‘Shehanshah-e-Ghazal’ – Mehdi Hassan’s 92nd Birthday
Mehdi Hassan, a legendary and one of Pakistan’s most celebrated Urdu ghazal singers, was born on the 18th of July 1927 in a village called Luna.
He hailed from a family with a rich musical background. Hassan learned his craft from his father and uncle. His ancestors being the ‘‘Darbari Ustaads’’, had performed in the courts of various maharajas. He claimed to be the sixteenth generation of the hereditary musicians from the Kalwant clan.
Hassan was trained to be a singer since a very early age. After migrating to Pakistan in 1947, Hassan continued to support his family by working as a mechanic and practiced singing alongside.
After he sang in 1957, on the Radio Pakistan, his rise to prominence began. He proved his mettle as a classical singer and soon became a well-known ghazal singer with a deep, melodious and sonorous voice. He rendered various raga based compositions and treasured himself to his listeners.
Ghazal was his specialty, an ancient poetic form, favored by Rumi and other masters of the Urdu verse. He earned much acclaim as a ghazal singer and soon ventured into films.
Given the title of ‘‘Shehanshah-e-Ghazal’’ or ‘‘King of Ghazal’’, Hassan provided soundtracks for nearly 300 movies. For him, film music was a sidekick to some extent, albeit a lucrative one.
Over the years, he scored many hits like ‘‘Ranjish hi sahi’’, ‘‘Patta Patta Boota Boota’’, ‘‘Kub kay Bichray’’, ‘‘Tu pyaar hai kisi aur ka’’ and ‘‘Main hosh mai tha’’.
In the 1970’s Hassan won eight Nigar Awards in the category of the best male playback singer. He even composed music for Lata Mangeshkar. Mehdi Hassan’s contribution to Pakistani film music was second to none. His solos include immortal numbers such as ‘‘Pyaar bharay dou sharmeelay nain’’, ‘‘Yunh zindagi ki raah pay’’ and ‘‘Mujhay tum nazar say gira tou rahay hou’’ etc.
His services to Pakistani and North-Indian music are praiseworthy and immense. He has admirers all over the sub-continent. Fellow singers and musicians believe that there has never been anyone in history with a command over the genre like that of Hassan.
He passed away on the 13th of June, 2012 in Karachi. His work is undoubtedly a priceless asset for Lollywood. And he for sure has left a huge mark on every young artist who aspires to be a classical singer.
Mehdi Hassan may not be with us, but his repertoire will keep on enthralling music lovers of every generation.