I remember the two simple looking girls with short shirts and Patiala shalwars with straight hair singing folk songs, especially the tune ‘Menu Soda Waater Lei Dei Vei Roj Balma Kehndi’ in Uxi Mufti’s show ‘Lok Tamasha’ from PTV;s Rawalpindi center; It was early 70s and TV transmissions were in black and white. The duo was sisters Hameeda Akhtar and Nahid Akhtar, ailing from Multan. Both sisters were blessed wit nice and clear voices and could sing in tune. Solo item ‘Roj Balma Kehndi’ was a hit song by Nahid Akhtar for ‘Lok Tamasha’. The music director of the series was legendary folk singer Tufail Niazi. Then I started hosting a music programme ‘Sangat’ in 1972-73 from PTV directed by Rafique Ahmad Warraich; a Pop music show where the tunes were Eastern but the music was accompanied by AJAYS Band comprising Western instruments. All the popular and budding vocalists were invited to perform in this show. These were mostly Live recordings. We decided to try Nahid Akhtar and she clicked the moment she sang songs in this series. We tried to make her look modern; hair style and dress. At that time she rubbed shoulders with other singers who performed in this show; Tasawur Khanum, Nahid Niazi, Zahida Sultana, Bilquis Khanum, Nayyara Noor, Humera Chaudhry, Humera Rasool etc. Then producer Syed Akhtar Waqar Azim at Pakistan Television Corporation, Lahore Center launched a series namely ‘Sukhanwar’ comprising mostly ghazals. Fareeda Khanum and Nayyara Noor sang in this series and so did Nahid Akhtar. She had a good throw in her voice. It was sweet to hear and she could sing at ease on higher pitch also. Music Director Khalil Ahmad’s tune set on lower notes ‘Tum Sei Ulfat Kei Taqqaze Na Nibhaye Jaate’ clicked. Another ghazal that clicked was ‘Jahan Tera Naqsh-e-Qadam Daikhte Hain’. Nahid was very sensitive about being taken as a serious singer. Apart from the above two ghazals, ‘Kat Bhi Gai Judai Bhi Kab Yei Hua’ by poet Adeem Hashmi and composed by Muhsin Raza was a step ahead in fulfilling her desire. Another Ghazal, much later composed by M. Ashraf for Munir Niazi’s lyrics ‘Zinda Rahain Tau Kaya Hain Jo Mar Jaein Hum Tau Kaya’ is an evergreen number. Versatility: Nahid is a versatile singer with a straight, sweet and bold voice with broad range –. She justified singing ‘Thaap Tilak Sab Cheeni Re Moh Sei Nainan Milai Kei’ by Ameer Khusrow rendered initially for PTV. She started singing for Pakistani Film Industry much later; her fans remember her for the song that rated her at the top was ‘Kisi Meherbaan Nei Aa Kei Meri Zindigi Saja Di’ from music composer M. Ashraf’s film ‘Shama’. One of her songs composed by music composer A. Hameed ‘Tha Yaqeen Keh Aaei Gi Yei Raataan Kabhi’ for the movie ‘Suraiya Bhopali’ in a Qawwali format of music was a popular song of its time. Her song ‘Yei Rangeenie Naubahar Allah Allah Allah’ is indispensable in many a mehndi occasions. The song ‘Aaei Mausam Rangeele Suhaane Jiya Na Hi Maane’ originally rendered by Zubeda Khanum for Rasheed Attre’s film ‘Saat Lakh’ has been revisited by many artists. Nahid paid tribute to Zubeda Khanum by singing another hit song ‘Teri Ulfat Main Sanam Dil Nei Buhut Dard Sahe Aur Hum Chup Hi Rahe’. The popular song ‘Kisi Meherbaan Nei Aa Kar’ from te film ‘Shama’ filmed on actor Zeba was a big boost in Nahid’s career. Another song ‘Aise Mausam Main Kyun Chup