Noor Jehan Biography


BornSeptember 21, 1926 in Kasur, Punjab, British India
DiedDecember 23, 2000 in Karachi, Pakistan  (heart failure)
Birth NameAllah Wasai

In Pakistan after 1947, Noor Jehan played lead actress roles in films Chann Way (1951)Dopatta (1952) Paatey Khan (1955) Chhu Mantar (1958) Koel (1959). Noor Jehan also was the lead vocalist for film songs in all the above listed films.Then,of course, she continued with her film-song singing career in Pakistan until the early 1990s.She sang hundreds of hit film songs in both Punjabi and Urdu languages,became a music icon in Pakistan as a result of this.She passed away on Dec.23, 2000 in Karachi, Pakistan.

Noor Jehan was born in the village Kot Murad Khan, near Kasur, Punjab,Pakistan on Sept. 21, 1926. Her birth name was Allah Wasai. At the age of 6, she appeared on stage in the city of Calcutta for stage director Dewan Sardari Lal as Baby Noor Jehan. In 1935, she sang on stage for the famous musician Ghulam Ahmad Chishti in Calcutta.Pancholi Studio owner Dalsukh Pancholi gave her first big break in Lahore in his film Gul-E-Bakavli (1939).Her first big hit came with the film Khandan (1942) and Zeenat (1945). Then she married producer-director of this film Shaukat Hussain Rizvi. In 1947, when the British divided old India into India and Pakistan, Noor Jehan (I) and her husband Shaukat Hussain Rizvi migrated to Lahore,Pakistan to make their films in Pakistan. Noor Jehan continued to act and sing as a playback singer in Pakistani films until 1961.In 1961,she wanted to focus on raising her children and spend more time with them,so she gave up acting in films and just continued her singing as a film playback singer until 1993.Due to advanced age and bad health,she quit her singing on the advice of her doctors. She died in Karachi,Pakistan on Dec.23,2000 at age 74, where she was living under the care of her daughter and son-in-law.She was known as a music icon in both Old Undivided British India and Pakistan among the public due to her thousands of hit film songs that she left behind.

Lata Mangeshkar commented on Noor Jehan’s vocal range that Noor Jehan could sing as low and as high as she wanted and that the quality of her voice always remained the same.Noor Jehan made great efforts to attend ‘Mehfils'(live concerts)of Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Roshanara Begum and Ustad Salamat Ali Khan.The close association with the stalwarts of classical music built a solid foundation in music for Noor Jehan.She had the intelligence to employ her knowledge of classical music skillfully into her singing of ‘ghazal’and ‘geet’.Singing did not come easily to Madam Noor Jehan.She put her heart and soul into recording songs.Singing was,for Noor Jehan,not effortless but an emotionally and physically draining exercise.She was continuously working hard to maintain and improve the quality of her singing voice.


Ejaz Durrani(19 October 1959 – 28 April 1971) ( divorced) ( 3 children)
Ejaz Durrani(1959 – 1970) ( divorced) ( 3 children)
Shaukat Hussain Rizvi(1942 – 1953) ( divorced) ( 3 children)


She was a singer trained in the classical tradition of dhrupad, khayaal and thumri- ancient styles of Hindustani devotional music.
Following her retirement from her acting film career in 1963, she became Pakistan’s most popular playback singer of film songs both in Punjabi and Urdu languages.
In Pakistan, she sang film songs for over 40 years. Her singing career spanned from the 1930s to the early 1990s, when her doctors advised her to quit singing due to her poor health and age.
Was known as the “Elizabeth Taylor” of the Pakistan entertainment industry because of her many marriages.
Grandmother of actress Sonya Jehan.One of Noor Jehan’s daughters,Zille Huma,herself is a TV performer in Pakistan, and is married to Olympic Field Hockey player Hasan Sardar. Before her death in 2000, Noor Jehan stayed in their home in Karachi and was under their care in her old age.
She was the grand dame of the Pakistani film industry. When younger, she was a renowned actress, and even quite late in life she was the most in-demand and popular female playback singer for lively Punjabi and Urdu songs.