Suraiyya – The voice with melody and beauty with grace

By  | 

Suraiya Jamaal Sheikh was her full name and she was also and popularly known as Suraiyya. She was born on 15th June 1929 to an owner of a furniture shop in Gujranwala, Punjab (which is now in Pakistan). She was the only child of her parents and later moved to Mumbai to make her career in Bollywood.

Suraiyya was a singing actress in Bollywood. In 1937 she made a debut as a child artist in the movie Usne Kya Socha. Then in 1941 Nanubhai Vakil noticed her when she went to the studios with her uncle Zahoor who used to be a popular villain then. Vakil was directing the movie Taj Mahal. Having no particular girl in his mind then to play the role of young Mumataz Mahal in the movie, Vakil selected Suraiyya for the role and that gave way for a significant break for her as a child artist in the world of cinema. Then she made her appearance in movies like Tamanna (1942), Station Master (1942), and Hamari Baat (1943).

In 1943 Suraiyya came on screen for her adult role in the movie Ishara where she played second lead whereas Prithiviraj Kapoor and Swarnalata were the lead actors. She continued doing secondary roles in the movies like Phool (1944), Anmol Ghadi (1946), etc. Her break as a leading actress came with the movie Tadbir (1945). She got that role at the reference made by K.L Saigal who happened to like her voice at a rehearsal. K.L Saigal and Surraiya together featured in many movies like Omar Khayyam (1946) and Parwana (1947). Fame and stardom was waiting to embrace Suraiyya and there was a rush of her movies. Dard, Pyar Ki Jeet, Badi Behen and Dillagi during the late 40s became a major hit and established Surraiya as a superstar with the highest paid actress in Bollywood.

After this phase of fame Suraiyya’s movies did not great at the box office though she was noted for her role in the movie Mirza Ghalib where she played the role of married lover of Ghalib. Her performance in the movie was praised by Jawaharlal Nehru as well who complimented her by saying that she with her role brought Ghalib back to life.

Bilwamangal (1954), Waris (1954), Shama Parwana (1954), Mr. Lambu (1956), Trolly Driver (1958) were her movies at the last stage of the career where she came in front of the public as a singing actress. Rustom Sohrab (1963) was her last film. D.D. Kashyap and A.R. Kardar are those directors with whom she did her most films. Dev Anand was also one actor with whom Suraiyya did some seven movies. Vidya (1948), Jeet (1949), Do Sitare (1951) and Sanam (1951), etc were some movies which the duo worked together and all were successful at the box office.

In the film industry Suraiyya gained a lot of fame and recognition for her singing. For All India Radio, she used to sing songs for a children’s programme where Raj Kapoor and Madan Mohan were her co-artists. As a child artist she sang for the movie Taj Mahal (1941) for which S.D. Burman gave his first Hindi song to Bollywood; ‘Pyar ki pyaari nishaani.’Naushad noticed Suraiyya and gave her the big break when he chose her to sing for the actress Mehtab for the movie Sharda (1942). ‘Panchhi ja, peechhe raha hai bachpan mera’ and ‘Mere dil ko sajan samjhado’ were the two songs the movie which became a massive hit that year. As a singer she gave a lot number of hits. Maan Leta Hai Angdai, ‘Woh paas rahe ya door rahe’, ‘Tere naino ne chori kiya’ and ‘Tu mera chaand main teri chaandni’, are only some in the long list of the hit numbers sung by Suraiyya.

She got the opportunity to work with great singers like Noor Jehan, Talat Mahmood, Mukesh K.L Saigal, etc. Working with such stars boosted her singing career to a great extent. Suraiyya had cancer and died in 2004 in Mumbai but she still reigns at the hearts of music lover and still is remembered as queen of melodies.


Few songs which will always remain fresh in our memories








Passionate about watching movies and loves listening to songs.

Leave a Reply

Share via