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Muslim Legends

Mehdi Hassan (singer, musician, and composer)

Mehdi Hassan also known as “Shahenshah-e Ghazal” (King of Ghazals), was a prominent ghazal vocalist, former film-playback singer, musician, and composer. He is noted for his melodic patterns and for coming up with new techniques to preserve the integrity of the ragas. His deep and heavy baritone voice made him a hugely significant character in the history of ghazal. For his illustrious career, the Pakistani government has honored him with the Medal of Distinction and the Medal of Excellence for his contributions.

Mehdi Hassan was born in Luna, Rajasthan, in the year 1927. His father and uncle Dhurpad have also accomplished singers, and Mehdi Hassan had his early instruction at home. He claimed to be a member of the Klavant family’s sixteenth generation.

Mehdi Hassan, 20, moved to Pakistan with his family in 1947 and began working as a laborer mending bicycles in Chichawatni, Punjab. He learned mechanic labor and worked as a motor mechanic and subsequently a tractor mechanic, but despite his deplorable career, he did not abandon his dream of becoming a musician and maintained his math studies at any cost. His father, Ustad Azeem Khan, and uncle, Ustad Ismail Khan, were also classical musicians who taught him music. Mehdi Hassan began listening to classical music at the age of eight. Since the age of 55, he has been familiar with the intricacies and secrets of singing, although his adventure began in 1952 with the Radio Pakistan Karachi studio.

He has sung 468 songs and published 115 albums over his musical career. His contribution to Pakistan’s fame is still unrivaled. After Ahmed Rashidi, he became the second most popular vocalist during the golden age of cinema music.

As an artist, Mehdi Hassan or (Hasan) has achieved a level of success that few in the light classical world have seen, but he credits much of this to his unwavering trust in God and, of course, tremendous appreciation for his work, which has brought him renown and admiration. Mehdi Hassan is without a doubt one of the most well-known ghazal singers of our day. In the context of classical music, a performer whose career has set such high standards that many aspiring artists adopt it as a model for their own. At the request of the Maharaja of Baroda, Mehdi Hassan gave his first public performance when he was eight years old. He has approximately 25,000 records to his credit since then he has approximately 25,000 records under his belt and has performed practically every type of vocalization, including classical, thumri, cinema music, and, of course, the ghazal for which he is best known.

This Pakistani musician has received international appreciation for various ghazal style developments. In 1952, he began singing classical vocals for radio Karachi, and in 1955, he entered the realm of ghazal. His biggest skills have been his deep, sonorous voice and exceptional vocal control when performing tough raga-based works. Other grounds for crafting unforgettable works like “ranjish hi sahi,” “baat Karni mjhe mushkil,” “Ghazab kiya tere wade pe,” and “gulon mein ring bhare” include this, as well as the fact that he brought forth ghazal poetry with faultless brilliance.

His father, Ustad Azim Khan, was an outstanding exponent of Indian Classical Music in his day and served the Maharaja of Jaipur as a result of his talent. He was the one who taught Mehdi Hassan classical music from a young age. Mehdi Hassan was able to quickly grasp a variety of vocal techniques, including Dhrupad, Khayal, Thumri, and Dadra, because of his father’s expert tuition. He began his professional career as a classical music radio artist before switching to Ghazal Gayeki. He achieved enormous success and fame as a result of his expanding out, and he quickly became the Sultan or Shahensha of Ghazal.

Mehdi Hassan’s silky voice, along with his comfortable and poised style of presentation, casts a spell that transports the listener to another world. He is quite particular about the Ghazals he chooses and how he expresses the exact tone of the diction. He can integrate his Gayeki in highly specialised ragas while yet making his interpretation popular among all sections of Ghazal enthusiasts, thanks to his solid Classical Music background. A magnificent ghazal that may be considered to reflect the essence of Faiz’s thoughts is colourful in the throat, and this is the case with Mehdi Hassan’s unmatched singing in this ghazal. When this ghazal was initially broadcast on Radio Pakistan, listeners were taken aback by Mehdi Hassan’s gorgeous voice, which was full of male impulses. He was called to Lahore where he started his immortal career as a playback singer and watched Pakistani movies.

Mehdi Hassan rose to prominence in all aspects of cinema singing. He had established himself as one of the top vocalists in the world. This is especially true in ghazal singing. Not only that, but Mehdi Hassan has followers all around the world, including some of India’s most famous vocalists, such as Jagjit Singh. Mehdi Hassan also sang a number of well-known national anthems and songs that are still popular today. He used to perform ghazal singing on TV and at private parties in addition to film singing.

There was a natural delicacy and charm inside his loud and heavy voice that made him one of the best singers of his time. He also possessed an inexhaustible love for music and a never-say-die attitude, which helped him become the greatest vocalist of all time. He was unable to sleep for many years and was bedridden, but his general popularity did not wane, and he is still acknowledged to be at the forefront of ghazal and cinema singing many years after his death.

The Pakistani government has honoured him with the Medal of Distinction and the Medal of Excellence for his contributions. The Indian government honoured Mehdi Hassan with the KL Sehgal Award in 1979. Nine times he received the Nigar Award, which is a record. General Ayub Khan also presented him with the Medal of Distinction. He was awarded the Gorkha Dakshina Bahu Award in Nepal in 1983. General Zia-ul-Haq received the Medal of Excellence in 1985.

In July 2001, Pakistan Television Karachi Center presented Mehdi Hassan with the Lifetime Achievement Award. After a protracted illness, Mehdi Hassan, the best musician and ghazal singer of his generation, died on June 13, 2012 at the Aga Khan Hospital in Karachi. He will, however, live on in the hearts of his supporters. And his many songs and timeless words will haunt him for a long time.


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