From L-R: Mina Hassan, Hina Durrani and Nazia Ejaz Khan
From L-R: Mina Hassan, Hina Durrani and Nazia Ejaz Khan

A larger than life woman whose voice dominated Pakistani film and television to become its indisputable queen, Noor Jehan, also recognised by her honorary title as Malka-e-Tarannum, was a force to be reckoned with.

Today, on the icon's 20th death anniversary, her daughters, Hina Durrani, Mina Hassan and Nazia Ejaz Khan sat down to remember their mother; renowned as one of the greatest and most influential singers in all of South Asia — her magnificent career in the public eye and her loving nature in private.

The video was released on Durrani's new YouTube channel where she'll be divulging her wisdom and life experiences.

"Mother had an older sister, Api Eedat," the daughters informed the audience, wondering why the information was lesser known to public. "She was gorgeous, looked like Kate Winslet and was like a mother figure to our mother," they added, revealing she was home for Noor Jehan.

However, most of the girls' caretaking was done by Huma Ji, their aunt, who used to step in when their mum was out establishing her singing career.

"She was ahead of her time," the daughters agreed, sharing how despite separating from her husband, she always maintained a relationship of mutual respect, often looking after her then ex-spouse, Ejaz and making breakfast for him out of love and the status he held as the father of her children.

"Mother loved and adored Pakistan," revealed Hina, as she spoke about how she would literally bend down to kiss the ground of her watan (nation) as soon as they flew back from abroad.

"Pervez Musharraf visited our house once and told mother that we used to listen to your songs during war, and they would entice jazba (passion) within us for our homeland."

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The sisters were sent to boarding school after their parents' divorce but Noor Jehan would miss her children terribly, sending the girls and the entire student body loads of lychees and trucks full of home-cooked food.

"One time, she sent three sacrificial sadqa goats in a trunk that randomly showed up to boarding school because mother had a nightmare," the girls laughed.

"Our birthdays were also lavish affairs where no matter whose big day it was, all three of our entire class mates were invited," they remembered, saying how everyone would start buttering them up weeks in advance to be invited to the glorious celebrations where their mother would often sing.

"She may have sent us to boarding but we were always included. We were also the only children who would go out and meet them every weekend. She gave us the best of both worlds."

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"When our mother would write, Ahmed Faraz sahab would correct my mother and edit her work", they said, stating how their mother was fond of poetry to a great extent.

"The world was at her feet, but for Noor Jehan, her six children were her world. She never saw a fault in her kids. She just adored them — all her days, nights, free moments were reserved for them, and that's what we've taken so many traits from her. We're all similar mothers to our own kids now," the three agreed, remembering how much they had picked up from her and applied in their own lives.

Noor Jehan was also someone who was always growing.

"If you look at her pictures from her 20s to her 30s and so on, you'll see her style was always evolving. She would pick her own trends, be ready to change and run with it. We would open our eyes and watch her dress up; that's where we learnt how to groom ourselves too."

"She not only had a great voice but also a great personality. Many fans would come, especially at odd times when we were in London, and I've never seen her say no to them. She was so humble, I never saw her think of herself as some glorious Madam Noor Jehan. She would do intense charity, but she would always spot even a beggar or needy woman sitting behind a tree, knowing they need help. She did it all her life."

"She was a master of her own art, but she always taught us one thing — beta koi rasta chalta bhi kuch sikha jaye toh haath jor kar seekh jao." (If someone even just passing by teaches you something, humbly join your hands and learn from it.)

That was Noor Jehan for you; beautiful, magnificent and timeless in all her glory. You can watch the complete heartfelt interview here.

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