In Memoriam: Malika-e Taranum Noor Jehan

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There are stars and there are superstars and then are are those who are truly blessed. Icons. One of a kind. Noor Jehan – loved and beloved by millions not just in her lifetime but beyond as well – was, is and will always remain an icon.

Noor Jehan, or Allah Wasai as her parents named her, was born on 21st September 1926 in Kasur, Punjab. Musically inclined since she was a baby, she started practicing her riyaz with Kajjanbai in Patay KhanLahore, and later received early training in classical music from Ustad Ghulam Muhammad. She started singing at the age of six  and would perform on stage with her older sisters.

From Lahore the family moved to Calcutta and it is here that Allah Wasai was renamed as Baby Noor Jehan. In 1935 Noor Jehan was cast in the punjabi film Pindi Di Kuri, where she not only acted but also recorded her first film song Lang Aaja Pattan. She next acted in a film called Misar GaunKiGoriKa Sitara (1936) and in 1937 played the role of a young Heer in the film Heer Sayal.

Noor Jehan returned to Lahore in 1938 and here her pairing as a singer with the composer Master Ghulam Haider made an overnight success. She her first nationwide hit with Gul Bakavli (1939). Baby Noor Jehan’s first box office hit was the Punjabi film, Yamla Jat (1940). She recorded her first playback song for Khazanchi in 1941.

In 1942 the prefix “Baby was dropped off as Noor Jehan began a new phase in her career  and khandaan-old-1942-movie starred as a heroine opposite Pran in Khandaan. With the success of Khandan behind her, Noor Jehan moved to Bombay where she starred in movies like Nadan (1943), Naukar (1943), Dost (1944) and Lal Haveli (1944), Bari Maa (1945). Zeenat (1945) was her first super hit film and the songs of this film earned her the title of Malika- e Taranum.  Noor Jehan also achieved another milestone, when she sung a qawwali with Zohrabai Ambalewali and Amirbai Karnataki – Aahen Na Bhareen Shikave Na Kiye – the first ever qawwali recorded in female voices in subcontinent films.

 

1946 saw her in the classic Anmol Ghari, and the immense popularity of this one made her other anmol_ghadi_1325588808films that year, Dil, Humjoli and Sofia, pale in comparison. In Jugnu (1947) she starred with Dilip Kumar. Noor Jehan’s last film in India was Mirza Sahibaan (1947). All in all she sang one hundred and twenty seven songs in Indian films, made twelve silent and sixty-nine talking films from 1932-47. Fifty-five of her films were made in Bombay, eight in Calcutta, five in Lahore and one in Rangoon, Myanmar.

Jugnu_1947_film_posterAfter Partition, Noor Jehan initially moved to Karachi but then later moved to Lahore where her then husband Shaukat Husain Rizvi set up Shahnoor Studios. In Pakistan Noor Jehan’s first films was Chanwey (1951), opposite Santosh Kumar, which was also her first Punjabi film as a heroine. Shaukat and Noor Jehan directed this film together making Noor Jehan Pakistan’s first female director. Her second film Dupatta (1952) was an even bigger hit and this was followed by Gulnar (1953).

Patay Khan (1955) was another huge musical hit, Lakht-e Jigar (1956) wasintezar average, but Intezar (1956) was undoubtedly one of the most significant musicals in the Pakistani film industry. It had music composed by Khwaja Khurshid Anwar who made his first release after he came to Pakistan in the early 1950s. This film was also the first time Noor Jehan worked with the musical giant and what a combination that was to be. And it was this film that earned Noor Jehan the first President’s Award in 1957 for best actress and best singer.

chan-way (1)Nooran (1957), Choomantar (1958), Anarkali (1958), Koel (1959), Pardaisan (1959), Neend (1959), Mirza Ghalib (1961), Baaji (1963) all solidified her position as an actress and singer of merit. Mirza Ghalib, her penultimate film, proved to be a bridge between her past and her future. She had developed a love for poetry and started recording works of leading Urdu poets, classical and contemporary. This contributed to the strengthening of her iconic stature. She gained another audience for herself.Sassi

Her rendition of Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s Mujh Si Pehli Si Mohabbat is a unique example of tarranum, reciting poetry as a song. Noor Jehan last starred in Baaji in 1963, though not in a leading role.She bade farewell to acting in 1963 after a career of 33 years (1930 to 1963). All in all Noor Jehan made fourteen films in Pakistan, ten in Urdu, four in Punjabi.

