Tribute to Nazir Ali

Written by Inaam Nadeem

Written by Inaam Nadeem

Composer Nazir Ali

The rhythm of sound is music and Nazir Ali can best be described as master of the rhythm. With his passing away, we lost a music director with a rare skill, who made the Pakistani Punjabi film music a great form of entertainment. The compositions of Nazir Ali evince that he was an authority of the highly specialized Punjabi film compositions.

The 50s and early 60s of Pakistan music scene gave us a new breed of musicians like Nazar Hussain, Mohammad Ali Mannu, Niaz Ahmed, Mohsin Raza, Saleem Iqbal and on. As far as the Punjabi film music is concerned, those were the days of G A Chishti, Bakhshi Wazir, Tufail Farooqi and Wazir Afzal. And this was the time when Nazir Ali made his niche in the world of music.

Nazir Ali began his career as a music director in 1966, with a Punjabi film “Paida Geer”. With his God-gifted talent, he rapidly climbed the runs of the ladder and within no time, he was competing with the remarkable music composers of his period. Nazir Ali’s climb to fame began when he scored music for “Mastana Mahi” in 1971, The song “Sayoni mera mahi mere bhaag jagavan aa gaya” was a instant hit, and Nazir Ali became a busy music director. He won his first Nigar award on this film.

Nazir Ali started the popular phase of Punjabi film music in Pakistan. He left his indelible stamp on the Punjabi film music scene. There was ‘Dhamaal’ act, and then there was Nazir Ali. He had managed to infuse his own brand of into his compositions. He added his unique dash of pep and verve into Punjabi film music. He was the first music director who added a flavor of ‘Dhamaal’ into lilting Punjabi tunes, and created a brand of music so distinctly his own. Destiny unites and destiny parts this was music director Nazir Ali’s firm belief. Perhaps, it was his destiny that made him team up with super-performer Noor Jehan in 1969, starting with the most popular ‘Dhamaal’ song “Lal meri pat rakhio bhala jhole laalan” for film “Dilaan de sode”. They weaved magic together for three decades. Along with innumerable songs, Nazir Ai and Noor Jehan’s team produced some immortal dhamaals, which had swayed the seventies. Some quick examples are:
“Rakh laaj meri lajj paal” (Tuhaadi izzat da sawaal hai – 1969),
“Hussaini laal qalandar” (Aaso Billa – 1971),
“Sarkar Bari, Imam Bari” (Sajjan be parwah – 1972),
“Ae Nagri daata di Sajno” (Nagri daata di – 1974),
“Aai aan duware sakhi laal” (Dynia Pyar di – 1974),
And the high pitched “Shehbaz kare parwaz” (Maa te Maama – 1973) which is one of Noor Jehan’s best-remembered dhamaal song.

Nazir Ali with Madam Noorjehan at a Recording

Nazir Ali had a good year in 1972 with “Sultan” a film by M. Akram, featuring Naghma, Eijaz and Aaliya. The film powerfully illustrated his firm grip on such songs:
“Do dil ik mik ho jaan ge”
“Raah vich behne aan tera kii lene aan” and
“Dildar sadqe lakh vaar sadqe”. He won his next Nigar award on this beautiful composition.

Film “Khan Chacha” (1972), was also a milestone in Nazir Ali’s career. All compositions of the film are stll called as the “Best of Nazir Ali”. Such as “ Adhi raatoon dhal gai raat”, “Sajna O Belya”, “Dhiyan te dhan paraya ve babla”, “Akhan di zubaani kinni vaar samjhaya ae”.

Beside Punjabi film songs, Nazir Ali composed some super hit compositions for Urdu films too. Such as:
“Tere bina youn gharyaan beeti, jese sadyan beet gaein” (Noor Jehan, Anso – 1971),
“Jaan-e-jaan to jo kahe” (Mehi Hassan, Aanso – 1971),
“Na ab who sama hai na hai who fazaein” (Naseem Begam, Pardes – 1972),
“Jaan-e-tammna kab tak tum na pyar mera pehchano ge” (Gulam Abbas, Aashi – 1977),
“Tere qadmo mein bikhar jaane ko ji chahta hai” (Noor Jehan, Society girl – 1976),
“Kuchh dair to ruk jaao barsaat ke bahane” (Noor Jehan, Bara Aadmi – 1981).
These Urdu songs are also fresh I the memory of music lovers.

