Noor Jehan’s preference used to be singing for heroines only and not for side heroines or for vamps. She was used in the film ‘Sham Dhale’ by Rasheed Attre also. As a matter of fact, for this movie, when Sufi Tabasum’s ghazal “Sau bar chaman mehka” became a hit in Nasim Begum’s voice, Noor Jehan kept on complaining to Rasheed Attre as to why he did not take it in her voice! Music composer Wajahat Attre however disagrees with this contention as he informed me in Radio Pakistan that this song was recorded much before Noor Jehan entered into the arena of playback singing. So, Noor Jehan’s complaint if any must have been an afterthought.
In 1962, Noor Jehan sang for Faiz Ahmad Faiz for the movie ‘Sukh Ka Sapna’ a song “Sham hui tu ghar aja”. Faiz was seriously involved in two films during the early decades of Pakistan’s film industry. One of them was AJ Kardar’s direction, called ‘Jago Hua Sawera’, made in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) and released on May 25, 1959, and the second was ‘Sukh Ka Sapna’, directed by that brilliant cameraman and visionary, Masood Parvez, which was released on January 5, 1962. The second song worth mentioning from this movie is ‘Hum Tere Paas Aaey Sarey Sitam Bhula Ke’ again written by Faiz. There were other numbers too, but they did not become popular. Music composer were Manzoor Ashraf. Let me take this opportunity of giving a brief history of Faiz’s involvement in the film industry. After these two involvements, due to Faiz’s ideological stance, he could not link himself with the film industry, as he was time and again banned on Radio and Television. In this scenario he found it difficult to continue with his film lyrics. The filmmakers however continued to lift his famous poems and ghazals for their films. This was happening even before Pakistan came into being. One of his famous poetic lines inspired the leading phrase of the famous poem “Ajki rat saz-e-dil-e-purdard na chair” for Indian film ‘Jugnu’ composed by Feroze Nizami and sung by Noor Jehan. Even after the creation of Pakistan, Indian movie ‘Mehel’ contained his poem “Dono jahan teri muhabbat main haar ke”. In Pakistan, when Khalil Qaiser and Riaz Shahid created that brilliant film ‘Shaheed’ released in 1962, music composer Rasheed Attre made exceptional tunes for the famous poems and ghazals of Faiz and Munir Niazi like a slightly changed version of Faiz’s masterpiece “Nisar main teri galiyon ke aei watan kei jahan” sung by Munir Hussain, and filmed on Alauddin, who was shown the Arab tribal leader, who was dismissed by a Jew conspirator from Arabia. In Riaz Shahid’s film ‘Farangi’ Mehdi Hasan’s famous rendition of the popular ghazal of Faiz, “Gulon main rang bharey baad-e-naubahar chale” was picturised on Alauddin, while another poem, written on the slain workers movement leaders of America, “Hum jo tareek rahon main marey gaey” was also included, which was sung by Mala, filmed on a blind Pathan girl, played by Shamim Ara (who struggles to cope up with the British fox) once again done with authority by Talish in this movie.
Coming to Noor Jehan, our theme of this submission, how can one forget her classic rendition of the proverbial “Mujh se pehlee si muhabbat mere mehboob na maang”, which was included in Najam Naqvis film ‘Qaidi’ released on June 15, 1962. It was, again, fabulously composed by Rasheed Attre and picturised well on Shamim Ara. So, one could say that Faiz’s poetry was being regularly included in Pakistani films until 1962. But, after that, his poetry is only found in one film, based on the conditions that led to the Bangladesh tragedy. It was AJ Kardar’s ‘Qasam Us Waqt Ki’, the title song of which was written by Josh Malihabadi. Faiz’s free verse “Manzilain manzilain” was composed beautifully by Suhail Rana for the film and sung equally well by Mehdi Hasan. And Faiz’s ghazal “Sab qatl ho kei tere muqabil” was also sung by Farida Khanum for this film, which was picturised on her too, in a concert by the Naval Academy but, the most endearing number of the film was by Mujeeb Alam, who sang “Iss dhoop kinarey shaam dhaley” beautifully and it is still run on radio sometimes.
Music composer A Hameed and Noor Jehan: In 1965, music for SA Hafiz’s film ‘Shabnam’ (1965) was composed by A Hameed with some marvelous songs like “Chun liya mein nei tumhein sara jahan rehne diya” by Noor Jehan sung beautifully on seven beat rhythm. Jaltarah effects were used in this song and until today this song is heard and liked by music lovers. The cast was huge. It had stars in it like Muhammad Ali, Zeba, Kamal, Rani, Lehri and Kumar. It was directed by Rashid Mukhtar.