Lata Mangeshkar vs Noorjehan

September 14, 2010

Would Noorjehan have survived the 1949 Lata tornado?

Noorjehan’s migration to Pakistan in 1947 left behind the enduring question – if she had stayed back in India, would Lata still have reached the commanding heights as she did in the following three decades? As Lata’s early songs had a distinct Noorjehan tinge, the suggestion is that Noorjehan’s absence from the scene in a way helped Lata’s rise; with her around Lata might have perhaps remained a copy of the original.

A ‘what if’ question of this kind is bound to arouse strong opinions and sentiments. But there are enough evidences and trends based on which one can visualise a plausible scenario.

Lata (born 1929) had been struggling for a few years when Ghulam Haider noticed her potential and gave her the first big break in his Majboor (1948) with songs like Dil mera toda hae kahin ka na chhoda tere pyar ne, Ab darne ki koi baat nahin (with Mukesh). He was so impressed with her that when he could not take her for Shaheed (1948) because of the opposition of Filmistan’s chief S Mukherji on the ground that her voice was too thin, he is reported to have said that a day would come when producers and composers would fall at her feet begging her to sing for their films. Then came some more numbers in 1948 such as Chanda re ja re ja re (Ziddi) by Khemchand Prakash, Yaad rakhna chand taro is suhani raat ko and Ek dil ka lagana baqi tha (Anokha Pyar) by Anil Biswas, which are unforgettable classics.

Listen to Lata’s Yaad rakhna chand taro>

Word about her spread fast. And then you have the watershed year of 1949 when Lata tornado hit the music scene with a force the like of which had no parallel in the history of Hindi film music. (A weak parallel would be 1969 when Kishore Kumar with Aradhana emerged as the dominant male singer). This was the year when Shankar Jaikishan with their very first movie, RK’s Barsaat, created a sensation riding on Lata’s voice. Then you have all the top composers Naushad, Anil Biswas, C Ramchandra, Husnlal Bhagatram, Khemchand Prakash, Shyam Sundar etc., as if driven by some mysterious unifying force, giving their best with this girl, who was barely 20, in the face of their favourite stalwarts like Shamshad Begum, Suraiya, Rajkumari, Amirbai Karnataki. Zohra Ambalawali etc. Here is a list of some of the famous Lata songs in 1949:

Lata songs in 1949


Music Director




Uthaye ja unke sitam, Tod diya dil mera, Koi mere dil mein khushi ban ke aya

Badi Bahan

Husnlal Bhagatram

Chale jana nahin, Jo dil mein khushi banker aye, Chup chup khade ho (with Premlata)


Shankar Jaikishan

Hawa mein udata jaye, Jiya beqarar hai, Meri ankhon mein bas gaya koi re, Mujhe kisi se pyaar ho gaya, Bichade hue pardesi

(With Miukesh) Chhod gaye baalam, Patli kamar hai


Shaym Sundar

Sajan ki galiyan chhod chale, Ae mohabbat unse milne ka bahan ban gaya (with Rafi)


Hansraj Bahal

Hae chanda gaye pardes chakori ab ro ro mare



Ae dil tiujhe qasam hai himmat na harnaa, Ankhon mein a ja dil mein sama ja

Ek Thi Ladki


La re lappa la re lappa ayee rakhdaa


Anil Biswas

Tumhare bulane ko ji chahta hai


Shyam Sundar

Baharein phir bhi ayengi, Duniya hamare pyar ki yun hi jawan rahe (with Karan Diwan)


Khemchand Prakash

Ayega Anewala, Mushqil hai bahut mushqil chahat ka bhula dena


C Ramchandra

Dil se bhula do tum humein, O janewale tune armanon ki duniya cheen lee, Kabhi khamosh ho jana kabhi fariyad na karna magar us bewafa se chupke chupke pyar kar lena


Ghulam Mohammad

Ye duniya hai yahan dil ka lagana sabko ata hai (with Mukesh)

This is a truly awesome list. How many songs of 2009 we remember today? Hardly any. But each of the above songs, which were created many years before most of us were born, is a part of our musical consciousness after over 60 years. We can imagine the storm Lata would have caused then. Was it helped by Noorjehan’s absence? Now we can try to answer this question.

It is important to remember that pre-Lata film music was a crowded field. Noorjehan’s departure only meant one less, there were at least half a dozen other stalwarts. Noorjehan herself was a protégé of Ghulam Haider with Khandaan (1942) –Tu kaun si badli mein mere chand hai a ja. However, Ghulam Haider had also launched Shamshad Begum with enormous success a year earlier in Khazanchi – Sawan ke nazare hain, Ek kali nazon ki pali, Naino ke baan ki. She was equally important for him, and he later gave beautiful songs with her such as in Shama (1946) – Ek yaad kisi ki yaad rahi (with GM Durrani). Yet when he could not have Lata for Shaheed (1948), did he go back to Shamshad? No, he created terrific songs with Surinder Kaur (Badnam na ho jaye mohabbat ka fasana, Ana hai to a jao, Hum kahan aur tum kahan) and Lalita Deolkar (Bachpan ki yaad dhire dhire pyar ban gayee). Lalita Deolkar we also remember for her duets with Rafi by C Ramchandra –Humko tumhara hi aasra (Sajan 1947) and More raja ho le chal nadiya ke paar (Nadiya Ke Paar 1948). Nadiya Ke Paar also had a famous Shamshad duet with C Ramchandra himself (Chitalkar) – Mar gayo re more dil pe katari. C Ramchandra had already given super hit songs with Shamshad Begum and Amirbai Karnataki in Shehnai and Sindoor (both 1947) – Ana meri jaan meri jaan Sunday ke Sunday, Maar katari mar jana, Hamare angana aj baje shehnai, Koi roke mujhe aur ye kah de etc. Earlier he had given a very pleasant duet with Binapani Mukherji, Kabhi yaad kar ke gali paar kar ke (Safar 1946). In Patanga (1949), which had Lata’s great songs mentioned in the table above, he also gave everlasting Shamshad songs – Gore gore mukhade pe gesu jo chha gaye, Boloji dil loge to kya kya doge (with Rafi) and duets with himself, Mere piya gaye Rangoon, O dilwalo dil ka lagana achha hai par kabhi kabhi, Namaste pahle to ho gayee namaste namaste. Ghulam Haider migrated to Pakistan (along with other composers like Khursheed Anwar, Firoz Nizami and Rashid Atre). But once C Ramchandra discovered the magic of Lata, did he take any time in jettisoning all others? His deep fascination for Lata, both personal and professional is a part of the film world folklore.

Noorjehan’s reign overlapped that of the grand-uncle of film music Anil Biswas (considering RC Boral as grand-daddy, but that was of New Theatres, Calcutta). Yet his lead singers were Amirbai Karnataki and his sister, Parul Ghosh. If you spread the net wider you would get Begum Akhtar, Sitara Devi, Bibbo, Waheedan etc. One hardly comes across a memorable Noorjehan-Anil Biswas number. There was no question of his missing Noorjehan, and later he became one of the biggest votaries of Lata.

