Mehdi Hassan Khan The King of Ghazals (18 July 1934 – 13 June 2012) was a Pakistani ghazal singer and playback singer for Lollywood. One of the greatest and most influential figures in the history of ghazal singing, he is referred to as the “Shahenshah-e-Ghazal” (Emperor of Ghazal). Known for his “haunting” baritone voice, Mehdi Hassan is credited with bringing ghazal singing to a worldwide audience.
He is unique for his melodic patterns and innovatively maintaining the integrity of the ragas. Born to a musical family, he was naturally inclined towards art from a young age. He influenced generations of singers from diverse genres, from Jagjit Singh to parvaiz Mehdi . He earned numerous awards and accolades in his career and remained a leading singer in the Pakistani film industry along with another contemporary playback singer Ahmed Rushdi, and it’s estimated that “he sang and created soundtracks for almost 300 movies.”
Early Life of Mehdi Hassan
Mehdi Hassan was born in 1927 in the village of Jangalpur in what is now Pakistan’s Punjab province. Hassan’s father was a prosperous landowner who died when Hassan was just five years old. Hassan’s mother was a religious woman who instilled in her son a love of the Koran and a deep respect for Islam. Hassan received his early education at a local madrassa, or Islamic school. He later attended high school in the city of Lahore.
In 1947, Hassan’s world was turned upside down when Pakistan gained independence from Britain and was partitioned into two separate countries. Hassan, 20, and his family migrated to Pakistan, bringing little material goods with them. The family went to his paternal aunt’s house in a village near Chichawatni, Chak No 111/7R. They faced severe financial difficulties in their new country. Mehdi began his career in a bicycle shop in nearby Chichawatni, Mughal Cycle House. He went on to work as a car and diesel tractor mechanic. Despite his financial difficulties, he maintained his daily singing practice routine and continued to practice difficult Raags.
Hassan began singing at a young age and rose to prominence in the 1940s and 1950s with his soulful voice and unique style of singing ghazals. He is considered to be one of the greatest ghazal singers of all time and has been hailed as the “King of Ghazals”.
Hassan’s career spanned over six decades and he recorded thousands of songs in multiple languages. In 1957, Mehdi Hassan was again given the opportunity to sing on Radio Pakistan, primarily as a thumri singer. He sang for Pakistan Radio for many years and also appeared in several films. Hassan continued to perform well into his later years, and was honoured with multiple awards and accolades.
Hassan’s work is characterized by its diversity, both in terms of the genres he worked in and the languages he sang in. He had a passion for Urdu poetry, and therefore, he began to experiment by singing ghazals on a part-time basis. His repertoire included ghazals, qawwalis, filmi songs, and patriotic anthems. He was equally comfortable singing in Urdu, Punjabi, and Pashto.
He first sang on Radio Pakistan in 1952. His first film song was “Nazar Milte Hi Dil Ki Bat Ka Charcha Na Ho Jaye” film Shikar in 1956.
In 1964, his ghazal for a film Farangi, “Gulon mein rang bharay, baad-e-naubahar chale” written by renowned Pakistani poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz and composed by Rasheed Attre, gave him a major breakthrough into the Pakistani film industry.
Awards and Titles
Mehdi Hassan is a Pakistani singer who is considered one of the greatest ghazal singers of all time. He has been awarded many titles and awards throughout his career, including the President’s Pride of Performance Award, the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz, and the Sitara-e-Imtiaz.
In the case of Mehdi Hassan, he has amassed a large number of awards and titles over the years.
- In 1979, The Government of India awarded Mehdi Hassan with K. L. Saigal Award in Jalandhar, India.
- In 1983, The Government of Nepal awarded Mehdi Hassan with Gorkha Dakshina Bahu.
- In 1985, Pride of Performance (Tamgha-e-Imtiaz) bestowed on him by Gen Ziaul Haq.
- In 2010, the Hilal-i-Imtiaz conferred by Gen Pervez Musharraf.
- In 2012 awarded by Nishan-e-Imtiaz.
- 1964–Nigar Award for Best Male Playback Singer for Farangi
- 1968–Nigar Award for Best Male Playback Singer for Saiqa
- 1969–Nigar Award for Best Male Playback Singer for Zarqa
- 1972–Nigar Award for Best Male Playback Singer for Meri Zindagi Hai Naghma
- 1973–Nigar Award for Best Male Playback Singer for Naya Rasta
- 1974–Nigar Award for Best Male Playback Singer for Sharafat
- 1975–Nigar Award for Best Male Playback Singer for Zeenat
- 1976–Nigar Award for Best Male Playback Singer for Shabana
- 1977–Nigar Award for Best Male Playback Singer for Aaina
- 1999–Nigar Award Special Millennium Award
Famous Albums of Mehdi Hassan
Following are the few famous albums of Mehdi Hassan:
- Kehna Usey
- Live at Royal Albert Hall
- Classical Ghazals vol. 1, 2, 3
- Dil Jo Rota Hai
- Ghalib Ghazals
- Ghazals For Ever Vol 1
- Golden Collection Of Mehdi Hasan Vol 1, 2
- Golden Greats
- In Concert
- Khuli Jo Aankh
- Life Story
- Live at Khambays
- Live Concert in India
- Mehdi Hassan
Legendary Ghazal Singer
Mehdi Hassan was a legendary Ghazal singer from Pakistan. His voice and style was unique and he was considered to be one of the best Ghazal singers of his time. Hassan’s career spanned more than four decades and he recorded many famous albums during his lifetime. Some of his most famous albums include ‘Dil-e-Nadaan’, ‘Ishq Per Zor Nahin’, ‘Koi Gham Na Ho’ and ‘Aap Ki Yaad Aati Hai’. Hassan passed away in 2012, but his music continues to live on and is still enjoyed by fans.
- Alam-e-Khwaab ho ya
- Ishq Per Zor Nahin
- Aaj tak yaad hai woh Pyaar ka Manzar
- Aaj Tu Ghair Sahi (Poet: Kemal Ahmad)
- Aa Ke Sajda Nashin Kais Hua (Poet: Mir Taqi Mir)
- Aankhon Se Mili Aankhen
- Aap Ki Aankhon Ne
- Aap ko bhul jayen ham
- Ab Ke Hum Bichde To Shaayad Kabhi Khwaabon Mein Milein
- Deewar Dar Pe
- Har Dard Ko
- Apno Ne Gham Diye To Yaad Aa Gaya
- Arze Niyaze Ishq Ke
- Baat karni mujhe mushkil kabhi aisi tau na thii
- Garche Sau Bar ghum-e-hijr se jaan
- Koi Gham Na Ho
- Bhuuli bisri chand umeedein
- Jab Bhi Chahen Ek Nai Soorat
- Jab Bhi Pee Kar
- Tu meri Zindagi hai
- Usne jab meri Taraf
Death of Mehdi Hassan
Mehdi Hassan died on June 13, 2012. Mehdi Hassan, a world-renowned singer of ghazals and thumris, passed away on Wednesday at the age of 84 after a long illness. Lately, he suffered from multiple organ failure and a medical ventilator helped him breathe. Legendary ghazal singer Mehdi Hasan was laid to rest at the Shah Mohammad Shah graveyard in New Karachi. Earlier, his namaz-e-janaza was offered at Noorani Masjid ground where his sons, family members and a large number of people belonging to various walks of life attended the funeral.
His melodious voice and ghazals will forever remain in our hearts.