close
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!
March 12, 2021

Tribute to Noorjehan at PNCA

Islamabad

March 12, 2021

Islamabad: PWA (Progressive Writers Association) and PNCA (Pakistan National Council of the Arts) joined hands to pay tribute to Madam Noorjehan today (Friday) at PNCA. The audience was taken back to a small town in Qasoor in 1926 where Noorjehan was born as Allahwasai. She learnt to sing early in life (even before she learnt to cry). The family went to Kolkata around 1930 and Allahwasai became Baby Noorjehan She made a name for herself with Punjabi songs. The family returned back to Lahore.

What follows is a long journey. Noorjehan worked in films at Lahore during early thirties. She later left for Mumbai, worked and made a name in Urdu films. Got married to film director-editor Shaukat Hussain Rizvii. Her notable films in Mumbai included ‘Bari Maa’, ‘Zeenat’, ‘Anmol Ghari’ and ‘Jugno’. In 1947, the couple decided to return to what was now Pakistan. The friends, including Dilip Kumar, tried to talk them out of this move. They could stay till things could settle down Shaukat and Noorjehan were adamant to leave.

The couple settled in Lahore. A studio was allotted to them. With courage and determination, they repaired the place, renovated it and became Shahnoor (Shah from Shaukat and Noor from Noorjehan). Urdu Films made in Lahore during late -forties and early fifties performed poorly at the box office due to the latest Indian imports. The couple followed the footsteps of Nazir and his wife Swaranlata who too had migrated recently, and hit the jackpot with two Punjabi hits ‘Larey’ and ‘Pheerey’. Shaukat too went for Punjabi film ‘Chunway.’ The film was a sleeper but within weeks made it to the top of the list. Shaukat from U.P. was not familiar with Punjabi and he gave the dialogue supervision part to Noorjehan who also was the leading lady in ‘Chunway.’ For this, Noorjehan was credited for direction, and she became the first woman director of Pakistani films. Noorjehan worked as an actress in Lahore in thirteen films including ‘Intezaar’, ‘Patey Khan’, ‘Dupatta’, ‘Anarkali,’ ‘Koel’ and ‘Neend’.

The fifties also witnessed marital tremors in Shaukat-Noorjehan life. They went for child custody settlement. Noorjehan got custody of her daughter Huma against her share of the studios.

This was now sixties. Noor Jahan’s last film as an actress ‘Ghalib’ bowed in 1961. She got married to actor Ijaz Durrani who passed away this month. Ijaz later became a notable producer (Heer Ranjha), exhibitor and distributor. Noorjehan became a bankable playback singer. Without her, no Punjabi/Urdu film made it to the box office success for the next thirty years .Her two visits to India (meeting Prime minister Indira Gandhi in New Delhi and singing “Awaz De Kahan’ Hai” under composer Naushad Ali’s orchestra in Mumbai ) are milestones. She also recorded two musical series ‘Tarannum’ for PTV Lahore in the early eighties and early nineties. These today, are the precious archival treasures of PTV network.

Noorjehan spent the last years of her life in Karachi with her daughters and passed away in December 2000. As we look back on her life and career, she lived on her own terms only. She became an icon in her lifetime. The tribute included a 35-minute video presentation of her musical numbers, patriotic songs from 1965 War and interviews brilliantly edited and composed by Jahanzaib Naiyyer and Faraz Arif of Flashback Zindagi Social Media. Notable writer-Poet Hassan Abbas shared anecdotes, jokes and incidents of his encounters with Madam from his latest book. The tribute and homage to Noorjehan would never end. It would just turn a corner and begin with new insights to her amazing colorful life. This is then a tribute to womanhood in Pakistan.

[email protected]