Inayat Hussain Bhatti
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Inayat Hussain Bhatti


Inayat Hussain Bhatti was born in Gujrat on 12 January 1928, the son of Fazal Ellahi Bhatti, a Bhatti Muslim Rajput, who was a prominent social worker in Gujrat. He attended public high school and later graduated from Zamindar College, Gujrat. During the early phases of his life, Bhatti enjoyed his association with two persons, both from Gujrat. They were Syed Ijaz Hussain Gilani, a practising lawyer, whose abrasive interest in fine arts, especially music and drama, and Asghar Hayat Jaura, a Kabbadi player from Gujrat with whom Bhatti sahib shared many common interests. The late artist from Mohalla Fattupura, Gujrat, spent several formative years of his life in the company of these individuals in Gujrat and Lahore. He became interested in the lives and works of the Sufi saints and the poetry of Waris Shah, Bulleh Shah, Baba Farid, Mian Muhammad Bakhsh since his early college days, Mainly because of his association with the said two persons.

In December 1948, he came to Lahore with the intention to study law and initially stayed at MAO College hostel, Lahore. A few months after his arrival in Lahore, he made his first performance on stage in the YMCA Hall, Lahore, in a play produced by Syed Ijaz Hussain Gilani, which focused on the freedom struggle of the Kashmiri freedom fighters. After his YMCA auditorium performance, Bhatti accompanied Ijaz Gilani to Radio Pakistan, Lahore, where he met and became a formal pupil of Master Niaz Hussain Shami, a composer, then working for Radio Pakistan in Lahore. It was his association with and training under Shami, which facilitated Bhatti sahib's participation in regular radio programs as a singer. He sometimes used to accept character roles in plays broadcast by the Lahore station of Radio Pakistan. Once he was memorizing some lines while having tea at the radio canteen when Rafi Peer, a play writer, overheard him. He went up to him and asked whether he would act as the hero in his play Akhian (Eyes). Rafi Peer wanted Bhatti sahib to speak Punjabi in the Sargodha dialect, which he did.

Bhatti sahib was introduced to composer Ghulam Ahmed Chishti by Shami in 1949, who offered him an opportunity to record a few songs in producer-director Nazir's film Phairey (1949). The song "aakhiyan laanveen naan", a duet with Munnawer Sultana, other songs of that movie, includes the solo recorded in the voice of Bhatti, courtesy G.A.Chishti and the movie Phairey. After his debut in the films as playback singer, Bhatti's vocal recourses were employed by several music directors including Ghulam Haider, Master Inayat Hussain and Rashid Attrey, for recording their songs in a number of films. Producer-director Nazir offered Bhatti sahib the leading role in his Punjabi film Heer (1955) against Sawaran lata.

His career spanned almost five decades. In 1997, he suffered an attack of paralysis, which impaired his speech and kept him bed-ridden for most of the time thereafter. A few days before his death, Bhatti was taken to his native home Gujrat where, on 31 May 1999, he died and laid to rest beside his late parents.

During the 1960s, Bhatti also took to folk theatre acting and singing, and toured the rural hinterland of the Punjab along with his theatre group, sung and recited Sufi poets like Waris Shah, Bulleh Shah, Mian Muhammad Bakhsh, Sultan Bahoo, Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai.

In 1996, Bhatti was invited to attend a cultural Mela in Mohali, India, by the then Minister of East Punjab, Harnek Singh Gharun, the Indian National Congress leader. Beginning with "Heer", he sung songs from his own films, "Urdu ghazals", "Maheeya", and ended with "Mirza".

In 1997, he was invited to attend a musical event at Chandigarh, India. The event was organized by "the Punjabi Aalam", a cultural organization.

His first venture as a film producer was Waris Shah (1962), based upon the life and works of the Sufi poet of Punjab. His second film as a producer Moonh zoor (1965) was also not successful, but then in 1967 his third film Chan makhna in which he played the lead role received the Nigar award as the best picture 1967. This was followed by a string of movies such as Sajjan paira (1968), Jind jan (1969), Duniya matlab di (1970), Ishq diwana (1971), and Zulam da badla (1972) which broke all the previous box office records. He also produced, directed and acted in three Saraiki language films simultaneously. The themes of all movies produced by him were based on some social malady of the Punjabi culture.

During his film career, spanning almost five decades, he produced 30 films under the banner of “Bhatti pictures” and acted in more than three hundred films. He sung for approximately 500 films, recording more than 2500 film and non-film songs in Urdu, Punjabi, Sindhi, Bengali and Saraiki. One of his na'at in “Arabic” is regularly broadcast on Radio Pakistan Lahore, during the holy month of “Ramadan” for the last four decades.

Bhatti's patriotic song "Allah-O-Akbar" from the film Genghis Khan (1958) has become a signature tune for the armed forces of Pakistan.

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