Farida Khanum. While driving through the busy streets of Lahore on a Saturday, I was trying to prepare myself for my meeting with the legendary Ghazal singer herself. As it happened, it wasn’t easy to get hold of her. With time and age, she has been very selective in the people she meets. It took me a while to get hold of her contact numbers, and to feel that courage which let me dial her number for the very first time. “Ma’am Farida Khanum baat ker rhe hein?” “Ji mein bol rhe hon” When the first time I talked to her via phone, it was as if I have had known her since ages (While driving to and from work, I listen to her melodious voice on an almost daily basis, so for me she is pretty much a regular part of my life). While driving towards her residence, I was thinking about all these things, breathing deeply to prepare myself for the moment when I will be in the presence of Malika-e-Ghazal. To be honest with my readers, I was not sure what to expect. Women in performing arts can be too plastic for my liking. Will she be the same? And within my heart I was hoping that it will not be the case. After talking to her a few times via phone, I was sure it will not be the case. Farida Khanum, Malika-e-Ghazal, will not be a disappointment, I told myself before ringing the bell at the entrance of her bungalow. Read more..
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.