The people of Pakistan never forget the legends of the country, even after they die. Therefore, we remember Malika-e-Tarannum, Madam Noor Jahan on her 19th death anniversary. She was died at the age of 74 on 23rd December 2000 in Karachi. Recently, we also celebrated her 93rd birthday on 21st September this year. Noor Jahan has won the hearts of everybody ever since she began her career.
Early life and career
Noor Jahan was born in village Kot Murad Khan near Kasur, Punjab of sub-continent on 21st September 1926. When she born, she was named as Allah Rakhi Wasai. Her father, Imad Ali and mother, Fateh Bibi were professional singers. She had 10 siblings. She showed her interest in singing at the age of 5. Her mother sent her to get training in classical singing under Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, who was an Indian classical vocalist. When she was 6, she made her first stage appearance in city of Calcutta as Baby Noor Jahan for stage director Dewan Sardari Lal. In 1935, when she was 9, she sang on stage for famous musician Ghulam Ahmad Chishti in Calcutta.
Films and singing as Baby Noor Jahan
The first film in which Noor jahan acted and sang was “Pind di kuri” released in 1935. K.D. Mehra directed this film and Baby Noor Jahan sang a Punjabi song “Langh aja patan chanaan da o yaar”. The film also called “Sheela”. After this film, she acted in the film next year in 1936, Missar Ka Sitara. Also, she sang in it for the music composer Damodar Sharma. Her next film was “heer Sayyal” as the child character of Heer in the year 1937. Her song “Shala jawaniyan maney” from Punjabi film Gul Bakawli by Dalsukh Pancholi gained much popularity in the time.
After working in these films, Noor Jahan returned to Lahore in 1938. There, a famous music composer, Ghulam Haider composed songs for Noor Jahan and became her mentor. She sang 127 songs in Indian films.
Films as an adult
In 1942, she got the first main character as an adult in the film “Khandan” against Pran Krishan. After getting success in film industry, she moved to Bombay. Till the partition, she became the biggest film actress in Indian film industry. She did many films including Badi Maa, Zeenat and Gaon Ki Gori in 1945, Anmol Ghadi in 1946, and Jugnu in 1947.
Films in Pakistan
In 1947, Noor Jahan left Bombay and settled in Karachi, Pakistan. After 3 years of partition, she acted in her first film “Chann way” against Santosh Kumar released in 1951. Along with Shaukat Hussain Rizvi, she directed this film and became the first female director of Pakistan. After “chann way”, she acted in the next film “Dupatta” in 1952. This film was her first Urdu film in Pakistan. It was a big success. Her then husband, Ejaz Durrani forced her to give up acting, so her last film as an actress was Baaji in 1963. Jehan made 14 films in Pakistan, ten in Urdu and four in Punjabi as a film actress.
Playback singing career
After leaving acting career, she opted the career of playback singing. She made her debut in the film “Salma” in 1960 as a playback singer. She sang along with many legends including Ahmed Rushdi, Mehdi Hassan, Masood Rana, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Mujeeb Aalam. In the 1990s, Noor Jahan also sang for then débutante actresses Neeli and Reema for which she got the title of ‘sadabahar’. Also, she became the first female singer to sing Qawaali in the film “Zeenat”. She recorded about 10, 000 songs in various languages of India and Pakistan including Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi and Sindhi. Also, she sung six thousand songs for Urdu, Punjabi and Sindhi films. Noor Jahan was also a ghazal artist.
Motivational songs in 1965 war
Noor Jahan had a mesmerizing voice. She had an influencing personality and sung very motivational songs for the army men in the era of war of 1965. Numerous of her songs motivated the army men to fight more hard and win or the country. Her songs include “ay puttar hatan te nai wikde, har lehza hai momin ki, ay watan ke sajeele jawan, and ay raah e haq k shaheedo”.
Noor Jahan got married to the film actor, producer and director, Shaukat Hussain Rizvi in 1942. They both witnessed the events of partition together. Also, they both migrated to Pakistan together. Moreover, he helped Noor Jahan in becoming Pakistan’s first female film director. In the year 1953, the couple had some differences and got divorce. 3 children with their marriage went with Noor Jahan. Later on, in the year 1959, she got married to another film director, actor and producer of Pakistan, Ejaz Durrani. They also got divorced in 1970. She has 6 children from both of her marriages.
Noor Jahan received more than 25 awards for her exceptional performances. Out of these awards, 15 were for best female playback singer, 8 were for best female Urdu singer. In 1945, she got gold medal for the film Zeenat. She received the President’s award for the film Intezar in 1957. Also, she got the Pride of Performance, Tamgha e imtiaz and Nigar award in 1965. In 1996, she received Sitara e imtiaz.
Noor Jahan as fashion icon
Noor Jahan was considered as the fashion and style icon of that time. She was famous for her silk sarees, dark eye makeup and exceptional hairstyles. She created a trademark in the fashion industry by wearing a colored fabric choker matched with her sarees. Also, here is her glamorous look.
In the year 1986, Noor Jahan suffered from a severe chest pain. On the checkup, she was diagnosed with angina pectoris. She then underwent a bypass surgery. Later on, in 2000, she had a heart attack and admitted to the hospital. On 23rd December 2000, on the 27th night of Ramadhan, she died. Her funeral took place at Jamia Masjid Sultan and 400,000 people attended her funeral. On her death, the then President of Pakistan, Pervaiz Musharraf said “She deserves a state funeral”.