Tribute to the genius of Sajjad Hussain, on his 100th birth anniversary today.
A composer is called an artist but Sajjad Hussain was a genius; a genius whom many people did not understand. He knew he was one and he never compromised on his music for anything. And he really meant it. Unfortunately, this led him into trouble with producers and directors. He was an accomplished musician who could play Indian and Western instruments better than anyone else at that time in India. His mandolin playing impressed many.
Anil Biswas was a great fan of Sajjad Hussain and stated that by all standards Sajjad Husain was an original, a genius music director, different from all others and each of his musical composition carried most difficult notations, which he himself used to create and took utmost pleasure out of it.
Singers were terrified of him because he was a tough taskmaster and not easy to please.
Each of his compositions has more than one matchless feature; be it a superb pause, un-comparable expression of lyrics, brilliant style of musical instruments deployed and excellent choice of the voice quality of the singer.
But, in spite of his original and enduring creations, he could not get a chance of composing in very many films. The reasons were his most stubborn, short-tempered and rigid behavior.
His career in Hindi films spanned about 20 years, but he composed music for only 14 films — less than an album a year. Despite his sparse discography, Sajjad Hussain gained the respect of his peers and music aficionados.
He could have been hugely successful, made piles of money, but the only thing he wanted was to be acknowledged as a great musician and to live life on his own terms.
Sajjad breathed his last on 21 July 1995. “We get only once in our lifetime, a music director like Sajjad”– bemoaned Noorjehan at the demise of Sajjad Husain.
He never witnessed the glory or fame that he deserved because of his unwillingness to compromise on the smallest of details.
Sajjad died in oblivion. His genius went unsung. The waste of his talent is ultimately our loss. We have missed the hundreds of times that never got created by Sajjad, because he was never given a chance. What we have with us now is just an infinitesimal fraction of his untamed genius. We should be thankful for that. After all his music was eternal!
Trivia: Sajjad tried to be a total perfectionist and never compromised on quality. It is a known fact of the Bombay film industry that he took seventeen re-takes of the legendary song ‘Yeh Hawa Yeh Raat Yeh Chandni’ from the singer Talat Mahmood for the movie ‘Sangdil’.