So its official… actress Ayesha Omar will sing a song in her debut flick Karachi Se Lahore and also perform on it, something not many actresses have done in their first film. However, there have been many in India and Pakistan who have sung songs and performed on them on screen and impressed the audience with their dual talents. Bollywood stars, Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan have tried that repeatedly and always got their fans’ approval, whereas in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, the musicians Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy tricked Farhan Akhtar, Hrithik Roshan and Abhay Deol into singing Senorita, which managed to do well on the charts. Among the trio, Farhan had prior experience as he sang the numbers in Rock On where he played a rock singer and excelled as well. Let’s take a look at some more incidents where non-singers surprised the listeners with their hidden talents and are remembered for their efforts!
The hidden vocalist in Waheed Murad
The chocolate hero of Pakistan was a first in many ways; he was the first to show the audience that a hero can woo a lady by making her heart dance; he was the first one to don Western-attire without looking odd and his style made the youth back in the day, go mad over him. It was quite early in his career that he surprised all by singing in two films – his home productions Ishaara and Samandar in the late 60s. He sang a duet Jaisay Taise Beet Gaya Din with fellow actress Deeba that was supposed to be a telephonic conversation (he was also the director of the movie) and his sad rendition of Saathi Tera Mera Saathi Hai is a number that is still remembered even after more than four decades.
Nadeem – the all-rounder
Before he became a film actor, Nadeem was Mirza Nazir Baig who used to sing songs for a TV show in East Pakistan. He credits his crew for helping him with the Bangla pronunciations since he was required to sing both Urdu and local version; and it was from there that he was selected to play the villain in Chakori. Due to some issues with the leading man of the flick, Nadeem was selected as the hero and the rest is history. He didn’t let the singer in him die and sang countless hit numbers mostly picturised on him including, Kahan Ho Tumko with Firdousi Begum in his debut flick. Be it Likhay Parhay Hotay Agar (from Anari), Bajao Taali (from Do Badan) and Mundiya (from Mukhra), many of the songs that Nadeem sang went on to become hits. His patriotic number Hum Sab Hain Lehrain Kinara Pakistan Hai still plays each year on Independence Day and one would be surprised to know that the veteran actor even lent his voice for his friend and co-actor Qavi in Mr. Budhoo, a film in which he neither acted nor was part of the production.
Sridevi fails at her singing attempt
The Hawa Hawaai girl of Bollywood was a brilliant dancer and gave amazing performances as an actress in countless flicks, but when it came to singing, she failed big time. In Yash Chopra’s Chandni (1989), she dabbled behind the mic with Jolly Mukherjee in Chandni O Meri Chandni and if one removes her lines, it actually turns out to be a good song. I still wonder why musicians Shiv-Hari gave her a chance when they had Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle and Pamela Chopra on hand!
Salman Khan saves the day!
When the other Khans turned playback singers in the late 90s (Aamir Khan through Aati Kia Khandala in Ghulam, Shah Rukh Khan through Apun Bola in Josh), so did Sallu bhai with Chandi Ki Daal Par through his brother Sohail Khan’s Hello Brother.
The film failed at the box office but the fans of Salman Khan loved the way their favourite actor (and now singer) matched Alka Yagnik’s vocals. They waited for his return as a playback singer but it took 15 more years, this time as the replacement singer for Sonu Nigam who had issues with the music company. And so, Hangover Teri Baaton Ka was born in Sajid Nadiadwala’s Kick.
Zara Sheikh sings for herself
There was a time when films were regularly produced in Pakistan, not like the current era where a film’s release is considered grand. In 2002, Shahzad Gul released Chalo Ishq Larain that had veteran pop singer Ali Haider in the cast, but here it is the singing prowess of the leading lady Zara Sheikh that we must discuss. The lanky lass sang a handful of songs in the movie and overshadowed her co-stars – Meera and Ali Haider, although the film couldn’t do well at the box office. The movie’s biggest contribution was making Zara Sheikh known as a singing star and who knows, she might try again with the revival of films on the cards.
Madhuri ‘Dhak Dhak’ Dixit can sing too!
After mesmerising audiences with her looks and that million dollar smile, Madhuri Dixit turned singer at the twilight of her career in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Devdas with Kaahe Chhed. The Dhak Dhak girl stunned all with her vocals in a flick that also had Shah Rukh Khan and Aishwariya Rai in the lead, hence her move made her stand out. She went onto reprise the role a decade later in one of her comeback flicks Gulaab Gang where she sang Rangi Saari Gulaabi with her mother Snehlata Dixit and didn’t disappoint at all.
Juhi Chawla blows away listeners
The Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak girl has been active in Bollywood since the mid 80s but nobody knew of her singing talents; not even her closest friends. It took one Bollywood function to take the singer out from Juhi Chawla and she enthralled the audience with her amazing vocals, stunning co-host Shah Rukh Khan who even went on to ask her where she was hiding the singer within her. Next came her song Chalo Janay Do in Bhootnath which was well-received by her fans and friends alike.•