Kausar Fatima describes the portfolio of an endearing crooner
The opening music of the song Chali chali re chali re bari aas laga ke chali re gives a forlorn impression that is then magnified by the very soft voice of Naheed Niazi rendering it. The profound impression of heartbreak was very adequately conveyed by Naheed Niazi and the song came through as one of the primary expositions of loneliness and the helplessness associated with it. The song catapulted Naheed Niazi to the very front of Pakistani popular music scene and she became a recognised voice nationally.
Naheed Niazi’s rise coincided with the search for new voices for playback as the music industry lacked this facility. She had a well-groomed voice and was trained for music. Her voice was unique as her low-range was very well compensated with the inherent mellifluousness that added flavour to whatever she sang. All leading composers took advantage of the unusual tenor of her voice.
Naheed Niazi became the popular playback singer of the golden age of Pakistani popular music and she was given very intricate compositions to sing confirming her abilities as an accomplished vocalist. She was given a chance to perform by legendary music director Khurshid Anwar who spotted the extra-softness in her voice. He fully exploited her sonorous vocal chords in an exceptional tune Mohe piya milan ko jaane de bairanya that reflects the outstanding haunting style of the composer. Khurshid Anwar has mastered this unique style of music composition and Naheed Niazi’s calm vocal chords did wonders to his compositions. This intricate composition was very ably sung by Naheed Niazi and it became very popular establishing her as a national performer.
She was given another exceptionally melodious composition to sing Raqs mein hai sara jahan, a very unconventional mix of Arabic and Pashto motives that she sang with verve. The central idea of the song required a subdued voice expressing joy and Naheed’s voice was very well suited to such feelings. Another song Na koi sayyan mera is again a very intricate composition and only a talent like Naheed Niazi could do justice to it. This song has become a classic as its range is very strange and its fixation quite unconventional.
Daughter of Sajjad Sarwar Niazi, a director at Radio Pakistan, Naheed Niazi had a natural singing talent that was recognised by most composers. Her star rose further when she sung her father’s composition Ek baar phir kaho zara that is still frequently remixed. The song is a long description of hidden feelings of a well-ordered mind trying to portray emotions very lucidly.
She married a Bengali music composer Muslehuddin from the then East Pakistan and the duo gave scintillating compositions that include Jaag taqdeer ko jaga loun gi, Mera kaha kabhi maan lou, Raat saloni aayi with Ahmed Rushdi, Samajh na aayey dil ko kahan, Raat chali hai jhoom kai with Ahmed Rushdhi and Ae aasmaan. Raat chali hai jhoom ke is an exceptional composition that still fascinates music-lovers who marvel at the unusual movement of its notes.
The creation of Bangladesh put Naheed Niazi in a quandary as she was married to Bengali but then the couple decided to shift to London. Muslehuddin passed away in 2003 but Naheed Niazi moves between her children in the UK and America. Her music legacy is well-revered in the music circles of Pakistan. The Weekender