He started composing music for Hindi/Urdu films in the 1930s. But it was Madhubala starrer Pardes in 1950 in which Lata Mangeshkar sang GM tunes like Jiya Lage Nahi Mora, Raat Hai Taron Bhari and Dil Ki Awaaz for her lasting popularity.
Lataji and Talat Mahmood’s duets Ek Bewafa Ko Dil Ka Sahara Samaj Liya and Chhodo Chhodo Ji Piya in Ajib Ladki (1952) were huge successes.
During the same year as Funny Girl, Amber was a lavish costume drama featuring Raj Kapoor and Nargis. Of the 10 songs of GM in Ambar, 6 had Lataji’s vocals. The most popular of them was Lataji’s duet Hum Tum Yeh Bahaar with Mohammed Rafi.
Dil-e-Nadan which introduced Talat Mahmood as a leading man was unsuccessful. But Talat’s song Zindagi Dene Ke Sunn is one of my favorite songs before GM’s Pakeezah.
However, GM’s most notable pre-Pakeezah soundtrack was for the superhit film Mirza Ghalib. Based on the life of the great poet, it features the renditions of Suraiya and Talat Mahmood singing the immortal lines of Ghalib. Suraiya’s songs in particular impressed Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.
Sohrab Modi’s Kundan in 1955 had an evocative soundtrack by GM. The most interesting song of this movie was Matwale Oh Matwale. The vocals on this peppy track are by Lataji and Shamshad Begum, a rare collaboration.
Shama was GM’s last soundtrack before Pakeezah in 1961. Suraiya’s soulful and sad single Dil Gham Se Jal Raha Hai Jale Par Dhuaan Na Ho is still remembered as an old product of what some feel was the golden age.
From 1962 until his death, GM devoted his time and talent to Pakeezah’s songs. He passed away on March 16, 1968, leaving his magnum opus incomplete. Ghulam Mohammed’s good friend Naushad completed the score for Pakija. But the films Thare Rahiyo, Chalte Chalte, Inhi Logon Ne, Mausam Hai Aashiqana, Chalo Dildar Chalo and Teer-e-Nazar Dekhenge were all immortal classics made by Ghulam Mohammed. He died young. But his songs live on as a legacy of his inclination towards lynching.