Qaidi1962After she quit acting Noor Jehan took up playback singing. Her first playback for a Pakistani film was for Jan-e-Bahar (1958), in which she sung the song Kaisa Naseeb Layi Thi, picturised on Musarrat Nazir. She was soon the most famous playback singer through the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and early 1990s. She also made albums and even though she wasn’t acting, she was still a hit. She was the proud recipient of innumerable national and cultural awards, included among them the highest Pakistani civilian honour, Tamgha-e-Imtiaz (The Pride of Performance), in 1966.

mirza_sahibanHer popularity was further boosted with her patriotic songs during the 1965 war between Pakistan and India. She talked once about the stirring songs with Khalid Hasan. “Let me tell you about those days. No one asked me to sing. I myself phoned Radio Pakistan one morning and said I wanted to come and sing. They did not believe it, just kept asking, ‘Is that Madam Noor Jehan?’. They thought it was some kind of hoax. Finally, I said ‘You think I am joking with all these bombs falling, these shells exploding? I first had to get a pass to get out of the house because there was a curfew in the city. When I arrived, they were happy and surprised. ‘It is really you’, they kept saying. ‘Well, you can see for yourself’, I said.”

The diva revisited India in 1982 as an honored guest to help celebrate the goldenKoel jubilee of the Indian Talkie. It was the first time she had visited India since the Partition. She was granted an audience by the Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi at New Delhi’s Rashtrapati Bhawan and was received by Dilip Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar in Bombay, where she performed live on stage for the show Mortal Men, Immortal Melodies on February 11 of that year.

 

As she sang Anmol Ghadi (1946)’s Awaz De Kahan Hai, all grievances were forgotten and the performer and her audience wept together. That night, she achieved what no ambassador had ever achieved before.

She returned home to give glittering performances for PTV’s musical Tarranum.

In 1986, on a tour of North America, she suffered severe chest pains which were diagnosed as an angina attack. After a smooth surgery Noor Jehan N8returned to Lahore with a winning smile. She recorded her last song in 1996 for the film Sakhi Badshah (1996) and stopped singing due to failing health and newer trends in music.

Noor Jehan, a woman of substance, a flamboyant, charismatic woman who lived life on her own terms was not only an accomplished actress, a gifted singer, an occasional poet and composer, but also a wife, a devoted mother, an excellent cook, a connoisseur of Urdu and Punjabi literature, and a glamorous fashionista.

pardaisanShe passed away in Karachi on Saturday afternoon, December 23, 2000 leaving behind a grieving family and legions of admirers. That we still remember her fondly and respect her is very telling of the honesty and the quality of the work she left behind. Her songs remain just as appealing today as the day they were first released.

There will always be stars and superstars aplenty but icons are few and far in between and Noor Jehan was undoubtedly one of a kind.

 Hazaron Saal Nargis Apni Benoori Pe Roti Hai
Bari Mushkil Se Hota Hai Chaman Mein Didahwar Paida
~ Iqbal 

Researched by Farah S. and SZ 
Edited and compiled by SZ~
(Most of the information cited in this piece has been synthesized from here)

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35 replies

  1. Vow! Thanks Thanks Thanks. Wonderful befitting tribute to NOORJAHAN. and thanks for beautiful pictures. My grand dad, then my mom now my sister all 3 generations enjoy her songs. True star really. Pleasantly surprised that drama site covered Noorhahan’s anniversary and so well. Oh I love her song “sayyi in Mera mahi mere” and Ve IK tera pyar meinu milya.

