Naushad’s “The Singing Girl Next Door”: Suraiya

June 15, 2015

A tribute on her 86th birth anniversary (15 June 1929 – 31 January 2004)

Naushad and SuraiyaOur last singing star, Suraiya, attained incredible heights of popularity bordering on mass hysteria. She started her singing career, as a child artiste, with Naushad; subsequently, she sang playback for Mehtab in a few films; she graduated as an actor-singer and reached superstardom on the strength of the songs he composed for her. Out of her 300 odd songs, Naushad accounts for about 50. Husnlal Bhagatram might have done a few songs more; he, too, occupies a very important place in her career. But considering Naushad’s association from her debut to her grooming to her maturity, he is the single most important factor in creating the Suraiya legend. For all the superb Suraiya melodies we love, she was an untrained singer, with a limited range. The skilful master, Naushad, kept her in her basic range, and created a feeling in the minds of the viewer that The Girl Next Door was singing.

She was born Suraiya Jamal Shaikh on 15 June 1929 in what is now Pakistan. When she was a small child, her family shifted to Bombay. She was schooled in a local English medium school. When she was 11, her uncle Zahoor Raja, a popular villain in films, once took her to Mohan Studios where the film Taj Mahal was being shot. Its director, Nanubhai Vakil, offered her the role of Mumtaz as a child. Her singing career, too, happened as a similar chance event, when this uncle took her to Kardar Studios to watch shooting. It was here that Naushad suggested that her voice would suit films well, and thus ‘Baby’ Suraiya sang her first song Boot karun main polish babu (this was apparently as a playback artiste) in the film Nai Duniya (1942), composed by him. She went on to sing playback for Mehtab for Sharda, Kanoon and Sanjog (1942-43) under him, when her principal, Miss P.F. Puttack, took a strong view of her truancy from school, and her ‘adventure’ came to an abrupt halt.

After an interregnum of three years, she got the second lead against the mighty Noorjehan in Mehboob Khan’s landmark film, Anmol Ghadi. Naushad gave her three solos – Man leta hai angadaai jeevan pe jawani chhayi, Socha tha kya lya ho gaya and Main dil mein dard basa laayi – in the film, which also got noticed in the face of some immortal songs of Noorjehan. Noorjehan is supposed to have given a lot of trouble to her co-star, but Naushad tactfully found out ways to support Suraiya, without antagonizing Noorjehan. Suraiya then realised that Naushad was grooming her as a major singing star.

Then came her string of films as a singing star – Natak, Dard (1947), Dillagi (1949), Daastan (1950), ending with Deewana (1952) as their final pairing, each of them a silver jubilee hit. Her eleven films – she also sang in Station Master (1942) for him, besides the ten I have already mentioned – in ten years are the maximum number for any composer. I am a great fan of her songs, and Naushad is my top favourite. It is difficult to choose ten best from fifty, as Naushad had a very high hit rate. Continuing my series in the Year of Naushad, let me pay my tribute to Suraiya with some of her most melodious songs by him.

1.  Aa more sanwre sainya mora jiya lahraye from Sanjog (1943), lyrics DN Madhok

I start with one of her early songs she sang playback for Mehtab. As the leading lady sings this love song on the piano, you see Charlie, a top comedian of the era, with involuntary comic mannerisms, as he is thrilled no end by the attention of the lovely lady. He has landed up in a situation of mistaken identity, but is inexorably drawn to her. For a 1943 film, this is a very well-scripted and a sophisticated comedy. Fortunately, a good quality print is available on YT, and I would strongly recommend the readers to watch it.

 

2.  Jab se chale gaye hain wo zindagi zindagi nahi from Natak (1947), lyrics Khumar Barabanqvi

Naushad exploits the sweet, melodious voice of Suraiya to create this sad song. He was quite liberal about auto-inspiration.  But probably he did better in Aye bhi wo gaye bhi wo, sung by Parul Ghosh in Namste (1943).