Noorjehan’s instant recall is because of her songs with Naushad from Anmol Ghadi (1946) – Awaaz de kahan hain (with Surendra), A ja meri barbaad mohabbat ke sahare, Mere bachpan ke sathi mujhe bhool na jana, Jawan hai mohabbat and Kya mil gaya bhagwan. But Naushad had earlier given spectacular music with Zohra Ambalawali and Amirbai Karnataki in Rattan (1944) – Ankhiya mila ke jiya bharma ke chale nahin jana, Rum jhum barse baadarwa, Sawan ke baadlo, Mil ke bichhad gayee ankhiyan, O janewale balamwa laut ke a laut ke a. Naushad was a true magician, whatever he touched turned into gold. Surendra was Anil Biswas’s lead singer, yet we recall him today by his Kyun yaad a rahe hain guzare hue zamane and Ab kaun hai mera kaho ab kaun hai mera (Anmol Ghadi). We know Tun Tun as the singer Uma Devi because of Afsana likh rahin hun (Dard 1947). If you are asked to recall three songs of Parul Ghosh, one would be Aye bhi wo gaye bhi wo ab to fasana ho gaya (Namaste 1943). Saigal’s greatest songs are for New Theatres by RC Boral, Pankaj Mallik and Timir Baran. Yet you instantly recall Jab dil hi toot gaya and Gham diye mustaqil for Shahjahan (1946), which was the only film Naushad did for him.

Listen to Noor Jehan’s Jawan hai mohabbat>

So did Naushad miss Noorjehan?

Does not seem so. He was bigger than his singers. He soon created gold with Shamshad Begum (Mela 1948), who sang all the songs for Nargis. Alongside came Anokhi Ada with Shamshad’s Aj kahan ja ke nazar takrayee, Nazar mil gayee hai kisi ki nazar se and Kyun unhe dil diya (with Surendra), and Chandni Raat (Kaise baje dil ke sitar with Rafi). Dulari (1949) also had extremely popular Shamshad songs Chandani ayee ban ke pyaar and Na bol pee pee more angana. And just when she thought she was firmly ensconced as Naushad’s top singer, he quietly jettisoned her for Lata to go on Nargis in Andaaz. He brought back Shamshad in Babul (1950) as the lead singer, but had a beautiful Lata solo Lagan mere man ki balam nahin jane and a duet between the two Kisi ke dil mein rahna tha. Duet (or duel?) between the two was repeated in Deedar (1951) – Bachpan ke din bhi bhula na dena, as if he was trying to make up his mind. He leaned distinctly towards Lata in Aan with an unforgettable chorus Aj mere man mein sakhi and a solo Tujhe kho diya humne pane ke baad. Then came the big bang of Baiju Bawra (1952) which finally settled all doubts. And then started a long journey of incredibly beautiful Naushad-Lata numbers in Amar, Shabab, Udankhatola, Kohinoor, Ganga Jamna, reaching its apogee in Mughal-e-Azam. It is difficult to imagine any other singer in place of Lata for these songs.

Listen to Lata’s Aj mere man mein sakhi>

Husnlal Bhagatram along with their elder brother Amarnath had given terrific songs with Noorjehan in Mirza Sahiban (1947) – A ja tujhe afsana judai ka sunayen, Kya yehi tera pyar tha and Haath seene pe rakh do to qarar a jaye (with GM Durrani). Noorjehan’s absence did not seem to cause any problems for them. They came out with everlasting songs with Suraiya in Pyar Ki Jeet (1948) – Tere nainon ne chori kiya and O door janewale, and in Badi Bahen (1949) – Wo paas rahen ya door rahen, Tum mujhko bhool jao, Likhanewale ne likh dee meri taqdeer mein barbadi and Bigadi banaewale bigadi bana de naiya hamari paar laga de. You remember Badi Bahen as much for Suraiya as for Lata’s Chale jana nahin and Chup chup khade ho zaroor koi baat hai. But there was some magic in Lata which enchanted them post-1949 as it did C Ramchandra.

Shankar Jaikishan arrived with Lata in Barsaat, and she was central to the musical dream of RK-SJ-Shailendra-Hasrat Jaipuri. Soon to come Madan Mohan and Roshan started their first major breaks without Lata. Madan Mohan’s Ankhen (1950) had a humorous Shamshad number Humse nain milana BA pass kar ke (with Mukesh) and a very famous Meena Kapur’s Mori atariya pe kaga bole. Roshan’s Bawre Nain (1950) had Rajkumari’s Suno bairi balam kuchhh bol re ib kya hoga, Mujhe sach sach bata do (with Mukesh) and Geeta Dutt’s Khayalon mein kisi ke is tarah aya nahin karte (with Mukesh). Yet they soon came to be identified with Lata. Madan Mohan’s mystique as ghazal king was built around Lata. No doubt Lata herself helped the build-up when she gave him the rare honour of including two of his songs in her best 10 she selected in 1967 (Reference Raju Bharatan’s Lata Mangeshkar)Bairan neeend na aye (Chacha Zindabad, 1959) and Lag ja gale ki phir wo haseen raat ho na ho (Woh Kaun Thi, 1964). Naushad added his bit in a rare display of professional generosity when he proclaimed that his entire work was insignificant before Madan Mohan’s just two ghazals of Anpadh (1962) – Apki nazaron ne samjha and Hai isi mein pyar ki abroo. Roshan’s best songs by Lata are the ultimate in melody.

The composers who came still later such as Kalyanji Anandji, Hemant Kumar, Salil Chaudhry and Chitragupta had no pre-Lata baggage. They came for Lata, they created their best for her, and if every one of them gave memorable music it was because of Lata. Laxmikant Pyarelal were of course known as Lata’s boys, and their mutual support dominated the film music in the late sixties.

OP Nayyar is the sole exception who for his own personal reasons shunned Lata completely. This was a gain for Geeta Dutt and Asha Bhosle. They also had ultra-popular numbers with SD Burman, which was also helped by his hiatus with Lata for six years on account of some misunderstanding after Paying Guest (1957). But Lata remained central to his music. His best would always include Lata’s Thandi hawayen (Naujawan), Jhan jhan jhan jhan payal baje (Buzdil), Tum na jane kis jahan mein kho gaye (Saza) of 1951, Ye raat ye chandni phir kahan (with Hemant Kumar) in Jaal (1952) and Chand phir nikala (Paying Guest, 1957). When he realised Lata was essential for his music they came together again in Bandini (1963) with supremely melodious Jogi jab se tu aya mere dware, and you again have a long SDB-Lata musical association with unforgettable numbers in Guide, Ziddi, Jewel Thief, Tere Mere Sapne, Talaash, Prem Pujari, Abhimaan etc.

