It was the third day of Eid-ul-Azha. Late at night i was sitting with my family and watching TV when my cell phone beeped. It was an sms from a friend informing me about the death of legendary singer Zubaida Khanum.
We are both great fans of her melodious songs. Although she passed away in her late 70s living her life to the fullest it was sad news for all music lovers. The news tinged the happy endings of Eid and harked back a lot of people into the past of 50s and 60s when the melodious singer used to rule the Lollywood industry. She was a remarkable playback singer of Urdu and Punjabi songs.
Zubaida Khanum, eldest in her siblings, was born in Amritsar in 1935 and moved to Pakistan with her family after 1947. She has passion for singing since her childhood and was first spotted singing in her school. She faced lot of opposition from her family over singing because no one in her family ever did this before. Instead of paying beed to any criticism she pursued her passion and soon became one of the top most singers of Pakistan. She recorded almost 250 songs during her career and among those more than 150 became super hit.
Now the elderly who were young in the era of 50s recall how they remained glued to radio sets to listen the soul-stirring songs of Zubaida khanum. “It was a time when beautiful voices like Zubaida Khanum and Madam Noor Jehan used to rule the airwaves of radio and our film industry was doing its best,” said Mr Altaf Hussain who was a student at that time and was a big fan of her.
The new generations may know little about the legendary singer but they cherish her songs ‘Aaye Mausam Rangeelay Suhaane’ played or sung a almost every wedding. Similarly, a famous naat ‘Shaahe-e-Madina’ commonly sung at mild’s and religious event was first sung by Zubaida Khanum.
Khanum was first introduced in the film “Billoo” in 1951, but it was her playback singing in ‘Shehri Babu’ in 1953 that took her to the heights of stardom in the Pakistani film industry. Besides singing for many popular films like ‘Sarfansh, ‘Hameeda’, ‘Sath Lakh’, ‘Baghi’. Khanum also acted in a handful of films including ‘Morni’ and ‘Patey Khan’ alongside the late Noor Jehan.
Khanum got married to Riyaz Bokhari when she was at the height of her career. After marriage she quit singing and showbiz industry in all probability due to pressure of becoming a housewife. She was a loyal wife. Prior to her marriage she enjoyed a wonderful reputation and was never involved in any scandal, which is a rare thing for an artist as the industry was fully booming. She restricted herself only to domestic chores and concentrated on her children’s upbringing. She even restrained herself from attending any showbiz activity or appearing in TV shows for any interview.
Her death has broken another thread to the memories of bygone days. Although she is no more present among us but her mollifies songs are still heard and are integral part of our joys. She left this mortal world at the age of 78 on 19th October which was the death anniversary of her husband; but she will live forever in the hearts of her fans.