Stories about Noor Jehan

Coke Studio season 10 may have had a rocky start, but it has managed to silence its critics with its latest episodes

They say aging makes the wine taste better. That certainly is not the case with subsequent Coke Studio seasons lately. The awful rendition of the national anthem was a terrible lapse of judgment on the director’s part. Things did not quite improve with ‘Sayonee’ either, which was taken as nothing less than an affront on the honour of Ali Azmat as a singer. However, if each episode is viewed song wise, the season has not been half-bad. Yes, I know I may have poked a hornet’s nest here. I myself quite enjoyed episode three, four and five and I shall explain here ...

Read Full Post

So far, Baaghi is authentic and impactful – but will it continue to be so?

Currently airing on Urdu 1 and starring Saba Qamar, Ali Kazmi, Sarmad Khoosat, Irfan Khoosat, Nadia Afghan and Saba Faisal, is a drama called Baaghi. This drama explores the life of Fouzia Azeem aka Qandeel Baloch, the social media superstar who was murdered by her brother in the name of honour. Qamar plays Fouzia Batool – a sparky, witty woman residing in a small village in Punjab. She’s not your average village damsel; she harasses her harassers and talks back to anyone who dare oppress her. Filled with an inviting antagonism and natural charm, Fouzia’s personality is a firecracker. She dances at weddings and sings Noor Jehan songs. ...

Read Full Post

71st Independence Day special: The evolution of Pakistan’s national song

In the last 70 years, the Pakistan national song has evolved through various governments, wars and music styles. We trace this evolution by reviewing a plethora of national songs from 1947 till the present. Sar Zameen-e-Pak: The first anthem (1947) Very few know that almost seven years before Hafeez Jalandhari’s Pak Sar Zameen was officially adopted as the country’s national anthem (in 1954), Pakistan already had an anthem. Today, it is all but forgotten, despite the fact that it was the first song played by Radio Pakistan when the station began broadcasting at the stroke of Pakistan’s creation in August 1947. The anthem ...

Read Full Post

A tribute to remember

She was sitting outside when the sound first reached her ears. Her gnarly hands gripped the chair firmly. Staggering, she got up and walked towards the sound. The melody grew louder, different voices rising and falling. Melancholy gripped her. As a few minutes passed, the song reached its peak moments. And then the sound died abruptly. Puzzled, she hurried into the room. Her husband stood in the middle of the room, gripping the remote firmly. He glared at the television set with contempt. But Naghmana Bibi was not discouraged by his anger. She saw what others could not see. They saw his proud head, ...

Read Full Post

Move over, Shaan: Dear Lollywood, please stop with your nepotistic ways

Nepotism has a new face in Pakistan. Can you guess who it is? No, it’s not Nawaz Sharif. It’s not the Bhutto clan. It’s not the politicians or the bureaucracy. All those institutions have been swept aside by that new lady in town. We fondly call her ‘Lollywood’, but she’s more formally known as Pakistan’s film industry. She isn’t really new, but her recently acquired contemporary ornaments have taken years off her face. She wears Bol around her neck, carries Bin Roye under her arm and has crowned her head with Waar. In step with her is her entourage; a horde of uncles and aunties, brothers ...

Read Full Post

Setting the record straight: 6 stereotypes overseas Pakistanis face

A Pakistani living abroad has to battle with numerous stereotypes. It has been a year since I moved to Australia and I still get heckled by people’s pre-conceived notions about where I’m from. It is not just because I am from Pakistan, a country plagued by terrorism and corrupt regressive regimes, but also because Pakistan is considered to be a religiously extremist country. There is a distinct need to set the record straight and inform the international community that Pakistan is a lot more than what they have assumed it to be. I want to address some of the questions that were ...

Read Full Post

10 philosophical ideas perfectly expressed by Lollywood songs

Lollywood gets an unreasonable amount of flak for being the stepsister of Bollywood; the one that was sent to the village as a child, and says her ‘o’s as ‘a’s – McDonalds becomes ‘MaacdAnalds’ and Ostrich becomes ‘Asstrij’. However, these people fail to realise the deep philosophical ideas expressed by Lollywood songs. Here are some examples of why Lollywood is on par with the greatest philosophers the world has ever seen. 1. Cartesian doubt Philosophical version: The Cartesian doubt is a method of questioning one’s own beliefs; of being sceptical about all that you hold to be true. Lollywood version: “Sanu Nehar walay pull tay bula kar sohnay ...

Read Full Post

Noor Jehan: The undisputed queen of melody

Today is the 14th death anniversary of Malika-e-Tarannum Madam Noor Jehan. Yes, it’s been 14 long years since South Asia’s queen of melody left us all, after she suffered from a prolonged ailment, at the age of 74. Famous for her silken saris, bold eye make-up, unique hairstyles and glittering diamonds, Noor Jehan’s melodious voice touched millions and created a matchless blend of vocal gestures and emotional expressions, which interpreted feelings in a very surreal way. A legendary singer, all her musical performances have a distinct manipulation and creation of vocal articulation, all done according to the standards of style and genre of every ...

Read Full Post

What it means to be a ‘Pakistani’

A few days ago a good friend of mine, living abroad, asked me a question: “What do you think ‘Pakistani’ means?” The question threw me aback, partly because it was unexpected and partly because I couldn’t think of an immediate answer. A myriad of images flew around in my head in an instant; from the hustle and bustle of Karachi’s Empress Market, to the textures of the Anarkali bazaar in Lahore. But my friend’s question went deeper than just images and feelings. I found myself trying to truly explore what the concept of being ‘Pakistani’ entails. EMPRESS MARKET. PHOTO: WIKIMEDIA Looking at it purely ...

Read Full Post

Pakistan’s soldiers: The sons of our soil

Since 1984, the Pakistan Army has been fighting a war on the highest battlefield of the world, the Siachen Glacier. Although there have been periods of temporary ceasefire, they have always been followed by severe aggression from both sides. During one such hostile period in 1987, a high altitude post of the Pakistan Army at the Siachen Glacier was commanded by my uncle who was then a captain. He had been there for five months and had no hope of being relieved in the near future because of the escalated tensions and harsh weather. One day he was sitting with his troops in ...

Read Full Post