    • @Atif Ahmed: Glad you enjoyed the post. Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂 You are absoutely right about her songs being a common thread between generations.

      Aah yes! love that song! Thanks for sharing your favorite song of hers. It was very difficult to choose songs for this post 🙂

      And if you happen to read this reply then do check out the tribute show I just posted. There are some interesting tidbits there from those who knew her closely.

      • @SZ, Farah S,
        Million thanks for this article and beautiful songs. Drama site paying Tribute to our beloved Madam was wonderful idea. My mom sends her regards to you all.
        You are absolutely right. Media focused more on her life and scandals and ignored her stature. Madam never replied to that criticism. Instead she would deliver 40 super hits every year. Masses and elite loved her. What I know is that wormed loved her songs but silently. And she wasn’t a hypochrite. Music history of Indian subcontinent is incomplete with her.

  2. What a wonderful tribute to Madam NoorJahan . So much info I did not know .but I love her song ” Bawari chakori kare duniyas se chori chori”.Dilip kumar ke lye kya keh sakte hai. The way he talk most of the urdu words I did not get it but I could get it what he was saying. ( you know what I mean ) but sunn ne mei bohot achha laag jaisey sunnte he rahei what a sweet language .
    She was a gift from god !!! Thanks to durdeshan national tv that they put that on YouTube . SZ once again thanks so much.
    Mary Chirstmas !!! This year by the grace of god I found you . And thanks to you that I know few urdu words !!!! Pray to god for ” PEACE ON EARTH”.

    • @Ranjan: A very merry christmas to you and your loved ones as well. I hope youre enjoying a wonderful holiday.
      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, glad you enjoyed it. We should be thankful to Farah S. for suggesting the idea for the post and helping wit the research 🙂
      Wow! Has it really been only a year? Seems like you’ve been a part of the DRNR gang from the very begining 🙂
      Re: your Urdu: Haha! The rate at which you’re learning, I think by this time next year you’ll be teaching me new words! 😉

  3. SZ,
    Thanks for wonderful apt Review. It made my day.
    I have been fan of Madam’s voice all my life. I truly feel there was no one like her.
    I was fortunate to meet her on two occasions. I was surprised, overwhelmed by her alertness, her wit, her sense of Humour.
    I love all her songs, hundreds of them like
    -Hamari sansoon mein aaj tak wo Hina ki khushboo
    – Zindagi Ke safar mein akeley thay hum
    -rim jhim rim Jhim pare phuwar
    -sun wanjli di mithai taan wey
    Thanks again for writing wonderful tribute.

  4. I met Madam in Hospital only few month before her death. She was very positive, lucid and in extremely pleasant mood.
    Madam was an avid reader. She was well versed with poetry, loved Faiz Ahmed Faiz, spoke highly and affectionately about her friend Lata.
    During conversation, she smiled and recited this:
    Woh parinda jissey parwaz se foorsat hi naa thi
    Ab jo tanha hai to dewaar pe aa baithaa hai

  5. Beautiful review SZ.. Farah S..farah kaa khaas tor per shukria kiunk ye idea oon ki terf say aya tha ji ki waja say aaj hum yahan Madam ko ek chota saa tribute denay k qabil hoay hain ..I wish in ki life per koi drama yaa film banaiy…jub tak Madam zinda rahin pta nahi kis waja say sivait mili naghmon k main nay inn kaa na koi song suna naa pasand kia..lekin in ki death k baad meri ek friend nay mujhay ek cassette di jis kaa first song tha “main tere sung kaisay chaloon sajna”..mujhay yaad hai main agay jaa hi naa saki aur poori raat ek hi song ko rewind ker k sunti rahi..

