Aawaz De Kahan Hai
Film: Anmol Ghadi
Singer: Noor Jehan
For millions of Pakistanis, Noor Jehan is the ultimate ‘Malika – E- Tarannum’ – the queen of melody. But Indians are also not far behind in appreciating her great musical talent. In fact, it was in Hindi films where she tasted real fame for the first time as a ravishing teenage beauty who could act and sing. Before migrating to Pakistan, Noor Jehan sang many a hit Hindi film song but none more popular than this number created for the 1946- film ‘Anmol Ghadi’.
In spite of the presence a bevy of beautiful songs like Jawan Hai Mohabbat, Aaja Meri Barbaad Mohabbat Ke Sahaare and Kya Mil Gaya Bhagwan by Noor Jehan, Aawaz De Kahan Hai remains the highlight of this memorable film soundtrack. It remains a song representing Noor Jehan’s signing off in style from Hindi film music.
Actually it is not even her solo, but a duet sung with Surendra and also picturized on them. Surendra – a popular handsome actor in Forties was a modest singer at best and that guileless simplicity shows in this song. But it’s Noor Jehan’s wonderfully honed, robust yet sensitive voice with that endearing touch of rusticity, which lifts this superb Naushad- composition to great heights.
So it was no wonder when on February 11,1982, Noor Jehan chose this very song to sing in a live programme ‘Mortal Men, Immortal Melodies’ staged in Mumbai’s famous Shanmukhanand Hall as a celebration for her coming back to perform in India for the first time after Partition. Dilip Kumar – once her co-star in the Forties film Jugnu, then gave words to the sentiments of all Indian music lovers in his inimitable Urdu, "Aap Jitane Din Humse Door Rahi Hain, Theek Utane Hi Din Hum Sabne Aap Ko Yaad Kiya Hai." ("We all have remembered you every single day, since the day you left us.") The audience responded with a thunderous applause and quite a few eyes turned misty.
Offering sincere apologies to her co-actor-singer Surendra, who was also present in the audience, Noor Jehan sang this song alone, swaying hypnotically to the tune of that mesmerizing music, even humming the intermittent orchestration pieces. It was a vintage performance and a perfect song choice for her ‘home-coming’. It was as if the years of parting had melted away in a flash.
With the poignant lyrics portraying the passion and pain of parted lovers, seeking each other through the worldly maze and lamenting their loss, the song still evokes a strong sense of nostalgia for that lost era when world map was devoid of one seemingly impenetrable boundary!