 

3.  Chale dil ki duniya jo barbaad karke from Dard (1947), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni

Suraiya has deeply fallen in love with the doctor who had come to the village where plague had broken out. The doctor himself contracts the plague, and he has been taken back to the city. A forlorn Suraiya sings this deeply poignant song of separation. Shakeel Badayuni debuts with this film, which would be the beginning of a long and very close partnership with Naushad. They create a unique style of Suraiya reciting a line in slow tempo in antara, followed by singing it in tune. This would become a hallmark of Suraiya style, followed by Husnlal Bhagatram later. Shakeel finally emerged as the most preferred lyricist of Naushad, writing over 300 songs for him in 30 films. The closeness of their partnership can be seen by the fact that the next highest is DN Madhok with 89 songs from 11 films, followed by Majrooh Sultanpuri with 64 songs in 10 films.

 

4.  Beech bhanwar mein aan phansa hai dil ka safeena from Dard (1947), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni

In this love triangle, Munawwar Sultana suffers severe breakdown as she realises that the man she loves has fallen deeply in love with Suraiya. Suraiya feels terrible dilemma, so beautifully expressed in this song, that she has become indirectly the cause of Munawwar’s illness, and only her marriage with her lover will cure her. Shakeel displays perfect tuning with Naushad, ever willing to modify his lyrics to his demands. Naushad now stretches Suraiya to her vocal limits to create this absolutely beautiful song.

 

5.  Muraliwale murli baja sun sun murli ko nache jiya from Dillagi (1949), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni

Naushad-Suraiya-Shakeel Badayuni are now on roll in this high point of her career as a singing star. The man who played the flute, was passing by Suraiya’s village, and is taken in by her father as his farm-hand. In this idyll, love blooms as Shyam plays the flute, just as Krishna had played to Radha, and Suraiya can’t help herself dancing to the tune.

 

6.  Tera khayal dil se bhulaya na jayega from Dillagi (1949), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni

As Suraiya’s relatives come to know of their dalliance, the man with the flute is forced to leave the village. But they can’t take him out of her heart.

 

7.  Ye mausam aur ye tanhaai from Daastan (1950), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni

What would a lady in love do as she is by herself with the piano in front of her? As she sings this lovely song beckoning her lover, Raj Kapoor, in soiled clothes (after a paint job?) comes in on tip toe.  This song, too, has a part of antaras in recital style.

 

8.  Ae shama tu bata tera parwana kaun hai from Daastan (1950), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni

Suraiya has now three suitors for her love: Raj Kapoor, his elder brother Al Nasir, and his friend, Suresh who has come from abroad. Spoilt for choice, she sings this piano song in party scene, in a teasingly delightful mood.  Recital of a part of antara, and repeating it to tune never sounded more delightful.

 

9.  Dil mein aa gaya koi from Deewana (1952), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni

With this film Naushad breaks finally with AR Kardar. Though he composed one of the greatest Rafi solos, Tasweer banata hun teri khoone-jigar se are, in the film, his commitment to the project was probably slackening as he knew that Kardar was taking his assistant Ghulam Mohmmad to compose music for his next project Dil-e-Nadan (1953). But Naushad could compose this chorus-backed song even in his sleep.

 

10.  Mora najuk badan chhue chanchal pawan from Deewana (1952), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni

In his last film with Kardar, and Suraiya, Naushad stretches the envelope, to compose probably her most seductive song.