Noorjehan came in full bloom in Pakistan, her dominance was perhaps more comprehensive than Lata’s in India. If Lata was the Queen of Melody, she was Malika-e-Tarannum, but their music transcended borders. Many of Noorjehan’s Pakistan era songs and ghazals are of unparalleled beauty such as, Firoz Nizami composed Chandani raaten, Tum zindagi ko gham ka fasana bana gaye (Dopatta, 1952); Rashid Atre’s Nigahen milakar badal janewale (Mehboob, 1962), Lat uljhi suljha ja re balam (Sawal), Gayegi duniya geet mere, Raseele more rasiya (Mauseqaar, 1962), Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s famous ghazal Mujhse pahli si mohabbat mere mehboob na mang (Qaidi); Khursheed Anwar’s O bewafa tujhko maine pyar kyon kiya, Rimjhim pade phuhar tera mera (Koel, 1959); Ghulam Haider’s Bachpan ki yaadgaro, Lo chal diye wo humko tasalli diye bagair, Sakhi ri nahin aye sajanwa mor (Gulnar, 1963); M Ashraf’s Hamari saanson mein aj tak wo hina ki khushboo mahak rahi hai (Mere Huzoor). Yet you get the feeling what she did there was more of the same Punjab-Lahore-Urdu tradition of music. We remember Noorjehan’s Firoz Nizami’s songs in India for Jugnu (1947) – Humein to shaam-e-gham mein kaatni hai zindagi apni, Umangein dil ki machleen muskurayee zindagi apni and Yahan badla wafa ka bewafaai ke siwa kya hai (with Rafi). Khursheed Anwar we remember in India more for his Suraiya songs – Jab tum hi nahi apne duniya hi begani hai and Mere mundere na bol (besides Saigal’s Toot gaye sab sapne mere, Ae phool hans ke bagh mein, Mohabbat mein kabhi aisi bhi haalat payee jati hai, Kahin ulajh na jaana) in Parwana (1947). Rashid Atre was not very prolific in India, we remember him for Zohra’s Unhen bhi raaz-e-ulfat ki na hone di khabar maine in Nateeja (1947).

Listen to Noorjehan’s Hamari saanson mein>

Lata on the other hand had the advantage of amazing range of musical traditions working for her – you had Anil Biswas and SD Burman from East Bengal, Hemant Kumar and Salil Chaudhry from West Bengal, Chtragupta from Bihar, Naushad and SN Tripathi from UP, C Ramchandra and Vasant Desai from Maharashtra, Kalyanji Anandji from Gujarat, Shankar Jaikishan from Andhra-Gujarat, Husnlal Bhagatram, Shyam Sundar, Madan Mohan, Roshan, Khayyam and Jaidev from Punjab. They realised their musical dreams in her voice, their best was by her, and you cannot imagine any other singer singing their greatest songs.

What was special about Lata’s voice? People have struggled to find words to describe her magic. In mathematics you often approach a problem from the other side. So let us ask what was special about Noorjehan, Shamshad, Geeta Dutt or Asha Bhosale’s voice. Now this is easy to answer. Every one of them had something very distinct, very special about her voice. Someone had a deep throated full voice, someone had a nasal voice, some had a vivacious voice for racy or vampish numbers, someone was very good for ghazals, someone was very good for folk songs , etc. They all had their distinct fizz and flavour. We enjoy fizzy drinks; each of us has one’s own favourite. But it is pure water which quenches our thirst. Lata was pure music, Noorjehan was Noorjehan, Shamshad was Shamshad and so on.

So I paraphrase the ‘what if’ question. The question is not what would have happened to Lata if Noorjehan had stayed on. Rather, the question is would Noorjehan have survived the Lata tornado? And I have no doubt about the answer.

[Image courtesy:]

{ 65 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dharm October 9, 2010 at 9:35 pm

With all my regards, I beg to differ with your 2nd last para,
which reads that the voice quality of Asha Bhonsle can be deciphered easily
and can, in utmost generality, be cast as Vivacious voice for Vampish and racy numbers?
I regret, I don’t agree with your opinion!
I mean she might have well sung racy songs,
but nobody can forget her
and to her account is “RAAT AKELI HAI” the song which, in itself, is one category, one class!
And yes, touching the zone of romance, she sang
they have melody and are pure water like songs
which indeed quench the thirst of music lovers all over the world!

2 AK October 11, 2010 at 2:17 pm


If you wanted to mention Asha Bhosle’s greatest melodious songs you have left out most of them:

1. Ab ke baras bhej bhaiya ko babul from the film Bandini
2. Koi aya dhadkan kaisi hai from the film the Laajwanti
3. Tujhe mili roshani mujhko andhera from the film Apna Haath Jagannath
4-5. Ye kya jagah hai dosto; Justju jiski thi from the film Umrao Jaan
6. Mera kuch saamaan tumhare paas pada hai from the film Ijaazat
7 Tumko hoti mohabbat humse (with Mukesh) from the film Mohabbat Isko Kahte Hain.
8. Phir na kije meri gustakh nigaahi ka gila (with Mukesh) from the film Phir Subah Hogi
9. Pyaas kuch aur bhi bhadka di jhalak dikhla ke (with Talat Mehmood) from the film Lala Rukh
10. Geet kitne gaa chuki hoon is dukhi jag ke liye (non-filmi song)

Obviously Asha Bhosle and so have all the other great singers have sung a large number of extremely sweet and melodious songs. But she did get known predominantly by a particular type of songs. Lata was one beyond classification, she could sing everything. That she was the greatest is commonly accepted, but I know many people have other favourites.

3 Dharm October 12, 2010 at 12:41 am

Dear Sir,
With your tremendous figures, you never cease to astound!
But my point was not to flood my comment with overwhelming figures on her songs!
I objected to the use of label “Vampish and racy” for her voice.
That was the only point.
I didn’t mean to challenge you.
How can you take it up to your prestige???

And you,who so strongly advocated Suman Kalyanpur Ma’am
inspite of her faded fame,
its really sad that you only considered the racy songs with which Asha Ma’am shot to fame
and deciphered her voice as Vampish!
I thought “Quality” was the issue
and not the fame!
and lastly,
Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Ma’am together sang a duet for the movie
“Ye sachchi baat hai, Ye Jhoothi baat hai”
Kindly, use this song to compare between the two legends!
Asha Ma’am scores over Lata Ma’am in melody!
Yes,you got it right- MELODY!

4 AK October 12, 2010 at 12:43 pm


I appreciate your comments. If you read my second last para again, I did not attribute any of the adjectives, which you find unflattering, for any particular singer. My comments were very general in nature.