Ho’ was a lilting song from the film. The song ‘Yei Duniya Rahe Na Rahe Mere Humdum’ from the film ‘Mera Naam Hei Muhabbat’, if a career boost for Babra Sharif and Ghulam Muhaudin, made Nahid Akhtar and Mehdi Hassan more popular as well. The song ‘Kutch Unki Jafaaon Nei Loota’ composed in Qawwali beat from ‘Pakeeza’ is another lilting number by Nahid. She also sang an English song ‘Some Say I Am a Sweetie’ for the film ‘Kora Kaghaz’. Why Nahid Akhtar left singing: About her leaving singing Nahid said in her BBC interview that she had taken leave from singing in 1986 as she needed rest and her meeting with journalist Asif Ali Pota for an interview was a catalyst in accepting his offer for marriage. She got married in 1994. She stated that she did not leave singing because of marriage. Though she desired to continue singing she became busy in raising her children. She denied that she was away from her fans as where ever she went; her fans recognized her and appreciated her music which she did as a full-time job as long as she sang. About the present state of music in Pakistan she stated that the music instead of being soul’s fulfillment has taken the shape of visuals for body’s needs. Our present artists should look into the future as to what impressions they are leaving behind. Passion seems missing, she commented. Nahid Akhtar was born on 26th September 1956 in Pakistan. She has 3 sisters and 4 brothers. For films playback singing she was discovered by veteran music director M. Ashraf as a teenage sensation in the mid-1970s. For a while she dominated Urdu film music as she was a successful replacement for Runa Laila who left Pakistan same year. Er inaugural film “Nanha Farishta” was released in 1974 and in the same year she climbed to the top with super hit songs in film “Shama” (mentioned above). Her stylistic mastery and trade-marked television appearances continued through the 1970s. After 25 years of absence from singing Nahid Akhtar performed for PTV in Islamabad in 2014 in an evening celebrating her comeback and paying tribute to her lifelong services to music. She sang ‘Allah Hi Allah Kiya Kareo’ (film: Pehchaan, music by Nisar Bazmi), ‘Tum Sei Ulfat Kei Taqqaze Na Nibhaye Jaate’, ‘Tutu Tutu Tu Tara Tara’, ‘Menu Soda Waater Lei Dei Vei Roj Balma Kehndi’, ‘Kalyan Na Jana Saade Naal Naal Chalo G’, ‘Pyar Kabhi Karna Na Kum Mar Jaye Gi Teri Aashi’. All the artists joined her on stage and danced to her songs including Meera, Babra Sharriff, Shahid, Sahir Lodhi, Ghulam Muhuddin, her husband Asif Pota and children. An Indian fan Arup Sarkar commented on the social media ‘I am an Indian. Partition of India deprived me to listen to these great musicians. I hope to come one day to Pakistan and travel all over. And I am 100% sure one Pakistani will call be Bhai Jaan…love u Pakistan. Love from India?’. Repertoire: Nahid repertoire of film and on-film songs is very impressive from 1974 to 1992, her active years of singing. Some of the songs, apart from those mentioned above are ‘Aaj Ham Donon’, ‘Aaj Ki Shaam Ka’, Aaj Na Socho’, ‘Aaja Meri Bahon Men’, ‘Aandhi Chali To’, ‘Aankhein Jin Ko’, ‘Aap Rooth Jate Hain’, ‘Aati Hai Pawan’ (this song was pictured on Chroma technique in my presence by Rafique Warraich for PTV with a catchy tune by Khalil Ahmad) and ‘Hamara Parcham Qaumi Parcham’ (a popular PTV’s motivational song). Ae