Khwaja Khurshid Anwar

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Khwaja Khurshid Anwar
خواجہ خُورشِيدانور
ख़्वाजा खुर्शीद अनवर
Khwaja Khurshid Anwar.jpg
Background information
Birth name Khurshid Anwar
Also known as Khwaja Sahib
Born Thursday 2 Raby' Al-THanny 1330 A.H/ 21 March 1912
Mianwali, Punjab, British India
Origin Pakistani

Tuesday, 5 Safar, 1405 A.H/ 30 October 1984

(Age was 74 years 8 months 11 days)
Lahore, Pakistan
Genres Classical
Indian film music, Pakistani music
Occupation(s) Music Director, Screenwriter, Film Director, Film Producer
Years active 1941–1982

Khwaja Khurshid Anwar (21 March 1912 − 30 October 1984) (Urdu: خواجہ خُورشِيدانور‎, Hindi: ख़्वाजा खुर्शीद अनवर) was a filmmaker, writer, director and music composer who gained extreme popularity both in India and Pakistan. He is widely credited as being one of the most original and inventive music directors of his generation. He was Programme Producer (Music) at AIR (Akashvani (radio broadcaster)), Delhi.

Early life[edit]

Khwaja Khurshid Anwar was born on 21 March 1912 in Mianwali (now in Pakistan) where his maternal grandfather Khan Bahadur Dr.Sheikh Atta Mohammad (whose daughter married philosopher-poet Muhammad Iqbal, to whom he was thus a nephew)[1][2] held the post of civil surgeon. His father Khwaja Ferozuddin Ahmad was a well-known Barrister settled in Lahore. The ace jurist had a love for music so much so that he had a huge collection of gramophone records of Indian classical and neo-classical music and his precocious son had an unhindered access to them all. Moreover, in the weekly soirees of music which were held in the lawyer's house, renowned masters used to perform, and it was here that the young Khurshid Anwar developed a taste for classical music. Viewing Khrshid Anwar's keen interest Khansahib Tawakkal Hussain took him under his tutleage in 1934.

Khurshid Anwar was also a brilliant student at Government College, Lahore, the renowned seat of learning. Having topped in the Masters in Philosophy (1935), he appeared in the examination for Indian Civil Service (ICS) but due to his political and anti-Raj activities, the colonial masters would not let him share power. Interestingly, he had also absented himself from the prize-distribution ceremony of the Punjab University held to honour the students with distinctions. When his name was called to receive the Gold Medal in Philosophy, nobody turned up. The British Chancellor of the University who was awarding medals remarked that the student having forgotten to receive the medal is a true philosopher.[3]

Career in India[edit]

In 1939 Khurshid Anwar joined AIR (Akashvani (radio broadcaster)), Delhi as Programme Producer (Music). It was from here that he acceded to the requests of Abdur Rashid Kardar, the renowned film producer, to join Bombay filmdom as Music director. He made his debut as a music director in Kardar's Punjabi venture "Kudmai" (1941]. His first Hindi film was "Ishara"(1943]. The film gained much popularity from its songs which included "Panghat pe muraliya baje" by Suraiya, "Shabnam kyon neer bahaye" by Gauhar Sultan, and "Dil deke dagha nahin dena" by Vatsala Kumathekar. Some of his other Hindi films were Parakh (1944, with Saraswati Devi), Yateem (1945, with K. Dutta), Aaj Aur Kal (1947), Pagdandi(1947), and Parwaana (1947) which was the last movie in which K. L. Saigal acted and sang. For "Singaar" (1949) he got the Clare Award for Best Music Director. His later films "Nishaana" (1950) and "Neelam Pari" (1952) added new feathers to his cap. He remained an inspiration to many later day music directors in both India and Pakistan. For many years, Roshan was a disciple of his, as was Shankar of Shankar Jaikishan. He was regularly praised by his contemporary Naushad Ali, who considered him to be one of the finest composers in the subcontinent.

