Name : Khaiyyam
Full / Real Name : Mohammad Zahoor Hashimi
Born : 18-Feb-1927
Died : 19-Aug-2019
Notable Films : Akhri Khat, Bazar, Footpath, Kabhi Kabhi, Noorie, Phir Subah Hogi, Shagun, Trishul, Umrao Jaan
Contributed by : K Vijay Kumar
Khaiyyam was born near Jallandhar in 1927. He ran away from home when he was about 10 with the dream of becoming an actor. He went to Delhi where an uncle introduced him to the brothers Pt. Amarnath and Pt. Bhagatram. He learnt music from Pt. Amarnath-Husnlal-Bhagatram for five years. Following that, he went to Lahore and from Lahore to Bombay, looking for work in films. He joined the army in 1943 to earn a living, and left it in 1945 after the end of WWII.

He worked as an assistant to Chisti Baba until partition. Chisti Baba stayed in Lahore while Khaiyyam moved to Bombay. Husnlal-Bhagatram gave him a break as a singer and he sang a duet with Zohrabai Ambalawali (Faiz Ahmed Faiz' "dono jahaan teri muhabbat me haar ke) in Romeo & Juilet. He sang more duets with Mohantara Talpade, Geeta Dutt and Meena Kapoor. His first film as composer was for Wali Saheb's "Heer Ranjha" where he shared credits with Aziz Hindi and Rehman Verma. His 1950 composition for Biwi, sung by Rafi, "akele me vo ghabaraate to honge" was his first hit.

For Footpath (1953), he was a part of the team of Zia Sarhadi, Dilip Kumar, Meena Kumari, Majrooh, Ali Sardar Jafri, Talat & Asha. Despite great songs, the film did not do very well and he continued to search for film offers till 1958. In the interim, he composed non-Film ghazals for Talat (aa gayin phir se bahaare, ro ro beeta jeevan sara) and Rafi (gazab kiya tere vade pe aitbaar kiya), as well as a tranche of bhajans with Rafi (tere bharose nandlal, shyam se neha lagaye)

Then came Ramesh Sehgal's Phir Subah Hogi, based on Dostoevsky's Crime & Punishment. Sahir convinced Sehgal that Khaiyyam could do justice to the theme. They then had to convince Raj Kapoor. For the 'test', Khaiyyam prepared six tunes for the title song, wo subah kabhi to aayegi. Raj Kapoor approved all six!

Following the success of the music of the film, Khaiyyam got several more offers in the 60s and 70s. A discerning composer, Kyaiyyam limited himself to a few projects at a time, and in over fifty years of association with films, has just over fifty films to show for it, each of them a connoisseur's delight. He won a national award for his work in Umrao Jaan.