Image Courtesy: Google Doodle
Mehdi Hassan (18 July 1927 – 13 June 2012) was a Pakistani ghazal singer and playback singer for Lollywood. Widely considered one of the greatest and most influential figures in the history of ghazal singing, Hassan is referred to as the “Shahenshah-e-Ghazal” (Emperor of Ghazal).
Life and Career
Mehdi Hassan was born on July 18, 1927, in Luna, Rajasthan, British India (now part of Rajasthan, India). He belonged to a family with a rich musical heritage, and his father Ustad Azeem Khan and uncle Ustad Ismail Khan were both accomplished classical musicians.
Hassan began his musical journey by learning classical music from his father and uncle. He initially focused on classical singing and developed a deep understanding of ragas (melodic frameworks). However, he later shifted his focus to ghazal singing, which became his trademark.
In the 1950s, Mehdi Hassan moved to Pakistan and gained recognition through his soulful and emotive renditions of ghazals. His velvety voice, impeccable technique, and mastery of the art of expression made him a beloved figure among music enthusiasts. His renditions were characterized by their haunting melodies and profound lyrical interpretations.
Hassan collaborated with several renowned poets, such as Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Ahmed Faraz, and Mir Taqi Mir, bringing their words to life through his soul-stirring voice. His ghazals often explored themes of love, longing, and melancholy, resonating deeply with listeners.
Throughout his career, Mehdi Hassan recorded numerous albums, performed in concerts worldwide, and contributed to the soundtracks of Pakistani films. His contributions to the world of music earned him a devoted fan following and critical acclaim.
Mehdi Hassan passed away on June 13, 2012, in Karachi, Pakistan, after a prolonged illness. His death marked the end of an era in ghazal music, and he left behind a rich musical legacy.
Award and Legacy
Hassan’s contributions to music and his influence on subsequent generations of singers are immeasurable. He introduced a new level of sophistication to ghazal singing, combining classical techniques with a deeply emotional approach. His unique style, with its seamless blending of classical and popular music elements, set a benchmark for future ghazal singers.
Mehdi Hassan received numerous accolades throughout his career. He was honored with the Nigar Award for Best Male Playback Singer in the Pakistani film industry several times. In 1983, he was awarded the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz (Medal of Excellence) by the Government of Pakistan for his contributions to music.
Furthermore, Mehdi Hassan was bestowed with several international awards, including the Gorkha Dakshina Bahu Award from Nepal, the Saigal Award from India, and the Pride of Performance Award from the Government of Pakistan.
Mehdi Hassan’s legacy continues to resonate in the world of music. His recordings are treasured by fans and connoisseurs alike, and his influence can be heard in the work of contemporary ghazal singers. He remains an icon of ghazal music, his songs touching the hearts of listeners across generations, and his soulful voice continuing to captivate audiences even after his passing.
On 18 July 2018, Google celebrated Mehdi Hassan’s 91st Birthday with a doodle.