Runa Laila (born 17 November 1952)[1][2] is a Bangladeshi playback singer and composer. She is one of the best-known 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 – The Rain (1976), Jadur Banshi (1977), Accident (1989), Ontore Ontore (1994), Devdas (2013) and Priya Tumi Shukhi Hou (2014) - earned her seven Bangladesh National Film Awards for Best Female Playback Singer.[1] She won the Best Music Composer award for the film Ekti Cinemar Golpo (2018).[7]

Runa Laila
Runa Laila on 4 July 2017 (01) (cropped).jpg
Laila in 2017
Background information
Native name
রুনা লায়লা
Born (1952-11-17) 17 November 1952 (age 67)
Sylhet, East Bengal, Dominion of Pakistan
GenresGhazal, fusion music, Pop
Occupation(s)Playback singer
Years active1969–1991

Early lifeEdit

Laila was born in Sylhet to Syed Mohammed Imdad Ali, a civil servant posted in Karachi, and Amina Laila. She started taking dance lessons of Kathak and Bharatanatyam genre. 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[8] 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] She then learned classical music with her elder sister Dina Laila (d. 1976).[2][9][10] While she was a student of Saint Lawrence Convent, she won an inter-school singing competition in Karachi in the then West Pakistan.[11] She, along with her sister, were trained by Ustad Abdul Kader Peyarang and Ustad Habibuddin Ahmed.[11] Her cousin, Anjumara Begum, had already been a known singer.[11] When Laila was 12, she performed as a playback singer for a male child actor in the Urdu language film Jugnu.[11] The song was titled Gudia Si Munni Meri.[12]


In 1966, Laila made her breakthrough in the Pakistani film industry with the song Unki Nazron Sey Mohabbat Ka Jo Paigham Mila for the Urdu film Hum Dono.[13][14] She used to perform on PTV.[15] In PTV, she had a show called Bazm E Laila.[11] She started appearing on the Zia Mohyuddin Show (1972–74) and later sang songs for films in the 1970s such as the film Umrao Jaan Ada (1972).

Laila moved to Bangladesh along with her family in 1974.[11] Her first Bengali song was O Amar Jibon Shathi for the film Jibon Shathi (1976), composed by Satya Saha.[11] Shortly after had her first concert in India in 1974 in Mumbai.[16] She started in Bollywood with director Jaidev, whom she met in Delhi, got her the chance to play at the inauguration of Doordarshan.[2] She first worked with the music composer Kalyanji-Anandji for the title song of a film called Ek Se Badhkar Ek (1976).[17] She gained popularity in India with the songs O Mera Babu Chail Chabila and Dama Dam Mast Qalandar.[18] In 1974, she recorded Shaadher Lau in Kolkata.[19] Laila's name has been written on the Guinness World Records for recording 30 songs within 3 days.[12] In 1982, she won Golden Disk Award as her album Superuna composed by Bappi Lahiri was sold over 1 lakh copies on the first day of its release.[12]

In October 2009, she released Kala Sha Kala, a collection of Punjabi wedding songs, in India.[20] In 2012, Laila served as a judge on the show Sur Kshetra, an Indian television contest show for amateur singers.[21] She described her relationship with fellow judge Asha Bhosle as that of sisters.[22] 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.[23][24] 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 lifeEdit

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.[25]


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] Laila was named a SAARC Goodwill Ambassadors for HIV/AIDS.[26] She is the first Bangladeshi to hold this post.[27] She visited New Delhi in 2013 on her first trip as the SAARC ambassador. She met India's External and Health ministers.[28]


  • Sincerely Yours (1973)[12]
  • Runa Laila Sings Songs Of Talib-Ul-Maulla (1974)
  • Great Ghazals - Runa Laila (Style) (1981)
  • Runa in Pakistan (Geet) and (Ghazals) (1980)
  • Bappi Lahiri Presents Runa Laila - Superuna (1982)
  • Runa Goes Disco (1982)
  • Sings For Umrao Jaan Ada (Ghazals) (1985)
  • Ganga Amar Ma Padma Amar Ma (1996)
  • Bazm-E-Laila (2007)
  • Runa Laila-Kala Siah Kala (2010)[12]

Film songsEdit

Films in PakistanEdit

  • 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 IndiaEdit

Film in BangladeshEdit

  • 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. 17 November 2016. Retrieved 17 November 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. ^ "National Film Awards for 2017 and 2018 announced". The Daily Star. 8 November 2019. Retrieved 19 December 2019.
  8. ^ "Socio-political History of Modern Pop Music in Pakistan". Chowk. Archived from the original on 23 July 2008. Retrieved 7 November 2015.
  9. ^ Ali, Masum. "Runa Laila celebrates 50-year in music". Matiur Rahman. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  10. ^ Entertainment Correspondent. "Ebong Runa Laila' this Eid". Matiur Rahman. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g "The Nightingale Speaks". The Daily Star. 6 October 2018. Retrieved 6 October 2018.
  12. ^ a b c d e Tasbir Iftekhar (6 October 2018). "Saga of the Melody Queen". The Daily Star. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  13. ^ Jamil, Syed Maqsud. "Songs of the Sixties". The Daily Star. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  14. ^ Wahid, Shahnoor. "Runa Laila". The Daily Star. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  15. ^ Akhtar, Aasim. "The PTV cadre maintained its character". The News International. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  16. ^ "When Runa met Lata". The Daily Star. 14 October 2011. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  17. ^ Sharma, Arun. "Like music itself, a singer has no boundaries: Runa Laila". Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  18. ^ Ahmed, Afsana. "I had a crush on Shashi Kapoor but he was married: Runa Laila". HT Media Limited. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  19. ^ Ferdous, Fahmim. "Shine bright like a diamond". The Daily Star. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  20. ^ PRESS RELEASE. "Music Today present's Runa Laila's album Kala Sha Kala, A collection of Punjabi folk melodies". Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  21. ^ staff. "RUNA LAILA". India. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  22. ^ Chaturvedi, Vinita. "Ashaji and I have become like sisters: Runa Laila". Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  23. ^ Shazu, Shah Alam. "Revisiting the music scene of '14". The Daily Star. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  24. ^ Staff Correspondent. "Celebrating the legacy of Runa Laila". The Daily Star. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  25. ^ "Runa Laila on cloud nine". The Daily Star. 3 May 2012. Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  26. ^ "Ajay Devgn, Runa Laila named SAARC ambassadors for HIV/AIDS". Business Standard Private Ltd. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  27. ^ "Runa Laila SAARC Goodwill Ambassador". Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  28. ^ "Runa Laila to tour New Delhi". Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  29. ^ a b Thombare, Suparna (2 November 2009). "Runa Laila's Punjabi connection". DNA. Diligent Media Corporation Ltd. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  30. ^ Sutar, Chirag. "Runa Laila - 'It was difficult for me to travel to India as and when I wanted'". Group. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  31. ^ Dubey, Bharti. "Abida Parveen and Runa Laila to spread love in India". Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  32. ^ Entertainment Desk. "Runa Laila receives Mirchi Music Award". Dhaka Tribune. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  33. ^ UNB (4 April 2015). "PM distributes National Film Award". Dhaka Tribune. Retrieved 8 October 2018.

External linksEdit