Nahid Akhtar: Euphonious voice

By Anis Shakur
Monday – December 9, 2019
NEW YORK (United States): In the early 1970s, a cultural program, 'Loak Mela', used to be telecast from Islamabad television station. The show was hosted by Aksi Mufti, son of the popular writer-cum-thinker, Mumtaz Mufti. Tufail Niazi presented his items in that musical program and composed songs, as well. Apart from numerous artists who made their appearances, two real sisters from Multan are worth mentioning.

Tum say ulfat kay taqazay na nibhaye jaatay
Warna hum ko bhi tamanna thi keh chahay jaatay

They were Hamida Akhtar (elder sister) and her younger sister, Nahid Akhtar. Both these sisters sang songs and received applause from music lovers.

Shortly afterwards, Aksi Mufti married Hamida Akhtar and the latter quit singing.

On the other hand, Nahid Akhtar continued her fabulous journey to the world of music. She proved her versatility as a singer at an early age.

It seems that nature intended her for the tranquil pursuit of music, by rendering it her supreme delight.

Within no time, she had grown into her name.

Nahid lent her harmonious voice to the ghazal of Shan-Ul-Haq Haqqi, and became a celebrity overnight:

'Tum say ulfat kay taqazay na nibha ye jaatay, warna hum ko bhi tamanna thi keh chahay jaatay'.

Offers started pouring in from Pakistani film composers.

Moreover, Runa Laila, who was well known for jolly songs, had moved to Bangladesh.

Hence, musicians looked forward to record merry songs in Nahid's voice, hoping that Nahid will fill in the void, left by Runa's departure.

That trust was well placed.

Nahid's admirers need to understand that she was a television singer before working her way up to films.

She hit it big in 1974 and successfully recorded this song:

'Dil dee wana dil' (The film 'Nanha Farishta', film director, Khursheed).

In the same year, 1974, Nahid became the cynosure of all eyes and lenses.

The following song was recorded in her strongly appealing voice:

'Kisi meherbaan nay Aa kay meri zindigi saja dee, meray dil ki dharkano mein nai Aarzu jaga dee.' (The film 'Shama', 1974, directed by Nazar Shabab) The song 'Meherbaan' was a huge plus in her singing career.

Her stylistic mastery and trade marked television appearances continued through the 1970s.

Increasingly, though, her attention was turned to the cinema. Films became the topmost priority to Nahid, while television went down to the next level.

Interestingly enough, every aspect of her life had changed.

Her face, her dressing, her etiquettes had dramatically altered.

From the little known Nahid Akhtar, (with no make up) she elevated herself to the glittering world of movies.

Most importantly, she reveled in a glorious new lifestyle.

Further, her admirers were certain that Nahid's next logical step would be to work in the movies, in the lead roles.

In fact, she received quite a few offers from the film producers. However, she regretted all such offers and invested all her efforts towards singing.

Nahid believed that if she could envision it, she can be it. The secret of her highly successful life is that she never stopped envisioning.

Her voice in the film 'Teray, meray sapnay', is a breathtaking story of achievement:

'Mein ho gaye dildar ki '(The first film of actress Sangeeta as a producer) The film 'Dekha jaaye gaa', is a shining instance of one artist making a big difference. In Nahid's case, through the power of her voice:

'Pyar kabhi karna na kum, mar jaa ye gee teri Aashi'. (Film director: Jan Mohammad Jaman, pictured on Barbara Sharif).

Nahid, widely acclaimed for her song in the film 'Mohabbat zindigi hay' (Director: Iqbal Akhtar), won the hearts of the Pakistani public: 'Tu tu tu Tara Tara'.

The characteristic vibrato in her voice had always mesmerized the moviegoers.

The lasting impact of this graceful lady, and her tragic voice really hit home.

What's more, she could speak the tragic sense of the story:

'Allah he Allah kiya karo, dukh na kisi ko diya karo, jo duniya ka Malik hai, naam usi ka liya karo'.

The lyrics of the above mentioned song are exemplary for its timeliness.

Admittedly, it was a song and a voice that took Nahid much higher on the cliff climb (The film 'Pehchaan', director, Pervez Malik, marvelously pictured on Nayyar Sultana It was a vision that still shimmers in our mind).

Nahid's resonant voice shines through in Pervez Malik's movie, 'Talaash', pictured on Barbara Sharif:

'Dekha jo mera jalwa, to dil thaam logay, kahan tak jafaon say kaam logay'
'Pyar ki Aag nigahoan mein chupaye rakhna'.

Songs are part of the fabric of Pakistani life.

As for Nahid, her reputation among her fans was so solid that the singer and the real person became one.

She recorded the following songs with rare passion and feeling:

'Ye duniya rahay na rahay meray hum dum, kahani mohabbat ki zinda rahay gee'(The film 'Mera naam hai mohabbat', directed by Shabab Kiranvi).

'Tujhay pyar kartay kartay, meri umar beet jaaye, mujhay mauth bhi jo Aaye, teray bazu on mein Aaye'.

'Hum na hoan gey to tumhay jaan-e-wafa, yaad Aayein gee hamari baatain'.

The not-so-distance past could evoke so many memories, examples:

'Sub kuch khuda say maang liya tujh ko maang kar'( The film 'Teray meray sapnay', Duet: Nahid Akhtar-Mehdi Hasan).

'Tarasta hai ye dil tujhay pyar kar loon'.

