Khwaja Khurshid Anwar (21 March 1912 − 30 October 1984) was a Pakistani filmmaker, writer, director and music composer who earned recognition in both India and Pakistan. He is credited as being one of the most original and inventive music directors of his generation. He was the Programme Producer (Music) at (AIR), All India Radio or Akashvani (radio broadcaster), Delhi in 1939.
Khwaja Khurshid Anwar was born on 21 March 1912 in Mianwali, Punjab (now in Pakistan) where his maternal grandfather Khan Bahadur Dr.Sheikh Atta Mohammad (whose eldest daughter was married to philosopher-poet Muhammad Iqbal, to whom he was thus a nephew) was serving as civil surgeon. His father Khwaja Ferozuddin Ahmad was a well-known Barrister settled in Lahore, Pakistan. 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 music performances held in the lawyer’s home, renowned music masters used to perform, and it was here that the young Khurshid Anwar developed a taste for classical music. Considering Khrshid Anwar’s keen interest, Khansahib Tawakkal Hussain agreed to take him as his disciple and train him in 1934.
Khurshid Anwar was also a brilliant student at Government College, Lahore, the renowned seat of learning at that time. Having topped in the master’s degree in Philosophy in (1935), he appeared in the examination for Indian Civil Service (ICS) but due to his political and anti-British Raj activities, the British colonial masters did not like his activities. He was also absent 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.
CAREER IN INDIA
In 1939, Khurshid Anwar joined AIR All India Radio or (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 film world as a music director. He made his debut as a music director in Kardar’s Punjabi venture “Kurmai” (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” Sung 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), Aaj Aur Kal (1947), Pagdandi (1947), and Parwaana (1947) which was the last movie in which K. L. Saigal acted and sang in.
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, renowned Indian film music director Roshan was a disciple of his, as was Shankar of Shankar Jaikishan fame. He was regularly praised by his contemporary Indian film music director Naushad Ali, who considered him to be one of the finest film composers in the subcontinent.