Career in Pakistan[edit]

Khurshid Anwar migrated to Pakistan in 1952. It was in fact his arrival in a newly independent land where the nation was in search of its expressions in arts especially in music. And it was here in 1956 that Khurshid Anwar gave Pakistani film music its identity through his magnum opus "Intezar". The film also gave a new lease of life to Noor Jehan, his lead singer for the years to come. After, "Intezar", Khurshid Anwar continued with his stylistic creations in films such as, Mirza Sahiban (1956), Zehre Ishq (1958), Jhoomer (1959), Koel (1959), Ayyaz (1961), Ghunghat (1962), Haveli (1964) Chingari (1964), Sarhad (1966), Hamraz (1967), Guddo (1970),Heer Ranjha (1970), Salam E Mohabat (1971), Parai Aag (1971), Shireen Farhad (1975), Haider Ali (1979) and Mirza Jat (1982).



  • Hamraz  : Story,Screenplay and Dialogues (1967)
  • Chingari  : Story and Screenplay (1964)
  • Ghunghat  : Story and Screenplay (1962)
  • Jhoomer  : Story and Screenplay (1959)
  • Zehr-E-Ishq : Story and Screenplay (1958)
  • Intezar  : Story and Screenplay (1956)


  • Hamraz (1967)
  • Chingari (1964)
  • Ghunghat (1962)


  • Hamraz (co-Producer) 1967
  • Chingari (co-Producer) 1964
  • Ghunghat (co-Producer) 1962
  • Jhoomer (Producer) 1959
  • Zehr E Ishq (co-Producer) 1958
  • Intezar (co-Producer) 1956

Music director in India[edit]

1. Kurmai (Punjabi) 1941
2. Ishara 1943
3. Parakh 1944
4. Yateem 1945
5. Parwana 1947
6. Paghdandi 1947
7. Aaj Aur Kal 1947
8. Singhar 1949
9. Nishana 1950
10. Neelam Pari 1952

Music director in Pakistan[edit]

1. Intezar 1956
2. Mirza Sahiban 1956
3. Zehr-e-Ishq 1958
4. Jhoomer 1959
5. Koel 1956
6. Ayaz 1960
7. Ghoonghat 1962
8. Chingari 1964
9. Haveli 1964
10. Sarhad 1966
11. Hamraaz 1967
12. Guddo (Punjabi) 1970
13. Heer Ranjha (Punjabi) 1970
14. Parai Aag 1971
15. Salam-e-Mohabbat 1971
16. Shirin Farhad 1975
17. Hyder Ali 1979
18. Mirza Jat (Punjabi) 1982

Death and legacy[edit]

Khurshid Anwar died on 30 October 1984 in Lahore after a protracted illness. In recognition of his contribution in enrichment film music, the Bombay film industry awarded him the coveted Mortal-Men-Immortal-melodies Award (1982). Great Urdu poet of 20th century, Faiz Ahmad Faiz was a lifelong friend of Khurshid Anwar. During an interview, in reply to a query of Anwar Maqsood, Faiz acknowledged that he was inspired by Khurshid Anwar.[4]

He has also been praised for his efforts to keep alive Classical music not only through his compositions but also through his unique collection of classical Music performances recorded by EMI Pakistan, known as Aahang-e-Khusrav in two parts(1978). Raag Mala has ten volumes includes 90 Raags in ten Thaths. Each Raag has a short introduction in the voice of Khurshid Anwar explaining the characteristics of the Raag followed by its audio performance by renowned Classical singers of Pakistan. The second part of Aahang-e-Khusravi is Gharaon Ki Gaiyki in 20 volumes which consists of audio recording of representatives of the main Gharanas of Classical singers in Pakistan. In recognition of his services for the cause of music, he was awarded the coveted 'Sitara-e-Imtiaz' by the Government of Pakistan in 1980.


  1. ^ Muḥammad Saʻīd, Lahore: A Memoir, Vanguard Books (1989), p. 175
  2. ^ Harjap Singh Aujla, Khurshid Anwar, a prince among the music directors of the sub-continent and his exploits in British and Independent India
  3. ^ Recalled in Nuskha-hai-Wafa by Faiz Ahmed Fiaz
  4. ^ "Faiz and Khurshid Anwar". 

External links[edit]