Madam Noor Jehan, the undisputed queen of melody, left us 17 years ago at the age of 74. Famous for her silk saris, bold make-up, unique hairstyles and glittering diamonds, Noor Jehan’s melodious voice touched millions and cemented her place in history and the hearts of her fans worldwide. Here are some interesting facts about the vocal legend.

1) Noor Jehan was born as Allah Wasai on September 21, 1926 in Kasur and was one of 11 children of her parents.

2) She began to sing at the age of five and showed a keen interest in a range of singing styles. Realising her potential for singing, her mother sent her to receive early training in classical singing under Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan.

3) At the age of nine, Noor Jehan drew the attention of Punjabi musician Ghulam Ahmed Chishti, who later introduced her to the stage.

4) She was more interested in acting than singing, so in early 1930s the entire family moved to Calcutta in hopes of developing the movie career of Allah Wasai and her older sisters, Eiden Bai and Haider Bandi. It was in a theatre here that she got the name Baby Noor Jehan.

5) After Partition, she came to Pakistan and started her film career as actor-singer, also becoming the first female film director with film Chann Wey in 1951.

6) Noor Jehan ruled the film industry for more than 35 years and recorded about 10,000 songs in various languages.

7) In 1957, she was awarded the Presidential Award for her services to the entertainment industry. Her popularity got to new heights with her patriotic songs during the 1965 war between Pakistan and India.

8) She sang a large number of duets with Ahmed Rushdi, Mehdi Hassan, Masood Rana, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Mujeeb Aalam. In the 90s, Jehan also sang for the then débutante actresses Neeli and Reema. For this very reason, Sabiha Khanum affectionately called her Sadabahar (evergreen).