Radiodiffusion Internasionaal Annexe

Sohail Rana
June 24, 2008, 8:47 pm
Filed under: Pakistan

The Khyber Twist

The Luddee Twist

Sohail Rana (mispelled here as Suhail) was from Pakistan.

The name “Pakistan” means “Land of the Pure” in Urdu, as well as in Persian. It was coined in 1934 as “Pakstan” by Choudhary Rahmat Ali, who published it in the pamphlet Now or Never. The name represented, according to Ali, the “thirty million Muslims of PAKSTAN, who live in the five Northern Units of (British) IndiaPunjab, North-West Frontier Province. (a.k.a. Afghania), Kashmir, Sindh, and Balochistan.” The nation was founded officially as the Dominion of Pakistan in 1947 after the Partition of India, and was renamed the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in 1956.

Sohail Rana, who is the son of renowned Urdu poet Rana Akbar Abadi, was born in Agra, Uttar Pradesh province in India, in 1938. After the Partition of India, Sohail Rana’s family moved to Karachi, Pakistan. Like most parents, his father encouraged him to study science. But when Sohail realized that science was not for him, he did not have the courage to talk to his father himself. He approached him through his elder sister to get permission to change over to music.

During his primary education, he was admitted to late A.M. Qureshi’s Mary Colaso School in Karachi, where Sohail Rana and future film actor, producer and writer Waheed Murad became friends. Many years later, Waheed Murad’s first film as a producer “Insaan Badalta Hai”, was a success, but he felt that the music fell short of his expectations. For his second production, “Jab Se Dekha Hai Tumhay”, Waheed handed over the task of music to Sohail Rana. In 1966, Sohail Rana came to national attention with the film “Armaan”, for which he won the Nigar award for the best composer for the film. Due to his popularity, EMI also appointed him to compose music for Firdausi Begum and Talat Mehmood.

Sohail took a job with the Pakistan Television Corporation in 1968. Besides composing a national song “Allah-o-Akbar” for the network, he wrote over 2,000 songs for his popular morning television program called “Sang Sang Chalain”. An entire generation of Pakistani children grew up singing along to the tunes about birds, frogs, insects and farm animals. Sonail would later say that “It used to be that children in Pakistan schools would only learn the English nursery rhymes, but I wanted to give them something they could sing in their own language.”

1970 saw the release of the album, ”Khyber Mail“, for which Sohail received the prestigious Presidential Award of Excellence and the EMI Gold Disc award. He served in the Ministry of Culture as director general from 1976 to 1978 and headed the project of National Orchestra and Choral Ensemble of Pakistan. He also composed music for Pakistan International Airline’s inflight progams. In 1986, the film “Hesaab” was produced, which would be the last of the twenty five films for which he would compose music.

Sohail moved to Mississauga, Ontario in Canada in 1990 where he has openned a school for singers and musicians. As of 2005, he was starting to perform live with interactive multi-media and was planning a series of concerts in Toronto involving artists from Pakistan and India.

Catalog number EKCF-8 on Columbia Records, manufactured by the Gramaphone Company of Pakistan, Ltd.



Fascinating biography and informative post. It’s nice having such talent residing up here in the Great White North.

Comment by Daniel E. Friedman

Dear friends
I am great fan of Sohail Rana.I was inspired of learning guitar when I was in school after listening to his composition of title music from BeesDin.If anyone having that track pl upload for me.

Comment by qamar

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