Harim-e-Gham’, ‘Ae Matwali Badli’, ‘Aesi Chalo Na’, ‘Agli Gali Mein’, ‘Ailo Muk Geya’, ‘Aisa Lagta Hai’, ‘Aisi Chalo Na Chaal Ke Dil Mera Aa Jaye’, ‘Andheron Mein Phansi’, ‘Apna Naam Pata Likh Kar’, ‘Arz-e-Niyaz-e-Ishq’, ‘Barsaat Ka Mausam Hai’, ‘Be Shak Jaanan O’ Dhola’, ‘Be Shak Jana (Kafi)’, ‘Bhaven Hove Laraee’, ‘Bijlee Bhari Hai Mere Ang Ang Mein’, ‘Chalo Ab Se’, ‘Charhti Jawani’, ‘Dear I Love You’, ‘Dekh Kar Usko’, ‘Dekho Dekho Sanam’, Dil Dil-Dil-Dil Sambhaala’, ‘Dil Dil Guitar’, ‘Dil Ka Darwaza Khula’, ‘Dil Mein Aur To Kya’, ‘Dil Na Dena Kabhi’, ‘Dil To Keya Cheez Hai, ‘Dilbar Dilbara’ (from the film: Uff Yei Beevian), ‘Do Nain Kanwal’ (Geet from PTV’s Sukhanwar), ‘Dushmani Hum Se’, ‘Aik Khushboo Ka Jhonka’, ‘Gajray Mehken’, ‘Haaye Ri Qismat (from the film “Mohabbat Aik Kahani”), ‘Ham Ne Dekha Nahin’, ‘Hamara Parcham Qaumi Parcham’ (a popular PTV’s motivational song), ‘Hangama Hai Kayoon’, ‘Har Kharab Abad Mein’, ‘Hina Ka Rang’, ‘Ho Jeth Ji Aaj’, ‘Ho Tuhadi Aisi Taisi’, ‘Hum Ashk-e-Gham’, ‘Hum To Is Koochay Mein’, ‘Jaago Jaago Hua Savera’, ‘Jab Bhi Tujhe Dekhoon’, ‘Jab Koi Larka Aur Larki’, ‘Jan-e-Man’, ‘Janoon Mein Shaikh’, ‘Jin Par Mera Dil Dharka Tha’, ‘Kabhi Bindiya Hanse’ (a popular PTV song), ‘Kad Ley Way’, ‘Karye Pyar We’, ‘Kat Hi Gai Jawani’, ‘Kat Hi Gayee Judai’, ‘Kehte Hain Mujhe Miss’, ‘Khiltey Phoolon’, ‘Khirki Se Yun Mat’, ‘Khullam Khulla Pyar’ (with A. Nayyar), ‘Khushi Se Dil’, ‘Koi Mare Ke Jiye’, ‘Kuch Bolen Kuch Irshad’, ‘Kuch Din Se Do Pyase’, ‘Kuch Din Tou Baso’ (also rendered by Bilquis Khanum), ‘Kya Cheez Hai Sharab’, ‘Laal Laal Honton Pe’, ‘Mahkey Hain Yeh’, ‘Main Ho Gayee Dildar Ki, Hone Lagi Chubhan Pyar Ki’, ‘Main To Na Boli’, ‘Man Kabhi Jhoome’, ‘Man Ki Kewarya Kholo’, ‘Mehndi Rachegi Mere Haath’, ‘Mein Teri Mehbooba’, ‘Mera Mehboob Hai Tu’, ‘Mere Hote Huwe Tere Honton Pe’, ‘Mere Mehboob Ka Aaya Hai Mohabbat Nama’, ‘Mere Roothe Sanam’, ‘Meri Saas Hai Meri Saheli’, ‘Mohabbat Bech Dete’, ‘Mujhe Chahe Na Chahe’, ‘Mujhe Prem Ki Baat’, ‘Na Aankhen Hi Barsein’, ‘Naughty Boy’, ‘Needar Ne Kaiyyan’, ‘O’ My Love’, ‘O Re Bhanvre’, ‘O’ Sohne Yaar’, ‘Pakistan Abad Hai’, ‘Pakistan Ko Abad Dekh’, ‘Pal Pal Dekhon’, ‘Paoon Ki Dhool’, ‘Papiha Aaj’, ‘Pehron Aas Na Paas’, ‘Per Kahin Ankh’, ‘Phail Raha Hai Dharkan Dharkan’, ‘Phool Na Mehke Bahar Bina’, ‘Phoolon Ki Kiyari Hai’, ‘Phoolon Ko Hawa Mein’, ‘Phoolon Mein Gulab’, ‘Pighal Rahe They’, ‘Rang Bhari Hai’, ‘Rawaish-e-Husn’, ‘Sab Ki Ho Gayee Nazar’, ‘Sajna Aayenge Doli Laayenge’, ‘Sajna Khuda Kare’, ‘Sanson Men Khushbu Hai’, ‘Sawan Ke Din Aaye Saajna Jhoola Kaun Jhulaye’, ‘Shaoor-e-Mizaj Ki Lajawab’, ‘Sharbat Ke Badle Pila Di Sharab Tera Khana Kharab’, ‘Sharmili Aankhon Bolo’, ‘Sheeshy Ki Botal’, ‘Shikar Dopehre Wangan Wala’, ‘Sirf Ishq-o-Tabassum’, ‘Socha Tha Maine Dil Nahin Doongi’, ‘Sun Mere Saajna Phir Tumhare’, ‘Suno Suno Jo’, ‘Tamam Umar Tujhe Zindagi Ka Pyar Mile’, ‘Tarasta Hai Yeh Dil’, ‘Tera Mera Wada’, ‘Tere Khayal Ko Dil’, ‘Tere Mere Mere Tere’, ‘Tere Saath Mulaqaat Aik Raat Ki’, ‘Tere Siva Duniya Mein’, ‘Teri Gali Sei Hum’, ‘Teri Khushi Ke Liye Tera Pyar Chhor Chale’, ‘Too Ney Kaha’, ‘Touch Me If You Can’, ‘Toune Kaha Aa Aa Aa’, ‘Tune Kabhi Bhi Na Kaha’, ‘Wadi Wadi Phool Khile Wadi Wadi Rang Sajay’, ‘Yaqeen Wada Nahin’, ‘Yeh Aaj Mujko Kya Huwa’, ‘Yeh Dil Mein Rehne Wale Dil Se Nahin Nikalte’, ‘You Are Lady Killer’, ‘Zahir Ki Aankh