I was just reading a book in the context of films and music which highlighted that personal preferences vary a great deal. How very true? I can see you have a great deal of regard for Asha Bhosle. If I share my own personal experience with you, many years ago I was so much enamoured of Mukesh that I considered Rafi inconsequential before him. Today I hold Rafi on a very high pedestal.

Let us agree that opinions may differ, but it is imortant that we respect others’ views. I appreciate your comments. Keep on writing.

5 Sanjay Prakash October 16, 2010 at 3:05 am

The perennial comparison between the two gifted sisters will go on forever but we will never be able to substantiate the superiority of any one of them. It is a fact that both of them are a class in their own respective territories. If Asha was known for her raunchy numbers, then just recall Lata crooning the enchanting “Aa Jaane Jaan” from “Intequam”, which, to my mind, is one of the most sensuous cabaret numbers in Hindi films, superbly aided by the soft, mellow beats of L-P. This is one example of transgressing territories with ease! On the flip side, lend your ears to a beautiful nugget from RD Burman, “Yeh saaye hain, yeh duniya hai”, from a lesser known film “Sitara” directed by Gulzar’s Assistant Meraj in 1980. This one song can change anybody’s opinion about Asha’s limitations as a singer. The smooth “Uljhan suljhe na” from “Dhund”, the flowing “Aage bhi jaane na tu” from “Waqt” or the ebullient “Mere bhaiya mere chanda mere anmol ratan” from “Kaajal”, incidentally all compositions of Ravi, are proof of the wide array of non-racy songs sung by Asha with great aplomb. I am only adding these few songs to the list mentioned by AK which can be extended on and on if one enters the period after the 70’s when the Asha-RDB combo ruled Hindi film music. But we shall not venture into that phase because they are not Songs of Yore. There is no denying her vast talent, but yes, the fact remains that Asha was all along overshadowed by her elder sister and will always be named behind Lata in the comity of Indian female singers. Comparing the two is as futile/contentious as comparing Tendulkar with Lara.

6 M Khan November 28, 2010 at 9:22 am

Personally I’ve always preferred Noor Jehan over Lata’s voice and feel she would have been just as successful in India if she opted to stay back after partition. As far as Noor Jehan is concerned, I’ve always felt that she had that rare ability to fully express herself and put the right blend of emotions into a song. Lata is without a doubt very good at expression but her speciality only seems to be sad songs because even in “happier” compositions she doesn’t fully convey that feeling of happiness – it’s as though there is always some sadness lurking in her voice.

Noor Jehan’s voice is so strong and powerful that it takes you to a completely different level. On the other hand, Lata’s voice is so soft and pure it can put you to sleep. This was the main thing that was missing in Noor Jehan’s voice.

Everyone has a reason behind their preference. For me, a stronger, more powerful voice is more appealing than a softer one which is why I prefer Noor Jehan. This, however, is a personal viewpoint and doesn’t challenge yours or anyone else’s way of thinking.

Although I can’t fully agree with everything that you said, I strongly believe that everyone is entitled to their own opinion and I very much appreciate your point of view. Your article is interesting, well written and the ideas are backed up with sound knowledge. If everyone had the same preference then things would no doubt become very dull indeed.

I am most certainly not trying to degrade Lata in any form. On a technical level they are both excellent and are some of the best singers of the subcontinent. I very much dislike comparing the two, even though I have done so above. Lata can’t be Noor Jehan and Noor Jehan can’t be Lata.

Note – I apologize for the written quality of this comment – I’m not exactly a very good writer to be honest 😉

M Khan, UK

7 AK November 29, 2010 at 11:46 am

@M Khan:
I thank you for your comments, and let me assure you, you have written in a very elegant language. In any case, my article addresses a hypothetical question. So no one knows the answer. To each his own preference. I can only say I deeply like many of Noorjehan’s songs, especially of Pakistan period.

8 Anand Agrawal February 5, 2011 at 2:46 pm

Before Lataji came on scene most of the female singers started as Actress-singers. Their voices did not have the flexibility to adopt to different characters/artists who sang the song on screen. What distinguished Lata from rest in the beginning was her ability to adopt to the character which sang on screen. Also each of her song is in different style for the respective music directors. It was her versatility that made her immensely popular with both the public and film fraternity.

Also we must remember that the music of 1947 onwards was totally distinct from the earlier music of 1930’s & 40’s. The independence brought new creativity to whole nation including films.

All our great singers Md. Rafi, Talat, Lataji, Ashasji, Geeta Dutt, Shamshad Begum, Surraiya, Mukesh, Kishore, Mannada each one performed best of their creations in the first decade of independence.

All the great music directors and lyricists also contributed their best creative music as well as groomed all the artist to reach their greatness.

9 Dev February 13, 2011 at 10:51 pm

Noor Jehan was more versatile than Lata Mangeshkar , she could do justice to any type of song. Her voice could be soft and pure (chanda ki nagri se aaja ri nindiya), pathos filled (kahan ho tum saheliyon), naughty (ve main chori chori chori), powerful (jo bacha tha woh lutane ke liye aaye hain). The classical based songs by Noor Jehan are unrivaled- just hear rasile morey rasiya….

10 Hamza May 17, 2011 at 2:53 am

Interesting article. Personally I feel that in terms of vocal quality, Lata was better. However, when it comes to expression and emotions in a song, Noor Jehan was always the winner. As the gentleman above me has stated, Noor Jehan was extremely versatile in her singing – she could sing any song with great ease. Lata, on the other hand, always had this “sadness” lurking in her voice, which M Khan has already described earlier in the comments section. In her early years, Noor Jehan’s quality of voice was fantastic, but as time went on and perhaps due to overuse, she developed a very rough tone, and in some songs during the early 80s she sounded extremely bad, even though her expressions were flawless. I think they call it “singer’s nodules” but I’m not too sure. Anyway, towards the late 80s her voice started to sound better. But then if you look at Lata, even her voice started to deteroriate towards the end of the 90s; it’s due to old age I guess therefore you can’t really do much about it – nevertheless, they’re both my favourites and I can’t really choose between them.

11 Syed Fareed July 13, 2011 at 4:26 pm

Dear All, I read your comments about Madam Noor Jehan & Lata G. I am a v. big fan of Madam Noor Jehan & Lata G, both. I don’t know about the music but can understand a good tune and not a good tune.
What I understand that the thing which distinguish Madam Noor Jehan from Lata G is the strong emotions & expression in singing. And what distinguish Lata G from Madam, is the clearity of voice. What I fell when listen to madam, there is no need of any music with her voice as her voice is charismatic and very musical. And when I listen to Lata G, I feel a calm and quite stream (nadya) is running OR feel chandni raat in a village.


12 AK July 14, 2011 at 6:09 pm

@Syed Fareed and earlier commentators:
There is no doubt they were two great personalities. Lata Mangeshkar herself has huge respect for Noorjehan and regarded her as her elder sister. Incidentally Lata played a minor role in Badi Maa (1945) alongside Noorjehan.

