One of the singing stars of the 1940s, Suraiya had some wonderful songs to her credit. To mark her 93rd birth anniversary, we select 10 such gems.
Suraiya was also known for her relationship with Dev Anand, who she couldn’t marry because of family opposition. She cut down on films in the early 1950s, but was praised for her role in the 1954 movie Mirza Ghalib. The order here is chronological.
1 Ek Tu Ho Ek Main Hoon – Kanoon (1943)
Suraiya sang for actress Mehtab as a 12-year-old in the 1942 film Sharda. The music director Naushad approached her again for Kanoon, and this song also picturised on Mehtab was a big hit. Interestingly, Mehtab was initially reluctant to be associated with such a young singer, but was impressed after hearing her recording. Lyrics were by D.N. Madhok.
2 Man Leta Hai Angdai – Anmol Ghadi (1946)
The hit film starred Noorjehan, Surendra and Suraiya. This song, sung by Suraiya, was composed by Naushad. Tanwir Naqvi wrote the lines, “Man leta hai angdai, jeevan pe jawaani chaayi”. Suraiya sang three songs in the film, but Noor Jehan had the bigger hits ‘Awaaz De Kahan Hai’ and ‘Jawan Hai Mohabbat’.
3 Beech Bhanwar Mein – Dard (1947)
Lyricist Shakeel Badayuni got his big break with this film, and his association with Naushad thus began. This song filmed on Suraiya was composed in raag Darbari. The film also had the hit ‘Afsana Likh Rahi Hoon’, sung by Uma Devi aka Tun Tun.
4 Tere Nainon Ne Chori Kiya – Pyar Ki Jeet (1948)
This hit song was composed by Husnlal-Bhagatram in raag Pahadi, and was one of Suraiya’s biggest hits. Rajendra Krishan wrote, “Tere nainon ne chori kiya, mera chhota sa jiya, pardesiya”. Dev Anand played the male lead.
5 Tu Mera Chand Mein Teri Chandni – Dillagi (1949)
Music director Naushad and lyricist Shakeel teamed up on this evergreen classic sung and performed by Shyam and Suraiya. The lyrics were, “Tu mera chand main teri chandni, ho o o, tu mera raag main teri ragini, ho o o, nahin dil ka lagaana koi dillagi, koi dillagi”.
6 Woh Paas Rahe Ya Door Rahe – Badi Behen (1949)
Qamar Jalalabadi wrote the memorable lyrics, “Woh paas rahein ya door rahein, nazaron mein samaaye rehte hain, itna to bata de koi hamein, kya pyaar isi ko kehte hain”. Music was by Husnlal-Bhagatram, with Suraiya singing and appearing on screen. Rehman was the co-star.
7 Ta Ra Ri – Dastaan (1950)
This was an unusual song as more than actual lyrics, it consisted of syllables like, “ta ra ri” and “ta ra rum pum”. Naushad composed the peppy tune, and Shakeel wrote whatever few words it had. Suraiya sang with Mohammed Rafi, and starred opposite Raj Kapoor
8 Raahi Matwale – Waris (1954)
This song was filmed on Talat Mahmood and Suraiya in a train compartment. Music was by Anil Biswas and lyrics were by Qamar Jalalabadi. While Talat sang a large part of the song, Suraiya’s voice came in at the end.
9 Dil-e-Nadaan – Mirza Ghalib (1954)
In this film based on the life of the great Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib, Talat Mahmood and Suraiya sang one of his popular ghazals. The opening lines were, “Dil-e-nadaan tujhe hua kya hai, aakhir is dard ki dava kya hai”. Ghulam Mohammed gave the music. Suraiya appeared with Bharat Bhushan.
10 Dhadkte Dil Ki Tamanna – Shyama (1961)
Ghulam Mohammed composed this wonderful song in raag Pilu. While Suraiya sang it, it was filmed on her with Nimmi and Vijay Dutt. Kaifi Azmi wrote the words, “Dhadakte dil ki tamanna ho mera pyaar ho tum, mujhe qaraar nahin, jabse beqaraar ho tum”.
In the early 1950s, Suraiya was affected by competition on the singing front from Lata Mangeshkar and Geeta Dutt, and on the acting front from Nargis and Madhubala. Yet, her hit songs continue to be played over seven decades later.