Se’, ‘Zindagi Ke Raaston Pe’, ‘Zindagi Se Mili’ and ‘Zulfan Di Sham’. Composer M Ashraf and Nahid Akhtar: From Nahid Akhtar’s filmography one can decipher that her active years were from 1974 to 1991. She sang maximum songs for music composer M. Ashraf. Her movies in which she sang for him in 1974 were ‘Nanha Farishta’, ‘Phool Mere Gulshan Ka’, ‘Shama’ and Zanjeer’. In 1975 she sang in M. Ashraf’s films ‘Dilruba’, ‘Anari’, ‘Jab Jab Phool Khile’, ‘Bemisaal’, ‘Dilnasheen’, ‘Soorat Aur Seerat’, ‘Naukar’, ‘Muhabbat Zindigi Hei’, and ‘Arzoo’. Movies ‘Phool Aur Sholey’, Goonj Uthi Shehnai’, ‘Daikha Jaye Ga’, ‘Koshish’, ‘Diwaar’, ‘Kharidaar’, ‘Nasheman’, ‘Shabana’, ‘Insaan Aur Farishta’ were M. Ashraf’s 1976 movies in which Nahid Akhtar sang as playback singer. One can see that these were busy years for both the composer and the singer. 1977 started with M. Ashraf’s film ‘Beti’ and the spree continued with the films ‘Dard’, ‘Apne Hue Paraye’, ‘Sasural’, ‘Uff Yei Beewian’, ‘Shama-e-Muhabbat’ and ‘Muhabbat Aik Kahani’. In 1978 both worked for the films ‘Abhi Tao Main Jawan Hun’, ‘Aag Aur Zindigi’, ‘Abshaar’, ‘Saheli’, ‘Mehmaan’, ‘Intikhab’, ‘Baraat’. Films ‘Nazrana’, ‘Chalte Chalte’, ‘Nai Tehzeeb’, ‘Tarana’, ‘Miss Hong Kong’, ‘Aag’, ‘Pakeeza’, ‘Khushboo’, ‘Do Raaste’, ‘Raja Ki Aaei Gi Baraat’ were the films in 1979. In 1980 the team got together for the movies ‘Bandhan – (Urdu Colour)’, ‘Pyari – (Urdu Colour)’, ‘Mahal Mere Sapnon Ka – (Urdu Colour)’, ‘Hum Dono – (Urdu Colour)’ and ‘Badalte Mausam – (Urdu Colour)’. In 1981 the movies were ‘Yeh Zamana Aur Hai – (Urdu Colour)’, ‘Khote Sikkay – (Urdu Colour)’, ‘Lajawab – (Urdu Colour)’ and hit film ‘Qurbani’. The next year in 1982 and 1983 released were the films ‘I love you’, and ‘Nadaani – (Urdu Colour)’, ‘Aik Dujhe Ke Liye – (Urdu Colour)’. In 1984, the movies were ‘Miss Colombo – (Urdu Colour)’, ‘Naraaz – (Urdu Colour)’, ‘Direct Hawaldar – (Urdu Colour)’, ‘Miss Singapore – (Urdu Colour)’ and ‘Kamyabi’. In 1985 the movies where both artists worked together were ‘Hong Kong Kei Sholey’ and ‘Hum Sei Hei Zamana’. 1986 started with the film ‘Faisla’. The only other film was ‘Zanjeer’ this year. By this time total dominance was of Punjabi pictures being churned out. Work with other music composers: Other music composers for whom Nahid Akhtar sang songs were A. Hameed, Khalil Ahmad, Nashad, Kamal Ahmad, Nisar Bazmi, Nazir Ali, Tafu Khan, Master Inayat Hussain, Wajahat Attre and sparingly for Karim Shahbuddin, Tassaduq Hussan, M. A. Shad, Wajid Ali Nashaad, Rajab Ali and Master Rafiq Ali. Present life: Nahid Akhtar stays busy with her kids and is not actively pursuing a singing career especially after her husband Asif Ali Pota’s demise. Pota started his career as a feature writer and worked with many newspapers. Later he worked as writer and director for TV and Film industry. He died on Saturday 8th July, 2017 from cardiac arrest at the age of 55. He has left behind 2 wives, four sons and two daughters. A cheque of Rs 10 million from the Punjab government was awarded to Nahid Akhtar on February 13, 2018 in recognition of her services rendered in the field of singing. Spokesman of Punjab government Malik Muhammad Ahmad Khan handed over the cheque to the Pride of Performance award winner singer in a simple ceremony held at Alhamra Arts Complex Published in Daily Times, November 8th 2018.