5 Performing Artists That Made A Difference


Muhammad Ali

The late Pakistani actor, producer and social worker, Mohammad Ali was born on 12th April 1931 and was crowned as “Shehenshah-e-Jazbaat” for the versatility he displayed in the over 250 characters he brought to life.

After completing his B.A from City College, Ali started his journey through radio Pakistan which eventually led to the beginning of his film career. His successful debut performance in “Chiragh Jalta Raha” in 1962 paved the way for his successful film career with the film, “Khamosh Raho” being the highlight of his journey.

Ending his acting journey in 1995, Ali is also remembered for being the Cultural Minister of Pakistan, helping to improve the condition of the Pakistani film industry. Along with his wife Zeba, he set up a foundation for the treatment of thalassemia which helped many lives.

After receive 10 Nigar awards, the Pride of Performance award in 1984 and the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz, he passed away in 2006 due to a heart attack.

Noor Jehan

The Queen of Melody, Madam Noor Jehan was undoubtedly one of the icons of the Pakistani music industry.

Music was something that ran in her blood and she was pushed by her parents from a very early age towards singing and was specially trained in the art of music.

Introduced to the stage through the Punjabi musician Ghulam Ahmed Chisti, Madam has recorded around 10,000 songs in various languages including Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu.

Noor Jehan, alongside her singing, also acted in a number of films and became the first female film director in Pakistan with her hit movie, “Chan Wey.”

She received the President’s Award in 1965 for her acting and singing prowess, especially the patriotic songs she sung during the Pakistan-India war and is still remembered dearly both for her contributions to the entertainment industry as well as the elegance and grace with which she carried herself.

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

The great Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan described Qawali as being “Enlightenment” and through his soulful music, he tried to enlighten the masses.

Coming from a long line of Qawals, Ustad Nusrat had an extraordinary range of vocals capacity which earned him the title, “Shehensah-e-Qawali.”

This Faisalabad born music icon made his first public appearance at the young age of sixteen and became the leader of his family Qawali party in 1971. He was later signed by the Oriental Star Agencies in Britain which helped him make Qawali universal with him performing in over forty countries.

His first Pakistani hit was the piece, “Hey Ali Ali” and he later contributed to both the Bollywood and Lollywood cinema.

Listed in CNN’s most iconic musicians list, he received the UNESCO music prize in 1995 and also earned the Pride of Performance award by the President of Pakistan as well as numerous other awards.

He is remembered today as the greatest musician of his genre.

Waheed Murad

“Mujhe tum kabhi bhi bhula na sako gay.”

Known as much for his devastatingly handsome looks as his prowess in acting, the “Chocolate Hero” Waheed Murad was born on 2nd October 1938 in Sialkot.

After completing his Masters in English Literature, he started his film career by producing the film, “Insaan Badalta hay” in 1960.

Starting as a supporting character in the film “Aulaad” to ending his film journey with “Zalzala,” he has acted in over 125 films receiving a total of 32 awards such as the Nigar awards as well as the Rooman awards most notably for his extraordinary performance in the movie, “Armaan.”

Waheed Murad’s last years were very trying for him as he had lost his status of being the most sought after hero and felt very disillusioned. He passed away in the November of 1983 and was awarded the “Sitara-e-Imtiaz” 27 years after his death and is still remembered as the greatest actor Pakistan ever produced

Nazia Hassan

“God Almighty had showered Nazia with all the bounties, except the length of age.”

There are some people who leave a lasting impression and Nazia Hassan, the “Nightingale of the East,” was one such person.

Born into an affluent Pakistani family in London, Nazia first earned recognition at the tender age of fifteen, with her song, “Aap Jaisa Koi.” Her musical career included four albums, with the first three being extremely popular.

Most of her songs were collaborations with her brother Zoheb Hassan and they gained recognition not only in Pakistan and India but also universally.

Crowned as the “Queen of South Asian Pop,” Nazia was the youngest recipient at fifteen to earn the Filmfare award. She also received the Pride of Performance award and was recognized for her philanthropic efforts worldwide which led to her becoming the UNICEF goodwill ambassador for children rights in 1991.

Despite her untimely death in 2000, when she lost her battle to cancer, Nazia Hassan remains one of the most iconic figures in Pakistan’s music history.

Written by Maryam Mudassar



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