Pride of Pakistan – Mehdi Hassan: The King of Ghazals
Mehdi Hassan the legendary ghazal singer is the pride of Pakistan. Mehdi Hassan was born in Luna Rajasthan, India in 1927. He belonged to a family with rich musical roots, the Kalawant clan of musicians. Both his father and paternal uncle were dhrupad singers. Mehdi Hassan’s family migrated to Pakistan after partition.
Life was not easy and for some time Mehdi Hassan had to work as an auto mechanic to support his family. Mehdi Hassan got his first break on Radio Pakistan Karachi in 1952. Slowly he made a name for himself and in 1962 fame finally came to him when his ghazal “Gullon mein rung bharay” became immensely popular. From then onwards there was no turning back for the maestro; he was to rule the music industry for decades to come.
Mehdi Hassan was passionate about music and poetry. His command over the various raags and his deep understanding of the poetry made his ghazals so outstanding. He added a new dimension in ghazal singing. He composed the ghazal in the raag which best suited the mood of the ghazal. Even today no singer in the sub continent can match his low notes. Mehdi Hassan was the main playback singer from the 60s to the 80s. He also performed on television and in private functions. Mehdi Hassan has won a great number of awards both nationally and internationally. Lata Mangeshkar the iconic Indian singer paying glowing tributes to the Shahenshah-e- Ghazal Mehdi Hassan compared his voice to that of Bhagwan (God).
Mehdi Hassan’s popularity can be judged from this anecdote. While singing in the court of King Birendra of Nepal, Mehdi Hassan forgot a line of his song, “Zindagi mein to sub he piyar kiya karte hain”; the King got up and sang the line; a great honor for the singer indeed.
Failing health made him give up singing but Mehdi Hassan has carved a name for himself which will not be erased by time or tide.
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