Bollywood Legends - Noor Jehan
She was, perhaps, the most sensational of the `singing stars` who dominated the silver screen through the 1930s and `40s. A luscious voice coupled with a vibrant personality, ensured Noorjehan`s rightful place in Hindi cinema`s hall of fame. Noorjehan was born in the Kasur area of Punjab in 1929. She perfected her classical singing under Ghulam Mohammed Khan.
She started her career with the K.D. Mehra`s Punjabi productions in Lahore. But it was Dalsukh Pancholi`s hit musical Gul E-Bakavali, 1939, that first pushed her into the limelight. However, it was a film called Khandaan, 1942, which really catapulted her to fame. Film was produced by Pancholi, directed by Shauqat Hussain and starred the singing beauty. Her song Tu Kaunsi Badli Mein Mere Chand Hai Aajaa became a huge hit.
Following the success of the film Khandaan, Noorjehan married Shauqat Hussain and shifted to Bombay. She acted in most of Shauqat`s films including Naukar, 1943 and Jugnu, 1943 which featured Dilip Kumar in the lead. But the duo`s biggest hit was Eastern Pictures` Zeenat, 1945, in which she popularized the qawali as never before with `Aahein Na Bhari Shikwein Na Kiye`, which she sang along with Zohra Ambala. Zeenat counts amongst Hindi cinema`s earliest musical hits.
She combined in herself a striking presence, a vibrant voice and the unique style of thumri singers. Her films like Dhuai, 1943, Naukar, Nadaan, 1943, Dost, 1944, Badi Maa, Village Girl, 1945, were superhits and soon Noorjehan conquered India`s film capital and was at the top of the helm.
This was followed by Badi Maa, 1945 where Lata Mangeshkar got an opportunity to work with the star she admired and even emulated in the early years. Lata chose to sing `Mere liye jahan mein chain hai na karar hai` for her first audition, a song Noorjehan had immortalised in one of her films.
What Khandaan did for her career in Lahore, Anmol Ghadi did in Bombay. Noorjehan reached her peak in Bombay with Mehboob Khan`s Anmol Ghadi, a super-hit romantic musical, in which she starred with two other singing-stars - Surendra and Suraiya. The result was a sheer feast for the ears and music director Naushad composed some evergreen numbers like, Noorjehan`s `Jawan Hai Mohabbat, Mere Bachpan Ke Saath and Aja Meri Barbaad Mohabbat Ke Sahare` and her duet with Surendra, `Awaaz De Kahaan Hai.`
Following Jugnu, 1947 with Dilip Kumar and Mirza Sahibaan, 1947 Noorjehan migrated to Pakistan following partition. In Pakistan, Noorjehan continued to sing and and act before quitting the latter in 1963. A career though rich in melody was also controversial as she was married several times in Pakistan!
She lived her life on her own termsNoorjehan has done some of her finest singing in Pakistani Films including songs like Mujhse ehlisi Mohabbat Mere Mehboob Na Mang, Dil ke Afsane, Le Aayee Phir Kahaan pe, Chandni Raatein to name a few.
The diva revisited India in 1982 to attend a function celebrating the golden jubilee of the Indian Talkie. The Mallika-e-Tarranum, or the Queen of Melody, as she was called, enthralled her fans on this side of the border with her evergreen voice as she sang that famous number, `Awaaz De Kahaan Hai. She passed away in Pakistan on December 23, 2000.