Pride of Pakistan – Noor Jehan: The Melody Queen
Noor Jehan was born in Kasur Punjab as Allah Wasai to Madad Ali and Fateh Bibi. She was the youngest of her siblings. Her parents were musicians and her sisters were actresses in the local theatre. From an early age, Noor Jehan’s parents wanted her to sing but she was more interested in acting. Noticing her keen interest in music and her natural talent for singing, her parents sent her to Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan for training in classical music.
Noor Jehan appeared as a child star in few films. In 1939, Noor Jehan sang her first song composed by Ghulam Haider. The song was well received by the masses. Her first song as a playback singer was for a film Gul Bakavli. In 1942, Noor Jehan came as a leading actress in the film Khandan. Khandan’s success brought her more films and she played the leading role in Naukar, Nadan, Dost, Duhai and Bari Maa. Her last film in India was Jugnu against Dilip Kumar.
After partition, she migrated to Pakistan along with her husband Syed Shaukat Hussain Rizvi. Pakistani film industry was in a bad shape as many experienced workers had opted for India. In 1951, Noor Jehan and her husband directed a Punjabi film Chan way. The film was a hit and Noor Jehan also became the first female director of Pakistan. She acted and sang for films till 1963. From 1963 onwards she sang as a playback singer as her new husband; a nine years younger Ejaz Durrani was not keen on her acting.
Noor Jehan’s career as a playback singer was extremely successful. Her voice was well suited for Punjabi movies and her songs guaranteed sure success. Noor Jehan also made appearnces on TV. Her patriotic songs during the 1965 war with India were quite inspiring.
Noor Jehan won a number of awards including the President’s Award in recognition to her services in the fields of singing and acting. Noor Jehan is known as The Queen of Melody and is one of the most influential singers of the sub continent.
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