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Noor Jehan was an internationally renowned Pakistani singer and actress who worked in both India and Pakistan. She was a multilingual performer who could sing in several languages, including Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi, and Sindhi, and had over 10,000 songs recorded during her career. She was born in British India into a Muslim family with a rich musical tradition and was exposed to the world of show business at a young age. At the age of five, she began singing and received early training in classical singing from Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. He later introduced her to the stage, and she quickly developed into a talented and self-assured performer. Along with singing, she developed an interest in acting and made her first film appearances as a child actor. With time, she developed into a stunning young woman with a golden voice and landed her first adult role in the critically acclaimed Hindi film ‘Khandaan.’ She relocated to Pakistan following India’s 1947 partition and struggled for several years to establish herself. She went on to achieve great success in Pakistani cinema and music as a result of her determination and hard work. In Pakistan, she was dubbed Malika-e-Tarannum (the Queen of Melody).

Childhood & Adolescence

Noor Jehan was born Allah Rakhi Wasai on 21 September 1926 in Kasur, Punjab, British India, as one of eleven children into a large Muslim family. Madad Ali and Fateh Bibi, her parents, were both professional musicians.

Her parents encouraged their children to sing from an early age, and Allah Rakhi in particular appeared to be endowed with a unique talent.

She began singing around the age of five, and her mother immediately recognized her daughter’s potential and arranged for her to receive early classical singing training under Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan.

Khan taught her the traditions of Hindustani classical music’s Patiala Gharana and the classical forms of thumri, dhrupad, and khyal, and she demonstrated considerable versatility in her singing styles.

She made her stage debut at the age of six in the city of Calcutta under the stage name Baby Noor Jehan for stage director Diwan Sardari Lal. She was discovered a few years later by Punjabi musician Ghulam Ahmed Chishti, for whom she sang in 1935.

Career of Noor

During the 1930s, her entire family relocated to Calcutta in the hope of providing opportunities for her daughters to pursue film careers. Diwan Sardari Lal, the theatre’s owner, introduced the family to several producers. Noor Jehan and her sisters appeared in the Punjabi film ‘Pind di Kuri’ directed by K.D. Mehra in 1935.

Film offers began pouring in for the emerging singer-turned-cum actress, and she was soon cast in the film ‘Missar Ka Sitara’ (1936). Jehan also portrayed Heer as a child in the film ‘Heer-Sayyal’ (1937). All of the Punjabi films in which she acted and sang were shot in Calcutta.

Noor Jehan relocated to Lahore in 1938, and her career skyrocketed. Ghulam Haider, a renowned music director, became her mentor and composed songs for her to sing. This aided her enormously in establishing herself as a singer.

She was also very interested in pursuing a career in acting. She starred in her first adult role opposite Pran in 1942’s ‘Khandaan’. The film was a critical and commercial success, prompting her to relocate to Mumbai with director Syed Shaukat Hussain Rizvi, whom she later married.

When India was partitioned in 1947, Jehan relocated to Pakistan and settled in Karachi with her family. The years immediately following the partition were extremely difficult for her, despite her determination to rebuild her career.

She received her first major break in Pakistan in 1951, when she starred opposite Santosh Kumar in the film ‘Chan Wey’. Additionally, she co-directed this film with her husband, making her Pakistan’s first female director.

She remained involved with her family for the next few years, during which her marriage fell apart and ended in divorce.

However, her career flourished during the 1950s, and she starred in and sang for numerous hit films, the most notable of which was 1956’s ‘Intezar,’ in which she played a blind singer. It went on to become one of her most successful singles.

In 1959, Noor Jehan married for the second time. She continued to perform solo throughout the 1970s and 1980s, but her later years were somewhat disappointing. She concluded her musical career with the Punjabi song ‘Ki Dam Da Bharosa Yaar’ in ‘Sakhi Badshah (1996).

Significant Works of Noor

Her debut film, ‘Khandaan,’ in which she starred opposite Pran, established her as a highly sought after actress and cum singer. She played Zeenat in the film, which was primarily a musical about a man who is seduced by a gold-digging woman.

Her portrayal of a blind singer in the 1956 film ‘Intezar’ received widespread acclaim. For this film, she performed several of her most memorable songs, including ‘Chand Hanse Duniya Base’, ‘Aa Bhi Ja’, ‘O Janewale R’e, and ‘Jis Din Se Piya Dil Le Gaye’.

Lata Mangeshkar, a prominent Indian singer, once stated that ‘Intezar’ was one of her favorite Pakistani musical scores.

Awards and Accomplishments

She was the recipient of several prestigious awards, including the Government of Pakistan’s Pride of Performance Award in 1965.

Personal History and Legacies

In 1942, she married Shaukat Hussain Rizvi. The couple divorced in 1953 after having three children. In 1959, she married Ejaz Durrani. Her second marriage resulted in the birth of three additional children and also ended in divorce.

She had heart problems and was diagnosed with angina pectoris, necessitating surgery to implant a pacemaker. She died of heart failure on 23 December 2000.

 Estimated Net Worth

Noor is one of the wealthiest and most popular Movie Actresses. Noor Jehan’s net worth is estimated to be around $5 million, based on our analysis of Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.