Mohammed Zahur “Khayyam” Hashmi, also known as ‘Khayyam’ is a famous Indian music composer. He composed music for the films like “Kabhi Kabhie (1976),” “Trishul (1978),” “Dard (1981),” “Dil-E-Nadan(1982),” and “Umrao Jaan (1981).”
Mohammed Zahur “Khayyam” Hashmi was born as ‘Sa’aadat Hussain’ on Friday, 18 February 1927 (age 92 years at the time of death) in the Rahon City of Nawanshahr District, Punjab, British India. His zodiac sign is Aquarius. In his early teenage, he left his home and went to study music but had to return to complete his education. Khayyam ran to his uncle’s house in Delhi to become an actor. His uncle enrolled him in a school, but when he saw his passion for films, he decided to let him learn music. He got trained under Pandit Amar Nath. He then went to Lahore, where he met Baba Chishti, a famous Punjabi music composer from who he had later learned music.
Height (approx.): 5′ 4″
Eye Colour: Dark Brown
Hair Colour: Grey (semi-bald)
Family, Caste & Wife
Khayyam belongs to a highly-educated Muslim family. His siblings are living in Pakistan. He got married to Jagjit Kaur (singer) in 1954. Khayyam had a son named Pradeep Khayaam, who died of a heart attack on 25 March 2012.
At the age of 17, Khayyam went to Lahore and started working as an assistant to Baba Chishti. Telling about that, Khayyam says-
My work was to give rehearsals to singers and musicians.”
He assisted him till six months, after which he came back to Ludhiana in 1943. After a brief stint in the army in the Second World War, he moved to Bombay (now Mumbai) to make his career in films. Talking about the reason to join the army, Khayyam says-
The British government had promised to give freedom to the country if we supported them in the war.”
He made his debut as Sharmaji of the Sharmaji-Varmaji composer duo with the film “Heer Ranjha” in 1948.
One of his earliest success came with the song “Akele Mein Wo Ghabrate to Honge” from the film “Biwi (1950)” sung by Mohammed Rafi. He adopted ‘Khayyam’ as his screen name with the film “Foot Path (1953).”
After working in a few films, he gained recognition through the film “Phir Subha Hogi (1958),” in which songs were composed by Sahir Ludhianvi and sung by Mukesh and Asha Bhosle.
After he did “Shola Aur Shabnam (1961),” Khayyam’s reputation established as the great composer, his most notable works came in the films like “Shagoon (1964),” “Kabhi Kabhie (1976),” “Trishul (1978),” “Dard (1981),” “Dil-E-Nadan(1982),” and “Umrao Jaan (1981).”
Apart from music direction, he has also worked as a singer. Khayyam made his debut as a singer with the song “Dono Jaha Teri Mohabbat Me Haar Ke” from the film “Romeo & Juliet (1947).”
He has also sung “Kab Yaad Mein Tera Saath Nahin” from the film “Anjuman (1986).”
He also worked as an actor in the 1948 film “Yeh Hai Zindagi.”
- ‘Kabhi Kabhie Mere Dil Mein’ from the film “Kabhi Kabhie (1976)”
- ‘Main Pal Do Pal Ka Shayar Hoon’ from the film “Kabhi Kabhie (1976)”
- ‘In Ankhon Ki Masti Ke’ from the film “Umrao Jaan (1981)”
- ‘Dil Cheez Kya Hai’ from the film “Umrao Jaan (1981)”
- ‘Aaja Re O Mere Dilbar’ from the film “Noorie (1979)”
Awards & Honours
- Hridaynath Mangeshkar Award in 2018
- Padma Bhushan in 2011
- Sangeet Natak Akademi Award: Creative Music in 2007
- National Film Award for Best Music Direction for the film “Umrao Jaan” in 1982
- Best Music Director for the film “Kabhi Kabhie” in 1977
- Best Music Director for the film “Umrao Jaan” in 1982
- Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010
Note: Apart from these, he has won many awards and honours.