 

Notes and acknowledgement:
1.  My primary source for this article is Raju Bharatan’s Naushadnama.
2.  Anil Bhargav’s Swaron Ki Yatra is a useful source for a broad profile of singers, and some approximate data about their career.
3.  Atul Song A Day is now the most comprehensive source of Suraiya’s songs at one place.    Here is a very good analysis of her songs music director-wise.  He has also done year-wise and lyricist-wise analysis.  Impressive work.
4.  In spite of one’s best efforts, it is impossible to guarantee absolute accuracy with regard to the early history of our music.  For a long time, Suraiya’s debut song was thought to be Panchhi ja, peeche raha zamana from Sharada (1942).  Cineplot mentions this as her debut song based on Encyclopaedia of Hindi Cinema.  This article, too, containing Suraiya’s interview in quotes, suggests this as her debut song. In this “interview”, Suraiya gives an altogether different story of her debut as singer.  Raj Kapoor and Madan Mohan once dragged her to a children’s programme on the All India Radio.  Naushad, who heard her voice on the radio, got in touch with her to sing for Kardar’s Sharda, and thus she got to sing Panchhi ja picturised on Mehtab.  Suraiya was 11 then. Now most sources, including Raju Bharatan’s “interview” of Suraiya put Boot karun main polish from Nai Duniya (1942) as her first song.  Therefore, either at different interviews she remembered her debut differently, or someone was writing fiction.

{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

1 arvindersharma June 15, 2015 at 11:10 am

AK Ji,
An excellent article on Naushad Suraiyya collaboration, and personally for latecomers to HFM like me, very informative.
This year of Naushad in SoY will bring more such great posts, and I am waiting for a Naushad Lata post from you, as I very well know that both are a great favorites of your’s.
A bhajan, a collaboration of three great Muslims, showcasing the secularism in HFM.

Lagi hai manmandir me aag, arre o soye Bhagwan jaag, from ‘Diwana’.
https://youtu.be/LgADY_G-ix4

2 mumbaikar8 June 15, 2015 at 5:29 pm

AK,
Joining you in paying tribute to Suraiya on her birthday.
We do not expect anything less than the best from you when Naushad and Suraiya are involved: you have lived up to it.
This Naushad interview corroborates Raju Bharatan.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1le061OByk

3 Dinesh K Jain June 15, 2015 at 6:22 pm

Another excellent and interesting article from your mighty and prolific pen; thank you AK.
Since your piece on Naushadnama, I did buy the book and read it. I did therefore find some familiarity in your latest article, as indeed you have acknowledged yourself, but nonetheless you have added much more from your own and other sources, to make the Suraiyanama interesting in itself.
Only I am not sure what exactly your criteria were in selecting the ten songs. Surely these are not her ten best, not even to your Suraiya-fan ears.

4 Anu Warrier June 15, 2015 at 6:52 pm

AK, a lovely post on one of my favourite singers. Thank you. About her supposed enmity with Noor Jehan (or vice-versa): in one of her rare interviews, Suraiya had credited Noor Jehan for getting her the role in Anmol Ghadi, and spoke very warmly of her as her ‘mother, sister and friend’. (You know my opinion of a particular scribe!)

p.s. Suraiya first debuted as a child artiste in Usne Kya Socha in 1937. She was 8. Her first real role in Taj Mahal came four years later as you said.

5 AK June 16, 2015 at 1:50 am

Arvinder Sharmaji,
Thanks a lot for your appreciation, and the link of the bhajan from Deewana. The most quoted ‘secular’ song is again Naushad-Shakeel Badayuni combination, but by Rafi – O duniya ke rakhwale. However, I find this label quite contrived in film music. In classical music, Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan sang Hari Om tat sat, or Parveen Sultana, Bhawani Dayani or Ghulam Mustafa Khan, Jai Durge Durgati Durnashini, without wearing it as any medallion.

6 AK June 16, 2015 at 1:59 am

Anu,
Thanks a lot for your appreciation. About her said interview, it is very difficult to say whether she was being sincere or politically correct. ‘That scribe’, if you are referring to the same person, has also referred to Suraiya in quotes about Noorjehan’s behaviour towards her on the sets of Anmol Ghadi.

Her debut in 1937 is a new piece of information for me. There are many Suraiya experts on blogosphere. Let me see what they say on this.

7 AK June 16, 2015 at 2:13 am

Mumbaikar8,
Thanks a lot for your appreciation, and the link to Naushad’s interview.

