One of the most popular playback singers of the 1970s, Arthur Nayyar, popularly known as A. Nayyar, passed away on Friday at his residence near the Gulberg main market. He was 61.
According to the singer’s close friends, he died of a cardiac arrest.
Nayyar has left three daughters and his wife, who are all out of the country. His son had died a few years ago.
Nayyar won five Nigar Awards for playback singing.
In his decades-long career, he sang some 4,000 songs, beginning in 1974 with the film Bahisht, and the song was ‘Yunhi din kat jaye, yunhi shaam dhal jaye’ — a duet with Rubina Badar composed by A. Hameed.
Nayyar’s music journey started in Arifwala, a small town in Punjab where he spent his childhood watching both Indian and Pakistani films at a cinema called Rachna, at a stone’s throw from his home. He was inspired by Muhammad Rafi, Talat Mehmood and Saleem Raza.
A student of musician Wajahat Atre, who also sought guidance from ghazal maestro Mehdi Hassan, Nayyar studied in Arifwala till Class V and later shifted to Lahore. He got into St Francis School where he completed his matriculation and later got admission to the then Forman Christian College. He graduated with a B.Ed degree from the Government Central Training College in 1975.
In an interview with Dawn in February this year, the singer had clarified that his date of birth mentioned on various websites — Sept 17, 1950 — was incorrect, saying he was born on April 14, 1955 in Ransonabad village, Sahiwal district.
Nayyar’s first appearance on TV was on the show Naye Fankar in 1974 after which he began his playback journey. The singer had said he was particularly delighted at lending his voice to a song, ‘Billi Teri Akh’, picturised on his favourite actor, Munawar Zarif, for the film Ayaash.
Nayyar earned popularity overnight from a duet with Naheed Akhtar, ‘Pyar to ik din hona tha’, from the film Kharidar. He became a household name with ‘Sathi mujhay mil gaya’, a song from Jasoos; ‘Milay do sathi khili do kaliyan’ from Amber; and ‘Ik baat kahoon dildara’ from Khuda Aur Mohabbat.
His funeral will be planned and held upon the return to the country of his family.
Originally published in Dawn November 12th, 2016