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Mehdi Hassan

03 July 2015
Mehdi Hassan

The Shahensha of Gazal :
Dr Md Shairul Mashreque
Mehdi Hasan is an extraordinary playback singer with a very sweet tuneful voice. He is popularly known as the Sahensha of Gazal with his haunting baritone voice. “Mehdi is credited with bringing ghazal singing to a wide audience. Born to a musical family, he influenced generations of singers from diverse genres, from Jagjit Singh to Sonu Nigam.” He earned highest number of awards and accolade in his career and remained a leading singer of film industry in the late seventies. This singer with heavenly voice was admired by ever-greatest female singer Lata Mungeskar as the voice of God. 'In 1977, Lata Mangeshkar was so moved by his dulcet vocals during a New Delhi concert that she's reported to have said, “Aisa lagta hai ke unke gale mein bhagwan bolte hain,” (God sings through his voice). In October 2010, HMV released Sarhadein in which probably the first and last duet song Tera Milana featuring Mehdi Hassan and Lata Mangeskar was released. This song was composed by Hassan himself written by Farhat Shahzad. Hassan recorded it in Pakistan in 2009, and Lata Mangeshkar later heard the track and recorded her part in India in 2010, and later mixed together for a duet. Tera Milna was also sung by female crooner Noor Jahan with Mehdi Hasan.
 In fact Mehdi Hasan was Pakistani Tansen. I recall the finest moment that I passed with Mehdi Hasan in Engineering Institute at Dhaka. I found him along with Farida Banu in green room. At that time he was smoking. Then he moved out to the stage to perform amidst thunderous applauds. While I was in Bombay I came to know Mehdi was vising over there for presenting evening concert. I had wished to join the show as audience. Unfortunately I could not. I had the curiosity to know how popular Pakistani playback singers in India were. Most of the music fans in Bombay readily mentioned the name of Mehdi Hasan and Noor Jahan. Mehdi Hasan was so popular his cassettes were available in plenty in almost every electronic shop. His cassettes sell well in India.  One of his fan said: 'He was the Master, and no other singer in Pakistan compares to Mehdi Hassan.' His patriotic song like Apni za Nnazre kare apni wafa pes karu emhaned his popularity among the people Then he rose to the pinnacle of glory with the wave of popularity continuing till the fag end of his singing career.
 Born on July 18, 1927 in a village Luna, Rajasthan, India into a family of traditional musicians Mehdi Hassan had his musical grooming from his father Ustad Azeem Khan and uncle Ustad Ismail Khan who were both traditional classical singers. Hassan started to perform at a young age and the first concert of classical songs Mehdi Hasan faced severe financial hardships after he and his family migrated to Pakistan. “Mehdi initially started working in a bicycle shop. He later became a car and diesel tractor mechanic. Despite the financial hardships, he kept up the routine of practice on a daily basis.”
True Mehdi Hasan and Talat Mahmud are masters in Gazals. Both were playback singers and their vesrsatality is admittedly great. Mehdi was called Ustad well versed in classical songs, vajan and gazals. He had a host of sagreds (followers) booming under his guidance. His connection with Shanaz Rahmat Ullah in musical world deserves mention.  Mehdi bagged highest number of Nigar among Pakistani playback singers. He had a long chequerd music history recoding more than twenty thousand songs.
Mehdi Hasan did not leave vocal music when he was growing old. Contemporary singer was shown together for some time in a musical show-SAREGAMA. Mehdi was found singing songs. Runa Laila also participated in the show.
At the fag end Mehdi Hasan was sick unable to sing anymore. His treatment was going well with monthly allowance sanctioned by the Pak. government. Then he passed away in June 2012. Leaving behind talented sons and millions of fans. He had 14 children.
Some of his notable sons in the music are (Wikipedia):
· Tariq Mehdi Hassan (Versatile Playback Singer)
· Arif Mehdi Hassan (Classical Tabla Player & Promoter)
· Asif Mehdi Hassan (Playback & Ghazal Singer)
· Kamran Mehdi Hassan (Playback & Ghazal Singer)
· Imran Mehdi Hassan (Classical Tabla Player & Versatile Singer)
· Faizan Mehdi Hassan (Versatile & Ghazal Singer).
 I praise the versatile playback singers Tariq Mehdi Hasan, Asif Mehdi Hasan  and Kamran Mehdi as the chp of the old blocks performing well.
In fact Ustad Mehdi hasan is a singer of heaven loaned to earth for 85 years and then taken back. He is immortal. He is the best among best among Pakistani playback singers. His singing career spanned more than six decades.
Many of his songs are heart and emotion touching mentioning thus: Ye duniya ke tujhe se..serna hum diwane, E kagaji phool, Ae jan wafa dil ne tere yad aenge, Ek nae morpyar le aie halate mujhe, Lappe jingir mujhe, putta putta bhuta bhuta, Mera pyar hua hae jiban, Duniya kisi se pyare, Golon mein rang bharay, Jis ne mere dil ko dard diya, Aage Barhe Na Qissa -E -Ishq -E- Butaan Se Hum, Aaj Tak Yaad Hai Woh Pyar Ka Manzar Aaj Tu Ghair, Apnone gham, Khamosh hen nazare, Hamare dilse mat khelo, Teri mehfil se e diwana chala jaega. Aankhon Se Mili Aankhen, tom zid to kar rahe ho, Apke hum bichre, Zulf Ko Teri Ghataon Ka Payam Aaya Hai.  Ustad mehdi performed them all with his mesmerizing and silky voice. n

(Dr Md Shairul Mashreque, Professor of Public Administration, Chittagong University)

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