Nayyara Noor: Talent rises to the top
By Anis Ahmed Shakur
zameen kay ye chand taray hai jin ki Aankhon mein pyar tera
kay deye jala kar barha rahay hain waqar tera gawah rehna
ki matti gawah rehna gawah rehna
The infinite capacity of the human voice
is mind- boggling. When it comes to Nayyara, we realize that her voice has literally captivated the hearts and minds of those
who enjoy beautiful singing throughout the world.
Sober, reserved, and shy, Nayyara fell into the music business by a fluke. In the early 1970s, she
was doing a course with a diploma granted at completion in textile designing from the national college of arts.
At that time, colleges and universities regularly held all Pakistan contests in various subjects,
in which Nayyara often participated and won prizes, as well.
A little later, she introduced herself to the relevant people in Pakistani television. In those days,
Rafiq Waraij had been affiliated with an entertainment program. He had heard about Nayyara’s talents, and decided to
give her an opportunity to sing.
Besides, in the mid-seventies, Nayyara had recorded a lot of geet, and ghazals for Arshad Mehmud for
Pakistan television program, ‘Such gup’, and ‘Taal matol’.
Probably, Nayyara’s ascent from a textile designer to a reputed singer was propelled more by
her own curiosity than ambition.
It seemed that she was perfectly poised for the ghazal below:
‘Aye jazba-e-dil gar mein chahoon her cheese muqabil Aaja ye, manzil kay liye do gaam chaloon
aur saamnay manzil Aaja ye’. Poet, Bhehzad Lucknavi, originally recorded in the voice of a female Indian singer, for
the Indian film ‘Anjuman’, 1948, and pictured on Indian actress, Nargis.
Rerecorded in Nayyara’s voice for Pakistan television’s music program, ‘Sukhanwar’.
‘Jazba-e-dil’ sent Nayyara into the stratosphere.
Her initial huge success encouraged budding artists, including young, aspiring Pakistani girls to
come forward and try their luck in the music arena.
Nayyara’s lilting singing voice is a translation of music through the soul. Here is a more-
subtle example of Nayyara’s artistic caliber:
‘Chalo usko’, nazm, poet, Zehra Nigah, composer, Mian Sheheryaar Zaidi, Pakistan television
Her ingenuity is evident perhaps, no where more so than in the presentation below:
‘Kabhi hum khubsurat thay’. Poet, Ahmed Shamim, Pakistan television drama serial, ‘Teesra
Nayyara was the guest in the second episode of Anwar Maqsood’s Karachi television stage show,
‘Silver Jubilee’, in 1983.
In ‘Silver Jubilee’, she rendered this geet, ‘Ghata ghanghor ghor, moar machaway
chore, moray sajan Aaja’.
Nayyara received tremendous applause from the audience in general and from Khursheed Banu in particular.
‘Ghata ghanghor’, was originally sung by Khursheed Banu in the Indian film ‘Taan Sain’.
Years ago Nayyara was so inspired by Begum Akhtar, that she was fond of listening to Begum Akhtar’s
ghazals in old fashioned r m p gramophone record players, because audio cassette players were not common then.
This further enhanced Nayyara’s aptitude in music. Moreover, in college days, she was accustomed
to singing ghazals, which had been originally recorded in Begum Akhtar’s voice and she gained a lot of popularity.
In Nayyara’s own words, ‘ghazal leaves a profound impact on the listener. The effect is
rapid and lasting.’
Additionally, the ghazals which Nayyara recorded for Pakistan television have virtually immortalized
the television’s image to the general public.
Below is a ghazal that endured through all those years:
‘Rang barsaat nay bharay kuchh to’. Poet, Nasir Kazmi, Nayyara’s favorite poet.
Nayyara, who is an embodiment of humility, goes down in the annals of Pakistani show business as a
rare singer few could imitate. Below is a fairly obvious example:
‘Phir sawan ruth ki pawan chali, tum yaad Aaye.’ Poet, Nasir Kazmi.
She stole the hearts of her fans with ‘Aye ishq hamay barbaad na kar’. Nazm, poet, Akhtar
Shirani, exquisitely composed by Khalil Ahmed.
