9 comments on “Two Parts of a Great Interview with Noor Jehan

  1. I saw this one a while ago and loved all the song clips and her little anecdotes. She had such a lovely voice even after all those years. Wish there was more of it! And more of this series online, but couldnt find any other interviews from this series.

  2. Yes, she did have a lovely voice! It’s too bad she had to leave Bollywood so early. I’m seeing that she did fine singing for many movies and many years afterwards.

    And I really like the humbleness and gratitude with which she talks about her success.

    As for anecdotes… Some very interesting ones there. Her story about her acquaintance with Faiz Ahmed Faiz stands out. It’s great how she stood up for her right to recite/sing his poem, and that story about their meeting was quite touching.

  3. She was a great singer and woman of considerable character; I think her voice was under utilised, or rather only along the same routine once in pak, excepting a few songs. She really was capable of doing a whole lot more…

  4. Hmm, my exposure to the Urdu and Punjabi films is limited, but I always like Noor Jehan’s voice so much..

    Now, you say it was underutilized, “excepting a few songs.” Could you recommend some of those exceptions? I’d love to hear them!

    By the way, I’ve just been enjoying some clips of her songs in Anarkali (1958) – I think her singing is great in that!

  5. Tere mukhre da kala kala til we

    Chandni Ratein

    Sanu neher wale pul te bula ke,

    Kehnde ne naina tere kol raina,

    Sun wanjli di mithri taan we

    Are ones I think of on the spur of the moment. But if you compare it to the quality of the work being given to Lata, Asha or Geeta at the time, it is just so soooo ordinary.

  6. Thank you, bawa. These are all good. I’ve also been looking at/listening to a bunch of other Noor Jehan clips tonight, and I just wouldn’ say that it’s all “so soooo ordinary” compared to all the things that Lata, Asha, or Geeta did. :) Once again, though, I like her voice so much (as I think a lot of people do)…that it would take time to for me to sort out how and where she could have done much better if given the material that the Bollywood stars got. But I don’t think I could call all of this ordinary, either.

    Anyway, it’s clearly time for another post of Noor Jehan clips, soon…. I might pick a couple of my own favorites that I’ve found, and I might throw one of yours in, too.

    I tend to think that Noor Jehan’s biggest disadvantage was not getting the exposure and publicity that she might have gotten had she stayed in Bollywood. Of course, that’s not just my idea – I’ve already read a couple of accounts saying she would have been bigger all over the world than even Lata. I guess that is an interesting “what if.”

  7. That is a very big what if..?
    What I meant about ordinary was that in Hindi films it is well-known that Lata’s range and singing ability, and also Asha- Geeta’s (ok: Rafi etc also) led to the composers to experiment more and more..also I guess in trying to get better of the competition with all the films being made. I think in Pak there were hampered by not having such a flourishing industry and the increasingly political need to produce something identifiable as different from India.
    Noor Jehan had a very sweet yet powerful voice: in her early songs she sang very much like her earlier songs, but then in film music they slowly evolved this particular singing style (we called it “quaiN quaiN”) and I find it particularly ugly, except sometimes in a few Punjabi songs. Most Pak singers that followed her also sang similar: Nahid Akhtar, Mehnaaz, etc. despite being excellent singers. I find that different is not necessarily good! Weird thing was, in non-filmi singing, they didn’t go down this route: look at Mehndi Hassan, Farida Khanum, Mallika Pukhraj, Tahirra Syed, Nayyara Noor, etc. Then from 60s onwards they inclined towards Punjabi films of an especially shouting sort, and finesse just disappeared.
    However, Pak TV was really very sophisticated and all the good actors and singers were to be seen on TV programmes/series/dramas. You can look at this spoof from a very popular tv programme of the time called 50/50:

  8. Well, now, inspired by our conversation, I have looked at/listened to a whole lot of Noor Jehan… Have you ever seen the Hamara Forums page? It’s a particularly good source for finding old clips:


    I noticed that one of the songs you offered was from Dupatta; that was also one of my favorites among the films I sampled; it seems very enchanting.

    Yes, I probably like the ones from the ’50s the most, too, but we might be able to say the same thing about all the Bollywood singers you mentioned, also. :)

    I think I can see what you’re saying about veering toward a particular style, but I wouldn’t call it “particularly ugly.”

    Shouting in Punjabi films is OK with me, too; I’m used to shouting in songs from other aspects of my cultural background in the U.S. :)

    Anyway, thank you for all this information in an area that you must know much more about than I do. Though I think I will be learning a little more… Far from being put off by any particular style, I’m feeling more inclined to look more at Lollywood. As though I really have time, on top of everything else – oh, well…

  9. Yes, I have trawled that forum. So much info out there, well, its good to know that there are so many good things to be discovered. I just lack the time!

    In Hindi films there was also a greater variety of songs/situations/tunes because of less restrictions. Recently someone asked me to recommend some good Lata songs, and I had reached nearly hundred of the ones that I liked so much that I remember them straight off by heart..and there are tons of good ones at the back of my head that Atul in his song a day brings up!
    I love N Jehan’s voice but it is more difficult to find exceptional numbers and ones that deviate from the classic romantic solo/duet based on a straightforward tune or at best a ghazal or nazm.
    I like this interview, she comes across as a woman who knew her own mind.
    To deviate from her and Faiz, have you heard Iqbal Bano’s rendering of his nazm “Hum Dekhenge”?
    Best is to listen with a translation of the lyrics, but he was an amazing poet, this is another of his poems not too popular with the authorities.

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