On November 23 Saturday, Syed Wasi Shah host of Raat Gaye, a well-produced cultural and literary late night show on PTV Home, paid tribute to the beloved folk singer Reshma.
For Reshma’s tribute Syed Wasi Shah invited an erudite and musically sound gentleman (his name unfortunately I am forgetting at the moment) and who was closely associated with Khwaja Khurshid Anwar, the ace film music director. A folk singer Farah Lal and her group of musicians were also invited to the show. In between Wasi Shah also placed phone calls to singers and music connoisseurs who paid tribute to the recently deceased singer.
According to the gentleman one of Reshma’s distinctive musical quality was her khola-dhula singing. Also the musicians had to follow her singing tempo unlike the other way round hence it was a challenge to sing with her. Wasi Shah also narrated the legendary story of Reshma’s discovery. Salim Gilani of Radio Pakistan found her singing in the streets of Karachi with her band of fellow nomads; Reshma belonged to a gypsy clan from Bikaner in Rajasthan, and her singing mesmerized Salim Gilani. He then found her singing about two years later at a shrine and the rest they say is history. In between the conversation, were clips of her interview and singing from PTV archives, which were a joy to hear and listen.
Both Wasi Shah and the gentleman spoke of Reshma’s simplicity that remained unspoiled despite the fact that she had travelled the world and rubbed shoulders with powerful leaders and politicians. Actress Reshma, ghazal singer Tahira Syed and folk singer Babar Niazi shared their sentiments via phone about Reshma. Tahira Syed said that her mother Malika Pukhraj was quite fond of Reshma and would often invite her home to sing for her. Babar Niazi, son of folk singer Tufail Niazi, also spoke fondly of Reshma and her staying over along with her toddler son at their home and evenings were filled with her singing. He then hummed a tukra or probably a Maand changing the entire mood of the show. Farah Lal also hummed along. Wasi Shah then requested Farah Lal to sing such pieces but with minimum music accompaniment and its then this talented singer’s vocal proficiency came out and made the listening experience magical.
Unfortunately, there are no clips available of the program, nor of Reshma’s interview, however I have gathered a couple of links to some of her famous numbers such as Akhiyaan Nu Rehn De, Goriye Mein Jana Pardes, Lambi Judaai and Ve Main Chori Chori Teray Naal, Meri Humjoliyan.