Celebrated singer Shahnaz Rahmatullah dies at 67

One of the most revered singers of Bangladesh, Shahnaz Rahmatullah has died at the age of 67.

Glitz Correspondentbdnews24.com
Published : 23 March 2019, 09:01 PM
Updated : 24 March 2019, 02:51 AM

She breather her last at her residence in Baridhara around 11:30pm on Saturday, a close relative has said.

The singing legend had been suffering from old-age complications.

“She was having a lot of trouble breathing at night. Our elder brother Dr Enayet Ullah found her lying dead after coming home,” her sister-in-law Nahar Abed told bdnews24.com

Her Namaz-e-Janaza will be held at the Baridhara Park Mosque after Zuhr prayers on Sunday, she added. She will be buried later in Banani military graveyard.

Born on Jan 2, 1952 in Dhaka to M Fazlul Haq and Asiya Haq, she was married to retired major Abul Bashar Rahmatullah who now runs a business. Their daughter Nahid Rahmatullah has settled in the United Kingdom and son AKM Sayef Rahmatullah lives in Canada.

Leading figures of the music industry including lyricist Kabir Bakul, singers Tapan Chowdhury, Fuad Naser Babu, Dinat Jahan Munni and Shafiq Tuhin rushed to Shahnaz's home after word of her death spread.

Kabir Bakul told bdnews24.com that the singer was healthy and involved with music.

Singer Munni was preparing to render a few of Shahnaz's songs at an Independence Day programme on Mar 26.

"My wife was set to sing some of her songs at an event on Mar 26. (Shahnaz) had invited her to home and helped her pick up the tunes. She seemed in good health," said Kabir.

Shahnaz, the Ekushey Padak and the National Film Award-winning singer, had developed a keen interest in music at an early age. Her brother late Anwar Parvez was a renowned music composer. Her other brother was the celebrated actor and singer Zafar Iqbal.

She performed as a playback singer in the film "Natun Sur" at the tender age of 11 in 1963. She went on to lend her voice to countless tunes since then. Shahnaz started singing on television from 1964. She sang a number of Urdu songs and Ghazals in the 1970s.

The revered vocalist was trained in advanced music by Ustad Phul Mohammed. She was also received musical training from Ustad Munir Hossain, Ghazal maestro Mehdi Hasan and Shahid Altaf Mahmud.

In 2006, the BBC ranked four of Shahnaz's songs on its list of the top 20 greatest Bengali songs of all time. Two of these were compositions of Anwar Parvez while the others were composed by Khan Ataur Rahman and Abdul Latif, respectively.

Shahnaz released four albums during her illustrious career which spanned nearly 50 years. Apart from the Ekushey Padak and the National Film Award, she won numerous awards, including the Shilpakala Academy Award and the BACHSAS Award for her contributions to music in Bangladesh.

Shahnaz Rahmatullah has also sung a number of patriotic songs. Her songs including "Je Chhilo Drishtir Shimanae", "Khola Janala", "Pari Na Bhule Jete" still linger in the hearts of her fans.

The eminent singer had taken a brief hiatus from music to devote herself to her religion.

In a 2017 interview with bdnews24.com, Shahnaz said, "I didn't feel like singing after returning from Umrah. I started praying then and my time is now spent in prayers."

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher