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

By Anis Shakur
Saturday – October 12, 2019
NEW YORK (United States): ‘Socha tha mein nay kabhi dil na lagaon gee, ghairoan kay bus mein na Aaye hoon na Aaoon gee,’ Zubaida Khanum in the film ‘Aik dil do deewanay.’ Khanum was all about being positive.

As such she wanted the listeners to have the best possible experience when they listen to her songs. Example, ‘Ho ray ho bay khabar, sochta hai kiya, day rahe hai zindigi sada, loot lay pyar ka maza,’ the 1963 film, ‘Ishq per zoar naheen,’ music composer, Master Inayat Husain, poet, Qateel shifai.

The overwhelming success of the super duper song, ‘Jeeya gaye,’ took Khanum’s singing voice to the stratosphere. Not only that, ‘Jeeya gaye,’ brought her full circle to where Khanum began her journey as a vocalist. ‘Jeeya gaye tara, ra ra rum, gori nachay chum, chum chum,’ the 1964 film ‘Aik dil do deewanay,’ music composer, Tasadduq Husain, poet, Tanveer Naqui.

It seems that Khanum poured her heart and soul into recording this romantic number, ‘Mera dil dharkay, meri ankh pharkay, lay kay haath mein haath, deikho chore na daina saath,’ in the 1956 film ‘Hameeda,’ duet, Zubaida Khanum – Saleem Raza, music composer, Safdar Husain, poet, Qateel shifai, Khanum’s whole journey was dreamlike.

It was another worldly experience as is evident in this foot tapper, ‘Gari ko chalana babu, zara halkay, halkay, halkay, kaheen dil ka jam na chalkay,’ the 1956 film ‘Anokhi,’ music composer, Hasan Lateef, poet, Fayyaz Hashmi, pictured on Sheela Ramani.

Khanum was an exceptional human being. Hence, Khanum’s complain to the Almighty was a win-win for everybody as is evident in ‘Bata aye Aasmaan walay, meray naaloan pay kiya guzri, ye bijli kyon tarapti hai, chaman waloan pay kiya guzri,’ duet, Zubaida Khanum, Inayat Husain Bhatti, the 1957 film ‘Ishq-e-laila,’ music composer, Safdar Husain, poet, Qateel Shifai, pictured on Sabiha khanum – Santosh Kumar.

In fact, Khanum’s love for the fellow humans is what motivated her to singing in the films. One reflects on Khanum’s enormous input in the 1950s movies as one listens to the song, ‘Chand takay chup chup kay,’ in the 1957 film ‘Ishq-e-laila,’duet, Zubaida Khanum – Saleem Raza, music composer, Safdar Husain, poet, Qateel Shifai, pictured on Sabiha - Santosh.

Immaculate in singing, Khanum captivated the hearts and minds of the listeners becoming nationwide favorite in such songs as ‘Chalak rahi hain mastiyaan, nashay mein doop utha jahan, hui jo chandni jawan, machal gaye jawanian,’ in the 1959 film, ‘Raaz,’ duet, Zubaida Khanum –Ahmed Rushdi, music composer, Feroze Nizami, lyricist, Tufail Ahmed Jamali, pictured on Musarrat Nazeer-Ejaz.

Most definitely, every admirer was relying on the hope that Khanum would continue recording songs for years to come. One fortunate enough to sing songs. However, not, it turned out, lucky enough to the long and memorable singing career she so well deserved. Since Khanum considered herself homemaker first, she married cinematographer Riaz Bukhari, and call it quit.

Khanum passed away on Saturday, October 19, 2013, of cardiac arrest. However, not before witnessing her songs to win generation after generation of new admirers. She breathed her last in Lahore she always loved- and loved her back. Better yet, Khanum lived seventy-eight years and her life was a blessing to Pakistan. Khanum left behind two sons and two daughters.

Six years after her demise, Khanum’s innumerable adorers gaze spellbound at her images of gentle peacefulness. Finally yet importantly, Zubaida Khanum’s inimitable singing voice has been, is, and I hope that it will be duplicated but not equaled and it never will.

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.