Remembering Mehdi Hassan on his 5th death anniversary.

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Mehdi Hassan Khan (8 July 1927–13 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 famously known as the “King of Ghazal” or the “Shahanshah-e-Ghazal”. Known for his “haunting” baritone voice, Mehdi Hassan is credited with bringing ghazal singing to a worldwide audience. Born to a musical family, he influenced generations of singers from diverse genres, from Jagjit Singh to Sonu Nigam. He earned numerous awards and accolades in his career and remained a leading singer of film industry along with the other contemporary playback singer Ahmed Rushdi.

n 1957, Mehdi Hassan was given the opportunity to sing on Radio Pakistan, primarily as a thumri singer, which earned him recognition within the musical fraternity. He had a passion for Urdu poetry, and therefore, he began to experiment by singing ghazals on a part-time basis. He cites radio officers Z.A. Bukhari and Rafiq Anwar as additional influences in his progression as a ghazal singer. His first song was “Jis ne mere dil ko dard diya” film Susral in 1962. 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 break and he never looked back after that.

Following a severe illness in the late 1980s, Mehdi Hassan stepped down from playback singing. Later due to severity of his illness he completely departed from music.

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 boltein hain,” (God sings through his voice). In October 2010, HMV Label released “Sarhadein” in which probably the first and last duet song Tera Milana featuring Mehdi Hassan and Lata Mangeshkar was released. This song was composed by Mehdi Hassan himself, written by Farhat Shahzad.Mehdi Hassan recorded it in Pakistan in 2009, and Lata Mangeshkar later heard the track and recorded her part in India in 2010, and the song was later mixed together for a duet. The same duet, “Tera Milna,” was also sung by Mehdi Hassan and Noor Jehan.

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