    Jul 23, 2016 - 3:10AM

    Please go to India. Goverment of Pakistan is not responsible for your welfare.Recommend

  • Hussain
    Jul 23, 2016 - 4:44AM

    Please let this ungrateful sole go back to her home, it is people like her that love the country when it’s there good times and then hate it when they face a bit of hardship. These people should be sent back asap.Recommend

  • wiserneighbour
    Jul 23, 2016 - 6:42AM

    Can only sympathise with you .As you are aware Pakistan is not the place for music nor performing arts.With the wahabi doctrine,it is going back to stone age.Recommend

  • SD
    Jul 23, 2016 - 7:24AM

    Welcome back Madam Recommend

  • Bunny Rabbit
    Jul 23, 2016 - 10:43AM

    Sorry dear , even in India the artists have the same grudge. U are better off at your present place . I say better a known devil. Recommend

  • sanjeev
    Jul 23, 2016 - 11:12AM

    @Nadeem: You are saying this because you have never gone there. Fatima has lived in India and knows better than any other Pakistanis. That is why she is calling it ‘my country’ even after so many decades. Don’t be swayed by propaganda. Face the reality. Find out why Adnan Sami or Salma Agha are struggling to get Indian citizenship.Recommend

  • Jul 23, 2016 - 11:23AM

    This is a shame that an elderly lady is not being looked after by the Govt. At least the citizenry should have proferred to help her. Such a shame. Please come back madam, we will be glad to have you in India. Good times or bad times, we will have enough to share with an elderly woman like you.Recommend

  • Jul 23, 2016 - 12:15PM

    I feel for you and our government must do something for you. But going back to India is really not a good option, you should see how India is killing Kashmir’s and then think again. Recommend

  • Khabar
    Jul 23, 2016 - 2:43PM

    It is a known fact that in old age, man wants to go back to his/her roots. She should be send back to India so that she can die in peace closer to her roots. I’m not sure how she’s going to survive there. Quite obvious her children are not doing well. Having a famous father does not mean you also have in you. Why should the gov look after a family of 6 members, what happened to the savings when the sun was shinning for almost 28 yrs (1947- 1975) ? Or they never saved? Recommend

  • Hella
    Jul 23, 2016 - 4:56PM

    Since she has lived in both India and Pakistan she can judge correctly which is the better place. No wonder she wishes to go to India, where she will be honoured, respected and taken care of by colleagues of her husband like Dilip Saab etc. In Pakistan she only faces poverty and neglect. Recommend

  • vinsin
    Jul 23, 2016 - 9:10PM

    @Nadeem:
    Kashmir has different constitution than India. Arts, Music and Cinema are banned in IOK. She wanted to come to India just like other Pakistani artists come to India and some beg for citizenship. Getting citizenship is impossible.Recommend

  • Raz.DK
    Jul 24, 2016 - 2:59AM

    If you feel that you will have it better there, then please leave for your country (as mentioned by yourself). Bye bye and take care ! Recommend

  • Usama
    Jul 24, 2016 - 11:13AM

    She has 5 sons and none of them were educated enough by her to get a proper job? And then she says the government should take of her.Recommend

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