Name : Talat
Full / Real Name : Talat Mahmood
Born : 24-Feb-1924
Died : 9-May-1998
Notable Films : Mirza Ghalib, Bewafa, Jahanara, Babul, Raftar, Waris, Dak Babu, Footpath, Sujata, Patita, Chhaya
Contributed by : K Vijay Kumar
Talat Mahmood was the man with the honey-velvet voice. The remarkable timbre of his voice and the near total absence of any bass in his voice made his voice unique. As such, it should have been very unsuitable for playback singing because no other voice comes close to it in quality. It was the sheer draw of his singing which made him the leading male singer for about ten years (1950-1960), with actors queueing up to have him provide the voice for them, and composers lining up to have him sing their songs. A sudden and significant deterioration in his voice after 1960 or so, and the changing face of Hindi Film music forced him into an early retirement. After that his participation in films was sporadic at best. He continued to record the occasional non-film song and by all reports, lead a contented life up to his death in 1999. Ironically, the voice of serene forbearance and quiet composure was stilled on the same day as the second round of Pokharan blasts shattered the delicate fabric of peace on the Indo-Pak border.

Talat was best known as a gentleman, with innate grace and courteousness in the best Lucknow traditions.

Talat Mahmood was born into a conservative Lucknow family. He had an interest for music and despite misgivings at home, trained in the famous Morris college  of  Music in  Lucknow. He started broadcasting from All India Radio in 1939 and made his first record in 1941 for HMV in Calcutta - where he also sang and did cameos in films. Calcutta was the scene of hectic filming during the early 1940's. His early recordings were non-film songs - sab din ek samaan nahin tha, mera pyar mujhe lauta do, tasveer teri dil mer bahala na sakegi. His first film song is probably "jago musafir jago" from Rajlakshmi. Talat's  first  film,  Raj Lakshmi, co-starred Kanan Bala and Chhabi Biswas. Released in 1945, the film did fairly well and was followed by Samapti with Bharati Devi and Tum Aur Mein with Kanan Devi. In 1949 he shifted to Bombay and remained here till the end of his days. His first break when he moved to Bombay came from Anil Biswas. He sang "ae dil mujhe aisi jagah le chal" in Dilip Kumar's Aarzoo, which proved to be only the first of many wonderful songs to come out of the collaboration of the two geniuses.

Talat's forte was ghazals and his soft voice and restrained style were eminently suited to this, conveying the twin emotions of love and pain in his inimitable style. However, his felicity with peppy and happy numbers was also noteworthy.