Jab jab music ki baat aye gi, tab tab madam noor jahan ka naam lya jaye ga. Malika e Tarannum Noor Jahan, an asset and legend of the subcontinent left us in 2000. She stepped into the industry when she was just 4 years old. From then on till her death she was part and parcel of the music industry. She has the honor of recording more than 10,000 songs with a lifespan of more than six decades. No one can match her prowess to date. Today, we celebrate the 95th birth anniversary of Malika e Tarannum Noor Jahan .
The awaaz day kahan hai singer was born as Allah Rakhi in 1926 a religious family to Madad Ali and Fateh Bibi in Kasur. Who knew she will rule our hearts forever? They were thirteen siblings, six sisters, and seven brothers. With her eastern looks and sweet voice, her cousin discovered her talent and she was sent to Ustad Ghulam Ali khan sahib to be trained in a classical manner. She got cast in film gul bakaoli when she was just ten. Before partition, she was part of 127 films (both silent and talking). She also lent her voice as a playback singer. She won awards for her movie pre-partition.
Some of her pre partition films included, Aab-e-Hayat, Intiqam, Pattat Pawan, Sha-e-Subhan, all in 1933; Cinema Queen, Kala Waagh or Black Tiger, Ghareeb ka Pyara, Neki ka Taaj, Qismat ki Kuswati, Seeta, Waman Autar or Dani Samraat, Veer Bharat or Sher-e-Hind (1934); Alauddin Doem or Aaj ka Allauddin, Ghar Jamai, Jan Alam Anjuman Ara or Prem Purnima, Kala Sawar, Karwan-e-Husn, Misr ka Sitrara, Rangeela Nawab, Satri Dharam (1935); Romantic India, Sheela or Pind di Kudi (first Punjabi movie, made in Calcutta), Top ka Gola, Mr and Mrs Bombay (1936); Adrash Mahila, Bismal ki Arzoo, Chabuk Sawar, Fakhr-e-Islam, Jawahar-e-Hind, Parakh, Mr 420, Sarojani, Taran Haar (1937); Brahmachari, Heer Sayal (India’s second Punjabi film, made in Calcutta), Purnima, Royal Commander, Shareef Dakoo, Na Honay Wali Baat or Impossible (1938); Gul Bakauli (India’s third Punjabi movie made in Lahore), Imandaar, Pyam-e-Haq (1939); Sajni, Yamla Jat (Punjabi, made in Lahore) (1940); Chaudhri (Punjabi, made in Lahore), Red Signal, Umeed, Susraal (1941); Chandani, Dheeraj, Faryad, Khandan (made in Lahore) (1942); Duhai, Nadaan, Naukar (1943); Dost, Lal Haveli (1944); Badi Maan, Bhaijan, Gaoon ki Gori, Zeenat (1945); Anmol Gadhi, Dil, Hamjoli, Jadoogar, Maharana Pratab (1946); and Abida, Jugnu, Mira Bai, Mirza Sahibaan (1947).
In Pakistan, she was part of 13 films, Chanway (1951), Dupatta (1952), Gulnar (1953), Paatay Khan (1955), Lakht-e-Jigr and Intezaar (1956), Nooraan (1957), Anarkali, Chhoo Mantar (1958), Perdesan, Neend and Koel (1959) and Mirza Ghalib (1961).
She married Shaukat Hussain Rizvi and came to Pakistan, where she became the first female director of Pakistan along with her husband. She had two sons from him. She later married Ejaz Durrani from whom she had 4 daughters. Ahmed butt and Sonya Jahan are her grandkids.
She contributed to the 1965 war with her everlasting war songs ay puttar hatta day, ay watan kay sajeelay jawanoun, Mera Sohna Shehr Kasur Ni while joining the barracks in the front rows. She proudly shares the experiences, “My musicians used to tell me to get into the trench when our session was on and the siren sounded. I would tell them, ‘If we have to go, let it be in front of the microphone, singing. Think of the boys who are out there fighting. When I sang Merya dhol sipahaya, it was not pre-recorded. I sang it straight into the microphone and it went live because the tape recorder was not working. It was a very poignant moment for me and I cried a lot. Then I sang.”
She passed away in 2000 due to heart and other ailments. Today marks her 95th Birth Anniversary. She has had many ups and downs in her life, but she remained a woman of determination and willpower. She lived her life with honor and grace. An immortalized being through her music she will remain the one and only Melody Queen.