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Dil-E-Nadaan Tujhe Hua Kya Hai - Suraiya Passes Away

Chitra Parayath

Suraiya passed away on January 31, 2004 following a brief illness.
When I first heard that one of my all time favorite singers had passed away, I played her songs over and over. Dil e nadan tujhe hua kya hai…
Suraiya retired from a successful career before I was born but my fascination with the singing sensation of the 40s and 50’s began when I was a child.

Suraiya’s career began when she was a mere 12 years of age when in 1941, she was cast as the young Mumtaz Mahal in Prakash Pictures’ Taj Mahal. Naushad took an immense liking to Suraiya’s singing voice and style and chose her to sing for Kardar's Sharda (1942). Legend has it that Suraiya had to stand on a stool to reach the mike to croon Panchi ja for the much-older heroine, Mehtaab.

In 1942-1943, Suraiya also sang for Naushad’s in Station Master, Kanoon and Sanjog. Suraiya acted with the singing superstar KL Saigal in Tadbir(1945), in Omar Khayyam (1946) and Parwana (1947).

In 1948 and1949 Suraiya’s star was at the brightest. She was the highest paid and most sought after heroine in Bombay. Pyar Ki Jeet, Badi Behan and Dillagi were super hits and Suraiya, the new superstar.

Suraiya and Dev Ananad’s love story is what legends are made of! Even though none of the six films (Vidya (1948), Jeet (1949), Shayar (1949), Afsar (1950), Nili (1950) and Do Sitare (1951)) they did together were hits, they nevertheless were much in love. Dev is supposed to have rescued Suraiya from drowning during the shooting of a film. Much like Sunil Dutt saving Nargis Dutt from a fire accident during the shooting of ‘ Mother India’. But then Sunil and Nargis wed soon after whereas Dev and Suraiya were never meant to be. Suraiya’s grandmother, it is rumored, threw Dev’s ring into the sea and Dev, on the rebound married Mona Singh (Kalpana Kartik). Suraiya never married.

In 1954, Suraiya starred and sang in Sohrab’s Mirza Ghalib. Who can forget the longing in her voice as she crooned Dile enadaan and Yeh na thi hamari kismet, which prompted the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to say “Tumne Mirza Ghalib ki rooh ko zinda kar diya” (You have brought to life the soul of Ghalib) while awarding Mirza Ghalib the President's gold medal.

Her duet with Talat Mahmood Man dheere dheere gaye re in Maalik (1958) and Aap se pyar hua jaata hai in Shama (1961) were well received and after Yeh kaisi ajab dastaan ho gayee hai (Rustom Sohrab) in 1963, the singer said goodbye to the studio.

Suraiya stopped acting at the age of 39, after acting in 60 odd films.
Suraiya spent the last years of her life in her flat on Marine Drive.

After Suraiya died on January 31, 2004, both her landlord and her legal advisor have staked a claim for her 2,000 square feet Marine Drive flat. There are no known legal heirs, but there have been several claimants including a long lost cousin from Pakistan. Her flats were sealed by the Maharashtra government (flats in Worli and her property in Lonavla) Her extensive collection of jewelry is supposed to be missing.

Some of Suraiya’s best
1946 -Anmol Ghadi -Surendra
1948 -Vidya -Dev Anand
1948 -Pyar Ki Jeet -Rehman
1949 -Badi Behan -Rehman
1949 -Dillagi -Shyam
1950 -Dastaan -Raj Kapoor
1954 -Mirza Ghalib -Bharat Bhushan

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