Interviews
Published on 21 December 2009


Malikaa-e-Tarannum Noor Jehan, henceforth said that she has been ill for the last three years. Even so, she did not get unduly worried due to this long sickness. "I thank God that He gave me the courage to onfront this disease and the perseverance to be patient. I even went to UK and US for treatment, but the way I was treated at the aaGhaa Khan hospital, Karachi [a modern hospital apparently planned with help from Harvard Medical College, among others.] and the peace that I found in my own country during my illness, I was not able to get in foreign countries. Here, the whole aaGhaa Khan hospital staff is ready to serve and treat me. This hospital is of my own country. These
doctors are also of my own country, for which I sang songs for all my life. Why won't they take care of me? Besides, my own home is here, my children are here and they are serving me. Zil-e-Humaa, Akbar, AsGhar and Hinaa all take good care of me. Lata Mangeshakar has also phoned me often to suggest that I should go to Bombay and that she would help me in getting treatment. But I have told her that the kind of peace I have in my own country I can never get in India."

 

 

All of the above was told to Shahiin Khan, a long-time friend of Malikaa-e-Tarannum Noor Jehan, by Malikaa-e-Tarannum Noor Jehan herself. shahiin recently went from Lahore to Karachi and spent several days with Malikaa-e-Tarannum Noor Jehan.
Shahiin told me [=saif-ullaah] that when she reached Karachi to meet Malikaa-e-Tarannum Noor Jehan, incidentally Zil-e-Humaa was there too. Every day, after dinner, all of us sat together and
chatted a lot. Malikaa-e-Tarannum Noor Jehan participated in this get together fully and often asked me to recite an urdu couplet. She talked mostly in panjaabii. She often asked me, "shaano, please recite that she'r about the season of the heart [=shaano, nii oh dil de mausam vaalaa she'r suNaa]". And, to oblige her, I recited the following:

"laakh sahii ye chaand sii suurat zulf ke Kam hii achchhe hain

dil kaa mausam achchhaa ho to saare mausam achchhe hain"

[Because of the qaafiaa and radiif rules, it must be "--- Kam achche hain"]. Whenever I recited this she'r, other people also recited their own favorite couplets. So to say, my visit of inquiring about her health always turned into an interesting get together. She is very sad about leaving laahaur. She often says that she wishes that she could reach laahaur by flapping her wings. She often brings the conversation back to laahaur on purpose. Whenever we tried to distract her from laahaur, she would say, "How can I forget a city in which I spent all my life?" She would say
to me again and again, "shaano, why don't you take me back to laahaur?"

shaahiin said that Malikaa-e-Tarannum Noor Jehan 's health is somewhat better now. She is able to read newspapers, listen to music and move around by herself. Malikaa-e-Tarannum Noor Jehan is a very brave lady. Whenever I expressed my sadness about her failing health, she would tell me not
to be so sad and would say, "Look, Shaano, I am sitting right in front of you. I am talking to you. I am always very happy to see you. Please keep visiting me often. You do not have to feel sad time and again. I have led a full life. Whenever I remember my bygone days, my journeys from qasuur
to Calcutta, Calcutta to Bombay, Bombay to Pakistan, I thank God that He gave me success after success. I am often struck by awe at the blessings bestowed upon me by the Almighty, --- a little girl called allaahrakhii from a small town called Kasur, became Malikaa-e-Tarannum Noor Jehan. I still remember the day when, along with my two sisters traveled from Lahore to Calcutta to try my luck. At that time, I was hardly six years old. In Punjab, people had already liked my performance on stage. In those days, Calcutta was the place where artists from far and away used to go to try their luck. And many of them were often successful. This was probably the year 1932. The talkies had just started and the theater system existed side by side with films. There, Master dhuumii Kaan gave me an audition and was astounded at my voice. In those days, muKhtaar begam was very famous. She too predicted that 'this little girl' will become one day a great singer. After three or four years, I along with my two sisters, iidan and Haidar Baandii, reached Calcutta. All
three of us were signed for K. D. Mehra's Punjabi film "Shiilaa" alias "pinD dii ku.Dii [=Village Girl]". In those days, two of my stage performances were famous. One was a naat, "hanste hain sitaare yaa shaah-e-madiinaa" and the other was a panjaabii song, "langh aa jaa pattaN jhanaa.n
daa o yaar". In "shiilaa" I sang my first song. When Seth Dalsukh M. Pancholi established his studio in Lahore, he asked all three of us to come there from Calcutta. In 1939, the first movie, "Gul Bakaavalii" was released from this studio. People liked my acting as well as my singing in this movie very much. In this way, I became accepted in film as well as on stage. After "Gul Bakaavalii"
came "Yamalaa jaTT", in which the title role was played by M. Ismael. Pran also acted in this film. All of my songs from this movie were hits with the audience.
After this, in 1942, my film "Chaudharii" was released, in which the central role was played by Gulaam Muhammad. At this time, my age was about 15. The songs of this film also
became very famous, especially, "Bas bas ve DholaNaa kii
tere naaL bolaNaa". After this, I signed for the movie
"Kaanadaan" as a heroine. The director of this film was
saiyyad shaukat husain rizvii. After seeing the success of
this film, V. M. Vyas asked both of us to come to bombay.
There I worked in a movie called "Naukar". This, also
directed by Rizvii, turned out to be a huge flop. In the
meantime, I married director Rizvii. In 1944, in Bombay, I
acted in two movies, "dost" and "laal havelii". "dost" was
directed by Rizvii; he also acted in this movie. In "Laal
Havelii" Surendra acted opposite me. In 1945 my four movies
were released; all four were hits. But the superhit of the
year was "Village Girl", in which I and Naziir played
central roles. The music of this film was given by Kyaam
sundar [misprint for shyaam sundar]. All the songs from this
movie were superhits. In 1946, another superhit film of
mine, "Anamol gha.Dii" was released. The greatest thing
about this movie was music by Naushaad and lyrics by Tanviir
Naqvii. One song of this movie was a great hit, "Aavaaz de
kahaa.n hai duniyaa miri javaa.n hai". In 1947, my own
production, "Jugnuu" was my last film in Bombay. It was
directed by rizvii. Diliip Kumaar was my hero in this movie.
This is the movie in which Diliip Kumaar made a name for
himself and Muhammad Rafii came to the fore as a singer.
Film "Jugnuu" was released after the creation of Pakistan
and it established many records of popularity in the
subcontinent.

