5 years since Mehdi Hassan left us

Long gone but not forgotten

Adnan Lodhi June 13, 2017

LAHORE: Fifth death anniversary of Pakistan’s very own King of ghazal Mehdi Hassan is being observed today (June 13). With unparalleled command on classical music and singing, the Ranjish Hi Sahi singer is still considered to be the most influential figure in the world of ghazal.

Hasan was born on July 18, 1927, in Rajasthan, India, to a family of musicians. To keep up the family tradition, he began training under his father Ustad Azeem Khan and uncle Ustad Ismail Khan and focused on Thumari. After Partition, Hassan and his family migrated to Chichawatni in Pakistan. Soon after, the then-aspiring singer made his debut in 1957 on Radio Pakistan and the rest, as they say, is history.

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Besides working at the radio station, Hasan also began performaning at private events and gatherings. Due to his love for poetry, he preferred to sing ghazals but also indulged in some ‘light’ geet singing from time to time.

Hassan’s big film break came in 1962 when he lent his voice to a song from the film Susraal, followed by his rendition of Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s acclaimed ghazal Gullon Mein Rang Bhare. In the same year, he won the Nigar Award for Best Singer and thereafter, went on to take over the sub-continent’s music industry by a storm.

During his life, Hasan sang hundreds of songs, the most popular of which include Pyar Bharay Dau Sharmile Nain, Koi Pyaar Se Bulaye Ga and Aik Husn Ki Devi Se, Mujhe Pyaar Hua, amongst many others. His contributions to the industry led him to win the Pride of Performance as well as a Nishan-e-Imtiaz, a Tamgha-e-Imtiaz and a Hilal-e-Imtiaz.


Hasan may be long gone now but he is far from forgotten. “Mehdi Hasan will always be a sun among the stars,” Ustad Hussain Baksh Gullu told The Express Tribune. “The influence of his music and singing transcended borders so much that he is easily the most venerated figure of classical singing around the world, be it Pakistan, India or anywhere else.”

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Folk singer Shoukat Ali echoed Gullu’s sentiments. “Mehdi was a wonderful singer – one of the few to have been recognised for ghazals as well as film songs. He personified the golden era of Pakistani music and surely, there will be no one like him in the future. No wonder they called him the King of Ghazals…his death is something the industry is still recovering from.”

Singer Ustad Tafu sang praises of the person he had interacted with a number of times. “He was such a hard worker and equally committed. I don’t know of any instance where I would see pride come in the way of his progress and music.”

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