13 Gaurav November 5, 2011 at 7:44 pm

I remember this interview of Uma Devi (tun tun), who famously mentioned, how great Naushad, once listened to lata mangeshkar’s sing on Radio. He asked his assistant to increase the volume. When the song ended, he was so mesmerised, by the great voice, that he told Uma Devi and Shamshad Begum, that a star had arrived, and that, their era had ended. He then corrected himself, and said, “I believe everyone’s era has ended”, implying that other women playback singers, would find very little work, with the emergence of lata mangeshkar.

14 vikrant singh rathore March 8, 2012 at 11:30 pm

To be honest , there is no comparision between singers of different eras, noor jehan songs cited everywhere are mostly of late 40’s which is completely a different genre.Her songs in later years are mostly private album type songs which dont even stand a chance infront of bollywood songs under the direction of shanker jaikishen ,khayyam ,rd burman etc,so this whole exercise of comparing both of them is an injustice to noor jehan who might have done better than lata had she stayed back in india after 47,so overall its just ego satisfying endeavour of music lovers who just give hypothetical assumptions aisa hota to waisa hota , agar magar to chalta hi rahega bhai.This is the reason that noone is aware of noor jehan in india if he/she is born after 1960 because songs of 40’s are completely forgotten now,lata is certainly popular everywhere due to the success of hindi film industry.

15 Fareed Syed March 9, 2012 at 12:16 pm

@vikrant singh rathore: I think you are born after 60-70s. Madam (Noor Jehan) started her singing & acting in 1930s.. and ended in 1997. After partition 1947 she was acting singer until 1960 in Pakistan. And from 1960 till 1997 she was a playback singer. No doubt due to big size of bollywood, Lata G had advantage of more songs than Madam. We cannot compare ourself between these two legends, as we are not MUSIC GRU. Those music maters alive or died has already decided. Mery nazar ma.. Noor Jehan had differnt voice range in different era and had variety in songs…. in terms of gygee.. while lata sang in one scale… and one voice. Both are qulaified singers…

16 vikrant singh rathore March 9, 2012 at 10:17 pm

i have no disrespect for any singer of any age , but lata was hardly 17 when noor jehan left india , so there is no comparison between the two as voice matures with age and experience,lata was unstoppable after 60’s and 70’s , we were unfortunate not to have madam during the golden years of hindi films where we had memorable duets of rafi,kishore , manna dey with lata.i wish we could have seen more of noor jehan as she might be the classic case of right person in wrong time.

17 Fareed Syed March 12, 2012 at 11:13 am

@Rathore.. You might have not listened Madam’s songs she sang in Pakistan and beautiful duest with Mehdi Hassan, Ahmad Rushdi, Rajab Ali, Muneer Hassan, etc… they are also gems… And what madam sang its true, no one even could copied her. Anyway, sab achcha hey and this is endless and useless discussion that who is big star. Jis ko jo pasan wohee big star. Thanks a lot.

18 dr chel March 26, 2012 at 3:12 am

only one question to all you noor jehan supporters.
theres no comparison im afraid!!
There are great singers too with the likes of ashaji mannadey mahendra kapoor tm sounderarajan kj jesudas s janakiji p susheelaji but LATAJI AND RAFI SAAB WILL ALWAYS BE THE CROWNED QUEEN AND KING!!

19 Sherali Abbas April 22, 2012 at 3:30 pm

As discuused above NoorJehan was having unic Voice, but having said that ,if we discussed one at ta time , firstly we all agree she was very good ,but , as every one of us knows that those days there were very few female artist and some of them sang there own songs, and at the same time indutry was not as big ,in comaprison to 70s 80 s .
If Mdam Noorjehan chose to remain in Idian after partition ,she could have given few maore songs, but would fail to cater her voice for Vajiantimala , Hema or the other femal actress, as Lata di , Asha , and othe rfemale singer did. hence to analyse the above discussion please listen to her songs ,which she sang in Pakistan, very few of them was apropraite , for playback, she lost that control over her voice for play back singing it was ok for her own film where she acted . otherwise her voice was not sutitable at all for young female actress.

20 Anand Shankar August 16, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Lata is melody queen. She is better than Noorjahan and Asha. This is not a secret that Lata initialy copied Noorjahan. It took some years for her to come out of the shadow of Noorjahan. But latter she proved that she was better than Noorjahan.

Noorjahan was the best female singer in 1947 and her departure left her vaccant. Shamshad and Suraiya did not have the class of Noorjahan. As Lata used to copy Noorjahan so perfactly, slowly she took her place. Lata was a very talented singer. She was very hardworking also. So she must have proved her talent later. But had Noorjahan stayed in India, it would not have been easy for Lata to stablish as a singer so early.

21 NoorFan August 20, 2012 at 2:13 am

I am a big fan of Noor Jahan ji from India.I never heard any other female singer producing murkis like noor jahan did in her songs.There are many songs of Noor Jahan which no other singer can sing,especially the ghazals she sang in the last years of her career.
She had much better control over her voice.
She used to put more expressions and emotions to all her songs than other singers.
A few songs I am listing here:

Nigah-e-jor sahi dekhiye to kam se kam

Lutf wo ishq mein

Silsile tod gaya wo sabhi jate jate

Gul khile chaand raat yaad ayi

22 Sumantra Roy March 7, 2013 at 4:22 pm

Nice essay overall, but Noor Jehan isn’t properly represented…specially this writing doesn’t reflect upon her glorious career in Pakistan. I have mostly heard her Urdu numbers (not much the Punjabi ones), and found it incredible. There is no need no ponder over who is better, it’s all there for enjoyment…here is a list of some of the songs of Noor Jehan in Pakistan that I feel one must go through

1. 1956. Ghazab Kiya Tere Waday Pe. Intezar
2. 1962. Sab Dag E Dil. Azra
3. 1962. Koi Aye Koi Aye. Ghoonghat
4. 1964. Mujhko Mila Ke Khaak Main. Haveli
5. 1966. Jane Kal Talak. Humraz
6. 1964. Aa Mere Pass Aa. Chingari
7. 1958. Tumhari Arzoo Main. Anarkali
8. 1952. Chandni Raatein. Dopatta
9. 1953. Lo Chal Diye. Gulnar
10. 1956. Chain Nahin Aaye. Intezar
11. 1958. Bewafa Hum Na Bhole Tujhe. Anarkali
12. 1959. Tere Bina Sooni Sooni Lage Re. Koel
13. 1962. Aa Jan E Jan. Azra
14. 1959. Sagar Roye. Koel
15. 1959. Mehki Fizayen. Koel
16. 1964. Mein To Kar Kar. Chingari
17. 1958. Jalte Hai Armaan. Anarkali
18. 1958. Hum Teri Gali Mein Aa Niklay. Anarkali
19. 1962. Kabhi Tum Bhi. Ghoonghat
20. 1966. Rahe Jaye Ga Tanha Pyar Mera. Humraz
21. 1953. Sakhi Re Nahin Aaye. Gulnar
22. 1959. Dil Ka Diya Jwalaya. Koel
23. 1968. Jiyara Tarse. Mahal
24. 1965. Ho Tamanna Aur Kya. Aisa Bhi Hota Hai
25. 1960. Zindagi Hai Yeah Kisi Ka Intezar. Salma
26. 1962. Zindagi Majboor Hai. Barsaat Mein
27. 1967. Ben Kare Mera Pyar. Lakhon Mein Eik
28. 1978. Hamari Sanso Mein. Mere Huzoor
29. 1958. Kaisa Naseeb Lai Thi. Jan E Bahar
30. 1962. Mujh Se Pehli Si Mohabbat. Qaidi

