Malika-e-Tarannum

Project explores Reenactment of Noor Jehan’s words from a written interview, which I translated from Urdu to English and then expressed on a video to create an animated video avatar.

Noor Jehan, famously known by by her honorific title Malika-e-Tarannum (the queen of melody), was a Pakistani playback singer and actress who worked first in British India and then in Pakistan. Her career spanned more than six decades (1930s–1990s). She was renowned as one of the greatest and most influential singers of all time especially throughout South Asia and was given the honorific title of Malika-e-Tarannum in Pakistan. She had a command of Hindustani classical music as well as other music genres and for me personally she was an iconic personality in the way she carried herself and how she projected her graceful persona in her melodious voice. She remains an example of sheer artistic talent and inspiration for thousands of South Asian hearts and off-course her talent attracted a global audience. By overlapping a few words from her transcribed interviews, translated into english I am trying to work along the idea of how history can be looked/ perceived in a different ways. Although a few newspapers and online articles document her interviews, these are not available or accessible to a wider audience, as they were not recorded on camera.

She expressed some thought provoking ideas about her career choice as a singer, as a result of shift from acting which is important information for people who love her and listen to her to date. She profoundly says these lines:

“If I choose singing then singing too chose me, Although people kept telling me not to do it. I was hearing the voices inside me all the time”

Madam Noor Jehan (Translated Text)

This animated piece is a tribute to her but also at the same time an interrogation into how ideas of language, Self-expression and personal views could ultimately shift into an imitation, reconstructed/manipulated history. This document becomes a memoir to her precious words, which she never spoke out loud, but also at the same time for me to digitally interact and almost inherit the legacy which was left behind by the great artist.

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