Melody Queen remembered

24 Dec 2008

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LAHORE, Dec 23: Melody Queen Noor Jahan’s eighth death anniversary was observed here at the Garden Town residence of her singer daughter Zill-i-Huma on Tuesday.

No industry people except some musicians who were close to the late singing legend turned up on the occasion.

Noor Jahan, known in the beginning of her career as Allah Wasai, was born on Sept 21, 1926, in Kasur. Besides singing which gave her eternal fame, she also acted in many movies.

The prolific singer sang over 10,000 songs for Urdu, Punjabi and Sindhi films.

Born to a family of musicians -- Madad Ali and Fateh Bibi -- Noor Jehan began singing at the tender age of six. Two of her sisters, Eidan Bai and Haider Bandi, were actors at a rural theatre.

She received her early training in classical singing under Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan’s guidance.

She later moved to Calcutta to try her luck in movies. At Calcutta famous singer Mukhtar Begum introduced Jahan to a few film producers and also to her husband, Agha Hashar Kashmiri, who owned a theatre.

Jahan’s first film as a child actor was KD Mehra’s ‘Pind Di Kuri’ produced in 1935. During that period, she also played the childhood of Heer in a film Heer Sayyal released in 1937.

She came to Lahore in 1938 and recorded her first film song ‘Shala Jawaniyan Mane’, for film Gul Bakavli in 1939. Its music was composed by Master Ghulam Haider.

In 1942, she first played the female lead in ‘Khandaan’ opposite Paran.

After that she moved to Bombay. In 1945, she sang a Qawwali with Zohrabai Ambalewali and Amirbai Karnataki; “Aahen Na Bhareen Shikave Na Kiye”. This was the first-ever Qawwali recorded in female voices in any film in the subcontinent.

Jahan’s last film in India was Mirza Sahibaan in 1947. Then she left Bombay and got settled in Karachi.

Her first film in Pakistan was ‘Chan Wey’ released in 1951, opposite Santosh Kumar. Her second was Dopatta (1952) which earned more success than ‘Chan Wey.’ In 1957 she was given President’s Award for acting and singing. Baji (1963) was her last flick.

After closing her acting career, she focused on playback singing and never looked back.

She also sang patriotic songs during 1965 war between Pakistan and India. She was awarded Tamgha-i-Imtiaz in 1966.

Among her popular songs are: Sada Hoon Apnay Piyar ki, Kahan Tak Suno Gay Kahan Tak Sunaoun, Chalo Acha huwa Tum Bhool Gaye, Wo Khawab Suhana Toot Gaya, Saioni Mera Mahi Meray Bhagg Jagawan Aa gaya, Jo Bacha tha wo Lutanay Key Liye

Ayae hain, Lay Aaie Phir Kahan Per Qismat Hamain Hamari and a number of others.

She visited India in 1982 where she was invited to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the Indian Talkie and was received by late Indian Prime Minister Indra Gandhi.

In late 80s she developed heart problem. In 2000, she was hospitalised in Karachi and died of heart attack on Dec 23. She was buried at Gizri graveyard, Karachi.