23 jignesh kotadia March 9, 2013 at 2:58 am

@sumantra roy … Bravo
Nice list of Noor jehan’s memorable songs, post independence. A music fan should listen them carefully. I m just extending ur list with my favorite Noorjehan numbers.

”baawri chakori kare duniya se chori chori, chanda se pyar” (anarkali, rashid attrey)

24 Fareed Syed March 11, 2013 at 1:11 pm

@ Sumantra Roy.. you mentione above song “Rahe Jaye Ga Tanha Pyar Mera. Film- Humraz” was sung by Mala and not by Madam Noor Jehan…

25 jignesh kotadia March 11, 2013 at 6:21 pm

@ fareed syedji…. I want some information from u plz. How many songs are composed by master inayat hussain in ‘anarkali’ ? Which r they ? Who is the composer of ‘phir jo nigaah e yaar kahe maan jaaiye’ in the same movie ?

26 Sumantra Roy March 13, 2013 at 10:46 pm

@ Fareed Syed – Thanks for the correction.
@ Jignesh Kotadia – Thanks for the addition, yes, this list can be added further, I am adding few more of my favorites…
1. 1964. Kali Kali Mandlaye Bhawra. Chingari
2. 1962. Mere Piya Ko Dhoondke Lao Sakhi
3. 1969. Beete Dino Ki Yaadon Ko. Aag
4. 1956. Chand Hanse Duniya Base. Intezar
5. 1952. Jigar Ki Aag Se. Dopatta
6. 1953. Bachpan Ki Yaadgaro. Gulnar
7. 1959. Dil Ka Diya Jwalaya. Koel
8. 1966. Lat Uljhi Suljha Ja Re. Sawal
9. 1967. Chalo Achchha Hua. Lakhon Mein Eik
10. (Not Sure) Log Dekhein Na Tamasha. Maan Bahoo Aur Beti
11. 1958. Pehle To Apni Dil Ki Raza. Anarkali
12. 1959. Tere Dar Par Sanam. Neend
13. 1952. Tum Zindagi Ko Gham Ka Fasana. Dopatta

27 jignesh kotadia March 14, 2013 at 12:21 am

@sumantra roy… Very nice extension..thanx….last three r my clear hot favorites.
”pehle to apne dil ki raza jaan jaaiye, phir jo nigaah e yaar kahe maan jaaiye” (anarkali_rashid attrey??)
”Tere dar par sanam chale aae”(neend_rashid attrey)
”Tum zindagi ko gham ka fasana bana gaye
Aankhon men intezar ki duniya basa gaye” (dopatta_feroze nizami).

28 jignesh kotadia March 14, 2013 at 12:25 am

this is wonderful duet by noorjehan and mehdi hassan in ‘tum mile pyar mila’

29 jignesh kotadia March 14, 2013 at 12:31 am

another noor beauty in ‘azmat’. ‘woh mera ho na saka to mai bura kyun manu’. Later in 2001 nadeem shravan copied this song in ‘kasoor’ as ‘dil mera tod diya usne bura kyun manu’.. Thanx to yt that now we r reaching to the roots of some songs.

30 jignesh kotadia March 14, 2013 at 12:41 am

the copy of nadeem shravan in ‘kasoor’. Uploader mr. Dewanshu shekhar has commented under this song’s link: ‘the best song of kasoor..!!’ Mr. Dewanshu, if u liked this song very much, u have to give full credit to m.d. ‘NASHAAD’

31 jignesh kotadia March 14, 2013 at 12:56 am

last two movies ‘tum mile pyar mila’ and ‘azmat’s music director is none other than our dear ‘NASHAAD’ ! He played also a good second innings in pakistan after leaving india in 1964 and died there in 1981.

Shaukat dehelvi (dildaar_’47:debut)
Shaukat husain (jeene do_’48)
Shaukat ali (payal_’48)
Shaukat haideri (aaiye_’49)

These all shaukats r one n only ‘NASHAAD’. (courtesy:wikipedia:thanx)

32 jignesh kotadia March 14, 2013 at 1:16 am

this is Geeta dutt’s version of ‘lat uljhi suljha de baalma’ with minute changes in lyrics.

33 Subodh Agrawal March 14, 2013 at 7:50 am

There is a variant of the lyrics ‘Uljhi lat suljha de balam, mere haathon mein mehndi lagi’ set to raag Bihag. I have heard it only from a person who used to sing it fondly at social gatherings – never on a recording. The stanza goes somewhat like this: ‘Suraj se main jhumar layi; Chandrama se bindiya; Kaliyon se main chatkan layi; Phoolon se muskan; Raat se mang kajal maine; Din se sundarta; Bijli se ik teekhi chitvan; Lahar se chanchalta; Tere milan ko chali re balam; Kar ke haar singar; Aaya jhakora ek pavan ka; Gayo ri baal bikhar.’

Can anyone help locate a recording?

34 jignesh kotadia March 14, 2013 at 11:08 am

@Subodhji….its a very nice writing..but is difficult to find this variant.

35 AK March 14, 2013 at 6:30 pm

Jignesh, Subodh
I have heard several renderings of Lat uljhi suljha ja re balam. Here is one by Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan.

36 jignesh kotadia March 14, 2013 at 11:09 pm

wonderful singing of b.g.a.khan sahb, akji.

37 Subodh Agrawal March 16, 2013 at 7:47 am

AK, the BGAK piece is phenomenal, thank you. The mukhda is what I was looking for, and it is raag Bihag. However, the stanza – which is the main charm of the version I remember – is not there. My search continues.

38 AK March 16, 2013 at 10:49 am

Subodh, I doubt if in a traditional classical presentation you would find so many words. At best you would have a sthayee and an antaraa of a few words. The words you are mentioning are beautiful. I have heard thumri singers sing unconnected Urdu couplets in interlude and then come to Sam, something typical of qawwalis. I would also be keen that you succeed in your search.

