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Nayyara Noor - profile, interview & pictures


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Nayyara Noor - profile, interview & pictures
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anniekhan
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Nayyara Noor - profile, interview & pictures
Nayyara Noor

Nayyara Noor is a Pakistani singer considered one of the South Asia's foremost exponents in the Ghazal genre.



Biography

Nayyara Noor was born in 1950 in Assam. Her family was a merchant class hailing from Amritsar who had settled in Guwahati in Assam State in the North-Eastern India. Her father was an active member of the Muslim League and in 1958, the family moved to Pakistan. As a child, Nayyara is said to have been inspired by the bhajans of Kanan Devi and Kamla as well as the ghazals and thumris of Begum Akhtar.

Although Nayyara had no formal musical background nor formal training, she was discovered by Professor Israr at the Islamia College in Lahore after hearing her sing for her friends and teachers at an annual dinner at the National College of Arts in Lahore in 1968. Soon thereafter she was asked to sing for the university's Radio Pakistan programs.

In 1971, Nayyara made her public singing debut in Pakistani television serials and then beginning with films like Gharana and Tansen. She has since sung ghazals composed by the likes of Ghalib and Faiz Ahmed Faiz and has performed with Mehdi Hassan. She has won three gold medals in the All Pakistan Music Conference and a Nigar Award for best female singer. She has since performed at countless mehfils and mushairas having cemented a following among ghazal lovers in Pakistan and India.Her probably the most famous ghazal (a form of song in Urdu poetry) was ae jazba e dil gar mai chhon, written by Behzad Lakhnavi 1900-1974, a poet, script writer and song writer of radio Pakistan, for which she won many rewards. Behazad Lakhnavi is buried in Sakhi Hasan. This is the place which allotted by the government for the memories of Behzad Lakhnavi. He was born in Lucknow, India.

Related Information

* Her younger son Jaffer is the lead vocalist in a band called Kaavish. while the elder son Naad-e-Ali has started his debut as solo.

Interview

A modestly attired lady in a simple, printed lawn shalwar kameez, devoid of any accessories and sans make-up, hair loosely tied up, steel rimmed glasses perched on her nose, looking like any girl next-door is Nayyara Noor, the celebrated singer of Pakistan.

Unpretentious and unassuming, her image denotes a different dimension in the glamorous world of stardom, where starry airs and Barbie doll look-alikes dominate the scene. After all the industry can't easily accept anyone who dares to be different, but Nayyara certainly scores high on that exclusive list.

Swaying from the norm with her dignified performance, she does not indulge in adaas or nakhras to capture her listeners' interest. Instead she hypnotises the audience with her mellifluous voice. She occupies the first-floor residence where she lives with her businessman-turned-homeopath doctor husband Sheheryar (Sherry as she lovingly calls him) and two sons.

After some time one soon discovers that Nayyara definitely stands a cut above the rest. No offence meant to the ladies on the bloc, but Nayyara is one of those first-rate singers who actually can have a conversation easily in both Urdu and English. Basic education: After her initial schooling in India where her parents were settled, later joined the National College of Arts, Lahore with textile designing as her major subject.

Do you feel a change in music trends and how have you been able to continue singing classical songs and ghazals for over two decades?
"I haven't to this day understood what all this halla gulla is," she's quick to retort. "Why can't somebody just tackle the melody side? After a chaotic and tiring day, I feel any sensible person would definitely not want shor sharaba but music, which is mellow and sweet.
"How would you feel after driving through all the heavy traffic you reach home.

Well, it's the same with music. When people want to relax, they want to hear sweet, soulful melodies. There have been many instances where I have been asked to add drums to my orchestra but why should I? I don't believe in music which the minute it starts playing you begin giving jhatkas to your body. I believe music should clean your soul and spirit, not give 2,000 current volts to your body.'

But Zille Huma is very popular singing such songs. "Do you call that singing," she cuts short. So you don't approve of it?
"You are asking me a very difficult question." After a little prodding she does continues, "If I approved of it I would be doing it myself too, wouldn't I? Suppose I ask you to make biryani but not give all the ingredients, you will not be able to cook it. In the same way to be a daughter of Noor Jehan does not mean you can be a Noor Jehan.

At the same time Nayyara's very genuine when it comes to dishing out a compliment to Melody Queen Noor Jehan and Lata Mangeshkar whom she rates as the greatest singers ever born. "I listen to their songs religiously. "Mera khana hazam nahin hota uskay beghair," she says affectionately. Another person for whom her affection is very evident is Arshad whom she credits for giving her the first break and who features in the conversation every now and then.

"Arshad is an absolute genius," she praises him. "Have you heard Momin's ghazal "Wo jo hum mein tum mein qarar tha, tumhain yaad ho kay no yaad ho", which he composed. I sang it for Sahira Kazmi's long play for television. It's my favourite. What a superbly crafted composition," she goes into raptures.

How much time is needed to record one song?
"Oh! About three days, and do you know how much we are paid?" Pausing she answers her own question. "Just Rs920 per song. I feel ashamed to even say it. Why do you think I am not seen so much on television anymore?" she elaborates further, "This is the reason. I have some very good friends at the PTV and whatever I sing is because of them, not for monetary benefits."

What about Pakistani movies?
"You won't believe it but I have only seen one Pakistani movie to-date and that is Gharana. The only reason I saw it is because I sang a song in it "Tera saiya jahan bhi ho sajna" which broke all records at that time."

Domestic Life: Nayyara is an intelligent and extremely home oriented. Her life is not an open book for the world at large. She is confidence personified, seemingly very secure in her personal and professional life. Her's was a love marriage (in her own words - the tall fair student of Hailey College whom she met the first time in 1968 at the All Pakistan Music competition) and she still seems very much in love with him.

"Very supportive, very cooperative" is how she describes Sheheryar. She confessed with a smile that she has not had a cold drink, achaar, chatni and ice cream for years. Doesn't she miss it? " It is a small price to pay for the returns I am getting." Just then her husband enters the room and in passing asks if we would like a cup of tea. Looking at the husband and wife one can only marvel at their devotion. One could sense the closeness as they spoke to each other.

Do you think that success and stardom has changed things?
With a gentle shrug of her shoulders Nayyara confesses, "If there has been any change it is that I have become much more humbler. My parents were very proud of me, especially my father. About 12 years ago there came a time when I got very bogged down coping with the house, the children and my work. I wrote to my father expressing my desire of quitting music.

He replied in just three sentences that Pakistan has an approximate population of 10-12 crore. How many Nayyara Noors has it produced? Just think. His sentiments touched my heart deeply and I decided to give music my full concentration. I have learnt from experience that if something is right and pure it has to rise. Nobody, no force can stop it."

Would you comment about rumours for your prized project?
"Well I don't know which one is that but at the moment I am working on a cassette titled Nayyara sings Faiz Vol. 2 which is just fascinating," she smiles happily.

What are your future plans?
"I want to start a musical institution to teach students music. Not necessarily classical music," she explains. "Just how and what to sing," she continues in the same enthusiastic tone. One can feel the confidence and realise that success has settled well on her. After all, she deserves it.








Mon Aug 02, 2010 11:01 am View user's profile Send private message
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