8 AK June 16, 2015 at 2:20 am

Dinesh,
Thanks a lot for your appreciation. I am happy that you were inspired by my review to buy Naushadnama. If you liked the book, I would strongly urge you to buy his previous book Down Mekody Lane.

If you mean Suraiya’s overall best, of course many other songs would deserve mention. But if you limit to Naushad-Suraiya, I have avoided repeating some songs that have figured earlier in different posts, and taking too many songs from the same film. I have also tried to give some of their rally less-known songs. With these limitations I have tried to select ten songs. So you are right, these may not be their absolute best.

9 arvindersharma June 16, 2015 at 10:12 am

AK Ji,
A small correction.
The most quoted bhajan from ‘Baiju Bawra’ is ‘Man Tadpat Hari Darshan Ko Aaj’.

10 AK June 16, 2015 at 11:51 am

Arvinder Sharmaji,
Of course, thanks a lot for the correction.

11 ksbhatia June 16, 2015 at 12:22 pm

AK’ji; Once again a treat for Naushad ‘s Music lovers . Suraiya songs included in your ten are fav. of mine but I am missing one song of her which is my fav and that is ……. ‘ Socha tha kya , kya ho gaya ‘. Suraiya was equal at ease in her duets with Shyam and rafi sahib .
1. Socha tha kya

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TDwkIolorWM
2Tara ri tara ri
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WvipwZaFzI
3. Tu mera chand main teri chandni
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WvipwZaFzI

12 Anu Warrier June 16, 2015 at 6:00 pm

Re: Suraiya’s debut: This is from Bhaichand Patel’s Bollywood’s Top 20: Superstars of Indian Cinema

http://tinyurl.com/nwey34h

(I’ve sent you a screenshot by email, if this link doesn’t work.)

13 AK June 16, 2015 at 7:18 pm

KS Bhatiaji,
Thanks a lot for your appreciation and the songs you have added, first and third of which are my great favourites.

14 AK June 16, 2015 at 7:19 pm

Anu,
Thanks a lot. I saw the screenshot.

15 ASHOK M VAISHNAV June 17, 2015 at 11:04 am

Thoroughly enjoyable post.
AKji, once again, succeeds in balancing differing pulls and pushes in the selection of songs.

16 AK June 17, 2015 at 12:16 pm

Ashokji,
Thanks a lot for the appreciation.

17 Hans June 18, 2015 at 1:16 am

AK,
Thanks for the article on my favourite, which I inherited from my father. He was just crazy about her and KL Saigal. You have used the right word for her appeal ‘mass hysteria’. The description of her career in the link provided by Anu Warrier matches that which my father frequently told me about her. When she danced or sang their was the rain of coins – like nataks and nautankis – from the front rows. People would get restless if there was no song or dance from her in the first 5-10 minutes. No actress in the history of hindi films enjoyed the fame which she got. In her films the name of the hero hardly mattered.

As per my records based on HFGK she sang 326 songs out of which 51 were for Naushad and 63 for Husnlal Bhagatram. In the details given in Atul website link you have given the film Kanchan with 6 songs is missing from Husnlal Bhagatram list.

Perhaps the best film of this combo was Dillagi both songwise and successwise. All of the songs in the film are gems and you have given only two. Here I give one of my favourites ‘nirala muhabbat ka’.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4gKl_PgbnCA

18 AK June 18, 2015 at 7:44 am

Hans,
I am happy you enjoyed the post. Before I saw any of her films, I was enchanted by her songs. I doubt if there is anyone who does not like her songs. Yes, Dillagi is by far the best of Naushad-Suraiya combination. Nirala mohabbat ka is an excellent song.

Your data shows HB gave significantly higher number of songs than Naushad for Suraiya. It would be interesting to compare their best ten for her.

19 arvindersharma June 18, 2015 at 8:26 am

AK Ji,
Thanks to Hans Ji’s information, the name of Husnlal Bhagatram, the great composer duo, who did not get the deserving recognition, or adulation, after their exit from the film industry, has come up.
It would be very interesting to see them compared to Naushad, as both are significant contributors to the respective careers of Suraiyya, Lata and Rafi as well.

