Born June 15, 1929. Died January 31, 2004.
Born in Lahore, Suraiya grew up in Bombay. In 1941, during a school vacation, she accompanied her uncle to Mohan Studios
to watch the shooting of the film, 'Taj Mahal'. A child was needed for a scene and Suraiya was asked to take the shot which
proved to be a success. At that time no one knew that she would some day become a singing star. She continued with her studies
though she did play a child role in the movie Station Master in 1942. Occasionally Suraiya participated in the children's
programmes of All India Radio with Shammi and Raj Kapoor who also went on to become famous film stars.
Her sweet voice gave her the first major break. Her fame as a singer spread at once with the popularity of her playback
songs in Sharda, Station Master, Sanjog and Kanoon. Soon she started getting acting roles in films. She became popular with
her dancing and singing performance in Bombay Talkies 'Hamari Baat'. Her song 'Ghar Humne Le Liya Hai' proved a big hit. In
Ishaara. Suraiya acted opposite veteran Prithviraj. Roles kept coming and she had many successful musical films. After the
migration of Noor Jahan and Khursheed to Pakistan in the wake of partition, Suraiya was the only film heroine in India who
sang her own songs in the films. She won the endearing nickname "Chocolate Charmer" of the Indian screen. Among
the outstanding films she acted in are Phool, Samrat Chandragupt, Anmol Ghadi, Umar Khaiyyam, 1857, Aaj Ki Raat, Dard, Dillagi,
Naatak, Afsar, Kaajal, Vidya, Jeet, Tadbir, Daastan, Sanam, Char Din, Pyar Ki Jeet & Badi Bahan etc. In Tadbir, Omar Khaiyam
and Parwana she had the acting female lead against the singing idol of millions the late Kundan Lal Saigal. Indeed, they made
a unique singing pair. Her songs from the above films Tere Nainon Ne Chori Kiya, O Door Jaanewaale (Pyar ki Jeet); wo paas
rahen yaa duur and bigdi banaane waale (Badi Bahen); and Tu Mera Chand, Murli waale Murli Bajaa (Dillagi) were very popular.
Suraiya and Dev Anand acted together in 6 films between 1948-1951. During this time they fell in love with each other
and wanted to get married. Suraiya's family objected to their relationship. Suraiya did not go against the family wishes and
she broke it off. Dev Anand went on to marry Kalpana Kartik, another of his leading ladies. Suraiya chose to remain unmarried.
Though she had disappointment in her personal life, she went on with her professional life.
She acted in Waaris (1954) and Mirza Ghalib (1954). Her finest dramatic performance was in Mirza Ghalib as she portrayed
Ghalib's lover, a courtesan. The film also has some of her best singing - Aah ko Chaihiye Ek Umar, Nuktacheen Hai Gham-e-Dil,
Dil-e-Nadaan Tujhe Hua Kya Hai, Yeh Na Thi Humari Kismet etc. Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru paid her the ultimate compliment
by telling her she had brought Mirza Ghalib to life. (Tumne Mirza Ghalib ki Rooh ko Zinda Kar Diya).
Shama (1961) was a musical hit and her last film was Rustom Sohrab (1963), which also boasts of one of her finest ever
songs - Yeh Kaisi Ajab Dastaan Ho Gayi.
After that Suraiya preferred to lead a quiet and private life and was rarely seen in public. She passed away on January
31, 2004 following a brief illness.
Suraiya continues to live in the hearts and memories of her many fans.