The golden era of the Pakistan Film Industry is credited with producing some of the most memorable films to have come out of the South Asian sub-continent. The yesteryear stars with their grace and brilliant on-screen presence coupled with delightfully artistic direction and strong story-lines kept the audiences enthralled all through the ’50s till the end of the ’70s. And then there was of course the music.
To this day, no Pakistani film can be considered complete without a soundtrack that includes at least 5 to 6 original songs. This trend was set during the very inception when song and dance became an integral part of Pakistani cinema. And while filmmakers continue to produce musicals and audiences continue to look forward to humming along to their rhythm, truth be told, we have not yet been able to replicate the musical magic of the early days.
However, despite the fact that some of the most remarkable music was produced during the golden era, we have not been able to pass on the legacy to our younger generation. The millennials are hardly aware of the genius of our veteran musicians.
So, we decided to take it upon ourselves to introduce the 21st century kids to classic Pakistani songs that every Pakistani should at least hear once!
In no particular order, here’s our selection!
Ko Ko Koreena
This iconic song was sung by (late) Ahmed Rushdi for the 1966 blockbuster film, Armaan. Ko Ko Koreena was picturized on Pakistani cinema’s original chocolate hero, Waheed Murad.
Akele Na Jana
Armaan was not just known for its beloved leads, Waheed Murad and Zeba but is also remembered for its brilliant music. Akele Na Jana is among the most memorable Pakistani songs of all time.
Payal Mein Geet Hain Cham Cham Ke
Iqbal Bano breathes magic into this beautiful song with her powerful voice. Payal Mein Geet Hain Cham Cham Ke was picturized on Sabiha Khannum for the 1954 film, Gumnaam.
Kuch Log Rooth Kar Bhi
Waheed Murad and Shabnam mezmerized the audiences with their adorable antics in this evergreen song for the 1969 hit, Andaleeb.
Kabhi Mein Sochta Hoon
Aaina still ranks among the highest grossing pakistani films. The 1977 movie is remembered for the chemistry between its leads, Shabnam and Nadeem and of course, for the brilliant soundtrack that was full of memorable melodies. Kabhi Mein Sochta Hoon was sung by the Shehansha of Ghazal, Mehdi Hassan sahab.
Sung by the Queen of Melody, Madam Noor Jehan for the 1966 film, Sawaal, the song was picturized on Madam Sahiba Khannum. Lat Uljhi is not just a song but for many in Pakistan, it’s an oft repeated pop culture reference.
Jo Bacha Tha
Arriving at the conclusion of the 1972 hit, Umrao Jaan Ada, Jo Bacha Tha was immortalized by the powerful vocals of Madam Noor Jehan and the heart-wrenching performance of Rani on whom it was picturized.
Produced for the 1952 film, Dupatta, Chandni Raatein was both sung by and shot on Madam Noor Jehan. Ove rthe years there have been many remixes of Chandni Raatein but none come close to the original.
Three Cheers for Bhabi
This hip-hop, happy-go-lucky number is from the 1967 film, Devar Bhabi. Sung by Ahmed Rushdi, it was shot on Waheed Murad and Sabiha Khannum.
Hum Bhool Gaye
Hum Bhool Gaye Re har Baat continues to be a favourite on radio stations in Pakistan. Sung by Naseem Begum, the song was picturized on the three most iconic stars of Pakistani cinema, i.e. Shamim Ara, Darpan and (his wife) Nayyara Sultana for the 1960 film, Saheli.
It was also copied in its entirety for the 1990 Indian film, Souten Ki Beti.
Jab Koi Payar Se Bulaye Ga
Sung by Mehdi Hassan sahab and lip-synced by Mohammad Ali sahab for the 1969 film, Zindagi Kitni Haseen Hai, Jab Koi Pyar Se Bilaye Ga is one song that no one can possibly ignore.
Ik Urran Khatola Ayega
Sung by Ahmed Rushdi and shot on Irania actor, Raza Fazli, this entertaining number was produced for the 1970 film, Jane Bon 008.
Dila Thehr Ja Yaar Da Nazara Lain De
This Punjabi number was picturized on real-life husband and wife and Pakistani cinema’s first power couple, Sabiha Khannum and Santosh Kumar. It was sung by Munir Hussain for the 1958 hit, Mukhra.
Mausam Haseen hai Laikin
Again, the protagonists in this song were life partners off-screen; and on-screen, they remained a force to reckon with for almost three decades. Ahmed Rushdi’s lively vocals and Zeba and Mohammad Ali’s fun-in-the-snow made this song an instant hit. Mausam Haseen Hai Lekin was produced for the 1967 film, Aag.
Gaye Gi Duniya
What better way to end this list than with the hauntingly beautiful, Gaye Gi Duniya. Picturized on Madam Sabiha Khannum, the song was sung by Madam Noor Jehan for the 1962 film, Mousiqar.