As we remember Madame Noor Jehan on her birthday, September 21st, let’s take a look at why & how this lady lives on in the hearts of the nation, decades after she left us…but nor really, because she lives on in our memories!
1. Noor Jehan chose to return to her native land after independence.
“Jahan paida hui wahan hi jaoongi.” I will only go where I was born. That declaration in 1947 by Allah Rakhi Wasai sent shockwaves through the Hindi film industry. At independence, her native village of Kasur in Punjab found itself in the newly formed nation of Pakistan and Wasai – better known by her stage name, Madam Noor Jehan – packed up her life in Bombay to move to Lahore.
It’s Madam Noor Jehan’s 20th Death Anniversary and we honour her today in memory of the songs she gave us in her life.
Madam’s was the voice of Pakistani cinema after the Partition, singing some of the nation’s best-loved songs.
2. Madame starred with Dilip Kumar in 1947
She starred along with Dilip Kumar in the film Jugnu in 1947 that became a block buster hit. Dilip Kumar is said to have visited her as well prior to her passing away in Karachi.
3. She composed and sung Faiz Sahib’s nazm spontaneously
Legendary poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s nazm Mujhe Se Pehli Si Mohabbat
is perhaps one of the most loved renditions!
Noor Jehan composed and sang the song herself. Reportedly, she
composed it spontaneously in a gathering that was celebrating
Faiz’s release from prison (where he was sent for his Communist views). Everyone including Faiz liked it so much that Faiz remarked,
“aaj se yeh nazm meri nahin rahi, Noorjehan. ki ho gaye hai.”
4. She was loved by both Indian & Pakistani audiences – proving music unites like no other as always!
Aawaaz De Kahaan Hai is the song she sang in India when she visited in 1942.
The song is inextricably linked to Noor Jehan’s brief tenure in India and defines her musically in the Indian consciousness. When she visited Bombay in 1982, she sang this song. She was royalty when she left; she was royalty when she came back 35 years later.
5. Among her evergreen songs is the one that defined her – Sanu Nehar Waale Pull…
The one song that she will always be identified with her is the
evergreen, much copied and extremely popular “Sanu nehar waale pull peh bula kai“. This, along with Mehki Fizaayen was one memorable flirty, croquettish, feet tapping number indeed 🙂
6. A style icon in her time – Madame was always dressed to the nines and had celebrity stylist cut her hair even when she was admitted in hospital.
She remained, forever stylish, forever graceful, forever melodious – Malik a e Tarranum Noor Jehan – the title was bestowed on her by the Government of Pakistan. There is none like you even today, after 20 years. Live on in your songs forever!
7. Madame Noor Jehan sang for the soldiers fighting on the frontline in the 1965 war and her voice had a profound effect on those who listened.
Noor Jehan’s voice injected spirit in the Pakistan Army and the public during the 1965 war with India.
“Aye Watan ke Sajeelay Jawanon” and “Aye Puttar Hattan Te Nahi Wikde”, were the most mesmerizing songs. She is said to have called up Radio Pakistan herself to ask them if she could come sing for the army. Her voice reached many young soldiers and citizens and gave hope to a nation in the hardest of war times.
The information has been sourced from numerous publications online. Including Express Tribune, Daily O, Scroll.in, The Nation and Google Arts & Culture