After battling paralysis, a lung and chest disorder for several years now, Ghazal Maestro Mehdi Hassan finally succumbed on on 13th June 2012.
Born in 1927, Mehdi Hasan started performing at a young age and subsequently gained fame because of his talent and the alluring quality of his ghazals. His song “Sarhadein”, released in 2010 was his last addition to the musical sphere.
Mehdi Hassan, (1927 – 2012) affectionately called Khan Sahib and titled as “Shahenshah-e-Ghazal” (King of Ghazals) is a legendary Pakistani-Indian Ghazal singer and a former playback singer for Lollywood.
He was born in the village of Luna in Rajasthan, British India in 1927 into a family of rich traditional musicians. He claims to be the 16th generation of hereditary musicians hailing from the Kalawant. Kala means “Art” and Kalawant means “artist” (in any Indian language).
He received his musical training under his father, Ustad Azeem Khan and his uncle Ustad Ismail Khan who were classical musicians, well-versed in dhrupad singing. They instructed him in classical music and voice production within the framework of classical forms of thumri, dhrupad, khayal and dadra, from the young age of eight.
Hassan started to perform at a young age and the first concert of dhrupad and kheyal with his elder brother is reported to have been held in Fazilka Bungla near Ferozepur. After the Partition of India, 20-year-old Hassan and his family migrated to Pakistan and suffered severe financial hardships. To make ends meet, Hassan began working in a bicycle shop and later became a car and diesel tractor mechanic. Despite the hardships, his passion for music didn’t wither and he kept up the daily routine of practice.
The struggle ended when Mehdi Hassan was given the opportunity to sing on Radio Pakistan in 1952, primarily as a thumri singer, which earned him recognition within the musical fraternity. At the time, Ustad Barkat Ali Khan, Begum Akhtar and Mukhtar Begum were considered the stalwarts of ghazal gayaki.
He also had a passion for Urdu poetry and began to experiment by singing ghazals on a part-time basis. He cites radio officers, Z.A. Bukhari and Rafiq Anwar as additional influences in his progression as a ghazal singer. They gave him ample opportunities to display his mastery over the ghazal on radio. He sang ghazals of all the renowned Urdu poets and his innovative style was soon appreciated by both masses and discerning audiences.
Hassans voice and unique performance skills in ghazal singing were unmatched in the world of South Asian music. The 60s and 70s can be named Mehdi Hassans decades, as there was hardly any hero in the Pakistani musical scene on whom Mehdi Hassans songs were not filmed.
King of Ghazals
Mehdi Hassan is universally acclaimed as the finest ghazal singer of his time. His unsurpassed vocal range and his mastery over even the most difficult of raags makes him the undisputed emperor of ghazals. His popularity amongst the masses, appreciation by the masses, and continued success over five decades makes him on par with Noor Jehan in the league of the greatest Pakistani singers of all time. The ultimate tribute to his greatness was from the eternal nightingale, Lata Mangeshkar, who compared his songs to “voice of god”. He is only the singer whose low note are matchless among all singers of subcontinent.
Parvez Mehdi and Talat Aziz are among his famous disciples who took his knowledge and rendition further to audiences.
Following a severe illness in the late 80s, Mehdi Hassan stepped down from playback singing. Later due to severity of his illness he completely departed from music. He now lives a secluded life in Karachi which he has made his permanent residence. Nevertheless he often visits Lahore where he spends most of his time with his children and other family members.
While he was singing in the Court of Nepal’s King Shah Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev, he forgot the lines of his song “Zindagi mein to sabhii pyar kya kerte hain”. Shah, then stood from his seat and start singing the next line. This was really a great tribute to him.
He has been the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions: the Tamgha-i-Imtiaz granted to him by Gen Ayub Khan; the Pride of Performance bestowed on him by Gen Ziaul Haq; and the Hilal-i-Imtiaz conferred by Gen Pervez Musharraf. Besides the Nigar Film and Graduate Awards from Pakistan, he was presented the Saigal Award in Jalandhar, India, in 1979, whereas the Gorkha Dakshan Bahu Award was given to him in Nepal in 1983. Recently, he traveled to Dubai to receive yet another award.
Aage Barhe Na Qissa -E -Ishq -E- Butaan Se Hum
Aaj Tak Yaad Hai Woh Pyar Ka Manzar
Aankhon Se Mili Aankhen
Aap Ki Aankhon Ne
Aaye kuchh abr kuchh sharaab aaye (Poet: Faiz Ahmed Faiz)
Ab Ke Hum Bichde To Shaayad Kabhi Khwaabon Mein Mile (Poet: Ahmed Faraz)
Ae Raushnion Ke Shahr
Apnon Ne Gham Diye To Yaad Aa Gaya
Bhuuli bisri chand umeedein
Chalte ho to chaman ko chaliye
Charaag-e-toor Jalao Bada Andhera Hai
Dekh to dil keh jaan se uthta hai
Dil-E-Nadan Tujhe Hua Kya Hai (Poet: Mirza Ghalib)
Dil Ki Baat Labon Par Laakar.
