Runa Laila

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Runa Laila
Runa Laila in 2017.jpg
Runa Laila in 2017
Background information
Native name রুনা লায়লা
Born (1952-11-17) 17 November 1952 (age 65)
Sylhet, East Bengal, Dominion of Pakistan
Genres Ghazal, fusion music, Pop
Occupation(s) Playback singer
Instruments vocals
Years active 1969–1991

Runa Laila (Bengali: রুনা লায়লা; born 17 November 1952)[1][2] is a Bangladeshi playback singer, widely regarded as one of the most popular singers in South Asia. She 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 pair with him after replacing another singer Mala.[3][4][5][6] Her playback singing in films – "Jadur Banshi", "Accident", "Ontore Ontore", "Tumi Ashbe Bole", "Devdas" and "Priya Tumi Shukhi Hou" - earned her six Bangladesh National Film Awards for Best Female Playback Singer.[1]

Early life[edit]

Laila was born in Sylhet to her parents Syed Mohammed Imdad Ali, a civil servant posted in Karachi, and Amina Laila. She started taking dance lessons of Kathak and Bharatanatyam genre. She then learned classical music with her elder sister Dina Laila (d. 1976).[2][7][8] 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[9] 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.[2]


In 1966, Laila made her breakthrough with the song "Unki Nazron Sey Mohabbat Ka Jo Paigham Mila" for the film Hum Dono.[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 "Shaader Lau" in Kolkata.[13] She also had her first concert in India in 1974 in Mumbai.[14] She started in Bollywood with director Jaidev, whom she met in Delhi, who took her under his wing and got her the chance to play at the inauguration of Doordarshan.[2] 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, a collection of Punjabi wedding songs, in India.[17] In 2012, Laila served as a judge on the show Sur Kshetra, an Indian television contest show for amateur singers.[18] She described her relationship with fellow judge Asha Bhosle as that of sisters.[19] 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.[20][21] Runa 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.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Laila has been married three times. She first married Khawaza Javed Kaiser, secondly a Swiss citizen named Ron Daniel and then actor Alamgir. She has a daughter Tani.[2] Her grandson Zain Islam had been selected for the Arsenal progression center in 2012 when he was eight.[22]


After her sister died in 1976 from cancer Laila held several charity concerts in Dhaka. The money raised was used to build a cancer hospital in Dhaka.[2][3] Runa Laila was named a SAARC Goodwill Ambassadors for HIV/AIDS.[23] She is the first Bangladeshi to hold this post.[24] She visited New Delhi in 2013 on her first trip as SAARC ambassador. She met India's External and Health ministers.[25]


  • Runa Laila-Kala Siah Kala (2010)
  • Runa Laila – Moods & Emotions (2008)
  • Bazm-E-Laila
  • The Loves of Runa Laila
  • Ganga Amar Ma Padma Amar Ma-Runa Laila
  • Superuna (1982)
  • 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

Film songs[edit]

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
  • Niyoti



  1. ^ a b "Many Happy Returns to Runa Laila". The Daily Star. November 17, 2016. Retrieved November 17, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Sharma, Devesh. "Beyond borders Runa Laila". Times Internet Limited. Retrieved 16 June 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c Sanskriti Website. "Runa Laila". KOA Music Section. Kashmiri Overseas Association (KOA). Retrieved 16 June 2015. 
  4. ^ Arnold, Alison (2000). The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. Taylor & Francis. pp. 420–421. ISBN 0-8240-4946-2. 
  5. ^ Gulzar; Nihalani, Govind; Chatterji, Saibal (2003). Encyclopaedia of Hindi Cinema. Popular Prakashan. pp. 532–533. ISBN 81-7991-066-0. 
  6. ^ Roy, Gargi. "Top Nine Singers of Bangladesh (With Pictures)". The Next Generation Library. Retrieved 16 June 2015. 
  7. ^ Ali, Masum. "Runa Laila celebrates 50-year in music". Matiur Rahman. Retrieved 16 June 2015. 
  8. ^ Entertainment Correspondent. "Ebong Runa Laila' this Eid". Matiur Rahman. Retrieved 16 June 2015. 
  9. ^ "Socio-political History of Modern Pop Music in Pakistan". Chowk. Archived from the original on 23 July 2008. Retrieved 7 November 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. ^ Correspondent. "Runa Laila on cloud nine". The Daily Star. 
  23. ^ Press Trust of India. "Ajay Devgn, Runa Laila named SAARC ambassadors for HIV/AIDS". Business Standard Private Ltd. Retrieved 16 June 2015. 
  24. ^ Senior Correspondent. "Runa Laila SAARC Goodwill Ambassador". Retrieved 16 June 2015. 
  25. ^ Senior Correspondent. "Runa Laila to tour New Delhi". Retrieved 16 June 2015. 
  26. ^ a b Thombare, Suparna (2 November 2009). "Runa Laila's Punjabi connection". DNA. Diligent Media Corporation Ltd. Retrieved 17 June 2015. 
  27. ^ Sutar, Chirag. "Runa Laila - 'It was difficult for me to travel to India as and when I wanted'". Group. Retrieved 16 June 2015. 
  28. ^ Dubey, Bharti. "Abida Parveen and Runa Laila to spread love in India". Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. Retrieved 16 June 2015. 
  29. ^ Entertainment Desk. "Runa Laila receives Mirchi Music Award". Dhaka Tribune. Retrieved 16 June 2015. 
  30. ^ UNB. "PM distributes National Film Award". Dhaka Tribune. Retrieved 16 June 2015. 

External links[edit]