She has been known as the voice behind songs like Mujh ko Apne Gale Lagalo,Neend Ud Jaaye Teri Chain se Sone Wale. But Mubarak Begum is now only a pale shadow of her former self. Dogged by financial woes,this septuagenarian who is recuperating from a spinal cord surgery is hoping someone will take notice of her plight and help her.
When her story first came to the fore,Iqbal Darbar,president of the Mohammed Rafi Arts Foundation (MRAF),began scouting for the ailing singer. We found her one room apartment in Jogeshwari after conducting inquiries. Her daughter is suffering from Parkinsons disease,while her son is a taxi driver. It is disheartening to see one of the most gifted singers in the Hindi film industry fade into oblivion, he said.
The foundation will be conducting a charity concert,where Darbars orchestra group Gods Gift Orchestra,will be performing. The concert will be held on July 9 at Balgandharva Auditorium,and the proceeds will be disbursed to Begum after the concert. Darbar says,We will be handing the cheque to her after the event. The programme will feature Andaaz-e-Rafi,a segment featuring Mohammad Rafis songs. Cartoonist Mangesh Tendulkar and actor Vikram Gokhale will also be present. Darbar said Begums bank account number will be put up on their website so that people can donate to her directly. We are still working on the ticket costs, he says.
Begum sang her last song in 1968 and made a comeback in 2008. Since then her health deteriorated,confining her to her Jogeshwari apartment. Darbar says it is about time senior artistes in the country are given their due.