Legendary ghazal singer Mehdi Hassan passes away
PTI KARACHI INDIA-BORN Ghazal legend Mehdi Hassan, the melodious voice behind evergreen hits like ‘Patta patta, boota boota’ and ‘Ab ke hum bichhare’, died on Wednesday following multiple organ failure at the age of 84. Hassan, who had millions of fans in India and Pakistan, had been admitted to the Agha Khan Hospital in the southern port city of Karachi some days ago. He had been in a serious condition and was on ventilator.
“My father passed away at 12:22 pm after a long battle against different ailments,” his son Arif Hassan said.
Hundreds of fans gathered at the hospital on learning of his death.
Hassan was born into a family of traditional musicians at Luna village in India’s Rajasthan state in 1927. His family migrated to Pakistan at the time of Partition in 1947.
Hassan cut back on his performances in the late 1980s due to illness.
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani expressed his condolences, calling Hassan “an icon who mesmerised music lovers” in Pakistan and the sub-continent for decades.
Indian singing legend Lata Mangeshkar told Pakistan’s private TV channel Express News that his death was a “big loss”.
An inspiration to generations of singers in both thecountries, Hassan’s mesmerising voice and range made him ‘Shahenshah-e-Ghazal. ‘Aaye kuchh abr kuchh sharaab aaye’; ‘ ‘Dil-E-Nadan Tujhe Hua Kya Hai’ and ‘Dil Ki Baat Labon Par Laakar’ are among the his all-time hits.
Hassan, who married twice, is survived by 14 children — nine sons and five daughters.
His wives predeceased him.
The maestro, who began his career primarily as a ‘thumri’ singer, earned recognition within the musical fraternity at the time when Ustad Barkat Ali Khan, Begum Akhtar and Mukhtar Begum were considered the stalwarts of ghazal rendition.
It was his passion for Urdu poetry that made him take up ghazal singing on a part-time basis but he soon became itsgreatest star.
Hassan stopped singing in the late 80s due to ill health.
Despite his ailments, Hassan had a great desire to sing with Lata Mangeshkar. In 2010, “Sarhadein”, an album which had the first and last duet song “Tera Milana” by Mehdi Hassan and Lata Mangeshkar, was released Lata, who once called Hassan the ‘voice of God’, said “A singer like him is born once in a millennium. It is my bad luck that I could not sing with him when he was healthy. Now I can only regret. With his demise the music fraternity has lost a great and legendary singer.” Hassan, who last performed in India in 2000, wanted to visit his birth country again, a wish that remained unfulfilled.
“It is a very sad news. I am shocked that he is no more with us. He was not only a great singer but also a very good human being. I remember in the ‘80s we did a concert at my place and it was a big hit.
I was aware that he was unwell and I had always hoped that I should never get the sad news.
But now that has happened, he will always remain alive in our hearts,” said veteran musician Pyarelal.“It is a great loss. An era of Ghazal singing has come to an end. His Ghazals were not complicated and could be understood even by a layman.
His singing was soulful andmoving, his command over Urdu made his singing more endearing.
He was the uncrowned king of Ghazal,” Grammy winning musician Vishwa Mohan Bhatt said. Several artistes took to Twitter to express their condolences.