20 AK June 18, 2015 at 10:23 am

Arvinder Sharmaji,
HB have come in discussions prominently. With Suraiya they would surely stand equally tall as Naushad. For Lata Mangeshkar and Rafi the field of composers who gave their best becomes larger. I have made a mental note to give HB due space on SoY sometime.

21 Jignesh Kotadia June 18, 2015 at 9:17 pm

I knew here first time that Suraiya had lent her voice to other heroine too ! Nice compilation of Suraiya-Naushad songs, exclusion of Anmol ghadi songs is a logical move. I am also waiting for Husnlal-Bhagatram-Suraiya,,,, Husnlal-Bhagatram-Lata.

22 AK June 18, 2015 at 10:21 pm

Jignesh,
Thanks a lot. One reason for exclusion of Anmol Ghadi is that I am planning a separate post on the film. HB seem to have a large number of fans. For Lata Mangeshkar fans with HB and other composers, there is a good news. Taking off from my overview of the best songs of 1950, our Ashok Vaishnavji has done three articles on her songs with:
C Ramchandra
Husnlal-Bhagatram and Ghulam Mohammad
Anil Biswas

Have hours of pleasure. Ashokji covers many more songs than I had included in my list.

23 Hans June 19, 2015 at 2:58 pm

I would like to discuss HB later but first I want to tell my opinion on the Raju Bharatan myths about Suraiyya.

In Naushadnama Raju Bharatan tells us that Suraiyya frequently absented herself from school (he claims he studied in the same school) and nobody knew about that. The school principal then called her father and objected to this truancy. Though he does not say so but his description suggests there was a gap in Suraiyya’s career from 1943 to 46 which has led AK to say there was a gap of three years in her career.

First about the absenteeism. The great RB has made such a hullaballoo about this. Fact is that in 1942 she recorded just 6 songs and did a very small role as child artist in one film in which there were two songs recorded out of the 6. How much time one would take in these activities. In British times there were about two month long summer holidays and about 10-12 days holidays near Christmas, besides the March gap of about 10-15 days between the exams and results on 31st March. Alongwith these regular holidays there were Sundays and other holidays. This takes care of about 200 days and only 160-170 days remained when one had to go to school. It is quite impossible that a child artist has to absent for about 24 times (as per him) out of these 170 days. And how he could have known about her absenteeism or whether principal called her father if he was not in the same class or section. Or was he a Narad Muni even at the age of 9. I have serious doubts that he ever studied in that school.

Secondly, there was no gap of 3 years in her career. She gave playback for two films of Naushad in 1943 and acted and sang in two more films Ishara and Hamari Baat. In Hamari Baat her role certainly appears to be of a young girl and is also important, which is confirmed by her 4 songs all of which are romantic duets with Arun Kumar. 1944 does not have any songs or films. Perhaps in this year she had board exams for matric and she kept away from films. In 1945 she was singing star in 4 films (lead role in 2 and 2nd lead in the other 2). In Tadbeer she did a lead role with KL Saigal. She acted in Phool by K. Asif. In fact all of them were from prominent film houses. So before Anmol Ghadi she had acted in at least 6 films as young heroine. In 1946 and 47 she acted in 9 films 2 of which were with KL Saigal.

Raju Bharatan had in his biography of Lata said that Suraiyya had wanted Lata to playback for her in film Duniya (1949). For this purpose she requested CR, as she thought he would agree because of his special relationship with Lata, but he refused. This was in itself a lie, because at the time of making of Duniya CR-Lata relationship had not started and she never did want either to sing for others and vice-versa once she became a singing star. And Lata did not have a status equal to Suraiyya. But, in Naushadnama RB takes a u-turn and tells us that Suraiyya was offered the Anarkali role in the 1953 film but refused when she heard that CR was scoring music, because she thought that he was fixated on Lata.

