Full Name- Suraiya Jamaal Sheikh
Professional Name- Suraiya
Born- June 15th, 1929, Gujranwala, Punjab, British India
Died- 31st January, 2004, Mumbai, India (Aged 74)
Origin- Gujranwala, Punjab (Now a part of Pakistan since 1947)
Genres- Indian classical singing, professional playback singing and Acting
Occupations- Classical singer, Playback singer and Actress
Years Active- 1940-1955
Suraiya was a popular singer and actress in Hindi films during the 1940s and 1950s. She was basically popular with her first name, Suraiya. She was one of the few singers to sing in those early days of Hindi films in 1940s and 1950s.
Apart from being a film singer and actor, she was also a good classical singer.
Early Life & Background
Suraiya was born on June 15th, 1929 in Gujranwala, Punjab which is now a part of Pakistan ever since 1947 after the partition and was the only child of her parents. She has great interest in music and always wanted to become a famed singer but she could not receive any kind of formal training in music; yet she became a successful singer on the own merit of her voice.
It was her passion and never-say-die attitude for music that inspired her to realize her dreams and become a successful singer in Hindi movies during 1940s and 1950s.
She tried her hand at acting too and was moderately successful.
Professional singing and acting career
Suraiya made her debut as a child artist in 1937 movie called 'Usne Kya Socha'. She then went on to become a prominent child artist in many more movies as her uncle Zahoor was also working in movies and was then a popular villain actor.
It was in 1941 during a school holiday that she got her big break. Her uncle Zahoor took her to see the shooting of the movie 'Taj Mahal' directed by Nanubhai Vakil. Vakil noticed Suraiya and since there was no one in his mind to play the young Mumtaaz Mahal at that time, he realized that Suraiya could be a good cast for the role. As a result she got cast for the role of young Mumtaaz Mahal for Taj Mahal.
Her singing career also took a big leap when she was heard by the music director Naushad on All India Radio (AIR).He was impressed by her voice and offered her to sing as a 13 year old for the film Shradha (1942).
As an adult, she played secondary roles in many movies and got her first break in movies for the movie Tadbir (1945).
She also went on to sing 13 songs for Khwaja Khurshid Anwar from 1943 to 1949. She was also well ahead of her competitors like Nargis and Kamini Kaushal because she could sing her own song.
Rustam Sohrab (1963) was her last film.
Suraiya was involved romantically with the actor Dev Anand as they together worked in six movies from 1948 to 1951. She was in love with Dev Anand but her grandmother opposed the relationship. As a result, she remained unmarried for life.
Suraiya Singer Filmography