39 Harshal April 6, 2013 at 1:19 am

Wonderful article…I 100% agree with what has been written. As a singer myself I truly think that if there is one name in Indian music (which of course includes ‘pakistani’ also) of this century that is going to be remembered for centuries to come, it is going to be Lata’s. Some people are just blessed! It’s futile to go into the technicalities of comparison. The greatness of an artiste , among other qualities, also lies in how much he/she appeals to the masses. So many songs of Lata are known and sung today in India even 60 years after the original recording. I don’t remember a single song of Noor Jehan that I could hear people around me sing even when I was growing up in the 80’s – with the exception of Awaaz De Kahan Hain – forget about today’s times then. It clearly indicates that not everyone’s music is timeless!

40 AK April 6, 2013 at 5:54 am

Thanks for your kind words. But we should also remember that Lata Mangeshkar herself modelled her singing in the initial years on Noorjehan whom she admired and respected a great deal. One reason why we know less of Norjehan’s songs is that she migrated to Pakistan, where she had an active career as actor-singer and then playback singer for a number of years. During her Pakistan phase of her career she sang a number of wonderful songs on which I hope to do a post sometime.

41 gaddeswarup April 7, 2013 at 10:25 am

Interesting post that I missed. But my method is mostly by osmosis of songs that I heard on the streets for a long time without knowing the meanings and some of those that remained in memory. I am not too keen about either of them and usually skip whenever i see Lata, Rafi or Noor Jehan on atul’s site unless I know the song already. But most seem to have missed the following expert opinion

42 AK April 7, 2013 at 12:50 pm

Mehdi Hasan’s interview does indicate that music has no boundaries, at least between India and Pakistan.

43 Harshal April 7, 2013 at 1:41 pm


To be put on such a high pedestal by someone who himself was the epitome of melody and perfection is indeed a proof in itself of what a phenomenon Lata was. And the real challenge of an artiste is to cater to the masses as well as classes – to deliver chartbusters without compromising on quality! Especially in India – where the diversity of musical tastes is mind-boggling. It’s unimaginable for an artiste to be appreciated by an elite industrialist who sits in his mansion in malabar hill in mumbai (listening to aapki nazron ne samjha), and at the same time be a household name in a remote village in UP (playing bindiya chamkegi) . I have personally witnessed both these situations quite often…and believe me only a handful of artistes have miraculously managed to do it! That’s why I still believe that more than anything its a divine blessing…

44 gaddeswarup April 7, 2013 at 6:29 pm

It is just that my appreciation and expertise are at a low level. Many experts say Lata is unique. See the comments by Sajad Husain

There is also discussion on her voice by R.D. Burman described on pages 190-191 of Neela Majumdar’s book “For Cultured Ladies only:Female Stardom and Cinema in India, 1930s-50s”
But I am puzzled by one point. When a song was sung by Lata and a male singer, often the male version was more popular.

45 AK April 8, 2013 at 4:32 pm

I belong to the club which thinks Lata Mangeshkar is beyond all superlatives, as far as her singing is concerned. But you are right, something happens when she is pitted against a male singer to sing a twin song. Almost invariably, the male version became more popular. It is said she was scared to sing a twin song if the male version was by Talat Mahmod. Even an Anoop Ghoshal’s version from Massom (1983), Tujhse naraaz nahi zindagi is more well known that Lata Mangeshkar version. One of my earliest posts is one this phenomenon which you might have come across during your browsing:

46 gaddeswarup April 9, 2013 at 10:59 am

I think that I actually got the last sentence of my comment from your post; I was only aware of some twin songs of Lata, Talat before. After reading the post again, I am more curious about it but do not know the reasons. I think that Lata said once that the main difficulty is to sing the song first time, after that anybody can sing it. But this is a different phenomenon. I do not know whether anybody discussed this before you did.

47 AK April 9, 2013 at 3:01 pm

I have seen Raju Bharatan mention about it in his ‘Down The Melody Lane’, but his book came much later. He uses the term ‘tandem songs’, but the word ‘twin’ occurred to me as the most natural description, which now I prefer.

This is something so apparent and wide-spread that I am sure many people must have been aware of it, though I have not come across any discussion prior to my post.

The only reason I could speculate for this phenomenon is that our sensory perception respond diferently to a male and a female voice.

48 Harjit Singh Ghuman April 26, 2013 at 11:05 am

For me Noor Jehan is unrivalled. Lata is excellent but the way Noor Jehan had that ability to emote herself in the song was incomparable. Each to his own i guess!

49 Khizer Hayyat Khan December 13, 2013 at 1:05 am

Noor Jehan had vocal range of 4 Octaves,
Asha Bhonsle also have a vocal range of 4 Octaves,
Lata Mangeshkar have a vocal range of 3 Octaves.
Noor Jehan had powerful voice which is uncompetable with any other singer.She can knockout any other singer with her higher notes.Lata Mangeshkar considers Noor Jehan as her teacher.
Lata Mangeshkar have a beautiful soft melodious voice,but she doesn’t have high vocal range like Noor Jehan and Asha Bhonsle,so she can sing only similiar type of songs.Lata Mangeshkar can give emotions only to romantic songs,when she sings sad songs it also sounds like romantic songs.
Asha Bhonsle have a wide vocal range like Noor Jehan.Asha Bhonsle doesn’t have a powerful voice like Noor Jehan or a sweet melodios voice like Lata Mangeshkar,but she have an airy voice.She can sing any type of song whether its romantic or sad with perfection due to her high vocal range.

50 Naresh P Mankad March 9, 2014 at 12:32 am

The crux of the debate is each has his own choice. When a fan of a singer gives reasons for his choice, he is generally right. As you have rightly said every singer has a special flavour and is liked for that. I would not like to imagine Lata Mangeshkar in place of the other big names of the late ’40s or ’50s but I have no doubt about Lata Mangeshkar’s supremacy.

I thin you have summed up the issue in the best manner:We enjoy fizzy drinks; each of us has one’s own favourite. But it is pure water which quenches our thirst. Lata was pure music, Noorjehan was Noorjehan, Shamshad was Shamshad and so on.

Though I am late comer here, I would rate this as one of the best post from you.

51 AK March 9, 2014 at 11:24 am

Naresh P Mankad,
Thanks a lot for your appreciation. I am entirely with you on the female singers of the 40s. They are a very valuable and charming part of our legacy.

