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Noor Jehan

Biography

Born in Punjab in 1926, Noor Jehan's story is intimately tied to India's partition after British rule. She became a singing star in the Bombay film industry in the 1940s, only to return to Pakistan after partition and stay there for decades (until her triumphant return to Bombay for a film celebration in 1982). Classically trained under Ghulam Mohammed Khan, Jehan was a child star in the Calcutta and Punjab film industries. Even at a young age her voice drew attention, but it wasn't until 1941's Urdu-language film Khandaan that Jehan established herself as a huge box office draw in both India and Pakistan. Hindi films like Nadan, Dost and Lal Haveli followed, and her 1945 turn in Zeenat was remarkable not only for her acting but also because it's widely credited with introducing qawaalis into the film repertoire. After a few stormy marriages (and after giving birth to six children), Jehan quit acting in the 1960s and concentrated on her singing until she died in 2000.

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