24 AK June 19, 2015 at 4:16 pm

Hans,
Just a trivial clarification. I was referring to the gap only in relation to her songs for Naushad.

25 N Venkataraman June 20, 2015 at 12:17 am

Akji,
Suraiya the last of the singing stars who attained stardom very early in her life. As already mentioned by you and Hans ji, Naushad had composed 51 songs for her and the bulk of them between 1941 and 1950. Between 1941 and 1945, Naushad composed more than 1/3rd of the songs rendered by her. Naushad was her main composer during this period. Again between 1946 and 1950 Naushad and Husnlal-Bhagatram were her main composers almost equally sharing between them 66 of the songs sung by her during this period. Suraiya was at the peak of her career during 1949 and 1950, and if I am not wrong, Naushad gave her 17 songs in the films Dillagi and Dastaan. Thus And Naushad played a defining role in shaping up her career.

Enjoyed listening to the songs posted by you. Song #4 and #5 are the most liked. Let me add one more.

Ek tu ho, ek main hoo, Kanoon (1943), lyrics Dina Nath Modhak,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jv7-8ljA6QQ

Thanks for the wonderful article on Naushad-Suraiya association and a worthy tribute to Suraiya on her 86th birth anniversary. Though belated I too join you in paying my tributes. You have mentioned that she made her debut in the film Taj Mahal. Did she render any song in that film?

26 Subodh Agrawal June 20, 2015 at 12:30 pm

Beautiful selection of songs – many of them long forgotten and brought back to mind by your wonderful writing. Thanks for this lovely post AK.

27 AK June 20, 2015 at 8:55 pm

Venkataramanji,
Thanks a lot for your detailed comments and your appreciation. I am very fond of Ek tu hai ek main hun, but I had used it in my river song.

In Taj Mahal (1941), Baby Suraiya is mentioned in the cast. But HFGK does not mention singers’ names in some songs. Therefore, one can’t say with certainty whether she sang in the film or not. Since all sources attribute her debut in singing in 1942, whether in Nai Duniya or Sharada, the presumption is she did not sing in that film.

However, the more interesting information is given by Anu in comment #4 that she debuted as a child artiste in 1937 in Usne Kya Socha. HFGK does mention one Suraiya in the cast. But why not ‘Baby’ Suraiya? Could this be another Suraiya, because no othe source, including some said to be first-hand account mentions this?

28 AK June 20, 2015 at 8:56 pm

Subodh,
Thanks for your appreciation. I am happy you enjoyed it.

29 Hans June 22, 2015 at 1:15 am

AK,
You wrote “when her principal, Miss P.F. Puttack, took a strong view of her truancy from school, and her ‘adventure’ came to an abrupt halt.”

Your clarification would mean the principal was somehow against Naushad and put a stop to her singing for Naushad while allowing her to work for others. You were certainly influenced by the writings of RB, who wants to present a wrong picture. You have also written “Suraiya then realised that Naushad was grooming her as a major singing star”, which is the line taken by RB in Naushadnama. These words have been forcibly stuffed in Suraiyya’s mouth, because after working in half a dozen films as lead or semi-lead actress and also having 2-3 films as leading actress in hand alongside Anmol Ghadi, she would be a fool to say such things. Naushad was only interested in her as playback singer. She had refused singing playback for him in 1943 itself.

Look at what RB says in Naushadnama. “Naushad had to intervene more than once, urging Noorjehan to be a little more charitable in the case of one merely aspiring to be a singing star. I had no such aspiration; maybe Naushad had for me, maybe he saw a singing star in me.”

30 Hans June 22, 2015 at 1:29 am

Regarding your discussion with Venkatramanji above I agree with you that the 1937 Suraiyya might be a different person. I have seen this name in quite a few films in the late 30s. There is one name Suraiyya Begum in the 30s. In the 40s also there is Suraiyya zulfi in some films. Arunji will perhaps throw some light when he appears.