    oos k baad main nay inn k songs sunnay shuru kiay ..mere faves main awaz day kahan hai…sada hoon apnay piyaar ki…rosham meri ankhon main wafa k jo diay hain…ae watan k sajeelay jawanon…sanoon neher walay pul tay…meri mom kaa bohat fave chandini ratein…dil dharaknay kaa sabab…dil k afsanay nigahon ki zuban tak pohunchay aur niyaat-e shouq bher naa kabhi …aur lastly ye song jo oon ki aur legendry sultan rahi ki last film thi

    http://www.ytpak.com/?component=video&task=view&id=dDyQD53lqgQ

    • Thanks for taking us down the memory lane. I’ll like to add few more of my favourites:
      -Dil Ka Diya jalaya men ne
      -rang laye ga shaheedon ka Oahu
      -Mujh se pehli si mohabbat mere Mehboob na maang
      -chalo Achaa howa tum bhool gaye
      -lutf wo Ishq mein paye hain Ki ji janta hai

      • @Anwar. Suhail: Thank you for reading and glad you enjoyed the post and found it relevant. When I read your first comment my instinctive response was to ask you to share you memories of your meetings with Madam, and saw was glad to see that you had gone ahead and shared them – much obliged 🙂
        You are so right there are so many brilliant songs that one could keep on listing but favorites would not end!

    • Thanks RJ for sending the link to Madam’s song. Yaqeen Karen yeh song mujhe bhi behad pasand hai.. “Mein tere sung kaisey chaloon sajna”, poet is Amjad Islam Amjad and music director is Mohsin Raza. I like the voice the feel and the lyrics.

      There is another beautiful, soulful Ghazal she recited in PTV’s Tarannum. The words are ” dil hi dil mein sulug ke bujhey hum”. You must MUST listen to this beautiful melody, I’m sure you will love this. Also must listen ” kabhi kitabon mein phool rakhna kabhi darakhton pe Naam likhna”

      • @Farah S..thanks mere fave song per mazid information share kernay k liay …aap nay kaha tha aap madam per expert hain aur ab aap nay sabit bhi ker dia hai 🙂 ..ajmad sahib tou mujhay bohat pasand hain..aur iss song ki poetry bhi ..specially “te ghoobar-e safer main khazan ki sada”..beautiful

        dosri ghazal bhi mujhay bohat pasand ay hai..thanks..aur kabhi kitabon main phool rakhna mujhay kitni pasand hai alfaz main bayyan kerna mushkil hai ..aur iss say bara gehra jazbati taluq hai..mujhay apni university life ki bohat si batein isay sun ker yaad aa jati hain..jo hum kertay thay yaa kisi ko kertay dekhtay 🙂 …jaisay yaa tou hum nay kabhi naa kabhi kitabon main phool rakhay hon gay yaa university library main kisi purani kitab say kisi kaa rakha phool mil jana aam si baat hai..aur aisa koi phool milnay per main nay kabhi oos ko nikala nahi bulk wahin rehnay dia 🙂

        jub 2000 main madam aur 2002 main iss nazam k poet Hasan Rizvi ki death hoi ..tub her tv channel per isi nazam kaa last stanza sunnay ko mila

        mere nagar ke hasin fazao
        kaheen jo un ke nishan pao
        to puchana ye kahan base ho
        kahan hain un ka qayam likhana

        kher aaj ki sham madam k naam rahi jis say kitni purani batein taza hoin aur kitna lutf aya 🙂

    • @RJ: Thank you for sharing some of your faves . I’m sure like al of us you too have many more as well … you know what was so funny was that when I was researching and watching videos etc, I was so surprised that there were so many of my fave songs, songs that had been a part of my growing up years or songs that I associated with various imp moments in my life, were sung by Madam .. somehow I had never thought about them consciously I guess .. just goes to show how her songs were such a huge part of growing up in Pakistan during the 70/80s….

      And yeh aap ke liye 🙂 Waisey if you ignore the video, and Neeli and her skin colored t-shirt, the song is an apt commentary on today’s life…pretty much everything and anything is bought and sold with the right amt of money!

