16 comments on “Happy Birthday, Madam Noor Jehan!

  1. You’re very welcome, Harvey, Vidur, and Bawa!

    Vidur, I will have to add that Vintage Bolly Fun to my blogroll now. That’s the fourth one of yours so far – how will we keep up with all of it?

    By the way, I love the Bolly Fun design template. ;) Considering that we love so many of the same singers (and some of the same links) and I am increasingly focusing on that same era…our blogs are going to look a lot alike sometimes. I hope we don’t get confused. LOL

    Though I never could have dug up so many details for Zeenat. Wow! And you’re being very conscientious about tags, which I let fall by the wayside a long time ago.

    Thank you for the link the rare song from Dil! I guess you know by now that WordPress seems to have a mind of its own sometimes when it comes to converting links to clips in comments, and that’s what it did – showed the whole clip here, though you mentioned only a link. Hope you don’t mind. :)

  2. Thanks for apprecaiting. A lot more coming up. Did you like the Zamindar songs? Shall upload more soon. I was more than happy that the video came, that would be easier to view!

  3. I must (regretfully!) admit that I haven’t yet gone through any of the links you’ve provided – but yes, happy birthday, Noor Jehan! And, Richard: I’m watching your playlist. Thank you!

    PS. I discovered Noor Jehan’s Anaar Kali online. Haven’t got around to watching it yet, but will, someday soon.

  4. Happy birthday Noorjehan from me too.
    I have checked out a couple of links. Amazing information and something I need to spend a lot of time, at leisure.
    Looking forward to doing that.
    Thanks Richard.

  5. Dustedoff and Pacifist, I wanted to get back to you about your nice comments, but I’ve been a bit busy the past few days. (Once in a while, even I have to let other things in life interfere with my blogging and the valuable exchanges that take place in connection with that!) Anyway, you’re both very welcome, and thank you for the nice words!

    Pacifist, I’m glad you like the links and I hope you’ve gotten the chance to spend a little more time with them – or will soon. :) It is all very interesting stuff.

    Dustedoff, I am glad to hear that you had a chance to watch the playlist! (Maybe one day, it will be better organized. :) )

    I may have skimmed through Anarkali online at some point, but I really only remember the many songs and Noor’s incredible voice in that film. (And I already knew the story :) …)

    I’ve watched a few of the Noor Jehan ’50s films, but Dupatta was the only one for which I had the benefit of subtitles. (And I liked it a lot – and wrote a long review of it a while back. By the way, I also got the DVD for that before I found it online. All that was a while ago, but it might still be online…) I enjoyed watching Intezar even without subs, not only because the music was so great, but also, the action was pretty clear, so it wasn’t very hard to follow. (And I may have gotten a plot summary somewhere – though I don’t recall.) Patay Khan’s online too, but it’s a very bad version and harder to follow without subs anyway. I looked through most of Koel too, which bears some resemblance to Anmol Ghadi :) , but probably not anywhere nearly as good (though the songs are great). And I watched Mousiqar online, but that was OK because it seemed to be almost all songs :) and great dances too. (Noor Jehan wasn’t in that one as an actress – just a playback singer – but it was fun watching Meena Shorey. ;) ) So, anyway, if you don’t need English subtitles and you don’t mind the shaky quality, you can enjoy quite a few Noor Jehan films online. :)

  6. Thank you for all those suggestions, Richard! I remember you’d told me earlier about Dupatta as well – I must check if it’s still online.

    Goodness, I seriously need more than 24 hours a day.

  7. Hi Richard. I just stumbled across this post of yours while searching for something and realised that in a small way our paths crossed much earlier than me being introduced to your site by my uncle Muz. I uploaded the scans of the Manto chapter at Hamara Forums. Those were the days when HF was a really wonderful place where I made some great friends and shared much material and many songs.

    After our dear friend Priya’s passing and then getting caught up in family responsibilities my time at HF came to an end. I do occasionally glance over but it’s a rare occurrence now.

  8. Hi, Jamal. Happy Noor Jehan’s Birthday! Tonight, I am looking at quite a few of the videos that Tom was able to post thanks to the contributions from your uncle Muz.

