Mallika-e-Tarrannum – Noor Jehan – A Singer who is equally loved on both sides of border
She earned her name as an actor and singer in India and Pakistan. Allah Rakhi Wasai also known as Noor Jehan was a Pakistani actress and singer who beautified the Indian film industry too with her contribution. She was honoured the title of Malika – e – Tarannum, the Queen of Melody, in Pakistan.
Noor Jehan was born on 21st September 1926 to a Muslim family. Hailing from a musical family, Noor Jehan started singing from the age of five or six and received her initial classical training under the guidance of Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan who skilled her in Hindustani classical. Punjabi musician Ghulam Ahmed Chishti heard her voice and noticed the potential talent in the budding artist when she was just nine years old and made her to perform on ghazals, folk songs which he composed for her.
With music running in her blood, Noor Jehan nurtured the interest to become an actress as well in the industry. In 1930s the entire family moved to Calcutta where Noor Jehan began acting as a theatre artist at the theatre owned by Agha Hashar Kashmiri. It was while acting on the stage that Allah Rakhi Wasai received the name of Baby Noor Jehan.
In 1935 K.D. Mehra’s Punjabi movie Pind Ki Kuri was the first movie where Noor Jehan acted with the sisters and also sang ‘Langh aja patan chanaan da O yaar’ which became an instant hit. Missar Ka Sitara (1936) was her next acting venture and in which she did not fail to render her voice and also played the young Heer in Heer-Sayyal (1937).
Then came the time when the Indian audience got to view and listen to this multi talented artist. The movie Khandaan (1942) featured Jehan in the lead role opposite to actor Pran, which became a great hit at the box office. She crooned for actress Husn Bano in the movie Duhai (1943) and then the long list of movies in which she sang includes, Anmol Ghadi, Zeenat, Badi Maa, etc. Jehan got married to the director Syed Shaukat Ali Rizvi in the year 1943.
After the Partition Noor Jehan settled down in Pakistan with her husband and Chan Wey (1951) was her first film in Pakistan as well as a lead actress in a Punjabi movie. This movie holds importance also because this was the first movie where she did playback singing for a Pakistani film. Dopatta (1952) was her next movie, after which came Mirza Ghalib in 1961. This movie gained her lot of appreciation where she contributed as a singer and actress. Among many awards given to her, Pride of Performance in 1965 is the highlight of her achievements.
Melody redefined, Noor Jehan sang with Ustad Fateh ali Khan, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Roshan Ara Begum, etc. She was always appreciated for her harmonious voice quality. She gained lot of popularity for crooning patriotic songs during 1965 war between India and Pakistan. In December 2000, Jehan die of heart attack leaving behind repertoire of songs and movies to be cherished by viewers. Time fades away memories but it is difficult to ignore the contributions made by great people. The evergreen singer reigns at the hearts of music lovers even today and is still celebrated for the passion she had for singing.
Few of her songs