      • @SZ: thanks for sharing this song…aaj aap ki waja say main nay ye song sun hi lia 🙂 ..werna pehlay tou himmat hi kerti reh gai lekin sun ker pta chala koi khaas bura nahhi hai jaisa lyrics say lag raha tha…akhir hum nay sheela ki jawani /fevicol type fazooliyat bhi berdasht ki hain…waisay main nay suna hai dekha nahi 😉

        haan jub iss article k silsilay main aap ki farah say baat hoi oos say mujhay ye impression mila k shayed aap nay madam ko ziada nahi suna hoa..information tou thik hai oosi k paas ho gi jis kaa iss baray main interest ho gaa lekin ager aap 90s tak Pakistan main rahay hain tou mumkin nahi hai k madam k songs aap nay sunay naa hon chahay pasand hon yaa nahi…aur ye baat mujhay bilkul samajh nahi aa rahi thi k aisa kaisay ho gaya specially oos surat main jub aap ptv dekhtay rahay hon ..lekin ab aap k kehnay say meri confusion door ho gai hai aur shayed apnay sawal kaa jawab bhi k baaz dafa humen koi cheez pasand hoti hai lekin hum khud hi notice nahi kertay aur iss kaa ahsas baad main kabhi hota hai..bulk ek aur baat bataon jub mujh per ye inkishaf ho gaya k mujhay madam k songs achay lagnay hain..tub “ahsas-e jurm” say dub ker main nay apni ek cousin say share kia k pta nahi kiun ab mujhay madam achi lagnay lagi hain” tou oos nay forun kaha “mujhay bhi”..phir hum nay apnay apnay fave songs share kernay shuru ker diay..

        mujhay lagta hai humari generation nay madam ki death k baad oon ko pehchana hai

        • @RJ: Acha, interesting ke you would compare this song to Fevicol or Sheila ki Jawani, because to me this one is very different from them. I for one found the lyrics deliciously subversive, where superficially you can take them the way it is picturised and laugh it away or you could see it as a fabulous commentary on contemporary Pakistani politics society, where we talk the talk abt morality, ethics, religion etc, but when it comes to walking the walk, everything is and can be easily bought and sold for the right price … I would say brilliant way to critique and to get it past govt controlled censors and sab kuch .. in 1989!

          Re: Noor Jehan and me doing this post: The reason why I hesitated had nothing to do with not having listened to her enough etc, it had more to do with the fact that Madam is a huge personality and I have enough of a reality check to know where to draw the line… Writing a piece like this, which would be read not just by a few but innumerable others, would mean that I write with some level of authority on the subject, which I am most certainly not .. and I was not going to write something where I would merely say I was a huge fan and she was fabulous .. hence I not only asked Farah for help but did a ton of research on my own, and cited the article which I eventually used, before I posted anything with my name on it …

          Also, it was a very conscious decision to keep this merely about her professional achievements and not go into her personal life … and here is one big reason which I think was the main cause of my never being consciously aware of her stature as youngster in PK… that we as a nation love to pull down people in their lifetime and its only after they are dead and we have whitewashed them enough to suit ourselves that we feel we can own them … And so while growing up in Pak I knew of her as a very colorful personality, i watched her interviews on Silver Jubilee, watched Tarranum, sang along with her songs, admired her jewellry etc, but never with an awe that a personality like hers deserved.. and this was not just me but others around me as well .. I remember distinctly reading about her various dalliances, her marriages, scandals, her OTT style of makeup and dressing (which I now appreciate as being applause-worthy as in how she created her own unique style), to make a long story short, I remember a lot more negativity and sarcasm than positivity abt her.. it was only after she passed away that she was eulogized and remembered as an icon … and sadly its not just her .. I can name so many other personalities whom we never appreciated in their lifetime …

          Related to this is another thought: You had mentioned earlier abt the need of making a drama or a movie abt her life .. and there I would say I hope not .. because we as a people like to whitewash our heroes to such an extent that all that is left after is a cardboard cutout … look at what we have done with Jinnah … I doubt he would recognize himself if he were to read some of the stuff written about him!

          • @RJ: Waisey after all that I wrote above, I think you should watch the video .. that sequenced skin colored top had me in splits! Honestly, nothing like a Lollywood film to give you great laughs!

