LAHORE: Music lovers and fans of Shahenshah-e-Ghazal and playback singer Mehdi Hassan celebrated the seventh death anniversary of the late legend today. Colleagues and music-related personalities commemorated his illustrious career, calling his work a true asset to the music industry.
Hassan was surely among the greatest singers of his time. He was awarded some of the most prestigious titles in Pakistani music industry, including the Nigar Award for Best Performer on several occasions. The government of Pakistan also presented him with the Pride of Performance Awards, Tamgha-e-Imtiaz and Hilal-i-Imtiaz.
Hassan sang many patriotic songs and worked with almost every famous music composer and producer during his celebrated career. The musician passed away June 13, 2012, due to a prolonged disease that affected his lungs. Seven years on and his memory still stays alive for most of his fans. One of the biggest ghazal singers of South Asia, he produced a large body of quality work.
Perhaps, Hassan’s roots also contribute to his profound love for music. Born into a family that was already associated with ghazal, the legend grew up in a Luna Jhunjunu District village during the pre-Partition period in the subcontinent. Like the traditions of his forefathers, he started learning music from an early age. After the creation of Pakistan, the then 20-year old Hassan migrated to the country with his family and resided at Chichawatni.
His musical journey was groomed under the supervision of his father Ustad Azeem Khan and uncle Ismail Khan, who were traditional classical singers. During his childhood, he started performing at music gatherings as well as private functions. But his career didn’t actually take off until 1952, when he got an opportunity to perform at Radio Pakistan. He impressed listeners and music producers though his classical singing, especially through his exceptional performance of thumri, khayal and darbari.
Even though Hassan was performing at Radio Pakistan, his true passion was singing in films. His dream came true in 1956 after he was given the opportunity to sing Nazar Miltay Hi Dil Ki Baat Ka Charcha Na Ho Jaye for a film named Shikar. This song was the beginning of a luminous career and after his long journey to success the legendary singer continued doing what he loved for around five decades.
During this time span, Hassan performed for a number of films, releasing many ghazal and singing volumes while performing around the world. Baat krni mujy Mushkal, Gulloun main Rung Bhry, Aik Husan ki Davi sy Mujy Pyar Hua tha, Dil ki Baat Laboun par laa kar, Zindgi main to Sabi payar kia krty hain, Ranjash Hi sahi, Payar Bhary do sharmilay nain and his thousands of songs are still in the library of music lovers.
There are many big names in Pakistan’s musical field and beyond who proudly claim to learn from Hassan’s talent including Pervaiz Mahdi, Talat Hussain, Shahnaz Begum, Savita Ahuja, Ghula Abaas,Ustad Salamat Ali and Hari Haran.
“It seems that it was yesterday when Mehdi Hassan was among us but it is a bitter reality that around seven years has passed. I believe that many entered in the field of music and in the field of ghazal singing, but there was only one King in this profession and that is Mahdi Hassan,” renowned folk singer Shoukat Ali Khan said. He continued, “It is also my belief that no one will come in this industry like Mahdi Hassan. His period of ghazal was the golden era of music and there is no doubt this will not return for centuries.”
Abr Barsa Na Hawa Tez Chali singer Ustad Hussain Baksh Gullu also spoke highly of the legend, saying, “Mahdi Hassan was among those singers that taught ghazal singing to many in this country, and it was his good luck that he was considered a Ustaad in the region of South Asia as he was equally famous there.”
He added, “There was a charisma to his voice and personality and his work is still shining after seven years of his death.” Singer Humaira Arshad mentioned how Hassan made Pakistan proud and was a hero of the country in more ways than one. “Singers like us always considered him Ustad for singing, not only new male singers but many female singers of this country also sung his songs and ghazals after his death – this is a credit to any singer.” He continued, “He was proud of our country and was a real hero who served Pakistan in the musical title.”
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