Zubaida Khanum: Blessing to Pakistan (E.1/6)

By Anis Shakur
Saturday – May 12, 2018
NEW YORK (United States): ‘No person who is enthusiastic about his work has anything to fear from life. All the opportunities in the world are waiting to be grasped by people who are in love with what they are doing,’ is a statement made by Sam Goldwyn to which I subscribe.

Presumably, Goldwyn’s statement worked well with the ‘Laila,’ fame singer of yesteryear, Zubaida Khanum, as well. Our time online gives us a window into the world. Hence, in order for me to review some of the resplendent renditions of Khanum in the nineteenth year of the twenty first century I need to turn back the history’s clock a wee-bit and then dwell in the 1950s decade for a while.

Zubaida Khanum was born in Amritsar, pre-partition India, in 1935 to a conservative family. After partition, she migrated to Lahore, Pakistan, along with her family. Essentially, Khanum made her singing debut in the 1950 film ‘Pherey,’ for which she recorded a song. Soon she became one of the stalwarts in the Pakistani cinema.

Presumably, it was the sheer, graceful presence of her. Khanum was a new, budding teenager meant for the new time. Khanum recorded a song in the 1951 film ‘Billoo,’ music composer, Ghulam Ahmed Chishti.

Say truth, it was not a Pakistani look, but a Zubaida Khanum look, when Khanum recorded a song in the 1953 super duper film, ‘Shehri Babu.’ Cast included actress Swaran Lata and producer Nazeer.

Obviously, Zubeida’s zest shines through in the song composed by the captivating music teacher, Baba Ghulam Ali Chishti in the 1951 film ‘Billoo.’ Khanum’s distinct singing voice and good looks made her a celebrity. Khanum recorded songs in the 1953 mega hit film ‘Shehri Babu,’ director, Nazeer, lyrics, Tufail Hoshiar puri, music composer, Rasheed Attre. In fact, the film’Shehri Babu,’ catapulted Khanum into instant fame and she remained one of big screens most sought after singers.

Apparently, Khanum took a lot of pride in what she did. As is evident in the 1955 film ‘Patay Khan,’ in which Khanum not only recorded songs but also appeared in a side role. Cast included Noor Jehan, Zareef and Khanum.

Obviously, Khanum had an incredibly enormous loyal following in her lifetime and beyond. A prayer of a pious person like ‘Taqdeer kay Malik meri bigri ko bana day,’ lifts the spirits of the listeners in the 1955 film ‘Khatoon,’ music compose,r Rasheed Attre, songwriter, Tufail Hoshiar Puri.

Most probably, there was love in the air when Khanum lend her lilting voice to ‘Kisi nay chupkay say muskura kar badal diya hai mera fasana,’ in the 1955 film ‘Khizaan kay baad,’ music composer, Hasan Latif, lyricist, Musheer Kazmi. (To be continued...)