            • @RJ: Sorry! My thoughts are so scattered ke I cant even put the all together in one comment!

              Wanted to add that you will see a bit of Noor Jehan’s life story in Sarmad’s Manto (whenever that gets released) where they’ve drawn upon Manto’s essay on Noor Jehan.. and Saba Qamar plays Noor Jahan in her Bombay years 🙂 Here’s a pic …

            • @SZ: jo hukum serkar…main nay video bhi dekh li.ok ab asli reason batati hoon ..mujhay Neeli bohat pasand thin..main nay inn ki koi movie nahi dekhi hoi thi lekin apni decent aur graceful personality ki waja say main in ki fan thi…aap in k interviews dekhen barhay softly politely baat kerti thin…ab jub aap nay neeli likha tou mujhay ek jhutka laga aur yaqeen kernay main thorha saa time k ye wo hi neeli hai.. kiunk “note wakha aur mood banay” say jo manzer mere zehen main ata tha..oos main neeli kisi tra fit nahi ho rahi thin ..phir main nay socha oon kaa acha image hai mere zehen main..so oos ko waisay hi rehnay do etc..bus isi waja say nahi dekhi thi

              nahi song sunnay say pehlay main isay sheela ki jawani wali category main rakhti thi..ab tou main nay kaha ye bura nahi hai aur wo bhi nahi jo main nay socha tha..bulk main nay kaha tha k ye song main nay fk say suna tha aur unhon nay isi context main isay use kia tha jo aap nay likha hai…obviously unhon nay song suna hoa tha is liay oon ko pta tha aur tub main samjhi k inhon nay kitna ghalat song select kia hai aur kitna cheap bhi …bhala publically aisi batein kertay hain 🙂

              jahan tak madam ki personal life ki baat hai..yaqeen kren sivaiy iss kay k in ki 2-3 marriages thin mujhay aaj tak kuch aur nahi pta…phir ek say ziada shadiyan kerna bhi kon si buri baat hai..iss liay mere zehen main inn kaa bara crystal clean image hai 🙂 lekin aap ki baat jan ker afsos hoa…lekin ker kia saktay hain

          • I hope they don’t make a film or drama on her life. We aren’t ready for that. They won’t be able to do justice. There are too many do-gooders here and moral policing doesn’t help. I think her songs and interviews speak for her.

            • @Atif: Although like @RJ I would love to see a comprehensive movie abt Madam, but I share your fears .. 😦

              And tons of fond regards for your mother as well – please convey our salaams to her 🙂

  6. Now that’s really nice comrehensive Tribute to our Melody Queen. Thanks a lot SZ. I have read it three times. It has made my day. I absolutely love her songs and what ever I have read about her. There is long list of favorite songs difficult to pick and choose. So I’ll go to YouTube today and spend an hour with Madam’s songs. Thanks again. Ji Khush ker dia Aapney.

  7. @All: Here is another recording of Noor Jehan singing in taranum, without the accompaniment of an instruments. This one is from a private mehil in 1959 and according to the uploader Faiz Ahmed Faiz was reportedly present at this occasion … Enjoy!
    Aaj Ki Raat ….

  8. @SZ, that’s lovely rendition. Friends were celebrating Faiz Saheb’s return after long imprisoment. Faiz Saheb throwing one ghazal after the other. Sanjan Nagar’s Raza Kazim took the oppurtunity to record Madam’s pure voice without orchestra or equalisation. Years later he shared it with the rest. In the end Madam sang ‘Ve mundeya sialkotia’. It’s really cute and cheeky the way Madam rendered the song playfully.