7th Floor, Dakshin Apartments
- Dessert: Laddoo
- Food: Gujarati Cuisines
- Restaurant(s): Sarvi in Nagpada, Mumbai, Kareem’s at Mohammad Ali Road in Mumbai
- Actor: Rajesh Khanna
- Actress(s): Meena Kumari, Rekha
- Music Director(s): S. D. Burman, R. D. Burman, Laxmikant–Pyarelal, Shankar Jaikishan, Naushad
- Poet(s): Sahir Ludhianvi, Kaifi Azmi
Khayyam’s net worth is roughly Rs.10 crores (as in 2016).
Khayyam was admitted on 28 July 2019 to Sujay Hospital in Juhu, Mumbai following lung infections. He died on 19 August 2019 at 9:30 PM (IST) due to cardiac arrest.
- He used to like watching films and listening to music.
- Just like Khayyam, his father was also interested in music, literature, and poetry. Khayyam would often take his father and siblings to watch films. Sharing the memory of his father, Khayyam says-
When the train halted at Khatkar Kalan station, my father made us kids stand. He then said, ‘Salute this village, this is the village of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, where his ancestral home is located.’ For the rest of the journey, my father told us about Bhagat Singh’s inspiring life and how he and his friends chose the gallows to liberate the country from the British.”
- At the peak of his career, Khayyam was regarded as the ‘Naushad’ of that time.
- Jagjit Kaur came from an aristocratic family in Punjab. Talking about their first meeting with Khayyam, Jagjit told that Khayyam had followed her on the overbridge of the Dadar Railway Station. At first, she panicked as she thought that he might have been stalking her, but when Khayyam introduced himself as a music composer to her, Jagjit calmed down.
- Khayyam’s father-in-law had disapproved of their marriage. Despite that, their marriage was one of the first inter-communal marriage of the film industry.
- Throughout his career, Khayyam chose to work with the poets, who had a strong background in poetry. That’s the reason his music always stands out, having a touch of Ghazals and poems.
- When Khayyam offered Asha Bhosle to sing for the film “Umrao Jaan (1981),” it made Asha Bhosle sing unquestionably the best songs of her career, which are- “In Aankhon Ki Masti Ke”, “Ye Kya Jagah Hai Doston,” and “Dil Cheez Kya Hai.”
- Apart from Asha Bhosle, he has also worked with her sister, Lata Mangeshkar. The very first time they worked together was in the film “Pyaar Ki Baatein (1951).”
- Jagjit Kaur was the collegemate of the former Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh. In 2006, Manmohan Singh took time out of his busy schedule to meet Khayyam and his wife.
- When he turned 90, he decided that he would donate all of his earnings to his charitable trust- ‘Khayyam Jagjeet Kaur KPG Charitable Trust’ to support aspiring artists and technicians in the film industry. Talking about it, he said-
I have decided that I will donate my entire wealth to support artistes and technicians, who are in need in the film industry. I have given everything I had to my motherland.”
- In an interview, while talking about his charges for the film, Khayyam told-
I was the highest paid music composer for over 14 years. Producers would tell me that I charged six times the money as compared to other music composers. But since I did limited work, and gave every project my 100%, I would expect to get the money I demanded. So, I have been really content. Humari film industry ne humari kadra ki iske hum shukraguzar hain (I am thankful to the film industry for valuing me).”
- In his career spanning over decades, Khayyam composed for only 57 films. Talking about it, he says-
I could easily have done 200-plus films like most contemporary musicians, but I was clear that I didn’t want to compromise on quality.”
- In August 2019, he was admitted to hospital in Juhu because of a fall from his armchair at home. Following the incident, Jagjit Kaur registered an alarming drop in her blood sugar count. Both husband and wife were allotted adjoining cabins, named ‘Lily’ and ‘Tulip’ in the hospital.