Monday, May 07, 2012

Ja MeiN Tose Naahin BoluN - Lata & Noor Jehan

Lata Mangeshkar is a goddess of music. She has sung a staggeringly large number of genuinely great, not just excellent, songs. One of my favorites in a long list is "Ja Tose NahiN BoluN Kanhaiyya". This beautiful duet (with Manna Dey) was composed by the great Bengali music director Salil Chowdhry for the 1956 film "Parivaar". The song (I am told) is in Raga Hamsadhwani. Lata's effortless brilliance in this number makes Manna Dey look like a rank amateur.

Noor Jehan is the only other female playback singer for whom I have the same reverence as Lata. She is the quintessential Pakistani cultural symbol. Even though she had already achieved fame by 1947, Noor Jehan was the only true mega star of the film industry to settle on the Pakistani side of the border. Enchanting romantic songs from films  "Intezaar", "Dupatta", "Haveli", "Koel" and "LaakohN meiN Aik", patriotic 'naghmas' such as "Aye Puttar HattaN Te NahiN Wikde" and lively Punjabi film numbers from "Heer Ranjha" and "Paatay Khan" all evoke cultural milestones in the country's history.  In the 50's, 60's and 70's, when she was still fortunate enough to be working with great composers like Khawaja Khurshid Anwar, Master Inayat Hussain and Rasheed Atre, Noor Jehan sang every bit as brilliantly as Lata at her peak. To experience her at her sublime best, lets listen to Noor Jehan sing very similar lyrics to Lata and Manna Dey above and enjoy her mastery of the sur. This is from the film "Mauseeqar" (1962) with music by Rasheed Atre in Raga Jaijaivanti. I have had this on repeat for the last 2 days.


ajnabi said...

great to have you back on line Fawad!
I'm learning a lot about this early era of Indo-Pak film music and am continuously amazed by Madam!


Fawad Zakariya said...

Thanks ajnabi! Unfortunately, just don't get enough time to write and share as often as I would like.

reader in Delhi said...

I hate to disagree, but in THIS GENRE Noor Jehan does even not begin to match Lata.

Bade Ghulam Ali Khan is supposed to have said of Lata "Kambakht kabhi besuri nahin hoti" (don't know if that's true). I think Noor Jehan was besura a few times in this youtube clip, especially in the aalaps and sargams.

No objections to reverence for Noor Jehan as a cultural icon.

Fawad Zakariya said...

@ reader in delhi, I believe Bade Ghulam Ali Khan indeed say that and it is certainly true. There isn't a voice like Lata's. Even though Noor Jehan is not as effortlessly in sur as Lata, not surprisingly, I happen to disagree that Noor Jehan ever gets besuri. In a high register she sang far more difficult material in sur than Lata. But in my view they are both giants. Lata's oeuvre is vast and she was also blessed to work with many more talented music directors than Noor Jehan.

Anonymous said...

Well Ajnabi, the same Badi Ghulam Ali Khan said about Noor Jehan "Jis Din Noor Jehan paida huyi us din poori duniya mein koyi aur fankar paida nahin hua."

Arslan Mehdi said...

Ma to Yahi Kahon ga Kay apko Madam Noor Jehan Ko sunna Chahye Q Kay Apne Shayad suna nahi Madam ko q k madam ek beat bhi miss nahi karti jise ap besura keh rhy hk wo Madam ka pancham bolta ha itna bhi nahi pta Jahil logon ko.
Or Pancham ki waja say Madam ki pitch or range ziada ha