Everyone knows Noor Jehan, arguably the finest female popular voice to emerge from the subcontinent in the last century. But many of the singers on this excellent collection remain unknown beyond the borders of Pakistan. This is sad because the likes of Salim Raza, S.B. John and Naseem Begum, each with distinctive sounds deserve much wider appreciation.
The film industry of Pakistan, centered around Lahore and Karachi, but also Dhaka until 1971, has rightly or wrongly been ignored by the outside world. Even within Pakistan there are few these days that express as deep an affection for the films, actors and singers of Lollywood as they do for India’s glimmering gallery.
You won’t be able to tell if the movies that these songs were part of were any good until you watch them. I’ve seen a couple and they are not bad. The real lo-fi standards of film making were still a decade and a half or more in the future when these films were released. But listen to these songs and tell me if you think they are any less beautiful than what was coming out of Bombay at the same time.
01 Jalte Hain Armaan [Anarkali] (Noor Jehan)
02 Too Jo Nahin Hai [Savera] (SB John)
03 Aaye Mausam Rangile [Saat Lakh] (Zubeida Khanum)
04 Shah-e-Madina [Noor-e-Islam] (Salim Raza)
05 Too Lakh Chale Ri [Gumnaam] (Iqbal Bano)
06 Nighahen Mila Kar [Mehboob] (Noor Jehan)
07 Chandni Raaten [Dopatta] (Noor Jehan)
08 Tum Zindagi Ko [Dopatta] (Noor Jehan)
09 Yaaro Mujhe Muaaf [Saat Lakh] (Salim Raza)
10 Raj Dularay [Naukar] (Kausar Parveen)
11 Mudat Hui Hai Yaar [Ghalib] (Noor Jehan)
12 Ae Mard-e-Mujahid [Changez Khan] (Inayat Bhatti)
13 Ham Bhool Gaye Har [Saheli] (Naseem Begum)
14 Ulfat ki Nai Manzil Ko [Qatil] (Iqbal Bano)