Remembering 'Aap Jaisa Koi' girl Nazia Hasan


New Delhi/Karachi, Aug 13 (IANS) Remember Nazia Hasan, the Pakistani singer whose song "Aap jaisa koi" in the film "Qurbani" made her an instant hit in India? Thursday was her ninth death anniversary.

If "Aap jaisa koi" won Nazia, who was then 15, the Filmfare Best Female Singer award in 1981, it was her album "Disco Deewane" that created a new genre of Bollywood pop that survives to this day.

Britain-based Indian composer Biddu, who had composed both the song and the album had said at the time, perhaps tongue in cheek, that through Nazia he hoped to do for India what the pop group ABBA did for Sweden, both in terms of country exposure and album sales.

That didn't happen for a variety of reasons, but Nazia's legacy lives on to this day and for die-hard music lovers no collection is complete without "Disco Deewane".

As Dawn, Pakistan's leading English daily, put it Thursday: "Nazia Hassan was the most influential and popular female singer and probably the only real pop singer of the 80's and 90's in both India and Pakistan."

India Today magazine voted her as one of the 50 people who helped change the face of India. "She set - well ahead of its time - the personal album trend in India, spawning the likes of Alisha Chinai, Lucky Ali and Shweta Shetty," the magazine noted at the time.

Such was Nazia's success that there was once a curious story circulating in Bollywood that she outdid both in terms of sales and popularity the Indian playback singer Lata Mangeshkar!

Lata's biographer Raju Bharatan posed the question: "Were there, then, no serious challenges to Lata Mangeshkar in her long singing career?"

His answer: "There was a happening in Lata's life and times that made a mere teenager near despair for her. That teenybopper was Nazia Hasan.

"Lata's film "Aasha" just could not catch up with Nazia's "Aap jaisa koi" for 14 weeks running, hard as it tried," Bharatan said.

Born in Karachi on April 3, 1965, Nazia shot into limelight with the Pakistan TV (PTV) programme "Sung Sung" that also featured her brother Zhoaib, who sang a few duets with his sister in "Disco Deewane".

And, as India, "her music led to a redefinition of pop music in the country and Pakistan's contemporary music scene owes a huge debt to the talented singer", Dawn noted.

Nazia and Zhoaib received not only their education at London, but also studied singing and music there.

"Although singers such as Alamgir and Mohammad Ali Shehky were already in the popular singing, it was Nazia who really popularized the pop music in Pakistan," Dawn said.

Nazia Hassan died in London Aug 13, 2000 after a prolonged battle with lung cancer. She was 35.