Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
(b Naushad Ali, 25 December 1925, Lucknow) Indian film music director. He made an artistic and commercial breakthrough by using classical Indian music, until then considered too elitist or highbrow for popular entertainment. In Baiju Bawra '52 he introduced themes using 'playful tunes based on ragas', in fact a full-blown classical performance by Ustad Amir Khan and Pandit D. V. Paluskar (on EMI India's Baiju Bawra/Shabab double soundtrack album). The industry believed that any diversion from India's film music formula would hurt box office receipts, but Naushad's instincts spun gold: for director K. Asif's Mughal-E-Azam '60 he went further and silver-tongued the noted Hindustani classical vocalist Bade Ghulam Ali Khan into singing: his vocal sung live to film during the 'feather scene' between the prince and his beloved, Anarkali, met with critical acclaim (on EMI India's Anarkali/Mughal-E-Azam double soundtrack album): the musical direction and the eloquence of its Urdu script proved an unbeatable combination. 'I have only poured old wine into new bottles', he said, but he helped transform and radicalize the approach to film-making.