After a long break I’m making my way back to a project I announced several months ago. You may recall that right around New Year I passed the milestone of completing 700+ posts as a music blogger: across the original Washerman’s Dog, the current iteration and the Harmonium Music Blog. My commitment was to put together a series ( now called The Washerman’s Dog Anniversary Edition) of at least 700 songs that represent the types of music WD and THMB especially love.
I’ve long since lost track of the number of songs I’ve shared but so much remains. So today I share 34 tracks of Pakistani film music from between 1946 and 2013.
Existing in the shadow of the financially stronger industry across the border in India, the film music community in Pakistan was for many decades an unknown mystery to most music lovers. Beset by insufficient capital, political attitudes that swung between gentle neglect to outright hostility and a vociferous moral police Lollywood ( most of the studios were located in the eastern city, Lahore) struggled on, often only surviving on the personal artistic passion of the artists and technicians.
That’s the sad “factual” side of the story. But behind those facts lay a rich history of wonderful voices, actors, dancers and musical directors that had they had the resources and culturally approving environment of Indian stars, would have undoubtedly been as famous as the biggest egos and talents in Bombay.
In this collection my bias has leaned towards the faster pace songs, especially those of the awesome Nahid Akhtar and Runa Laila. Here you’ll hear similar sounds and arrangements as in Bollywood with a free and easy blending of guitars and sitars, moogs, pedal steel, brass and disco electronica. While official collaboration was a no-no until very recently, proximity (geographically and culturally) meant that cross fertilisation did take place. Ideas and titles of films were stolen by both sides and there has always been a big input of Pakistani vocal talent in Bollywood. In Pakistan Indian films and filmi music were and are greatly popular. In India there is an almost insatiable interest in Pakistani Sufi and ghazal singers.
But rare is the Indian who could hum any of these songs. There are some cross border favourites like Ghulam Ali’s ghazal Chupke Chupke Raat Din and Nur Jehan’s 1946 hit Awaaz De Kahan Hai, and the final two tracks that were popular in the last decade. But all of these films were Indian. The singers just happened to be Pakistani. Ask a music lover in Jabalpur or Calcutta to name only 1 Pakistani film and I’ll bet you won’t get a response.
Still, there’s always YouTube to catch some of them. And The Harmonium Music Blog to sample the music.
01 Incidental Music from Khuda aur Mohabbat [Tafo Brothers]
02 Karachi Tak Dil Dhadke [Nur Jehan]
03 Kya Haseen Jism Hai [Mehnaz]
04 Ham to Hai Dil Diwana [Runa Laila]
05 Life Kuch Dino Ka [Nahid Akhtar]
06 Naacho Mere Yaar [Javed Sajjad]
07 Shola Bhardka [Nahid Akhtar]
08 Aaj To Ghair Sahi [Mehdi Hassan]
09 Awaz De Kahan [Nur Jehan and Surendar]
10 Dam Damadam Mast [Nahid Akhtar]
11 Us Bewafa Ka Shehar [Naseem Begum]
12 Tumhi Meheboob [Irene Parveen]
13 Zambo Zambo [Nahid Akhtar and Tafo Brothers]
14 Pyar Jo Hoya Nal Teray [Nur Jehaan]
15 Khumar Khumar Garza Nasha Nasha Garza [Nazia Iqbal]
16 Main Jis Dil Bhula Doon [Mehdi Hassan]
17 Barre Be Marawat Hain [Surriya Multanikar]
18 Jeenay Ki Rah [Tafo Brothers and Nahid Akhtar]
19 Tu Jo Nahin to Kuchh Bhi Nahin [S.B. John]
20 Yeh Alam Shauq Ka [Tahira Syed]
21 Ratain Thi Chandneen [Habib Wali Mohammad]
22 Society Girl [Nahid Akhtar]
23 Chand ke Saig Pe [Runa Laila]
24 Kaisa Jadugar Dilbar [Runa Laila]
25 Mohabbat Zindagi Hai [Mehdi Hassan]
26 Chupke Chupke Raat Din Aansoo Bahana [Ghulam Ali]
27 Tu Uroose Shaam [Mehnaz]
28 Bander Road Se Keamari [Ahmed Rushdi and Kausar Parveen]
29 Life Is Dance [Nahid Akhtar and Mehnaz]
30 Main jis din bhula doon [Mehnaz]
31 Tera Saaya Jahan Bhi ho Sajna Palken Bichha Do Sari [Nayyar Noor]
32 Jab pyar main do dil milte hain [Ahmed Rushi]
33 Pehli Nazar Mein [Atif Aslam]
34 Chal Buleya [Ali Zafar]