Nazir Ali’s constant effort to break musical typecast of Punjabi films and explores new possibilities came through in the music that he made. Be it the intoxicating tunes like:
“Parwah naein Oe” (Noor Jehan, Sajna door daya – 1970),
“Tere madh bhare nain mil pain” (Masood Rana, film Jeera Blade - 1973),

The mujra songs like:
“Jehre kende si maran ge naal tere” (Noor Jehan, Khoon da darya – 1973),

The fast numbers like:
“Pyar jo hoya naal tere” (Noor Jehan, Jeera Blade – 1973),
“Disco dhol vaja” (Noor Jehan, Qaidi- 1986),

 Melodious tunes like:
“Ik darshan karna sajna da” (Noor Jehan, Sir da badla – 1975),
“Teno sajde karan noon ji karda” (Noor Jehan, Lal Tofaan – 1984)

Love songs like:
“Mahi aave ga mein phullan nal dharti sajavan gi” (Noor Jehan, Qaidi – 1986),
“Rus ke tur paey o sarkaar” (Masood Rana, Khanzada - 1975),
“Zulf da kundal kulle na” (Inayat Hussain Bhatti – Dhol Jawanian Mane – 1972),

Classical mode composition:
“Payal jhanan jhan jhanke” (Mehdi Hassan, Pardes- 1972),

Duets like:
“Aai re aai re dekho kaali ghata” (Masood Rana & Mala- Aansoo- 1971),
“Ik pyari jai sohni soorat” (Noor Jehan & Mehdi Hassan, Ishq mera naa – 1974)
“Aena phull kalyan di mehfil vich” (Rajab Ali & Mala, Mastana Mahi – 1971),
“Zaroorat Pe Jaandi Ae” (Noor Jehan & Mehdi Hassan, Dildar Sadqe - 1977)

Sizzling numbers like:
“Akh lare te larai ja chup kar ke” (Nahid Akhtar, Khanzada – 1975),
“Pyaar tainon karna , mein naein darna” (Noor Jehan – Nawabzada – 1974)

Sad songs like:
“Saathon kahnoo pheriyan nein akhyan ve baabova” (Noor Jehan, Genter man – 1969),
“Bhul jaan ae sab gham dunia de” (Noor Jehan, Dilan de sode – 1969),
“Aeho chahnda sein asee mar jaayey” (Noor Jehan, Ishq mera naa – 1974)
“Mukk gaey ne hanjo nayon mukdi udeek ve” (Noor Jehan, Aaso billa – 1971),
“Vagde ne akhyan chon raavi te chana ve” (Dilan de sode – 1969), Nazir Ali had done them all.


He was brilliant at slow romantic compositions and the antara’s of such songs are so unique:
Mahya je mein kabootri hovan” (Noor Jehan, Ishq mera na – 1974),
“Mere man vich dhol sama gaya” (Noor Jehan, Maa te ma ma – 1973),
“Panjaban theth mahya” (Budha Sher – 1974) and obviously “Sayo ni mera mahi” and “Dildar sadqe”.

While making music for films, non-film music always remained Nazir Ali’s passion. He composed for ghazals occasionally and when he did, it was never gone unnoticed. Though he did as much justice to ghazals as he did to the film songs that he composed. Who can forget his non film compositinos like “Jo na mil sake wohi be wafa” and “Mein ne har kaanta teri raah ka palkon se chuna” sung by Noor Jehan.

During his memorable music career, Nazir Ali composed music for more than 140 films, producer Riza Gujjar’s film “Kamli yaar di” was his last assignment. He represented the essence of musical and social Punjabi culture in his compositions. His music was both convincing and charming. He was died on 5th of January 2003 at Lahore.

There are changing times and trends. Just think of the music we hear nowadays, which is so different to classic Punjabi film music, which our ears were accustomed to hearing during the grand era of Pakistani Punjabi film music. Nazir Ali’s excellent compositions are indeed his greatest achievements, as a music director, which stands as a musical high point as long as the Pakistani film industry exist.


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