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Sohail Rana

Sohail Rana (born 1938) is a Pakistani music composer for films. He was introduced by actor Waheed Murad in Pakistan film industry and gained popularity when singer Ahmed Rushdi sang his compositions in such films like Arman and Doraha.  He is now based in Canada.

Early life and career
Sohail Rana was born in Agra, British India,, to renowned Urdu poet Rana Akbar Abadi. The family moved to Pakistan after partition. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Karachi through D.J. Science College initially. Later he received his final B.A. degree from National College, Karachi. 

Sohail Rana learned music from various ustads and familiarised himself with numerous musical instruments, which added to his experience. The film Jab say deikha hai tumhain was Waheed Murad’s second film as a producer and the musical debut of Sohail Rana. Theatrical release was on 29 March 1963, and huge audiences were drawn to the three highly popular songs of the film, Ye khushi ajab khushi hai (singer: Ahmed Rushdi), Tu haseen tera jahan haseen (singer: Ahmed Rushdi) and Jab say deikha hai tumhain, dil ka ajab Aalam hai (singer: Saleem Raza). The other most popular songs of his are Ko-Ko-Korina, Bay taab ho udhar tum, Jab pyar mein do dil miltay hain, Oont pay baitha mera munna, were recorded by Ahmed Rushdi.

Sohail Rana composed the hit songs for the golden jubilee film, Heera aur pathar, released on 11 December 1964. The film completed 68 houseful weeks. The film became a musical phenomenon, and Sohail Rana became a necessity in the burgeoning music industry. The composition of Mujhay tum say mohabbat hai (singers: Ahmed Rushdi and Najma Niazi), and Ja ja ray chanda ja ray (singer: Mala) earned him big fame for the film.

Pakistan’s first platinum jubilee film was Armaan. It is an epic tale of broken hearts and broken dreams. The evergreen song Akele na jana (singer: Mala), with sixty five musicians then, the biggest orchestra ever in Pakistani cinema. Further, Sohail Rana won the prestigious Nigar and graduate Awards for the best composer for the film Armaan.

By the mid-1960s, Sohail Rana had become such a success, where he was able to fathom the depths of emotions through his musical masterpieces. He came out with yet more superb compositions for the film Ehsaan, released on 30 June 1967. The film attained silver jubilee with such favourites as Ik naye maur pay, Aye meri zindigi aye meray hum safar, Do akhian, ye do sakhian. The songs of film Doraha was composed by him, who was also the producer of the film. The famous tracks are Mujhay tum nazar say gira to rahay ho, bhooli huwee hoon dastaan, tumhain kaisay bata doon tum meri manzil ho.

Over the years, he composed for the nazms, Qasm us waqt ki, jab zindigi karwat badalti hai (Film: Qasam us waqt ki, singer: Mujeeb Alam) is a cornerstone of Pakistani entertainment that reflect reality. Sohail Rana produced lilting music for Nigar Pictures Meray hum safar, released in 1972, three of its popular numbers are Wada karo milo gey (Singer: Ahmed Rushdi), Hai bay qarar tamanna (singer: Mujeeb Alam) and Tujh jaisa dagha baaz (singer: Runa Laila). Similarly, Tujhay apnay dil say mein kaisay bhula doon (singer Ahmed Rushdi) is one of the greatest hits in his composition.

From 1974 to 1976, Sohail Rana was appointed as the General Manager National Orchestra, for Pakistan Television Corporation (PTV), based at Karachi center. His musical masterpieces are Sohni dharti (singers: Shehnaz Begum, Mehdi Hassan, lyricist: Masroor Anwar) have become part and parcel of Pakistani culture. Likewise, Jeeway Pakistan and Mein bhee Pakistan hoon achieved tremendous success.

Additionally, he devoted his time to compose songs for children. His program for children were telecast from PTV for 19 years from 1968 to 1987, from Kaliyoan Ki Mala, to Sung Sung Chalain.

Given here below are the names of some of Sohail Rana’s bright students who attained fame for themselves in Pakistani media. Mohammad Ali Sheyki, Amjad Hussain, Alamgir, Mona sisters, Benjamin Sisters, Adnan Sami, Wasim Baig, Nazia Hasan, Zohaib Hassan, Nazneen, and Fatima Jaffrey. Sohail Rana released two cassettes of Naat by Anwar Ibrahim Jaan-e-Madina vol. 1 and 2. Both of these cassettes contained the Naats and Humds by Sohail Rana’s father Rana Akbar Abadi.

The film Badal Aur Bijli was also a huge success, essentially due to his Bansi bajanay walay (singer: Noor Jehan), Dheeray dheeray zara paoon utha (singers: Masood Rana and Mala), Aaj janay ki zid na karo (singer: Habib Wali Mohammad and little later a private recording by Farida Khanum). The Farida Khanum version has been used in an Indian film Monsoon Wedding (though without Sohail Rana’s permission).

Apart from that, Sohail Rana also composed music for the films, Phir chand niklay ga (1970) and Usay deikha Usay chaaha (1974). He also served as Resident composer in PIA Arts Academy sponsored by Pakistan International Airlines from 1972 to 1974, where he conducted Ballet Heer Ranjha, composed and re-arranged music for folk dances and under the directorship of Zia Mohyeddin and with a team of eighty-eight dancers, musicians, singers. He toured the whole world performing in prestigious auditoriums and earned the appreciation of international audience.

Sohail Rana also composed the Summit Anthem Allah-O-Akbar, for Pakistan Television Corporation, in the voice of Mehdi Zaheer and a group of hundred singers, for the first Islamic Summit conference held in Lahore, Pakistan, in 1974.

Sohail Rana composed music for about twenty-four movies. The film Hesaab which was released in 1986 happened to be the last movie for which Sohail Rana composed music. Three of those movies, Guriya, Pagal and Hulchul could not be released. However, popular numbers from the film Guriya and Hulchul are available on cassettes and vinyl Eps.
Later life

Sohail moved to Mississauga, Ontario in Canada in 1990 where he has opened 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. He made a huge appearance on the Geo TV special Aaj Jaane Ki Zid Na Karo. This special included multiple, different artists singing the songs Sohail Rana composed in his early years.[citation needed]

He received the prestigious Presidential Award Pride of Performance, Gold Discs from EMI for the vinyl album, Khyber Mail and his musical works touching the highest sales figures of EMI’s records from 1954 to 1974 in their final sales figures. He was also given the United Nations Peace Messenger Award, conferred on him, at the United Nations headquarter New York in 1987.

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