LAHORE: The sixth death anniversary of the ‘Shahenshah e Ghazal’ Mehdi Hassan is being observed across Pakistan today.
According to many, the late singer was the true king of ghazal and no one can ever replace him. Fellow singers and musicians believe that there has never been anyone in history with a command over the genre like that of Hassan’s, whose music continues to be a real asset for Lollywood.
“There was only one king of ghazal and that was Mehdi Hassan. There has been no one like him within showbiz ever since his death and I believe there never will be,” renowned folk singer Shoukat Ali told The Express Tribune. “His time was the golden era of music and in that era, he ruled the whole world. I have no words to express my appreciation for Hassan and his work.”
Hassan was born on July 18, 1927, to a family of musicians in Luna Jhunjunu district in British India. Following family tradition, he started learning music from a very young age. At 20, he eventually migrated to Chichawatni with his family, after Partition.
The icon’s grooming in the field of music was done under the supervision of his father Ustad Azeem Khan and Uncle Ismail Khan, who were both classical singers. Hassan started performing at music gatherings and private functions during his childhood but his career officially began in 1952 through Radio Pakistan. He impressed listeners and music producers alike with his style of classical singing.
Although the Ranjish Hi Sahi crooner made his debut through radio, his passion was always to work in films. In 1956, he got the opportunity to sing his first film song Nazar Milte Hi Dil Ki Bat Ka Charcha Na Ho Jaye for film Shikar. This song became a launch pad for Hassan within the film industry and the rest, as they say, is history.
During his five-decades-long career, he sang for a number of films, released many ghazals and performed around the world, making a name for Pakistan. Gulon Mein Rang Bhare, Ek Husn Ki Devi Se Mujhe Pyar Hua Tha, Dil Ki Baat Labon Par Laa Kar, Zindagi Mein to Sabhi Pyar Kiya Karte Hain and Pyar Bhary Do Sharmile Nain are just some of his evergreen hits.
“Mehdi Hassan is the pride of our music industry and those who got the chance to watch his performances are extremely lucky,” singer Naseebo Laal said. “Many other ghazal singers have attempted singing his songs but could not impress or do him justice.” She added, “On his death anniversary, I miss him dearly. I learnt a lot from him and his art.”
During his career, Hassan was honoured several times with the Nigar Award as well as the Pride of Performance, Tamagha e Imtiaz and Hilal e Imtiaz from the government. Many of today’s biggest singers proudly claim to be his students, both in and out of Pakistan. These include Pervez Mahdi, Talat Hussain, Shahnaz Begum, Savita Ahuja, Ghulam Abbas, Ustad Salamat Ali and Hariharan among others.
“Ghazal singers are usually known within their respective regions but Mehdi Hassan was known all over the world,” shared Ustad Hussain Baksh Gullu. “He was a real ustad. Many teachers came and went in the field of ghazal singing but there was truly no one like him. He was very unique and different… Hassan’s work is an asset of our history and there is a lot to learn from it for the newer generation.”
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