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Nightingale's final flight

Noorjehan, the voice behind hits like Awaaz de kahan hain and Jawan hai mohabbat, dies at 74

Noorjehan, singer of Awaaz de kahan hai and Jawan hai mohabbat -- songs remembered even six decades after they were recorded -- is dead.

She had been ill for some time and died of a heart attack at her Karachi home on Saturday, 23 December.

Noorjehan was a star much before the advent of Lata Mangeshkar. Her voice had a timbre that was strong and yet managed delicate murkis.

She made a debut as a child singer when she was just seven. At 14 she turned to acting. Khandaan (1942) became a hit, and she migrated to Bombay, the mecca of film production in the sub-continent. She soon married Shaukat Hussain Rizvi, the director of Khandaan.

She sang a popular qawwali in Zeenat, but her real big hit was Mehboob Khan's blockbuster Anmol Ghadi (1946). This film features songs like Aawaz de kahan hai and Jawan hai mohabbat, set to music by Naushad. She was to sing the first of these songs when she visited India four decades later.

The country broke up in 1947, and Noorjehan chose to migrate to Pakistan. That year, her film with Dilip Kumar, Jugnu, became a super hit. She had been in competition with Suraiya, another actress who could sing beautifully.

In Pakistan, she started acting again, and became that country's first woman director when she made Chan We. It was produced by her husband Rizvi. Sometime later, Noorjehan divorced him and married a 25-year-old actor, Ejaz Hussain. Her second marriage marked the end of her acting career, but she continued singing till the '70s.

General Musharraf visited her house in February, 2000 to enquire about her health. Noorjehan is survived by a son and four daughters from her two marriages.

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