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Nuashad is one of the foremost music composers of Bollywood. He has the credit of introducing the famous Lata Mangeshkar and Mohd. Rafi to Hindi filmi music. Naushad's professional training in Hindustani music enabled him in swift adaptations of the Hindustani ragas to filmi music. He is by and large regarded as the ONLY exponent of the usage of Hindustani music in Hindi films. Late in his career, Naushad lamented upon the decreasing use of Hindustani genre and so he dreamt of starting a music school which teaches that genre. He has been quite successful in both bringing up the school and breeding young talent in that school.

His major hits include Mughal-e-azam, Mother India and Baiju Bawra.

Songs for his music have been mostly penned down by Shakeel Badayuni. In a sense, their partnership can be compared to that of Rodgers & Hammerstein's.

Naushad was awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for lifetime contribution to Indian cinema in 1982.