When movie making started, this kind were pretty much the norm worldwide. Actors who could sing. (Gender neutral statement)
With the advent of playback singing, sadly the singers would lend their voice to the faces on the screen who would just lipsync to the lines and had no specific need to be able to sing themselves. As a result the numbers of multifaceted performers dwindled rapidly.
She was born today in the same year as the Nightingale of India, Lata didi. Suraiya Jamal Shaikh, was better known mononymously. She entered the big, bad world of films as a child and started singing for herself from very early years.
She continued to be the rage and pretty much ruled the psyche, eyeballs and hearts of the moviegoers in India.
In her heyday, she was known as Malika-e-Husn (queen of beauty), Malika-e-Tarannum (queen of melody) and Malika-e-Adakari (queen of acting). Although not stunningly beautiful, her heavy lidded eyes had enough charm and hypnotism to sway a generation or two.
I liked her most in Mirza Ghalib, where she suffered the presence of a very wooden actor in the eponymous role. She looked , emoted and sang really soulfully in the movie.
This is another wonderful song from Badi Behen, where she acts as the older sister who sacrifices her happiness to save her wayward younger sibling, something of a wastrel who is seduced (& impregnated) by the omnipresent villain of the times, Pran.
Husnalal Bhagatram’s musical score well complemented by great lyrics from Qamar Jalalabadi who also contributed to the dialogues with Rajinder Singh Bedi.
Suraiya showed what true love is, by never considering getting married to another, after her family (a grandma) nixed her getting hitched to Dev Anand. He moved on, the eternal butterfly, she remained steadfast and devoted.
Here’s to you, lady, you are remembered and live on in our hearts and minds…. You would have been 92 today and your music and voice is as fresh as it was then.
Stay safe folks, stay healthy and away from the Chinese. Take the jab