Today is the 77th birthday of versatile playback singer Ahmed Rushdi (April 24, 1934 – April 11, 1983) who was an important contributor to the Golden Age of Pakistani film music.
He is acclaimed as one of the greatest singers ever lived in South Asia and was a natural baritone, yet could sing high tenor notes with ease. Born in Hyderabad Deccan (India), he migrated to Pakistan and became a leading singer in the Pakistan film industry.
He is considered to be one of the most versatile vocalists of the subcontinent and was capable of singing variety of songs. He is also considered to be the first regular pop singer of South Asia and credited as having sung the “first-ever South Asian” pop song, “Ko-Ko-Ko-reena.”
In 1954, he recorded the official National anthem of Pakistan with several other singers. Rushdi has recorded the highest number of film songs in the history of Pakistani cinema. He suffered from poor health during the latter part of his life and died of a heart attack at the age of 48, after recording approximately five thousand film songs for 583 released films. Besides popular music, Rushdi also helped popularize the ghazals of Naseer Turabi.
In 2003, 20 years after his death, President of Pakistan awarded him the Sitara-e-Imtiaz.
He received many awards for his contribution to the music industry.
1961 – Best Male Playback Singer Award for the song “Chand Sa Mukhra Gora Badan,” in the film Saperan.
1962 – Best Male Playback Singer Award for the song “Gol Gappay Wala,” in the film Mehtaab.
1963 – Best Male Playback Singer Award for the song “Kisi Chaman Mei Raho” in the film Anchal.
1966 – Best Male Playback Singer Award for the song “Akele Na Jaana,” in the film Armaan.
1967 – Best Sad Song Award for “Tujhey Apney Dil Se Mei Kaisey Bhuladoon” in the film Shehnai.
1968 – Classic Award for the song “Kiya Hai Jo Pyar Toe” in the film Dil Mera Dharkan Teri (1968 film).
1969 – Best Male Playback Singer Award for the song “Aey Abre Karam,” in the film Naseeb Apna Apna.
1970 – Silver Screen Award for the song “Chhor Chaley Hum Chhor Chaley” in the film Phir Chand Nikley Ga.
1973 – Musawwir Award for the song “Mei Tujhey Nazar kya Doon” in the film Anhoni.
1975 – Screen Light Award for the song “Dil Ko Jalana Hum Ne Chor Diya” in the film Mohabbat Zindagi Hai.
2000 – Best Singer Of The Millennium Award.
2001 – Legend Award.
2003 – Pakistani “star of excellence,” the Sitara-e-Imtiaz.
2004 – Life Time Achievement Nigar Award.