Runa Laila

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Runa Laila
Runa Laila.jpg
Laila performing in BCFC (Dec 2012)
Background information
Native name রুনা লায়লা
Born Sylhet, East Pakistan (now Bangladesh)
Genres Ghazal, fusion music, Pop,
Occupation(s) Playback singer
Instruments vocals
Years active 1969–1991

Runa Laila is a Bangladeshi singer, widely regarded as one of the popular singers in South Asia and started her career in Pakistan film industry in late 1960s. Her style of singing is inspired by Pakistani playback singer Ahmed Rushdi and she also made a popular pair with him after replacing singer Mala.[1][2][3][4][5][6]

Early life[edit]

Runa Laila and Ahmed Rushdi

Laila was born in Sylhet, East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), in 1952. Her parents hoped for her to be a dancer and made her learn Kathak and Bharat Natyam. Her elder sister Dina Laila was learning classical music and she picked up from her lessons. Dina’s teacher then decided to teach Runa also. Her father, Syed Mohammed Imdad Ali was a civil servant posted in Karachi. She and her sister went to school in Karachi. In those days, Ahmed Rushdi was leading film music as he introduced hip-hop, rock n roll, disco and other modern genres in South Asian music and has since then been adopted in Bangladesh, India and lately Nepal as a pioneering influence in their respective pop cultures. Following Rushdi's success, Christian bands specialising in jazz started performing at various night clubs and hotel lobbies[7] in Karachi, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Dhaka and Lahore. She 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.[8]


Laila started her career in 1965.[9] She played two songs in the Pakistani film Jugnu." Her first song was Gudiya si munni meri bhaiya ki pyari and the second song was Marna bhi nahin aasan which was a love song. She was 12 when she sang the song.[8] At the age of 14, She made her breakthrough with the song "Unki nazron sey mohabbat ka jo paigham mila…"(The message of love that I received from his eyes) for Pakistani film Hum Dono (1966).[10][11] She used to perform on PTV.[12] 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 sad'er lau in Kolkata, which was popular in both Bengals.[13] She also had her first concert in India in 1974 in Mumbai.[14] 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.[8] 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.[15] She gained popularity in India with the songs O mera babu chail chabila and Damadum mast kalandar.[16]

In October 2009 she released [Kala Sha Kala] which is a collection of Punjabi Wedding songs in India.[17] In 2012, Laila served as a judge on the show Sur Kshetra-an Indian TV contest show for amateur singers.[18] She described her relationship with fellow Judge Asha Bhosle as that of sisters.[19] In 2014 she colarborated with Sabina Yasmin on a song for a TV play "Dalchhut Projapoti", the first time they worked on a song together.[20] 2015 would mark her 5 decades of her music career and a concert was held to celebrate the occasion.[21] Runa has performed in many different Languages. She has sung in seventeen languages including her native Bengali, Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi, Sindhi, Gujarati, Pashto, Baluchi, Arabic, Persian, Malay, Nepalese, Japanese, Italian, Spanish, French and English.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Laila has been married three times. She first married Khawaza Javed Kaiser, secondly a Swiss citizen named Ron Daniel[citation needed] and lastly the actor Alamgir.[22] She has one sister Dina Laila.[23] Her grandson Zain Islam had been selected for the Arsenal progression center in 2012 when he was eight.[24]


After her sister died in 1976 from cancer she held 10 charity concerts in Dhaka. The money raised was used to build a cancer hospital in Dhaka.[1][8] Runa Laila was named a SAARC Goodwill Ambassadors for HIV/AIDS.[25] She is the first Bangladeshi to hold this post.[26] She visited New Delhi in 2013 on her first trip as SAARC ambassador. She meet India's External and Health ministers.[27]


  • Runa Laila-Kala Siah Kala- 23 March 2010
  • Runa Laila – Moods & Emotions- 1 December 2008
  • Bazm-E-Laila
  • The Loves of Runa Laila
  • Ganga Amar Ma Padma Amar Ma-Runa Laila
  • Superuna - 1 December 1982
  • Runa Goes Disco - 1 September 1982
  • Runa Sings Shahbaz Qalandar - 1 September 1982
  • Geet / Ghazals - 1 September 1976
  • Runa in Pakistan (Geet) - 1 December 1980
  • Runa in Pakistan (Ghazals) - 1 December 1980
  • Sincerely Yours- Runa Laila
  • I Love to Sing for You- Runa Laila

Film songs[edit]

For complete list of songs, see List of Songs recorded by Runa Laila

Films in Pakistan[edit]

  • Commander (1968)- "Jaan-E-Mann Itna Bata Do Mohabbat,Mohabbat Hai Kya" music by Master Abdullah
  • Hum Dono (1966)-Her debut super-hit film song "Unki Nazron Se Mohabbat Ka Jo Paigham Mila" music by Nashad
  • Anjuman (1970)-"Hoey Hoey Dil Dharkay Mein Yeh Kaisay Kahoon" music by Nisar Bazmi
  • Umrao Jaan Ada (1972)-"Kaatey Na Katay Rattia Sayyan Intezar Ki" music by Nisar Bazmi
  • Man Ki Jeet (1972)- "Dinwa Dinwa Mein Ginuun,Kab Aeingay Sanwaria" music by M Ashraf
  • Ehsaas (1972)- "Hamein Kho Kar Bahut Pachhtao Gay Jab Hum Nahin Haun Gay" music by Robin Ghosh
  • Dilruba (1975)- "Chhanak Gaii Paayal Tau Kya Hoga" A duet song with Masood Rana,Runa Laila- music by M Ashraf
  • Zaildar (1972) A Punjabi language film -"Do Dil Ik Doojay Kolon Duur Ho Gaey" music by Ghulam Ahmed Chishti

