|Name : Suraiyya|
|Full / Real Name : Suraiyya|
|Born : Lahore, 1929|
|Notable Films : Afsar, Anmol Ghadi, Dillagi, Mirza Ghalib, Parwana, Pyar Ki Jeet, Rustom Sohrab, Shama, Shama Parwana|
|Contributed by : K Vijay Kumar|
Suraiyya was a star first, and a singer next. In her own words, Noorjehan was born a great singer, Lata achieved greatness as a singer, and she had singing greatness thrust upon her. Starting as a child prodigy (Taj Mahal, 1941), she was the playback singer for Mahtab in Sharda (1942) under the baton of Naushad. The pint-sized singer had to stand on a stool just to reach the microphone. Her first role as singing star was in Hamari Baat (1943) and with K Asif's Phool (1944), she had arrived.
Starting as a supporting actress to Noorjehan (Anmol Ghadi, 1946) and Munawwar Sultana (Dard, 1947), she soon graduated into lead roles herself. She had the great fortune of starring opposite K L Saigal in Tadbir (1945), Omar Khaiyyam (1946) and Parwana (1947), but the privilege was probably lost upon the free-spirited Suraiyya who chafed under the enforced discipline of the film world and her grandmother's iron hand.
The 1948-49 phase saw her rise to her peak with Pyar ki Jeet (1948), Badi Bahen (1949) and Dillagi (1949). At that time she was the highest paid female star. A charming lady, her fans caused a traffic problem across her house on Marine Drive, prompting the Bombay Police to change the location of a traffic island. Her much publicized romance with co-star Dev Anand came to an end when Suraiyya's grandmother put her foot down. Suraiyya rebelled by renouncing films altogether. While Dev, who had even adopted the mannerisms of Gregory Peck, Suraiyya's favourite actor, married his Taxi Driver (1954) co-star Kalpana Kartik, Suraiyya remains single till today.
She returned to films but the magic was gone. Her performances both as a singer and actress were still accomplished in films like Mirza Ghalib (1954), Rustom Sohrab (1963) and Shama (1961) but the box-office response remained lukewarm. The much delayed Rustom Sohrab was her last film released and she has remained a virtual recluse since then.
Suraiyya had a rich earthy voice, and she was probably helped by her acting career in that she was able to bring a wide range of emotions to her singing. Her collaborations with composers Anil Biswas (rahi matavale, Waris), S D Burman (nain divane, Afsar), Ghulam Mohammad (aah ko chahiye, Mirza Ghalib; dhaDakate dil ki tamanna ho, Shama) and her mentor, Naushad (murali vale murali baja, Dillagi; ye mausam aur ye tanhayi, Dastan) were noteworthy. Among her singing co-stars, her association with Talat Mahmood resulted in songs like "dil-e-nadan tujhe hua kya hai" (Mirza Ghalib) and "rahi matavale" (Waris).
She was romanced by several of her co-stars - Rehman, Shyam and Raj Kapoor - and Dharmendra grew up idolizing her. The pin-up girl of the 40s and 50s is but a distant memory today for the aging, lonely woman in a Marine Drive flat.