Additionally, Nayyara believes that Ibn-e-Insha’s lyrics carry a unique pathos. Below is an
‘Jal to jalao gori.’ Poet, Ibn-e-Insha.
Below is a national song, which Nayyara sang with inspiring conviction, its composition conveys the
loyalty of world listeners. This presence never leaves:
‘Watan ki matti gawah rehna, gawah rehna.’
‘Watan ki matti’ is widely listened from Karachi to Khyber.
While sharing her views with the people, Nayyara had said, ‘it is a matter of considerable pleasure
and honor for a singer to be praised by a poet.’ In her case, she added, ‘Ahmed Nadeem Qasmi was all praise for
her artistic talents.’
In the richer realm of poetry, there are a myriad of other examples of Nayyara’s brilliant rendition.
Nayyara, an unobtrusively intelligent woman, brought us closer to reality in the poetry of Faiz Ahmed
Faiz. For instance, the masterpiece below:
‘Hum keh tehray ajnabi.’
Similarly, ‘Panchi bawara’ was recorded with plenty of zest by Nayyara. Hence, her admirers
feel proud, and rightly so.
Likewise, with ‘Wo jo hum mein’, she endeared herself to the Pakistani public. Below is
a nazm to warm your spirit—Pakistani style:
‘Lub pay Aati hai dua.’
The following poetry in Nayyara’a voice is still popular with the populace:
‘Aaj bazaar mein.’
Through her mellifluous voice, Nayyara brings to her music the sobering sense of a singer’s
‘Jano kahan jao.’
In the soft tones of her voice, ‘Jhula kinnay dala’, sounds fabulous.
Her passion for perfection keeps Nayyara on her toes all the time. Below is an example:
‘Mujhay wida kar.’
She brings out all possible emotions through her voice. Below is another example:
‘Mujhay apni zabt.’
The melodies and lyrics were learned by Nayyara and applauded by music buffs, like this one:
‘Preet nagar say.’
Nayyara increasingly found opportunities to show her dramatic abilities, notably in ‘Tuk dair
Nayyara is the wife of singer-cum-composer, Mian Sheheryaar Zaidi.
Furthermore, Sheheryaar’s two sisters, Yasmeen Wasti and Arjumand Shaheen, used to be the renowned
Pakistan television’s newscasters.
Both Nayyara and Sheheryaar lent their voice to numerous songs, which were previously recorded in
the voice of Kundan Lal Saigal, Khursheed Begum and other prominent singers of the distant past.
Reverting to ghazal, the purpose of ghazal is to celebrate its values in uncorrupted form. Presumably,
Pakistani and, to some extent, even non-Pakistani audiences are acquainted with those values.
Nayyara made her professional singing debut in a 1973 movie, ‘Gharana’, directed by K
Khursheed, theatrical release was on March 23, 1973.
Songwriter, Kaleem Usmani, must have written these romantic lyrics with Nayyara in mind!
‘Tera saya jahan bhi ho sajna, palkain bicha doon, sari umer bita doon.’
‘Tu jo bulaye sajna mein bun patang chali Aaoon
kay sara zamana teray rang mein he rang jaoon
meray sajna O meray saathi teray sung sung chali Aaoon.’
It is not all that difficult to succumb
to its full-spirited romanticism.
On the strength of her super hit debut song, Nayyara received more offers from other composers in
‘Chanda kahan guzari raat ray’, brought exuberant fun for Nayyara’s adorers.
As time passed by, Nayyara developed confidence and exuberance and came up with celebratory songs
like ‘Tu he bata pagli pawan.’ The film ‘Phool meray gulshan ka,’ and ‘Teray ishq nachaya.’
Looking back over her long career in Pakistani entertainment, we come across such mega hits as the
‘Meray khayal nay aisa sanam tarasha hai, kabhi hansata hai mujh ko, kabhi rulata hai.’
The film ‘Subha ka tara.’
Perhaps, her voice never ringed as true as it did in the number below:
‘Kuchh loag mohabbat ka sila maang rahay hain.’ The film ‘Gumrah.’
Small wonder, Nayyara became a musical phenomenon with such favorites as ‘Aaj gham hai to kya
wo din zuroor Aaye ga, phir tera gham khushi mein badal jaaye ga.’ The film ‘Mastana.’
