Arts & Culture, Features, People & Parties

Nazia Hassan (1965-2000) Remembered

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By Priya Kumar Twelve years ago Pakistan lost a legend. Nazia Hassan was a pop star of international proportions who left us too soon exactly 12 years ago after a battle with lung cancer. Born in Karachi, she showed a keen interest in music early on. She began singing on TV in the early 70’s and by 15 she was singing the lead vocals in the blockbuster film Qurbani. Although Hassan was Pakistani, the song from the film was a huge success in India for which she garnered a highly coveted Filmfare Award. Following this success, she released her first album Disco Deewane. The record broke sales records across South Asia and even became a huge hit as far out as Russia and the Caribbean. The album also included vocals by her brother Zohaib Hassan. Although the siblings were offered acting roles in the film, they turned it down.   Four albums later, Hassan retired from music. She spent a good deal of time in the 90’s doing charity work around South Asia and even working with the UN in New York. India Today named her as one of the 50 people who changed the face of India and at home she became known as the “Sweetheart of Pakistan.” She passed away at the age of 35 in London leaving behind a then three-year-old son, Arez.

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