Melody Queen Noor Jehan — Part III

Noor Jehan was an exception. Ninety percent of her songs were classical based but the treatment given by Master Ghulam Haider to Noor Jehan’s voice was that of light music. Still her popularity was limited to Punjab. Noor Jehan, now 15 was still an employee of Seth Sahab who started a film ‘Chaudhry’ and gave secondary role to Noor Jehan in consonance with her age. Ghulam Muhammad was the main character in this movie supported by Roop Laikha, Ajmal, Pal Chand Burq, M Ismail and Durga Khotte. The movie was directed by Narinjan Pal. Noor Jehan’s four songs became popular in no time. One of such songs was “Ik duniya navin wasaa laiye, ik agan lagan di laa laiye”. Duets were sung with Noor Jehan by Master Ghulam Haider himself. After having absolved herself from her agreement with Pancholi Art Pictures, Noor Jehan returned to her profession of dancing and singing. Meanwhile Seth Dilsukh pleased with Shaukat Hussain Rizvi, editor of his previous two hit movies, asked him to direct ‘Khandan’. One may have noticed that Muslim directors, singers and actors were doing well in Bombay during pre-partition days!
There arose problem of selecting heroine for ‘Khandan’ as none among Ragini, Mumtaz Shanti or Manorma from Punjab suited him. He was asked to see Noor Jehan who was busy her show in Citra Talkies in Amritsar at that time. Rizvi stealthily went to Amritsar and watched her perform songs like “Bas bas wei dholna” and “Hanste hain sitare ya Shah-e-Madina” (naat). He returned after discovering his heroine. Noor Jehan after having met Rizvi got mesmerised by his personality. ‘Khandan’ was a hit movie when released. Dr MD Taseer’s song became hit. Two songs from this movie “Shokh sitaron sei mil mil ke” and “Mere liye jahan main chain na qarar hei” became one reason the success of this movie and even in Calcutta and Bombay; film producers delayed releasing their films when this movie was released. Love affair between Noor Jehan and Rizvi was the by-product during filming of this movie. Even the case of abduction of Noor Jehan by Rizvi was resolved through the efforts of Mian Ehsan and Mian Hafeez. Resultantly both were removed from their employments.
Return of the Prodigal: Mirza Musharaf, comedian brought VMVyas to Lahore from Bombay and made agreements of two movies to be made in Bombay with Noor Jehan. Syed Shaukat Hussain Rizvi had already left for Bombay. The first movie was named ‘Duhai’ with Shanta Aptte as heroine and Kumar as hero. VMVyas himself directed this movie with Noor Jehan in a secondary role. The second movie ‘Naukar’ despite Shafi’s (Noor Jehan’s brother) objection had Rizvi as director but due to agreement he (Shafi) was helpless. The love kindled again between Noor Jehan and Rizvi and they got married quietly among close friends. The movie ‘Duhai’ flopped despite Nurjehan’s two songs in it. The same fate was that of ‘Naukar’ as there was constant fight between the producer and the director despite having strong cast of that time; Shobhna, Balwant Singh, Chander Mohan, Yaqub and Mirza Musharaf with music by Rafiq Ghaznavi and lyrics by Nazim Panipati. Noor Jehan had sung two songs with Raj Kumari and Balwant Singh. Another song “Jhoom jhoom aei gul-e-naubahar jhoom” had happy portion sung by Noor Jehan and filmed on her and the sad portion sung by Raj Kumari pictured on Shobhna Samrath.
The third movie with K Dutta’s music namely ‘Nadaan’ too flopped. There were seven songs sung by Noor Jehan. This was Zia Sarhadi production. Since the movie, despite having Nurjehan, Masud, Maya Devi, Jallo Bai, Murad, Jamshed ji and Nazir Kashmiri in the cast, flopped none of its songs ever became popular. The only silver lining at that time was marriage taking place between lyricists Tanvir Naqvi with Eiden Bai. These flops, one above the other, seriously damaged the image of Nurjehan. Now came the movie ‘Dost’ in 1944 with music by Sajjad Hussain and lyrics by Shams Lakhnawi. The music direction with Sajjad Hussain was shared by Ali Bukhsh (Meena Kumari’s father). Satish Chopra writes that Sajjad Husain got his major break in the year 1944 for the film ‘Dost’ starring Noor Jehan and Motilal. Noor Jehan sang some unforgettable songs “Badnaam muhabbat kaun karey”, “Ab kaun hei mera” and “Koyi prem ka de key sandesa” and the film until date is remembered because of such musical super hits. If you have listened to these captivating melodies, you must have observed the beauty of delivery of word ‘Badnaam’ and a charismatic pause thereafter, besides, expression of thought and an extra-ordinary quality of sur (note). It was somewhat classic! The songs provided a remarkable impact on the listeners. Shaukat Hussain Rizvi, after viewing its grand success observed that entire credit for the success of these songs goes to Noor Jehan, who sang such fabulous melodies.


Continued

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