Films in India[edit]

Film in Bangladesh[edit]

  • Shwaralipi
  • Dui Jibon
  • Antore Antore
  • The Rain
  • Beder Meye Josna
  • Kayamat Theke Kayamat Porjonto
  • Sopner Nayok
  • Sottyer Mrittyu Nei
  • Meghla Akash
  • Megher Koley Rod
  • Hridoyer Badhon



  1. ^ a b c Sanskriti Website. "Runa Laila". KOA Music Section. Kashmiri Overseas Association (KOA). Retrieved 16 June 2015. 
  2. ^ Staff. "Culture - POP Music". Ufone GSM. Retrieved 17 June 2015. 
  3. ^ Arnold, Alison (2000). The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. Taylor & Francis. pp. 420–421. ISBN 0-8240-4946-2. 
  4. ^ Gulzar; Nihalani, Govind; Chatterji, Saibal (2003). Encyclopaedia of Hindi Cinema. Popular Prakashan. pp. 532–533. ISBN 81-7991-066-0. 
  5. ^ Roy, Gargi. "Top Nine Singers of Bangladesh (With Pictures)". The Next Generation Library. Retrieved 16 June 2015. 
  6. ^ Staff. "Runa Laila". Times Internet Limited. Retrieved 16 June 2015. 
  7. ^ "Socio-political History of Modern Pop Music in Pakistan". Chowk. Archived from the original on 23 July 2008. Retrieved 7 November 2015. 
  8. ^ a b c d Sharma, Devesh. "Beyond borders Runa Laila". Times Internet Limited. Retrieved 16 June 2015. 
  9. ^ Entertainment Correspondent. "Ebong Runa Laila' this Eid". Matiur Rahman. Retrieved 16 June 2015. 
  10. ^ Jamil, Syed Maqsud. "Songs of the Sixties". The Daily Star. Retrieved 17 June 2015. 
  11. ^ Wahid, Shahnoor. "Runa Laila". The Daily Star. Retrieved 16 June 2015. 
  12. ^ Akhtar, Aasim. "The PTV cadre maintained its character". The News International. Retrieved 17 June 2015. 
  13. ^ Ferdous, Fahmim. "Shine bright like a diamond". The Daily Star. Retrieved 16 June 2015. 
  14. ^ Staff Correspondent. "When Runa met Lata". The Daily Star. Retrieved 17 June 2015. 
  15. ^ Sharma, Arun. "Like music itself, a singer has no boundaries: Runa Laila". Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. Retrieved 16 June 2015. 
  16. ^ Ahmed, Afsana. "I had a crush on Shashi Kapoor but he was married: Runa Laila". HT Media Limited. Retrieved 16 June 2015. 
  17. ^ PRESS RELEASE. "Music Today present's Runa Laila's album Kala Sha Kala, A collection of Punjabi folk melodies". Retrieved 17 June 2015. 
  18. ^ staff. "RUNA LAILA". India. Retrieved 16 June 2015. 
  19. ^ Chaturvedi, Vinita. "Ashaji and I have become like sisters: Runa Laila". Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. Retrieved 16 June 2015. 
  20. ^ Shazu, Shah Alam. "Revisiting the music scene of '14". The Daily Star. Retrieved 16 June 2015. 
  21. ^ Staff Correspondent. "Celebrating the legacy of Runa Laila". The Daily Star. Retrieved 16 June 2015. 
  22. ^ "মিডিয়া পাড়ার কিছু ২য় বিয়ের গল্প". banglanews24. 12 March 2013. Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  23. ^ Ali, Masum. "Runa Laila celebrates 50-year in music". Matiur Rahman. Retrieved 16 June 2015. 
  24. ^ Correspondent. "Runa Laila on cloud nine". The Daily Star. 
  25. ^ Press Trust of India. "Ajay Devgn, Runa Laila named SAARC ambassadors for HIV/AIDS". Business Standard Private Ltd. Retrieved 16 June 2015. 
  26. ^ Senior Correspondent. "Runa Laila SAARC Goodwill Ambassador". Retrieved 16 June 2015. 
  27. ^ Senior Correspondent. "Runa Laila to tour New Delhi". Retrieved 16 June 2015. 
  28. ^ a b Thombare, Suparna (2 November 2009). "Runa Laila's Punjabi connection". DNA (Diligent Media Corporation Ltd). Retrieved 17 June 2015. 
  29. ^ Sutar, Chirag. "Runa Laila - 'It was difficult for me to travel to India as and when I wanted'". Group. Retrieved 16 June 2015. 
  30. ^ Dubey, Bharti. "Abida Parveen and Runa Laila to spread love in India". Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. Retrieved 16 June 2015. 
  31. ^ Entertainment Desk. "Runa Laila receives Mirchi Music Award". Dhaka Tribune. Retrieved 16 June 2015. 
  32. ^ UNB. "PM distributes National Film Award". Dhaka Tribune. Retrieved 16 June 2015. 

External links[edit]