Monday, January 4, 2010


For the lovers of ghazal, pop,fusion and disco music there is good news. The famous Bangaladesi singer, Runa Laila, after about two decades, is making a comeback in the Indian music scene with an album being released by Music Today. The album 'The Great Big Punjabi Wedding"contains 8 tracks of Punjabi songs sung by Runa Laila.
Music lovers will remember the successful and very popular presence of Runa Laila in the 60s and 70s in Indian music as a wonderful singer, stage performer and playback artist.She burst into the scene with her super hit song,'Dama dum Mast Qalandhar'[lyrics- Purnam Allahabadi. Music: Nisar Basmi) followed by the song 'Mere Babu Chhail Chhabila' from film Har jeet. She sang for several great music directors like Jaidev, Kalyanji Anandji, Laxmikant Pyarelal and Bappi Lahiri for films like Ek se badkar ek, Gharonda, Agnipath, Sapnom ka soudagar etc.,The songs 'Do Deewane shahar mein [Gharonda ] and 'Main kali anaarki' [Sapnom ka soudaaghar ]were super hits. In those days of her success and fame she got big press coverage and rave reviews in film publications.What made her stage programs a great hit was her sexy voice, personal charm,glamorous presence on stage and her capacity to shape the mood of the audience and to gel with it. Her stage shows were visual treats. She did several stage programs with Muhammad Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Kalyanji Anandji and Laxmikant Pyarelal.
But from the early 80s she started fading away and by the end of the 80s she disappeared from the Indian music scene inspite of her huge talent and success.The 'polytricks' of the industry was then cited as the reason for her return to Bangladesh eventhough she had denied this in one of her recent interviews.
Among my collection of gramophone records I have two of her successful discs. One is the ,'Superuna, Bappilahari Presents RunaLaila'. It contains ten disco songs tuned by Bappi Lahari and recorded in 24 track stereo at the EMI's London studio. The album has in it 'Disco Premi,' 'Suno Suno', and the most popular 'De De Pyar De'. Another disc with me is 'Great Ghazals'- RunaLaila- Style' containing ten ghazals which bring out the subtle nuances of her voice. Yet another disc is 'Sincerely Yours- RunaLaila' containig ten ghazals penned by Surayya Tabassum, Ghulam Quadir and Sheba Akhtar. Perhaps the best ever album of RunaLaila is 'O P Nayyar Presents- The Loves of RunaLaila' containing ten semiclassical songs composd by the great O.P. Nayyar. The album also contains the song Dama Dum Mast Khalandar and Mera Babu Chhail Chhabile. The fact that Runa Laila could successfully cope with Nayyar's musical magic spoke volumes about her talent. No wonder Nayyar had to admit that after Asha Bhosle it was RunaLaila who understood his compositions best. Runa Laila also has the distinction of earning an entry in Guinnes Book recording 30 semiclassical songs in 3days.

Hoping that her second coming to Indian music world will be a greater success than her first.

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