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Jukebox: Noor Jehan, the Original ‘Chandni Raatein’ Singer 

Mallika-e-Tarannum - as Noor Jehan was known - uniquely combined singing and acting talent.

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Celebrities
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Jukebox: Noor Jehan, the Original ‘Chandni Raatein’ Singer 
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Mallika-e-Tarannum - as Pakistani singer and actor Noor Jehan was widely known - was a legend in every sense of the word. In a career spanning over more than six decades, she recorded over 18,000 songs in Urdu, Punjabi, Pashto, Sindhi and even Persian. Along with Ahmed Rushdi, she holds the record for having given voice to the largest number of film songs in the history of Pakistani cinema.

Born Allah Rakhi Wasai, Noor Jehan was British India’s most famous voice who combined considerable histrionic abilities. It was indeed our loss when post Partition, she elected to move to Lahore - her native village of Kasur in Punjab fell to the newly formed nation of Pakistan.

Noor Jehan was a unique combination of singing and acting talent.
(Photo courtesy: Facebook)

The original Chandni Raatein singer was awarded the Pakistan's Pride of Performance by President Ayub Khan in 1965. She also received some of the country’s highest civilian awards - Tamgha-e-Imtiaz and Sitara-e-Imtiaz.

On her 17th death anniversary (23 December), here’s celebrating the incomparable Noor Jehan’s music.

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Singing since the age of five, Wasai trained in classical singing under none other than Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, followed by Punjabi musician Ghulam Ahmed Chishti. She moved to Calcutta in the early 1930s with her family with the hopes of a break in the movies. In 1935, Noor Jehan acted along with her sisters in KD Mehra’s Pind di Kuri in which she sang the Punjabi song "Langh aja patan chanaan da o yaar". It was a hit.

After several films as a child artiste, Noor was back in Lahore in 1939. In 1942, she acted as the female lead in Khandaan opposite would-be-baddie Pran. The success of Khandaan saw her shifting to Bombay (now Mumbai) with director Syed Shaukat Hussain Rizvi, who she married later.

Noor at work.
(Photo courtesy: Facebook)

Back in Pakistan after Partition, Noor starred in her first Pakistani film Chan Wey (1951), opposite Santosh Kumar, which she co-directed with Rizvi. In 1956, she teamed up with two of the biggest legends of Pakistani film music – GA Chishti for Lakht-e-Jigar, and Khwaja Khursheed Anwar for Intezar. Lakht-e-Jigar, based on the Geeta Bali-Balraj starrer Vachan (1955), had numbers like Woh Khwab Suhana Toot Gaya, Aa Haal Dekhle Mera and the popular Chanda Ki Nagari Se.

Noor Jehan with Dilip Kumar.
(Photo courtesy: Facebook)

Several successful films and a divorce later, Noor married actor Ejaz Durrani In 1959 which ultimately led to her bidding farewell to her film career. She last acted in Baaji in 1963 but not in a leading role.

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Noor Jehan gets a hug from Lata Mangeshkar.
(Photo courtesy: Facebook)

But her singing career now soared and Noor She made her debut exclusively as a playback singer in 1960 with Salma. She never looked back after that and sang with greats like Ahmed Rushdi, Mehdi Hassan, Masood Rana, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Mujeeb Aalam. Awards came by the dozen, as did the Pride of Performance in 1965 by the Pakistani Government.

Jehan passed away on 23 December 2000.

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Topics:  Jukebox   Noor Jehan 

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