Bade Ghulam Ali Khan

Bade Ghulam Ali Khan

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Category: Music

Bade Ghulam Ali Khan Profile

  • Name:
  • Bade Ghulam Ali Khan
  • Born:
  • April 2, 1902
  • Died:
  • April 25, 1968
  • Father:
  • Ali Baksh Khan

Bade Ghulam Ali Khan Biography

Bade Ghulam Ali Khan was one of the greatest Hindustani vocalists, India has ever witnessed! He has been a role model and true inspiration to many generations following him. Great singer - Lata Mangeshkar was a disciple of Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. He was a doyen of Indian classical music, and discussion of Indian classical music remains incomplete without taking his name.


His playback singing for India’s magnum opus – Mughal-E-Azam became a history. Naushad and Asif wanted Bade Ghulam Ali Khan to sing a couple of songs for this movie. As he was not at all interested in playback singing, he demanded a huge amount of 25,000 per song. At a time Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammed Rafi charged 300–400 rupees per song. He made such a huge demand. Ali Khan assumed that both the film maker and music director will leave the place hearing his demanded fee, as Ali was not in an intention to sing for a movie. But surprisingly, Asif gave 50% advance to him that moment and Bade Ghulam Ali Khan couldn’t give another excuse to skip. Thus two songs - "Prem Jogan Ban Ke Sunderi" and "Shubh Din Aayo" became a part of this ‘most expensive movie ever made on Indian screen’ (if inflation figures are adjusted). Perhaps, it’s the highest fee ever paid to a singer for an Indian movie too!  


Khan was born in a musical family of Kasur, then in the Punjab province in British India, which later became a part of Pakistan. At the age of seven, he learned sarangi and vocal from his paternal uncle Kale Khan. He was a disciple of Ustad Akhtar Hussain Khan and Ustad Ashiq Ali Khan, Patiala Gharana. At the age of 21, he moved to Banaras. He accompanied a courtesan named Zarabai on the sarangi. But later he debut as a vocalist in Kolkata. Instead of binding himself to a particular tag or tradition of singing, he performed in his own Patiala-Kasur style, Behram Khani elements of Dhrupad, the gyrations of Jaipur and behlavas of Gwalior. He was talented to sing in 3 octaves.


Though he moved to Pakistan in 1947, he returned back stating that he not at all approve this partition. He said that, "If in every home one child was taught Hindustani classical music this country would never have been partitioned." His dedication and love to Indian music is truly appreciable. Bade Ghulam Ali Khan Yaadgar Sabha, founded by his disciple Malti Gilani, keeps his music and memory alive by promoting Hindustani music India and abroad.

Published: N/A

Updated: January 07, 2014

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