52 Harshal March 9, 2014 at 1:00 pm

Khizer Hayyat Khan,

Your comment about vocal ranges of singers is totally misleading! I hope that you know the definition of an octave and how vocal ranges are measured. A typical Indian song will not have a vocal range of more than 2 octaves ever! Across males and female film/gazal singers, rarely has anyone covered more than 2 and a half octaves – 4 octaves is out of question then! The whole world knows that Lata was a soprano who could touch high notes with utmost ease – which is also probably why you don’t realize in many of her songs that she has actually gone so high. In fact this is also the reason why she stood out from the rest, because a soprano voice was never heard in Indian light music before Lata

53 Arvind Pradhan March 9, 2014 at 9:58 pm

This hypothetical analysis ignores the real question that begs to be asked about Latabai. Some consider her a singer from Goa. others are sure she is a Maharashtrian. Most people from Goa (including the uberGuru of classical music) consider her from Goa. Although Mangeshkar family was originally from Goa, Lata and Asha both spent their lives in Mumbai. In fact both currently reside at Parel, in Mumbai at the ITC luxury apts. So in my book (that is pustak in Marathi) , they are both Marathi through and through. In fact I met Ashaji in BMM convention in Philly and let me assure you that she considers herself Marathi and speaks askhalit Marathi. I for one am tired of Kannadigas claiming Bhimsen when he spent his life in Pune and Goanese claiming anybody and everybody as not Marathi but Goanese when probably Murgubai did not even speak Konkani and Gangubai Kannada. And don’t even get me started on whether Konkani is a separate language or just a Marathi variant.

54 Fareed Syed March 11, 2014 at 4:15 pm

there is one thing ppl should accept that no one can sing/justify Madam’s song but Lata songs are easy to sing for any singer….

55 Yashwant Rathore March 13, 2014 at 6:39 pm

नूरजहां और लता मंगेशकर में गायकी का पहला दरजा नूरजहां को जाता है लेकिन ये स्तर उनका पाकिस्तान में क़ायम नहीं रहा !

56 Ayaz June 9, 2014 at 5:45 am

For those of you saying Noor jehan couldnt sing for younger actresses,then tell me why was she singing for Pakistani actresses until the late 90s? Please construct a better argument. Secondly, Lara is no way near noor jehan level. Her expressions have always been as good as a bottle of flat soda. She sounds like she’s going to cry in every song. However, I still like her songs and she is excellent singer. She has great control over her notes and pure voice. Lata only falls short where expressions and emotions are into consideration. This is where noor jehan completely thrashes her. Can lata ever sing a “saiyoni mera mahi” or even “hamari sansonmein” like noor jehan? Listen to nisar bazmis tune balamji bade nadan on lata then it was used for noor jehan in film anuman song was nayanva chalayein baan film anjuman,.,,,clear difference . asha covered noorjehans ghazals and was good but lacking expression. But anyway,I respect allviews and good luck to all

57 Ayaz June 9, 2014 at 5:46 am

Sorry I meant to write Lata not Lara. Please excuse. Phone has auto type !

58 Ayaz June 9, 2014 at 5:55 am

Harshalbhaiya u speak of timeless music.,…let me assure you noor jehans music is indeed evergreen and timeless,u just have to listen to it and be open minded . I know someone like jagjit singh is a great singer. But I’ve. Not heard any of his songs, so I can’t say that he is not evergreen timeless singer …,,latas songs are popular because of bolywood and everyone knows about Indian fims, but again ur opinion jee

59 AK June 9, 2014 at 7:40 am

One difficulty in Lata Mangeshkar vs Noorjehan comparison, besides the inevitable differences in individual choices, is that they had their major part of professional career in two different countries. In the Internet era we are discovering Noorjehan’s songs in Pakistan. Some readers have suggested I write a post on her (and other singers’) songs from Pakistan. Hamari saanson mein aaj tak wo is an awesome song, and I would not like to hear it in any other voice. I am sure there must be more such hidden gems, which hopefully I should be able to present some time.

60 yashwant rathore June 9, 2014 at 9:04 am

लता का एक गाना है “प्यार की ये तल्खियां” इस गाने का भी वही मुआमला है जो नूरजहाँ के “हमारी सांसों में” का है हालांकि मूड अलग लेकिन रस और स्तर अपने अपने और बेहतरीन! _________________ बेमिसालर्प्या✝✝रू

61 Ayaz June 13, 2014 at 5:08 am

Chalo jee thanks for your nice reply and comments . I give u one song CHAN DEYA TOTEYA O DILAN DEYA KHOTIA [HD] NOOR JA…: very difficult to sing. I would like hear lata sing a song like this if she has I would love to listen it I know she is extremely talented no doubts …. Actually jee when the noor jehan sing a lata song she didn’t do good like lata such as the song “gori hain kalaiyan it was copy from India in pak ” but then a song by noor jehan such like “mere dil de sheeshe” is something I never feel lata could justify in her singing her voice not powerful . song like dafli vaale is only lata jee song ,.,,each had their styles haina …another thing noor jehan youth song Raseele moray rasiya from mousiqar film is most difficult pls spend some moment listen this one also I

62 vakas February 24, 2015 at 9:29 am

I think you’ve all missed a great point, which was the monopoly of the two sisters in bollywood, it is a well documented fact that they went out there way to prevent other singers namely geeta dutt and shamshad begum from getting work. I’m not saying that lata or asha weren’t good singers, they’re legends. However it wasn’t just their talent in singing that helped them to the top. On the other side of the pond we had Noor jehan, who was the undisputed queen, again there is no doubt she was a mesmerising singer and in my opinion the best to come out of south asia, her voice was so crisp and clear in the first few decades of her career and her versatility is unmatched. But we seldom hear of how noor jehan crushed any other potential singers she saw as a threat, mussarat nazeer was threatened and literally fled the country in fear, runs laila was slapped by Noor jehan, one of Pakistans leading actresses in the late 70s had her career ended over night by madam, aswell as another poor actress receiving a physically beating.

I’m not here to dish dirt on these most vocally talented ladies. I have a point to make, if Noor jehan stayed after partition, we all know she had the talent, but she also wasn’t the type of lady who could be pushed out the limelight like geeta or shamshad, infact she would have ferociously defended her title and would have recognised the threat in lata and made the necessary moves in the industry to stiffle any competition, after all she was the biggest female star at the time of partition and what she said or demanded would have carried a lot of clout in them days.

63 pratima puranik February 26, 2016 at 5:43 pm

the people who born after 50’s in india grew with songs of Lata,Asha,Rafi,kishorkumar etc.They may have heard songs of Noorjahan occassionly but she was history for them. I am also from peoples born after 50’s & we may compare Lata & Aasha,Rafi * Kishor but question of comparison of Noorjahan & Lata does not arise for us.

64 M A August 3, 2016 at 8:13 am

This doesn’t even require a debate.

Noor Jehan is the undisputed Queen of Melody; she was given this title in 1945 by India! Way before Lata! And the gentleman above is correct. Noor jehan would have made sure she was not pushed around. Im an article i read there was an interview with famous pakistani host anwar maqsood who said noor jehan was extremely difficult to work with in the sense that she never gave in to anyone’s wishes. She was very tough minded and strong. Lata would never dare challenge her. But i think lata has had better range of composers, but Noor Jehan is an unbeatable when it comes to expressing yourself in the song.

65 AK August 3, 2016 at 9:40 am

Welcome to SoY and thanks for your comments.

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