Runa Laila is a Bangladeshi Playback Singer was born on 17th November 1952. She completed her graduation from the University of Dhaka. She is well known and one of the best known singers in Asia. She was born in Sylhet a city in East Pakistan – now Bangladesh. She was born to Syed Mohammed Imdad Ali a civil person servant posted in Karachi and Amila Laila. She started taking dance lessons of Kathak and Bharatnatyam genre.
Runa Laila’s Father Syed Mohammed Imdad All was a Civil servant posted in Karachi and mother is Amina Laila.
She is married to Bangladesh’s popular film actor and a host Alamgir who has won several National film awards.
They have a daughter named Tani Laila who is a singer too.
Runa Laila began career journey with a stage show in Dhaka at an age of 6 where she got the chance because of her elder sister Dian’s inability to sing. Certainly, she did not miss the chance, she satisfied with all audience by singing. When she was 9 years old, Radio Pakistan organized an inter-school music competition but organizers did not want to give her chance, cause of being an English medium student. In Pakistan those days, Ahmed Rushdi was the leading film singer who introduced rock n roll, disco and other modern genres to South Asian music. Following Rushdi’s success, Christian bands specialising in jazz started performing at various night clubs and hotel lobbies
in Karachi, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Dhaka and Lahore. Laila became a fan of singer Ahmed Rushdi whom she considered her guru (teacher), and tried to emulate not only his singing style but also the way he used to perform on the stage. She then learned classical music with her elder sister Dina Laila (d. 1976). While she was a student of Saint Lawrence Convent, she won an inter-school singing competition in Karachi in the then west Pakistan.
She, along with her sister, were trained by Ustad Abdul Kader Peyarang and Ustad Habibuddin Ahmed. Runa wholeheartedly dedicated herself for the betterment of Bangla songs and the Bangla music industry. By then she had given voice to a significant number of Urdu songs, but all that fame seemed like nothing when the call from her roots reverberated within.
Her cousin, Anjumara Begum, had already been a known singer. When Laila was 12, she performed as a playback singer for a male child actor in the Urdu language film Jugnu. The song was titled “Gudia Si Munni Meri”.
In 1966, Laila made her entry and breakthrough in Pakistani Film industry with the song “Unki Nazron Sey Mohabbat Ka Jo Paigham Mila” for the film Hum Dono.
After her popularity she started performing on PTV channel’s show called ‘’Bazm E Laila’’.
Laila started appearing on the ‘Zia Mohyuddin Show’ (1972–74) and later did songs for films in the 1970s such as the film Umrao Jan Ada (1972). In 1974, she recorded “Shaader Lau” in Kolkata. She also had her first concert in India in 1974 in Mumbai.
She started in Bollywood with director Jaidev who she meet in Delhi, who took her under his wings and got her the chance to play at the inauguration of Doordarshan.
She first worked with the music composers Kalyanji-Anandji for the title song of a movie called Ek Se Badhkar Ek.
Lata Mangeshkar gave her blessings to Laila during the recording of the song. She gained popularity in India with the songs O Mera babu Chail chabila and Damadum Mast Kalandar
In October 2009, she released “Kala Sha Kala“,
A collection of Punjabi Wedding songs in India. In 2012, Laila served as a judge on the show Sur Kshetra,
an Indian television contest show for amateur singers. She described her relationship with fellow judge Asha Bhosle as that of sisters. In 2014, she collaborated with Sabina Yasmin on a song for a television play “Dalchhut Projapoti“, the first time they worked on a song together.
With her brilliant display of combining hard work with natural talent, Runa has taught herself to sing in over 15 different languages. So far the iconic Runa Laila has sung in Bengali, Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi, Sindhi, Gujarati, Pashto, Baluchi, Arabic, Persian, Malay, Nepalese, Japanese, Italian, Spanish, French and English.
For her inborn charm and innate charisma, Runa Laila has received numerous offers for acting as well. From both India and Pakistan, directors, including the noted Indian actor, producer, director Raj Kapoor, approached the talented diva to grace their scripts. However, Runa has always kept her priorities straight. She has appeared in only one film, the 1995 smash hit Shilpi, that too because it had connections and resemblances to her real life.
An epitome of uniqueness and forever a style icon, Runa Laila hit the then conservative mind-sets of the TV show organizers hard with her fashion and on-stage appearance. The bold diva in her twenties did not hesitate to show up on her own show titled ‘’Bazm E Laila’’ wearing shirt-pants or maxis. For her, it was only a part of being her true self. And no wonder her confidence won over all the criticism and broke the walls of cultural conservatism. Till this day Runa Laila often designs her own clothes. Fashion designing has somewhat been like a hobby for her.
Runa Laila has done a lot of charity work, after an unfortunate death of her sister in 1976 from cancer. She used to organize concerts in Bangladesh in order to raise funds for the unfortunate cancer patients all over the world.
But the height of popularity never got ‘Runa Laila’ over the clouds, for her attention has only and only revolved around her love for music. The benevolent artiste has taken part in countless charity programs, has worked as an ambassador for SAARC and UNAIDS to create awareness against mortal diseases. She has also funded to establish a children’s ward in Dhaka Children’s Hospital for children with cancer.
Guinness Book Of World Records
Runa Laila’s name has been written on the Guinness Book for recording 30 songs within 3 days. In fact, this is not the only record she holds. In 1982, Runa Laila won Golden Disk Award as her album Superuna composed by Bappi Lahiri was sold over 1 lakh copies on the very first day of its release.
Runa Laila-Kala Siah Kala (2010)
Runa Laila – Moods & Emotions (2008)
The Loves of Runa Laila
Ganga Amar Ma Padma Amar Ma-Runa Laila
Runa Goes Disco (1982)
Runa Sings Shahbaz Qalandar (1982)
Geet / Ghazals (1976)
Runa in Pakistan (Geet) (1980)
Runa in Pakistan (Ghazals) (1980)
Sincerely Yours- Runa Laila
I Love to Sing for You- Runa Laila
Pakistani Songs –
Jaan-E-Mann Itna Bata Do Mohabbat, Mohabbat Hai Kya
Unki Nazron Se Mohabbat Ka Jo Paigham Mila
Hoey Hoey Dil Dharkay Mein Yeh Kaisay Kahoon
Kaatey Na Katay Rattia Sayyan Intezar Ki
Hamein Kho Kar Bahut Pachhtao Gay Jab Hum Nahin Haun Gay
Runa Laila being a Bangladeshi and Pakistani singer has also collaborated with Indian Artists and Lyricists –
Gulzar – Tumhe Ho Na Ho (Gharonda)
Kalyanji – Anandji – EK Se Badh Kar Ek.
Bappi Lahiri – Maar Gayo Re Rasgulla Khilai Ke Maar Gayo Re, Ye Dil Wale Aao (Yaadgar).
Laxmikant – Pyaarelal – Ali Baba Mil Gaye Chalis Chor Se (Agneepath), Main Kaali Anaar Ki (Sapnon Ka Mandir)
Awards and Recognitions.
Bangladesh National Film Award
Sheltech Award – Bangladesh
Lux-Channel Lifetime Performance Award – Bangladesh
Saigal Award – India
Nigar Award – Pakistan
Critics Award – Pakistan
Graduate Award – Pakistan
National council of Music Awards – Pakistan.