Nazia Hassan: The Queen of South Asian Pop Music

Remembering the unforgettable Nazia Hassan

Nazia Hassan was one of a kind; her exceptional singing talent, her attractive personality and her charitable deeds had always set her apart. Nazia made her first television appearance in PTV’s children’s program Kaliyon ki Mala in 1975. Not many people at that point in time could perceive that this little girl in the coming years would become one of the best singers in South Asia. According to Dawn news the Indian film star Feroz Khan met 15 year old Nazia at a party in London. Feroz had earlier approached music composer Biddu to compose a track for his upcoming film Qurbani.  Biddu, despite initially turning down Feroz’s offer later agreed to compose the song with Nazia as the solo vocalist. The song “App Jaisa Koi“became an instant hit, making Nazia one of the most celebrated singers in South Asia. At the age of 15 Nazia became the youngest winner of the prestigious Film Fare Award in the category of Best Female Playback singer.

Following the success of the song - App Jaisa Koi, Biddu decided to produce an Urdu pop Album and therefore signed Nazia and her brother Zoheb for his upcoming project. In 1980, Disco Deewane turned out to be one of the best ever music albums in the history of South Asia. The album broke sales record as approx.100, 000 records were sold in a day. Nazia’s second album Boom Boom was released in 1982 while her third album was released in 1984 with Ankhein Milane Wale as one of the most popular songs of that time. By the time her fourth album Hot Line was released in 1987, Nazia had become an established singer. Nazia and her brother Zoheb Hasan became one the favorite singers in South Asia.

In 1989, both Nazia and Zoheb hosted two music shows on PTV Dhanak and Music 89. Shoaib Mansoor’s Music 89 was the first ever pop music stage show and proved to be a breeding ground for many talented emerging singers and bands. Both Nazia and Zoheb recorded their fifth album Camera Camera in 1991.The album was released in 1992 however before the launch of their fifth album, both Nazi and Zoheb announced that Camera would be their last album. Music had always been Nazia’s hobby and therefore it never got to be the foremost place in her life.

Nazia was born on 3rd April in Karachi in to a business family. Her father, Mr. Basir Hassan has been an active social worker.  Her father’s active social work could be seen as one of the reasons for Nazia’s own indulgence in charity work. Nazia spent her earnings from her music career on destitute people.  She helped disabled children and distressed women from impecunious families in Karachi. By extending her support to Inner wheel Club - an Indian charitable organization, Nazia proved that compassion has no limit.  Nazia established an organization BAN (Battle against Narcotics) in Pakistan to stop the use of narcotics.

Nazia was a law graduate from a British university and initially worked at the United Nations as an intern. Later she joined the Department of Political and Security Council and worked at the United Nations Headquarters in New York for two years.  Sadly one day Nazia was diagnosed with cancer therefore she could not even avail the scholarship she had won in Columbia University Leadership Program.  On 13th August, 2000 Nazia died fighting the battle against lung cancer at the age of 35 in North London Hospice. Nazia Hassan was divorced ten days before her death and she is succeeded by a son.  In 2002, Nazia Hassan was awarded Pride of performance one of the highest civilian awards in Pakistan. Nazia Hassan would always be remembered as the most favorite pop singers of all times and a true gem of our society.

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