The magical voice
He raised the profile of the ghazal singing
In his book "Mehdi Hassan: The Man & his Music", Pakistani author Asif Noorani has highlighted the earlier phase of Hassan's life and written that his humility stood tall against the fame and greatness he had achieved later. "He had earned his living by repairing automobiles during his younger days. During his years of stardom, his harmonium broke and he started repairing it himself, wittingly replying to the people surrounding him that this was a piece of cake compared to the number of engines that he had repaired in the past," Noorani wrote. The hardships of life notwithstanding, Hassan stuck to his music and continued with his "riyaz". His patience paid off when he was invited to sing for Radio Pakistan in 1957 - first as a 'thumri' singer and then as a 'ghazal' exponent. Fortunes changed when the young singer landed his first musical performance on Radio Pakistan in 1957, singing thumris. After that, he never looked back, going on to sing ghazals. He is widely considered the best ghazal singer of all time.
In his long career, Mehdi Hassan also sang playback for many Pakistani films. He also famously dueted with Lata Mangeshkar in 2010, singing Tera Milna. Mehdi recorded his part of the duet in Pakistan and Lata hers in India. He last performed in India in 2000.
Mehdi Hassan was loved not only in native Pakistan but also in India and Nepal. He received the Saigal Award in India and the Gorkha Dakshina Bahu in Nepal. In Pakistan, he received the Tamgha-i-Imtiaz, Pride Of Perfromance and Hilal-i-Imtiaz, among other honours.
He was also passionate about Urdu poetry. Ghazal maestro Mehdi Hassan first mesmerised connoisseurs with his rendition of "Gulon main rang bhare", step one of a long musical journey that lasted five decades. The death of the artist, who gave voice ghazals such as "Patta patta boota boota" and "Abke bicchde khwaabon mein mile", brings the curtains down on an era of lyricism, melody and poetry in light Hindustani classical music.
Born in undivided India in 1927, the ghazal singer, who passed away in a Karachi hospital Wednesday after a prolonged illness, was instrumental in opening up the evocative world of Urdu poetry. He popularised the poetry form as a musical genre for millions of Pakistani and Indian homes in the process. The soft-spoken man was the uncrowned king of music for Pakistan's movie industry and further raised the profile of the ghazal, once considered among elite exponents of Hindustani classical music.
According to an estimate by his son Arif, Hassan gave voice to more than 20,000 songs and, apart from Urdu, also sang in Bengali, Punjabi and Pashto. Some of his famous ghazal renditions include "Zindagi mein sabhi pyar kiya kartein hain" (written by Qateel Shifai); "Dekh tu dil ki jaan se uthta hai" (by Mir); "Shola tha jal bujha hoon"; "Yeh mojeza bhi mohabbat dikhaye mujhe" (by Qateen Shifai); "Abke bicchde khwaabon mein mile" (Ahmad Faraz); "Baat karni mujhe mushkil" (Bahadur Shah Zafar); Uzr aane mein bhi hai (Daagh Dehlvi).
Hassan's style combined dhrupad, khayal and Rajasthani folk music. His magic was not confined
to Pakistan, he was equally popular in India. In fact, he was one of the first Pakistani ghazal singers who charmed Indian audiences. His fan following had impressive names - Lata Mangeshkar once described his voice as the "Voice of God" and former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was a great fan of his melodies. In October 2010, Mangeshkar and Hassan teamed up for "Tera Milana" in the album "Sarhadein", probably their first and last duet.
In 1978, when Vajpayee was foreign minister, Hassan had performed at his residence. After shining on the music firmament from 1962 to the early 1980s, Hassan's career started fading as illness took a toll and Urdu films became less popular.
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Lastupdate on : Thu, 14 Jun 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 14 Jun 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 15 Jun 2012 00:00:00 IST
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