Mehdi Hassan, the King of Ghazal

Mehdi Hassan Khan, the King of ghazal, is still popular in the world of Ghazal and Classical music.

Khan Sahab was from Pakistan and sang many songs for the Pakistan Film industry. Ghazal lovers from across the world, admire Mehdi Hassan’s gazals and his singing style. His “lingering” and baritone voice made him famous. He was popular for his singing, which led him to call people as Khan Sahab or “King of Ghazals”. Mehdi Hassan was born to a musical family and he inspired many other famous ghazal singers of India and Pakistan.

People admire him as one of the best ghazal singers until date. He has been remembered as one of the finest playback singers of Pakistani cinema too. He performed all over the world and has huge number of followers all around the globe.

He has had nearly 25,000 records to his credit. He sung a wide collection of songs including film songs, classical, thumri, and not to forget the ghazals for which he is especially known.

Upbringing and Education of Mehdi Hassa

Mehdi Hassan was born on 18th July 1927 in the village of Luna District of Rajasthan -India. He was born in a musical family.  At the age of 8, he started learning music from his father Ustad Azeem Khan and uncle Ustad Ismail Khan, traditional Dhrupad singers.

The roots of Mehdi Hassan’s music, which inspired generations of ghazal singers in India, lay in the ancient tradition of dhrupad. A representative of the 16th generation of the Kalavant clan, Mehdi Hassan went from dhrupad, through thumri to ghazal and popular film music, retaining the purity of the medium until the end.

In 1935, Medi Hassan had its first concert at Fazilka Bungla, situated near present DC House of Undivided Punjab with his elder brother.

After partition, Mehdi and his family migrated to Pakistan. Like others. Medi Hassan and his family had terribly turbulent time. To survive in a new homeland, Hassan started a cycle repair shop. After a year, he upgraded the shop to motor mechanic’s workshop. However, he did not give up his passion for music.

Career and Achievements of Mehdi Hassan

The Ghazal maestro started his singing career in 1952 by grabbing the opportunity to sing on Radio Pakistan, primarily as thumri song. In 1955 he presented himself as a professional  singer in world of ghazal and these songs earned him recognition in music industry. Eventually, he gained  worldwide acclaim for several innovations made to the ghazal style. His deep, booming voice that reflected the expertise on the vocals, and the mastery of the classical music had led him to get the accolades.

His vocal control, be it the control over base notes, the delicate touches in the ‘taar’ saptak (higher octaves) or the sargam & rhythmic improvisations, was his greatest strength. Staying within the ‘raaga’ boundaries, which he chose very carefully for the poem/ghazal – he then used the raaga nuances to emote the feelings behind the words very aptly. He combined the Urdu poetries with music  that made ghazal and he presented these with best presentations without any errors that made him the King of Ghazals.  Some of his own creations, which are popular across the world, were “ghazab kiya tere wade pe “baat karni mujhe mushkil”, “ranjish hi sahi”, and “gulon mein rang bhare” Bheegi Hui Aankhon Ka”, ”Raafta Raafta Who Mere”, “ Dil E Naadan Tujhe Kya hua”, “ Chirag E toor”, “Tune JO Phool”, “Yeh Mojeza Bhi Mohhabbat” and many other melodious ones.

Some of his famous albums are “Kehna Use”, “Nazarana”, “khuli Jo Aankh”, “Sada E Ishq” and numerous others.

He has received many awards from the Government of Pakistan, Government of India, and Government of Nepal.

Award K. L. Saigal Sangeet Shahenshah, Award Government of India Gorkha Dakshina Bahu, Government of Nepal Pride of Performance, Government of PakistanTamgha-e-ImtiazGovernment of Pakistan, Hilal-e-Imtiaz Government of Pakistan, Nishan-e-ImtiaGovernment of Pakistan

He also received a number of Nigar Awards that is especially given by the Cinema of Pakistan in  many streams . And as Ustad Mehdi Hassan was also into playback singing, thus he received many Nigar Awards for his excellence in playback singing. He received best Best Male Playback Singer for various films like Farangi, Saiqa, Zarqa, Zeenat, Sharafat, Naya Raasta and many others.

Personal Life Mehdi Hassan

Mehdi Hassan had two wives. He had 14 children with nine Sons and five daughters from two wives. In addition, by Gods Grace all of the seven sons are successful musicians.

He also taught music to many musicians of the world who belong to neighboring countries like India, and also from Pakistan Some of his students are popular musician of their time.

Usatad Mehdi Hassan died on 13 June 2012 at Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi. He was suffering with lung, chest and urinary tract diseases for the past 12 years before his death.



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