'Kabhi bindiya hansay'.

In her entire musical career, Nahid took keen interest in her profession. She always strived to attain a first class level of performance, examples:

'Aankhon mein pyar tera' (The film 'Faisla', directed by Javed Fazil, Duet: Nahid Akhtar-Akhlaq Ahmed).

'Touch me if you can'.

'O my love'.

'Mehendi rachay gee meray haath'.

'Meray ruthay sanam'.

Following her breakthrough performances in various movies, she won immense popularity after recording the following romantic scores:

'Kehti hai raat bhigi , bhigi' (The film 'Dulhan ik raat ki', directed by Mumtaz Ali Khan, Duet: Nahid Akhtar-Ahmed Rushdi).

'Sajna ray dikha day hans kay' (The film 'Aawaz', directed by Zafar Shabab) 'O jait jee Aaj mein' (The film 'Shabana').

'Barsaat ka mausum hai' (The film 'Waqt', directed by Zafar Shabab).

'Mujh ko manzil bhi tum batao gey' (The film 'Waqt').

Nahid joined forces with another cinematic legend, A.Nayyar, recording this perennial party-hearty score. What brings this to mind are the birthdays:

'Jungle mein mungle, teray he dum say, sub nay ye shore macha ya hai, saalgira ka din Aaya hai' (The film 'Zindigi', directed by Nazrul Dada).

The following two songs describes the powerful role she has played in the lives of her myriad of fans:

'Apno, bay gano say naraaz hoon mein'(The film 'Naraaz', directed by Javed Fazil, Duet: Nahid Akhtar-Mohammad Ali Sheyki).

'Pyar karain hum Aaja, Aaja' (The film 'Andaata', directed by Iqbal Yusuf) She achieved fame beyond her wildest dreams, shortly after this romantic song was first played over the radio:

'Tha yaqeen Aa ain gee ye rataan kabhi, unsay ho way gee mulaqatan kabhi (The film 'Surraiya Bhopali',directed by Hasan Tariq).

Equally impressive was her singing voice in the film 'Begum Jaan', also directed by Hasan Tariq).

'Begum jaan bhala kya janay'.

Her leading male singers over the years included Ahmed Rushdi, Mehdi Hasan, A.Nayyar and Akhlaq Ahmed.

Nahid also sang for Punjabi movies. Prominent among them are the following two songs:

'Nith chamkay tay charyaan da dil dharkay' (The film 'Amar, Akbar, Anthony', directed by Haider Chaudhry).

'Lahore deyaan sarkaan tay'.

Besides, she also rendered her voice for the following movies:

'Kharidaar', 'Anokhi', 'Uf ye beweyaan', 'Koshish', 'Hum say hai zamana'.

While still at the pinnacle of her singing career, she rendered her exceptional voice to record national songs for Pakistan television:

'Hamara percham, ye pyara percham, Azeem millat, Azeem percham'.

'Hum maayain, hum behnay, hum baytiyaan, qaumoan ki izzat hum say hai'.

'Jug jug jeeye mera pyara watan'.

Nahid Akhtar, a well-established singer of the silver screen and television did complete justice to her craft when recording the following songs:

'Aati hai pawan, jaati hai pawan'.

'Jahan tera naqshay qadam dekhtay hain'.

The following songs made her more famous than ever:

'Tera mera pyar jo zara bhi hua kum'.

'Dil sambhala na jaye'.

'Aray logo pakro'.

The simplicity and innocence of her voice, combined with lucid poetry, resulted in the following scores:

'Ayesi chalo na chaal'.

'Socha tha mainay dil'.

'Main bhi sharabi, mera yaar bhi'.

'Andaaz wohi apnaya hai, teray dil ko jo pasand Aaye'.

Nahid sang the following numbers in her profoundly effective voice. They are still fresh in our imagination:

'Ye Salam shauq ka'.

'Tamaam umar tujhay zindigi ka pyar milay'.

'Aisay mausum may chup kyon ho'.

'Tera mera aisa naata hai'.

'Dekhay manay na dilbar mera'.

The songs mentioned below are those ,which gave Nahid a legendary stature as a singer:

'Main to na boli, meray boal uthay kankna'.

'Baant raha tha jab khuda, saray jahan ki naimatain'.

'Teray siva duniya mein kuchh bhi nahi'.

Nahid earned the Nigar Award for best singer for the film 'Shama' in 1974.

Nahid earned the Nigar Award for best singer for the film 'Pehchaan' in 1975.

Nahid earned the Nigar Award for best singer for the film 'Hum say hai zamana' in 1985.

Nahid made singing her profession. She called it quits after she got married. But not before seeing her songs win generation after generation of new admirers.

The following immortal lyrics will live in the hearts and minds of every adorer. While recording them, she looked more than a singer. Hers was the voice of truth:

'Sheesha toot kay jur sakta hai, dil na juray jo tutay,
kitna hai bay dard wo insaan, pyar ka ghar jo lutay,
Aisa zulm na kya karo, dukh na kisi ko diya karo,
Jo duniya ka Malik hai, naam usi ka liya karo,
Allah he Allah, Allah he Allah, Allah he Allah’.

Info: Eminent storyteller, Anis Shakur, is a Pakistani born United States (US) citizen. He works for the US federal and State government. He resides at a stone-throw distance from the darting shores of the Atlantic ocean in New York, for the past three decades.