Shamshad Begum : (14 April 1919 – 23 April 2013) was an Indian singer who was one of the first playback singers in the Hindi film industry. She had a distinctive voice and was a versatile artist, singing over 6,000 songs in Hindi and the Bengali, Marathi, Gujarati, Tamil and Punjabi languages and of them 1287 songs were Hindi film songs. She worked with maestros including Naushad Ali, S. D. Burman, C. Ramchandra and O. P. Nayyar. Her songs from the 1940s to the early 1970s remain popular and continue to be remixed.
Begum was born in Lahore on 14 April 1919, the day after the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in a Muslim family and had seven siblings. Her father was Miya Hussain Baksh worked as a mechanic and her mother was extremely conservative. She fell in love with Ganpat Lal Batto, a lawyer, in 1932 and, despite family objections, married him at the age of 15 in 1934. She had one daughter, Usha Ratra, who is married to Lieutenant Colonel Yogesh Ratra. Begum’s husband died in 1955 in an accident. Since her husband’s death, Begum lived with her daughter and son-in-law in Mumbai, recently at Hiranandani Gardens in the Powai district.
At around 2004, a controversy erupted in the media, when several publications gave the false news of her death, before it was clarified that the Shamshad Begum who had died in 1998 was Saira Banu’s grandmother with the same name