Bollywood singer Shamshad Begum dies aged 94

MUMBAI Wed Apr 24, 2013 2:45pm IST

Play-back singer Shamshad Begum (C, on wheel-chair) receives India's civilian award, Padma Bhushan, from Indian President Pratibha Patil during an award ceremony at the presidential palace in New Delhi March 31, 2009. REUTERS/B Mathur/Files

Play-back singer Shamshad Begum (C, on wheel-chair) receives India's civilian award, Padma Bhushan, from Indian President Pratibha Patil during an award ceremony at the presidential palace in New Delhi March 31, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/B Mathur/Files

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MUMBAI (Reuters) - Singer Shamshad Begum, whose lilting voice charmed fans of Bollywood films for more than 60 years, has died at the age of 94.

The singer's daughter Usha Ratra told local media that Begum died in Mumbai on Tuesday after a period of declining health.

"The golden voice of Shamshad Begum, play back singer of great eminence in some of the most historic film songs .. now silent .. RIP," Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan said on Twitter on Wednesday.

Begum was born in Amritsar, and started her career on radio in 1947 before singing for the movies.

Her most memorable songs include "Mere Piya Gaye Rangoon" from the 1949 film "Patanga" and "Leke Pehla Pehla Pyar" from the 1956 hit "C.I.D.".

"Teri Mehfil Mein Qismat", her duet with India's most famous playback singer Lata Mangeshkar in the 1960 blockbuster "Mughal-E-Azam", is still often played on Indian radio.

"I am saddened to hear of the death of Shamshad Begum. I have sung with her in several films and she had a pleasant and simple personality," Mangeshkar wrote on Twitter.

Begum received the Padma Bhushan, one of India's highest civilian awards, in 2009.

(Reporting by Shilpa Jamkhandikar and Diksha Madhok; Editing by Tony Tharakan and Belinda Goldsmith)

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