There is a Suraiya Biography on youtube
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQSsZVSBLAQ
In this also there is mention of 1937 film Usne Kya Socha. This biography also says that Suraiyya sang a duet with Manna Dey in 1942 film Tamanna, which I have checked out and found correct. Here is the link for the song ‘jaago jaago aayee usha’
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFnyITFAUls

On youtube it is declared as the first Manna Dey song. Music is by KC Dey. In HFGK, the list of artists of this film includes Suraiyya. Therefore, it appears she has acted and sang in two films in 1942 – Station Master and Tamanna.

31 AK June 22, 2015 at 8:19 am

Hans,
I think when the principal takes exception to a child’s truancy, it is about her absence, and not about what the child does outside the school in her absence. Probably what you are suggesting is that Suraiya did some work outside Naushad in the said period of her gap with Naushad. As I said I was referring to the gap with Naushad.

I have acknowledged my primary source is Naushadnama. That is why a phrase in the title is in quotes, and the reference is clear to SoY followers. On the anecdote about Noorjehan’s behaviour towards Suraiya on the sets of Anmol Ghadi, we have no means of verifying the truth. However, what is known is unsophisticated background of Noorjehan. But even if we discard RB’s entire chapter on Suraiya, it has no bearing on what Naushad means for Suraiya’s career. His only comparison is with HB. Between them it is matter of choice.

32 Arunkumar Deshmukh June 22, 2015 at 1:41 pm

AK ji,

It is interesting to read the various comments about Suraiya’s debut in films.
In my opinion,what Anu ji has brought to our notice here is correct.

Pran Nevile- a highly credible and studious writer on old films,artistes and others,has written an article,on Suraiya, in the book ” Bollywood’s Top 20 Superstars of Indian Cinema”, edited and compiled by Bhaichand Patel. He says
“Suraiya made her debut as a child artiste in Usne kya socha-1937,with the help of her uncle Zahoor who was playing some minor roles in films.”
Though there is no mention of any song,I do not think that an 8 year old casual actress would be given a chance to sing a song in the film.
It is true that name Suraiya is found among the cast of many films of 30s,40s and even 50s and 60s, the suraiya mentioned in the credits of Usne kya socha must be this one only.
There was an actress Suraiya Chaudhari also in the 50s and 60s and I remember there was one film in which they both acted. I forget the film name,sadly.
In absence of well documented bios of cine people,we will go on getting new informations,as and when someone writes about it.
This book is quite good to have, if you dont have it.
-AD

33 AK June 22, 2015 at 2:01 pm

Arunji,
The doubt arises because of two factors. Her name is mentioned as Baby Suraiya in her early films of 1942. Secondly, in Naushadnama and the interview I have linked, her own said statements do not mention the 1937 film.

34 Atul June 22, 2015 at 8:50 pm

“Amar Kahaani”(1949) had nine songs in it including six suraiyya songs. The same movie was re -released in 1955 under the title ‘Kanchan”(1955) by the same producer (Ranjeet Singh) for the same Production Kamal Kunj with the same nine songs (including 6 Suraiyya songs. Suraiyya and other actors of “Amar Kahaani”(1949) did not have to act afresh nor did Suraiyya and other playback singers have to sing their songs afresh. So in effect the Suraiyya songs of “Amar Kahaani” and “”Kanchan” are the same songs. So Suraiyya has sung 57 songs for Husnlal Bhagatram and not 63 as stated by Mr Hans above.

35 AK June 22, 2015 at 10:18 pm

Atul,
Thanks for this clarification.

36 sanjitkumar January 8, 2016 at 10:24 pm

my dear ak ji
none of the songs are as good as the song ” tu mera chand main teri chandni” of the film dillagi. the song simply overwhelmed me. when ever i see and listen the video song, i have to be spellbound.

thanks for your informative posting

37 AK January 8, 2016 at 10:41 pm

Sanjit Kumar,
Welcome to SoY and thanks a lot for your appreciation. Tu mera chaand main teri chaandani is indeed a great song, but I was focusing mainly on Suraiya’s solos.

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