    I must admit that I have not had a chance to go to Hamara Forums myself much in recent times. I was not that much of a regular there before, either, but I went there on quite a few occasions for research.

    And your post of the Manto chapter was one of my best finds there. An Indian friend of mine was able to order the entire book for me a couple of years later (in paperback, at a very reasonable price), but in 2010, I had no idea I would ever even find that book. Of course, I have mixed feelings about that chapter since it is not exactly flattering of Noor Jehan, but Manto does recognize the greatness of her voice – and, actually, I cannot think of anyone who’s written a word about her who doesn’t. (Though for some reason, not many – especially if they are fans of Hindi/Indian movies – will acknowledge her as their favorite singer, but, obviously, I have been saying for a few years now that she is mine!)

  9. Hi Richard. That book is actually one of my favourite books, though Manto does seem to focus on the ‘bad’ side of almost all of the actors/actresses he writers about. I used to get very annoyed if I heard anybody saying anything ‘bad’ about Noor Jehan. As I was such a big fan and count her as my favourite singer with a perfect voice, I expected her also to be a perfect human being. I think that was my immaturity though. As soon as you can separate those two your life becomes a lot easier :-) Regardless of what she did or what people thought of her, she lived life on her own terms and was not dependant on any body. I also believe that know one really knows why a person acts in a certain way or does something specific. We only see the result of an action and do not know the intention or cause of why, so I take every thing with a pinch of salt.

    It’s a bit like all the ‘Lata Monopoly’ articles I see. Whether true or false, if I was a single female having the pressure to support my entire family then I am sure I would try to secure the best future for myself. Noor Jehan once said in a interview for Channel 4 that she considers singing her husband. When she needed support and sustenance it was singing that provided her with that.

    Anyway, just sent another two boxes of videos to my uncle so be sure to expect some more uploads in the future.

  10. Jamal, sorry for the delayed response. Anyway, I have posted messages and conversations in the past contemplating the issue of the actor or singer’s behavior, etc., outside of the work that we enjoy and how much bearing it should really have on our opinions about that artist. I haven’t felt a need to do that with Noor Jehan because I have been impressed enough by interviews with her and by other people’s accounts of her (i.e., other than Manto’s) which were very positive. (And by the way, I saw the same interview that you were talking about and have posted it to this blog, with English subtitles.)

    I also decided that I would always feel positive about Noor Jehan as a human being after I learned about how she stood up for Faiz Ahmed Faiz, singing his poems in spite of a government ban. Probably, she knew that she could get away with it to a degree that other people couldn’t, but she still deserved great credit for that. To me, her support of Faiz and her mention that he had great ideas for Pakistan and that they shared many of those ideas was indication enough that she was on a good side politically. (Although I do not know exactly why she did that ultra-patriotic song that she is known for…)

    I have wondered more whether I could separate the personality, behavior, and beliefs from the quality of the work when thinking about Vyjayanthimala. Now there is a woman with an enormous ego, displayed in many places (certainly interviews, and her memoir, too, so I hear), who also participated in terrible politics, joining the BJP. (Unfortunately, so did Jamuna, Hema Malini, and Dharmendra.) But I think I have managed to continue enjoying her dances a great deal, as well as some of her acting, despite all of it. (She’s come down a few notches in my book from where she was five years ago, but I think that’s more because I realized that there were at least a handful of dancers who were better than her. And her acting was great sometimes, though maybe not consistently so.)

    Anyway, it’s good to hear that you have sent two new boxes of videos… Unfortunately, I have already learned that Tom is not going to use all of the videos he’s receiving because he is judging the quality in some of them to be too poor. I would love to see a subtitled version of Lal Haveli (1944), but I understand that’s one of the films he’s not going to use. Oh, well.

  11. Hi Richard,

    I don’t blame Tom for rejecting some of the videos. I have done some video enhancments in the past (for personal 8mm home videos taken by my grandfather) and it is a very painful process, especially when the quality is not great. I got frustrated fixing just a portion that was around 10 mins long so I have no idea how Tom has the patience for 3+ hours. He really is doing a great service to the preservation of these films.

    For Lal Haveli, the VCD print could be subtitled. It’s a long process but once you have the translated script it is just a matter of finding some suitable software to add the subtitles in the right places.


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