After the Partition of India, 20 year-old Mehdi Hassan and his family migrated to Pakistan and suffered severe financial hardships. To make ends meet, Mehdi Hassan began working in a bicycle shop and later became a car and diesel tractor mechanic. Despite the hardships, his passion for music didn't wither and he kept up the routine of practice (Riyaaz) on a daily basis. The struggle ended when Mehdi Hassan was given the opportunity to sing on Radio Pakistan in 1952, primarily as a Thumri singer, which earned him recognition within the musical fraternity. At the time, Ustad Barkat Ali Khan, Begum Akhtar and Mukhtar Begum were considered the stalwarts of Ghazal Gayaki (genre). Mehdi Hassan also had a passion for Urdu poetry and began to experiment by singing ghazals.
He cites Z.A. Bukhari and Rafiq Anwar, renowned broadcasters and producers of radio Pakistan as additional influences in his progression as a ghazal singer. They gave him ample opportunities to display his mastery over the ghazal on radio. He sang ghazals of all the renowned Urdu poets and his innovative style was soon appreciated by both masses and discerning audiences. Mehdi Hassan’s voice and unique performance skills in ghazal singing were unmatched in the world of South Asian music.
The 60s and 70s can be named Mehdi Hassan’s decades, as there was hardly any hero in the Pakistani musical scene on whom Mehdi Hassan’s songs were not filmed. He is universally acclaimed as the finest ghazal singer of his time, perhaps of all times. His unsurpassable vocal range and his mastery over even the most difficult of raags makes him the undisputed emperor of ghazals. His popularity amongst the masses, appreciation by the masses, and continued success over five decades makes him at par with Noor Jehan and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan in the league of the greatest Pakistani singers of all time. The ultimate tribute to his greatness was from the eternal nightingale, Lata Mangeshkar, who compared his songs to " Voice of God ".
Talat Aziz as well as Indian ghazal singer Jagjit Singh are amongst his famous disciples. Following a severe illness in the late 80s, Mehdi Hassan stepped down from playback singing. Later due to severity of his illness he completely departed from music. He now lives a secluded life in Karachi which he has made his permanent residence. Nevertheless he often visits Lahore where he spends most of his time with his children and other family members. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions: the Tamgha-i-Imtiaz granted to him by Gen Ayub Khan; the Pride of Performance bestowed on him by Gen Ziaul Haq; and the Hilal-i-Imtiaz conferred by Gen Pervez Musharraf.
Besides the Nigar Film and Graduate Awards from Pakistan, he was presented the Saigal Award in Julandhar, India, in 1979, whereas the Gorkha Dakshan Bahu Award was given to him in Nepal in 1983. Recently, he travelled to Dubai to receive yet another award. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
show me more