Dil Men Toofan Chupae Betha Hon
Duniya Kisi Ke Pyaar Mein Jaanat Se Kam Nahin
Dayam Pada Hua Tere Dar Pe Nahi Hoon Main (poet: Mirza Ghalib)
Ek Bar Chale Aao
Ek Bus Tu Hi Nahin Mujhse Khafa ho Baitha (poet: Farhat Shezhad)
Ek Sitam Aur Meri Jaan, Abhi Jaan Baqi Hai (poet: Masroor Anwar)
Fikr hii thaharii to dil ko fikr-e-Khubaan kyon Na Ho (poet: Josh Malihabadi)
Ga Mere Dewane Dil
Garmii-E-Hasarat-E-Naakaam Se Jal Jaate Hai.N
Gulon Main Rang Bhare, Baad-e-Naubahaar Chale (Lyrics: Faiz Ahmed Faiz)
Gulshan gulshan shola e gul ki
Guncha-e-Shauq Laga hei Khilne
Hamari Sanson Men Aaj Tak
Har Dard Ko
Hum mei koi ghum nahi tha ghum-e-aashiqi sai pahlay
Ik Husn Ki Dewi Se Mujhe Pyaar Hua Thaa
Ik khalish ko haasil-e-umr-e-ravaan rehne diya (poet: Adeeb Saharanpuri)
Jab Bhi Aati Hei Teri Yaad Kabhi Shaam ke Baad
Jab Bhi Chahen Ek Nai Sorat
Jab Bhi Pee Kar
Jab Koi Piar Se Bulaae Ga
Jab Us zulf Ki Baat Chali
Jahan Jake Chain
Kahan Gai Woh Wafa
Khuli Jo Aankh Woh Tha (poet: Farhat Shezhad)
Kiya Hei Pyaar Jisse Humne Zindagi ki Tarah
Kya Bhala Mujhko Parakhne Ka Nateeja Nikla
Kyoon Humse Khafa Ho Gaye Ae Jaan-E-Tamanna
Main Hosh Mein Tha
Main khayal houn kisi aur ka (poet: Saleem Kausar)
Main nazar se pee rha hoon
Mohabat Karne Wale
Mohabat Zindagi Hai Aur Tum Meri Mohabat Ho
Mujhe Tum Nazar Se Gira To Rahe Ho
Naavak andaz jidhar diida-e-jaana honge
Patta Patta Boota Boota
Phuul hi phuul khil utthe
Pyaar Bhare Do Sharmile Nain
Rafta Rafta Wo Meri Hasti Ka Saamaan Ho Gaye
Ranjish Hi Sahi Dil Hi Dukhaane Ke Liye Aa
Rim Jhim Ki Barsaat Hai Aur Jaage Huye Jazbaat Hain
Roshan Jamal-e-yaar Se Hain
Saamne Aa Ke Tujhko Pukara Nahin
Sahar Ho Rahi Hai
Shikwa Na Kar Gila Na Kar Ye Duniya Hai Pyaare
Shola Tha Jal Bujha Hoon (penned by: Ahmed Faraz)
Tanha Thi Aur Hamesha Se Tanha Hai Zindagi
Tark-e-Ulfat Ka Sila
Tere Bheege Badan Ki Khooshboo Se
Tere Mere Piar Ka Aisa Nata Hai
Toote Hue Khwabon Ke Liye
Thah ar Thorri Der To
Tu Meri Zindagi Hei (Copied by Nadeem Sharavan in “Ashiqi” Hindi Movie India)
Usne Jab Meri Taraf
Uzr Aane Mein Bhi Hei Aur Bulaate bhi nahin
Wo Dil Nawaaj Hei Lekin Nazar Shinaas Nahin
Yaaro Kisii Qaatil Se Kabhii Pyaar Na Maa.Ngo
Yun na mil mujhse khafa ho jaise
Ye Dhooan Kahan Se Uthta Hei
Ye Kaghzi Phool Jaise Chahre
Ye Mojazaa Bhii Muhabbat Kabhii Dikhaaye Mujhe
Ye Tera Naazuk Badan Hai Ya Koi Mehka Gulaab
Yoon Zindagi Ki Raah Mein Takra Gaya Koi
Zindagi Mein To Sabhi Pyaar Kiya Karte Hain
Zulf Ko Teri Ghataon Ka Payam Aaya Hai