In 1947, I came to Pakistan with my husband rRizvii because
his real home was in Lahore. Rizvii got himself allotted
the shorii studios and had it repaired so as to be able to
start shooting movies there again. [This studio was burned
down during the independence riots.] In 1951, my first film
in Pakistan, "chann ve" was released in Regent cinema in
Lahore. [Malikaa-e-Tarannum Noor Jehan is credited as the director, making her the
first female director of Pakistan.] This movie was a
superhit at the box office. The music of this film was given
by fiiroz nizaamii and all the songs of this film were hits.

In 1953, my film "Gulnaar" was released. This was my first
and last film with Master Gulaam Haidar in Pakistan. He
was my teacher in film music. I am greatly indebted to him
because he introduced me to film music. I was ten or eleven
years old and my height was not enough to reach the mike. He
made me stand on a stool and recorded my song. [She is
clearly reminiscing.] In 1955, my movie "paaTe Kaan" was
released which was a superhit. In 1956, two of my films were
released, "laKt-e-jigar" and "intezaar". [The movie "laKt-e
jigar" failed at the box office, because another movie with
a very similar story was released first. It was called
"hamiidaa" and starred sabiihaa. Ironically, both were based
on the Indian hit, "vachan". Amazingly, santosh kumaar was
the leading man in both!] In 1957, "nuuraan nabii" [it was
actually "nuuraa.n"], in 1958, "chhuu mantar" and
"anaarakalii" were released which were successes. The music
of "anaarakalii" was given by rashiid attre and Master
inaayat husain. The songs from this movie are still popular
today. In 1959 my three films,
"pardesan", "niind" and "koyal" were released. The movie
"mirzaa Gaalib" [it was actually "Gaalib"] is my last film
[as a actress].

In the meantime, I got separated from Rizvii. I had three
children with him, Akbar, AsGhar and Zil-e-Humaa. After that
I only gave playback, which I continued until three years
ago. [She gave playback for the first time in "jaan-e-
bahaar" (1958) for mussarat naziir, the heroine of ex-
husband Rizvii's first movie after their divorce.] I am
thankful to my fans who have always loved me. The greatest
period of my life and the most wonderful singing was during
the 1965 war when my songs were played on radio and TV.
After those songs, I was not only a film singer, but also
became a national and patriotic singer. And I received
awards like "Pride Of Performance" and "tamGaa-e-imtiyaaz".
I also got the nickname of malikaa-e-trannum. The greatest
thing is that all the current leaders of government,
including Parvez Musharraf have treated me well. As long as
the name of Pakistan is on the world map, by God's grace
my name will remain too."

Courtesy: Surjit Singh.

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Priya Gainneos

We are a group of volunteers trying to make a site in honour of Madam Noorjehan probably the greatest singer-actress ever to grace the silver screen. It is dedicated to the memory of one of Madam's biggest fans the late Priya Gainneos. Priya, we are sure you are up there listening to Madam live in heaven. May your soul rest in peace and May God give your family and friends the strength to bear the loss. We can never forget you.Thanks a lot to the Hamaraforums founders for making this dream of Priya (to have a site in honour of madam) come true.

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