  9. Oh geo main nay jub baat ki thi tub iss film kaa khayal bhi aya tha ..umeed hai Sarmad nay haqeeqat say qareeb ter ho ker aur maslehat pasandi ko khatir main naa latay hoay in k kirdar ko dikhaya ho gaa jo humaray samnay bhi in ki shakhsiyut k oon pehloo’on ko lye gaa jo abhi tak poshida thay aur in ki zaat say juri ghalat fehmiyon ko door kernay main madad milay gi

    Main Manto k baad ab mujhay umeed ho chali hai k shayed kisi din inn per yaa humary dosray heroes per koi film banaiy kiunk manto bhi bohat controversial thay madam itni nahi k scandals ki waja say oon per cases bun gai hon…jo manto k sath hoa…tou ye bhi bold step hai iss liay achay ki umeed rakhtay hain 🙂

    • @RJ: Yeh tau ab aap ko bhi pata hai aur mujhe bhi ke Manto n Madam were controversial for very different reasons.. but lets leave the discussion on Manto for whenever the movie finally sees the light of day … waise, just the fact that its taken ages to release should tell us is something.. and from what I remember hearing, the drama serial will be cut only after they’ve seen the response to the movie .. so abhi tau pichur main bohot kuch hona baqi hai 🙂

      • @SZ, will it ever materialise…I mean we have been waiting for Mein Manto for quite awhile! I have strong reservation on any film they make on Noorjahan’s life. I’m sure they will focus on her patriotism, her stature and her children. Don’t think they’ll do justice to her bold, determined, multifaceted personality. I’ll rather prefer if some one makes program on her career only. Otherwise I’m quite happy with her interviews, her live performances and hundreds of beautiful songs of various moods and situations.

        Thanks AGAIN for this tribute. And thanks to RJ, Anwar.Suhail and Atif Ahmed for their comments and insight. HAPPY NEW YEAR to all the readers. xxx

    • @RJ, I doubt it very much if ” Mein Manto’ will clarify any misunderstanding. Firstly Mein Manto is focussing mainly on Saadat Hasan Manto, not Noorjahan. So Saba Qamar will have important but small role.
      Secondly Manto Saheb passed away in mid 5o’s and his recollection of Noorjahan was based mainly on Bombay segment of her life. Doubt if it will clear any misunderstandings. Zia ul Haq’s draconian era made us more self righteous, judgemental and sort of hypocrites. We were quick to point fingers at Noorjahan, Faiz, or for that matter any star, or sports personality. Despite these obvious limitations, I’m waiting for Mein Manto. Hope we get to see this soon.

      • Thank you SZ and Farah for a tribute well deserved! Madam NurJahan was, is and will forever remain one of the most fascinating people of our times. I had the good fortune of meeting her for the first time as a child at the age of 8 or 9 and being completely enchanted with her larger than life personality, her glamour, her warmth and her very “colourful” language that I only deciphered once I was older. As I grew older my fascination with her only increased as I fell in love with her voice and her songs – the incredibly beautiful “sunn wanjli di mithri taan”, “mahiya jay main kabootri howan”, “jhalaan ki pakhiyaan”, “sonay di taweetree”, the soul stirring “her lehza hai Momin ki Nayee shaan Nayee aan”, “mujh se pehlee see mohabbat”, “awaz day kahaan hai”, and the heart wrenching yet inspirational “aye puttar hattan te nahin wikday”, “aye watan ke sajeelay jawano” and many many more! What a woman and what unmatched talent!
        This reminds me of the time I interviewed another unmatched talent Reshma! I had often wondered that these two legends had never sung together and asked Reshma jee about it. She recounted how as a gypsy she had gone to see Madam in Lahore and waited outside her gate all day insisting on seeing her. Madam agreed to see them and humoured Reshma by asking her to sing. Reshma sang her immortal “haayo rabba nahin lagda dil mera” for her and all Madam said to her (I quote) “Reshma kabhi gaana mat chorna”!
        We may acknowledge our greats once they are gone but Madam saw greatness and acknowledged it very early in Reshma jee’s life!

        • @Hiina Khwaja Bayat,
          Thanks indeed for reading this article, taking time to comment, and sharing your interaction with Madam. She was indeed great star and a great personality. I take this oppurtunity to admit that I’m one of your fans, and particularly loved your role in Talkhiyaan and AunnZara. Thanks again for dropping by.

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