Down the memory lane with Naheed Akhtar
LAHORE: Flowers, illuminations, an elegantly decorated stage, live orchestra, a large responsive audience and some superb singing by Naheed Akhtar after some 30 years defined the evening held by the Lahore Arts Council to pay tributes to the prolific playback singer at Alhamra, The Mall, on Saturday.
Clad in a shocking green embroidered sari, Ms Akhtar when appeared on the stage with anchor Ayesha Sana was given a standing ovation by the audience with a long round of thunderous applause.
A keyed up Akhtar, overjoyed to see the crowd’s response and number announced she would be resuming her singing career after some 30 years.
“I am extremely happy to see my fans in such a large number. This is basically due to the love of people for me that I have decided to resume to my singing career,” the singer said.
Remembering early days of her singing, she shared with the audience that how she felt nervous when she first got an opportunity to sing with maestros like Madam Noor Jahan and Mehdi Hassan.
“While singing my first song with Mehdi Hassan — ‘Hum Nay Khud Chera Hai Piyar Kay Afsanay Ko’ — I was shaky and nervous but Mehdi Hassan encouraged me saying I should not bother that I was singing with him, I should sing the way I am and that gave me a lot of confidence”.
Similarly, she said, when she sang with Madam for the first time ‘Yar Jadon Chori Chori Yar Nu Bulaye’, she received appreciation from her when she said: ‘Naheed Akhtar has a great throw in her voice’.
When asked to list the film heroines who best suited her melodious voice, Naheed mentioned Shabnam, Rani and Babra Sharif. All these heroines tried to do justice with the expressions in the song, she said.
Naheed said she would soon make a comeback and hopefully sing for different channels. “I have no plans to launch an album,” she added.
Shabnam Majeed, Saima Jahan and Hamid Ali Khan paid tributes to Naheed by singing songs sung by her. Shabnam Majeed stole the show by singing ‘Zinda Rahain To kiya Hai Mer Jaien Hum To Kiya and Kisi Mehrban Nay Aa Kay Meri Zindagi Bana Di.
The most exciting part of the evening was when Naheed sang for the audience with the same throw appreciated by Madam Noor Jahan decades back. She sang some popular film songs and some regional songs such as Tha Yaqeen Kay Aie Gi Ye Rattan Kabhi and Jani o Yar Jani Dibar Dildar Jani and Kalaina Na Jana Saday Nal Nal Challo Ji.
Another catchy segment of the evening was the selected film songs picturised on different leading actors and actresses of 70s and 80s. Some of the tunes were so catchy that audience could help dancing to.
LAC Board of Governors chairman Attaul Haq Qasmi presented a Rs0.5 million cheque to the singer, besides a Kamal-e-Fun medal on behalf of the Council.