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Introduction :
Shabbir Kumar mainly sings Hindi music in Hindi.
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Background

Shabbir Kumar is a Muslim from Baroda and developed an interest in music from an early age. He began a stage show Ek Shaam Rafi Ke Naam, which was a success. He claims that when he attended Rafis funeral in 1980, his pen fell into Rafis open grave. Shabbir interpreted it as a divine message that he was to be his successor. Even as his Rafi concerts continued their success spree, Shabbir also tried for a break in films, where another Rafi clone, Anwar, was also struggling.

Struggle and Rise

Shabbir, unlike Anwar was far luckier. He got a break with Usha Khanna in Tajurba (1981). But the major break came when the late Manmohan Desai, looking for a Rafi substitute, heard Shabbirs voice and recommended him to Laxmikant  Pyarelal. Within 15 days, Shabbir had recorded for Coolie.

His first releases with Laxmikant  Pyarelal were Main Inteqaam Loonga, Farz Aur Kanoon, Baghawat and Mehendi Rang Layegi. But it was Prem Tapasyas Raat Hai Kuch Khoyi Khoyi with Lata that got a modicum of popularity in early 1983.

However, the second half of the 80s decade belonged to Shabbir all the way. He became the launching voice of three new voices: Rajeev Kapoor in Ek Jaan Hain Hum in which Anu Malik tried to inflict a Rafi  Shankar  Jaikishan  Shammi Kapoor flavour on the Rajiv  Shabbir combination. Anil Kapoor in his breakthrough film Woh 7 Din and Sunny Deol in Betaab, where R. D. Burman extracted some of Shabbirs finest singing.

In this film, he had sung all five songs, and Shabbir bettered it with the blockbuster Laxmikant  Pyarelal score for Coolie, in which he sang all seven songs, six for Amitabh Bachchan, the demi  God of that era, and one for Rishi Kapoor  Mujhe Peene Ka Shouq Nahin.

From then on for some years, the Shabbir success story soared. Kalyanji  Anandji, R. D. Burman and Rajesh Roshan had little time for him, but Laxmikant  Pyarelal, glad that they could compose in the Rafi mould again, showered songs and entire scores ( Jeene Nahin Doonga, Pyar Jhukta Nahin etc ) on him. Bappi Lahiri and Anu Malik were their nearest competitors, and both used him regularly.

Top Hits

Apart form his four major pads mentioned above, Shabbir had an array of hits to follow like Duniya Ki Aisi Ki Taisi (Ilzaam), Saajan Aa Jao (Aag Hi Aag) and Bandhan Toote Na (Paap Ki Duniya) under Bappi Lahiri, Naam Khuda Ka Le Zaraa (Sohni Mahiwal), Sun Rubiya (Mard) and Apna Jeevan (Love Marriage) under Anu Malik, Tun Yaad Na Aaya Karo (Jeene Nahin Doonga), Jeet Jayenge Hum (Meri Jung), Pyar Kiya hai (Pyar Kiya Hai Pyar Karenge), Baharon Se Rangeeniyon ko Churaake (Naseeb Ana Apna and his coup de grace in popularity under Laxmikant  Pyarelal: Pyar Jhukta Nahin.

He also sang for Ravindra Jain, Raamlaxman and other prevailing composers then and his list of heroes went on to include Dilip Kumar, Dharmendra, Jackie Shroff, Rishi Kapoor, Jeetendra, Mithun Chakravarty, Raj Babbar, Govinda, Chunky Pandey, Sanjay Dutt, Kumar Gaurav, Kamal Hassan and Rajnikant.

Ir 886 onically, Shabbir lost out because of the very reason that ensured his ascendance  the entry of Mohammad Aziz from Calcutta. Superior in range and personal marketing, Aziz was judged as a better Rafi clone. By 1985, Laxmikant  Pyarelal had thwarted the Bappi Lahiri Challenge to emerge as composers with no opposition, and they began to record with Aziz on an overwhelming scale. Shabbir had to contend with the leftovers, as to his dismay, even Kalyanji  Anandji, R. D. Burman and Rajesh Roshan found work his challenger and Bappi too went his way. Anu Malik was the sole composer form his heydays who managed to balance the two imitators, but inevitably had to face a creative impasse.

The proverbial nail in the coffin proved to be the oncoming of the nineties, when the music industry witnessed a radical shift in its work ethic and environment and with the death of Kishore Kumar, Kishore clones engulfed the industry. Led by Nadeem Shravan, who were unabashed supporters of Kumar Sanu and others of their ilk, Shabbir was edged out of contention, even as his rival Mohammad Aziz began to flounder.

His last significant hits were Gori Hai Kalaiyan (Aaj Ka Arjun) and Sochna Kya from Ghayal, both under Bappi Lahiri in 1990. He sang in few films in this decade, most of them being delayed projects like Qurbani Rang Layegi and Zimmedar.

Current Status

Relying largely on stage shows, Shabbir is now set to make a comeback. He has taken some coaching in vocal music and impressed top  shot Anu Malik enough to give him a chance at a reprise in the soon to be released Ghaath and another in Dil Dhoondta Hai. Anu even claims to be excited about him and Shabbir claims that he might even record for A. R. Rahman.
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