She did not confine herself to light music. Hence, the song below proves an enjoyable and sharp surprise
to her fans:
‘Haye zara meri nabz deikh kar dawa dejeye.’ The film ‘Ajnabi.’
From the melancholy strains of ‘Toot gaya sapna’ the film ‘Subha ka tara’,
to a jolly number like ‘Dum dama dum mast’, the film ‘Miss hippi’, Nayyara’s voice is absolutely
It fills ones heart with hope, aspiration and longing as one listens to a soulful Nayyara:
‘Is percham kay saye talay.’ The film ‘Farz aur mamta.’
Below is a romantically charged score, which Nayyara sang under the baton of Robin Ghosh. Who else
could have written the lucid poetry other than Kaleem Usmani:
‘Rothay ho tum to mein kaisay mana oon piya, bolo na, bolo na.’ The super hit film, ‘Aa’ena.’
Nayyara is, indeed, a rare combination of brain and brawn in the boisterous ocean of artistic passions.
Below is an example:
‘Boal ri guriya boal zara, chup rehtay tujhay sadyaan beteen, kano mein ras ghoal.’ The
film ‘Aas’, lyrics, Masroor Anwar.
Below is a look back, not a Pakistani look, but a Nayyara look!
‘Mausum to deewana hai, bara he deewana hai.’ The film ‘Do saathi.’
Her industriousness leads to one success after another. Nayyara is most well known for romantic scores
like the three below:
‘Ruth Aaye, ruth jaaye, piya kyon naheen Aaye.’ The film ‘Aahut.’
‘Aaj dildaar sajh dhaj kay Aaya.’ The film’Umang’, Nayyara- Akhlaq Ahmed.
‘Raat bhar sajna ko yaad kiya hoga.’ The film ‘Umang’, Nayyara- Akhlaq Ahmed.
Nayyara’s inimitable voice reminds us of the spirit of renewal and adventure, that touches the
core of each and every person’s humanity.
Most important of all, the immediate examples of Nayyara’s work above, was a group effort by
all of those involved with the projects. No one artist could have done all that alone.
The most dizzying stuff from Nayyara’s vocal cords are given below:
‘Itna bhi na chaho mujhay,’ the film ‘Parda na uthao.’
‘Ik ajnabi chehray say mulaqat huwe hai’, the film ‘Baaghi haseena.’
‘Mera pyar tum he ho sajna’ the film ‘Farz aur mamta.’
A popular number like ‘phool bun ja oon gee’, the film ‘Qismat’, immediately
won accolades for nayyara’s talents.
She went from proverbial success to success, from glory to glory.
One may recall numerous examples of songs to highlight this point. Below are three such songs:
‘Aye jaan-e-wafa’, the film ‘Shireen Farhad.’
‘Mein raqs teray sung karti’, the film ‘Hesaab.’
‘Shore karoan gee, chup na rahoon gee,’ the film ‘Maum ki guriya.’
Always the innovator, Nayyara went on to record such song as ‘Jala deen shamay’, the film
Equally impressive is the number ‘Lovely lovely jhuta’, the film ‘Aabru,’
which concurrently is merry and admirable.
Likewise, the success of the song ‘Tera pyar bun kay Aaye hoon’, the film ‘Bhool’,
added even more plaudits to Nayyara’s eventful career.
Nayyara won the Nigar Award for best singer, in the film ‘Gharana’, in 1973.
Nayyara won the Nigar Award for best singer in the film ‘Dooriyaan’, in 1984.
The key to Nayyara’s voice is that it is realistic and inspiring at once—an enormous accomplishment,
which is seldom seen in modern Pakistani music.
Hers is a voice that demands our surrender—to its energy, to its vocal sway, and, above all,
to its wistful presentation.
Her admirers are stunned by the influence of he voice that has been unleashed on them.
Most of all, they have an even greater appreciation for the gracious lady behind music.
A music audience is like an un-sequestered jury. As such, they have come up with the following verdict
Nayyara Noor’s innocent
image, her songs, her sweet voice, and, best of all, her flawless character will live in our hearts for years to come.