Iqbal Banu: Ah! The agonies of success - E.2 (last)

By Anis Shakur
Sunday - February 4, 2018
ISLAMABAD: Likewise, the emotions conveyed by the depth and intonation in Banu’s voice is exemplary in ‘Baan nainoan kay seenay pay maroon gee mein.’ The film ‘Nagin.’ June 18, 1959, music, Safdar Husain, lyrics, Qateel Shifai.

Readers, just think of the day when Banu wore a plain, hauntingly evocative melody: ‘Ambwa ki dalion say jhulna jhula ja, abkay sawan tu sajan ghar Aaja.’ The film ‘Nagin,’ June 18, 1959, music, Safdar Husain, lyrics, Qateel Shifai.

Admittedly, the despondency and despair in Banu’s voice is vividly caught by composer Khwaja Khursheed Anwar in ‘Shab-e-mehtaab hai tanhai hai.’ The film ‘Ayaz,’ April 29, 1960, lyrics, Tanveer Naqui

Banu enthralled millions of music buffs in the melancholy strains of ‘Dasht-e-tanhaye mein aye jaan-e-jahan larzaan hai.’ Poet, Faiz Ahmed Faiz. I know with all my heart that those were sublime moments when Banu sang ‘Daagh-e-dil hum ko yaad Aanay lagay.’ Who can say when such a magical evening might happen again?

Setting a good example influence people more than precepts. Here is a dua in Banu’s voice: Aaye ye haath uthayain hum bhee.’

This ghazal of Nasir Kazmi in Banu’s voice also has an enduring quality: ‘Ishq jab zam zama tanha hoga.’

Banu’s voice enraptured the listeners in ‘Ranjish he sahe, dil dukha nay kay liye Aa.’ Poet, Ahmed Faraz.

Thanks to the poise and intelligence Banu displayed in this ghazal. The experience seems like something imagined: ‘Tum Aaye ho na shab-e-intizaar guzri hai, talaash mein hai sahar, baar, baar guzri hai.’

Obviously, Banu’s rendition delineated the tragic story: ‘Mohabbat karnay walay kam na hoan gey, teri mehfil mein laikin hum na hoan gey.’

It looks like Banu had been tested in this ghazal and she came out strong: ‘Apni mohabbat kay afsanay.’

Banu gave towering, trademark performances through the years. Example, ‘Kab thehray ga dard,’ poet, Faiz Ahmed Faiz.

With ghazals like this one, Banu drew a steadily growing, more appreciative crowd: ‘Khamosh ho kyon,’ Banu’s rendering of Ghalib’s ghazal was proof yet again that she was as much a superlative ghazal singer as a keen observer of humanity: ‘Muddat hui hai yaar ko mehmaan kiye huye.’

Banu was equally at ease with Persian ghazals. Consequently, she regularly made her presence felt in the musical programs in Iran and Afghanistan.

In 1974, the ‘Pride of Performance’ Award was conferred on Banu for propagation of music.

If Banu could have left one sentence as her legacy to the posterity, perhaps that phrase might have been comprised of these four words, ‘Don’t ever give up.’

Ivan Turgenev, wrote in his famed novel, ‘Fathers and Sons,’ ‘Death is an old joke but new to everyone.’

Alas! We lost Iqbal Banu on April 21, 2009 in Lahore Pakistan. She was 74 years of age. Her lilting voice, its words and tunes appear so appealing and attractive, that they seem to coincide with our real life stories. It is an affirmation that Iqbal Banu’s familiar singing voice will continue to dominate the eastern music for a long time to come.