Nazia Hassan (April 3, 1965 – August 13, 2000) was an iconic Pakistani pop singer. Her song “Aap Jaisa Koi” from the Indian film Qurbani made her a legend and pop icon in Pakistan and all of South Asia in the 1980s where she is admired and loved even today, several years after her death.
She was best known with the titles of The Queen of Pop Singing and Sweetheart of Pakistan. She was the most influential and popular female singer and probably one of the few real pop singers of the 1980s and the 1990s in both India and Pakistan.
Early life and Career
Nazia Hassan was born in Karachi, Pakistan and from an early age showed interest in music. Nazia’s professional career started at the age of fifteen when she provided the lead vocals for the song Aap Jaisa Koi from a Bollywood film titled Qurbani (1980), by Indian producer-director Feroz Khan. Nazia was introduced to Feroz by his friend in the United Kingdom. The song was a huge success in India and despite Nazia being a Pakistani, she gained overnight fame there.
She then collaborated with Biddu, a UK-based Indian music producer who was also the composer of Aap Jaisa Koi, on numerous other projects. Biddu had previously made several hit-songs for various singers like Tina Charles and Carl Douglas. In 1981, Nazia released her first mega-hit, Disco Deewane. The album broke record sales in Pakistan and India and even topped the charts in the West Indies, Latin America and Russia. This album also had vocals of her brother, Zoheb Hassan. Nazia also released her later albums, which included Star/Boom Boom (1982), Young Tarang (1984), Hotline (1987), and Camera Camera (1992). Nazia and Zoheb appeared with music maestro Sohail Rana’s Pakistani television program for children, “Sung Sung”. In 1988, Nazia and Zoheb also hosted the groundbreaking show Music ’89 produced by Shoaib Mansoor.
After the huge success of their music, selling millions of albums worldwide, EMI Music International also Nazia and Zoheb, making them as the first South Asian artists to be signed by an international music label.
Nazia and Zoheb’s television interviews were shown on TV in India, Pakistan, Dubai, UK (big names like David Soul, David Essex, Zia Mohiuddin conducted the interviews on BBC, ITV, Channel 4 etc) and many other countries.
Pakistan’s vibrant contemporary music scene owes itself to Nazia Hassan’s redefinition of pop. In fact, the biggest nineties bands including the Vital Signs and the Jupiters got a platform on “Music ’89″. Nazia also had a seismic impact in India. She has contributed to the development of the present isomorphism of Bollywood music and pop: “She set – well ahead of its time – the personal album trend in India”, spawning the likes of Alisha Chinai, Lucky Ali and Shweta Shetty.
Besides music, Nazia has the honour of starting a noble trend of working for the under privileged and poor. All their money earned from music was spent for charity. Nazia supported the “Inner Wheel Club” of India to help with funds for them. In Pakistan, an organization “BAN” for fighting against the curse of narcotics was established. She belonged to many charity organizations and worked with her mother Muniza Basir in the low income areas of Karachi to help the needy and sick. Nazia worked with Javed Jabbar, former Information Minister, to raise funds for children in Rajasthan. She went to a very large number of schools to collect toys for the poor children and gave talks on the subject of social awareness for the under privileged. Nazia never forgot the love and support of all the schools and always spoke with great affection for them. The worthy staff and the students of St Joseph’s Convent, Mama Parsi School and many others had gone out of their way to help the cause.
Disco Deewane (1980)
Surprisingly, music was only a hobby for Nazia and though her achievements in this field were any one’s dream come true, she lived away from the glitzy world and led a secluded and simple life. She completed her education in the UK, got a law degree and then worked in the United Nations in the Security Council. Nazia continued her social work even in New York and worked for children from the UN platform.
She is known to be the “Sweetheart of Pakistan”. Nazia Hassan is still the symbol of grace, sacred beauty and innocence and is frequently compared to Princess Diana as she was known to possess a heart of gold. Nazia spent her teenage between Karachi and London. Nazia was married on March 30, 1995 to Mirza Ishtiaq Baig. This marriage was a complete failure and Nazia Hassan got divorced just before her demise.
Nazia Hassan died on August 13, 2000 in London of lung cancer at the age of 35. She was admitted to North Finchley Hospice three days earlier when her condition deteriorated. She showed signs of mild recovery on Saturday and it was thought that doctors would allow her to go home. But early Sunday morning, her mother, Muneeza Hasan, was called to the hospital where her daughter had started coughing heavily at around 9:15am. She died within minutes.
Nazia Hassan’s son Arez, who was born on April 7 1997 and was only three when his mother succumbed to cancer, was taken into the care of Nazia’s parents. He is continuing the charitable work that his mother initiated via the Nazia Hassan Charitable Foundation.
The Government of Pakistan has conferred upon Nazia Hassan the highest civilian award Pride of Performance. The award was presented to Mrs. Muniza Basir, mother of Nazia Hassan, by the President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf in an official ceremony held at Islamabad on 23 March 2002.
Nazia’s father Mr. Basir Hassan is a wellknown businessman and her mother Mrs. Muneezeh Basir was an active social worker in her youth. Nazia’s grandfather and Basir Hassan’s father, Nawab Syed Saghiruddin Hassan was the President & Vice President of Muslim League, Delhi and owners of the 1st Ginning Mill in Multan, Pakistan. Some of their friends included Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan, the first Prime Minister of Pakistan and Justice Wajihuddin.
Nazia’s great grandfather, Khan Bahadur Syed Basiruddin Hassan was very active in social work. He was the founder of Anjuman-e-Himayat-e-Islam, Governor of Lady Dufferin Hospital, and Trustee of Fateh Puri Mosque and built seven primary schools in Delhi.
Dum Dum Dee Dee
Sun Meiray Mehboob Sun
Aankhain Milanay Walay
Tairay Qadmoon Ko
Boom Boom (Live)
Disco Deewane ( 1980 )
Star/Boom Boom ( 1982 )
Young Tarang (1984)
Camera Camera ( 1992 )