6 comments on “‘There are so many men who are in love with Nur Jehan…”

  1. Thanks for the links, Swarup. We’ve talked on this blog about Hamara Forums linking to some of the contents of the book and I had some memory of that myself, but I didn’t recall it as linking to the entire chapters. I only recalled seeing the more nasty parts of the Noor Jehan chapter, in which Manto talks about perceiving her as being vulgar and insincere. Maybe I recalled that part most because someone out there at one point had chosen to remind me of those negative descriptions. :( But this is a nicer part, and one I can relate to it myself. :) I also like the descriptions of the beauty of her voice, which is the most important thing.

    And now that I finally got the whole book, I thought I’d have fun transcribing some of it.

    Though I have mixed feelings about this book, really – it is so much just one big dishy gossip sheet. Some people like that, but often I would rather simply admire the artist or performer for her or his art and/or screen presence, and there are usually many things outside of those areas that I’d rather not know.

  2. I feel like an interloper here since I have very little knowledge of films ( my knowledge is mostly confined to a few hindi and telugu films of the fifties). Moreover I am not a fan of Nur Jehan, I liked Zohrabai and Amirbai better. But there is one by Nur Jehan that I loved (you must have already mentioned this)

    In any case, I enjoy reading your blog and Minai’s and keep wondering what are the kind of social spaces which made these songs and dances popular (at least in some iecles) from Russia to Nigeria to USA.

  3. It is funny that you posted that clip, Swarup, because just this past day, I treated myself several times to the other scene for this song from the same movie. which I also presently have as the featured song on my YouTube station:

    I have actually posted many versions of “Lal Meri Pat” on this blog. (Maybe I’ll dig up links for those again – but not now, because I have once again stayed up past the time when I had planned to go to sleep, etc.)

    There is a book that I have finished reading (finally) by the sociologist Lousie Brown which is about the real life of a brothel family in Lahore… It’s quite grim, but there are wonderful descriptions of the festival days, etc., that beautifully match stuff I’ve seen in films and song clips. I was thinking of doing a post with more quotes from that book, illustrated by song clips. :)

    But back to Noor Jehan… While I am very fond of those other singers that you have mentioned, I consider Noor Jehan to be on a higher plane. Especially in the films from the ’40s to ’60s, I am absolutely crazy about her voice (in case you didn’t guess); it just does some kind of magic for me.

    As for where the social spaces came from for me to get into all this… Well, I have my own stories about how that gradually happened (though I doubt they suffice to explain it all)… I think I tell some of that in my “About” page, some on the side of my YouTube site, and in a bunch of other places. I don’t know if people in the U.S. in general have had the kind of affinity for these old Bollywood films that people had so many years ago in Russia and other parts of the then-existing Soviet empire (which also happens to be the land of my ancestors)… But I’ve had the opportunity to get exposure to a lot of things, and also meet certain people who helped me along on this path, simply by living in New York, the global city. But Minai lives in a different sort of place in the U.S. (so I gather) and I don’t have the faintest idea how she got to be such a huge fan of Indian films and dances and now, apparently, an expert. I think she’s much more a mystery than I am. :)

  4. Thanks for the detailed reply. ‘Social space’ is something I picked up from Brian Larkin’s “Signal and Noise” which in part describes the popularity of Bollywood in parts of Nigeria. It might have been a different route in Russia, partly political contacts and partly the optimism conveyed in Rajkapoor films. Of course, individual choices do not quite come under the same scheme; for example a villager like me taking to pure mathematics. By the way, Brian Larkin teaches in Bernard College and may be an interesting person to contact. A mathematician friend who teaches in the same place tells me that he is a nice bloke.

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