Today is internationally renowned singer Runa Laila's birthday. The diva recalls that when she was a young girl, birthdays meant new clothes, especially sewn for her by her mother and older sister Deena Laila. Looking back on those years with nostalgic sadness, she says, “My childhood birthdays were memorable, carefree times. My friends used to visit, and we would cut the cake together and enjoy ourselves. Those days are gone forever, but I am still grateful to God for keeping me in good health, and for giving me the ability to sing to this day. Now I enjoy my birthday celebrations intimately with my family.
However, each year on my birthday I miss my mother greatly, as her birthday is on December 1. I miss my grandchild as well, whose birthday is on November 24.”
Last year the artiste celebrated her birthday with her oldest grandchild. She credits her mother, father, and older sister for her successes today, as well as the support of her fans. Her playback singing in films – particularly “Jadur BaNshi,” “Accident,” “Ontore Ontore,” “Tumi Ashbe Bole,” “Devdas,” “Priya Tumi Shukhi Hou,”- have earned her six National Film Awards. “Jadur BaNshi,” filmed in 1977 and directed by Abdul Latif Bachchu was the first playback that had earned the singer her first award.
Her prolific career also marks her as the first singer to have sung Bangla songs on Karachi's radio station. Under the musical composition of Debu Bhattacharyay, the songs performed were “Notun Notun Payraguli,” and “Ami Nodir Moto Koto Poth Ghurey.” She began playback singing in national films since 1970, her first film being “Swaralipi,” directed by Nazrul Islam, recorded in Lahore with Subol Das behind musical compositions.
Since then, the singer has lent her melodious voice to over 10,000 recordings, in 18 languages. Recently the artiste was honoured for her musical contributions on November 5, at a programme organised by Citibank N.A.