Mehdi Hassan

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Mehdi Hassan Khan

Mehdi Hassan, 1961
Born18 July 1927[1]
Died13 June 2012
(aged 84)
  • Singer
  • music composer
Years active(1957–1999)
AwardsPride of Performance (1985)
9 Nigar Awards for Best Male Playback Singer
Hilal-e-Imtiaz (2010)
Nishan-e-Imtiaz (2012)
Musical career
  • Vocals

Mehdi Hassan Khan NI PP HI (Urdu: مہدی حسن خاں; 18 July 1927[2] – 13 June 2012)[3][4] 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,[5][6][7] Hassan is referred to as the "Shahenshah-e-Ghazal" (Emperor of Ghazal).[8][9][10][11][12] Known for his "haunting" baritone voice,[13] Hassan is credited with bringing ghazal singing to a worldwide audience. He is unique for his melodic patterns and maintaining integrity of the ragas in an innovative way.

Born into a family of Kalawant musicians, Hassan was naturally inclined towards music from a young age. He influenced generations of singers from diverse genres, from Jagjit Singh[14] to Parvez Mehdi.[15] He earned numerous awards and accolades during his lifetime and remained a leading singer of Pakistani film industry along with another contemporary playback singer Ahmed Rushdi, and it is estimated that Hassan sang for over 300 films during his career.[4][16] For his contributions to the arts, Hassan was awarded with the Nishan-e-Imtiaz, Tamgha-e-Imtiaz, Pride of Performance, and Hilal-e-Imtiaz by the Government of Pakistan.[4]

Early life[edit]

Hassan was born on 18 July 1927[17] in a village called Luna (Shekhawati) (Near Mandawa) in Jhunjhunu district in Undivided India into a family of traditional musicians.[13] He claims to be the 16th generation of hereditary musicians hailing from the Kalawant clan of musicians. Hassan started training in classical music at the age of eight[18] and completed his musical training with his father Ustad Azeem Khan and uncle Ustad Ismail Khan who were both traditional Dhrupad singers.[19] Hassan started performing at a young age and by the time he was 18 years old, Hassan is said to have mastered the classical singing forms of dhrupad, dadra, thumri, and khayal, and started performing at royal courts with his brother Ghulam Qadir.[20] Hassan started his career primarily as a thumri exponent.[21] His first concert of dhrupad and khayal with his elder brother is reported to have been held in Fazilka Bungla, near present DC House (1935) of Undivided Punjab. His elder brother Ustad Ghulam Qadir also was instrumental in sharpening his skills.[19]

After the partition of India in 1947, the 20-year-old Hassan and his family migrated to Pakistan, carrying little with them by way of material belongings. The family proceeded to his paternal aunt's house who lived in a village, Chak No 111/7R, near Chichawatni. They suffered severe financial hardships in their new country. Hassan initially started working in nearby Chichawatni, in a bicycle shop Mughal Cycle House and later became a car and diesel tractor mechanic.[22] Despite the financial hardships, he kept up his singing practice on a daily basis.[13]

Singing career[edit]

In 1957, Hassan was again given the opportunity to sing on Radio Pakistan, primarily as a thumri singer and later as a ghazal performer,[23] 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.[24] He first sang on Radio Pakistan in 1952.[13] His first film song was "Nazar Milte Hi Dil Ki Bat Ka Charcha Na Ho Jaye" film Shikhar in 1956. This song was written by poet Yazdani Jalandhari and its music was composed by Asghar Ali M. Husain. 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 breakthrough into the Pakistani film industry and he never looked back after that.[24][25] Even the original ghazal poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz stopped reciting it in his 'mushairas' (poetry reciting events) and, instead, recommended that the audience ask Hassan to sing it for them because the poet jokingly used to say that the ghazal belonged to Hassan after its popularity.[19]

In October 2010, HMV Label released "Sarhadein" in which his first and last duet song Tera Milna featuring Hassan and Lata Mangeshkar was released. This song was composed by Hassan and written by Farhat Shahzad. Hassan recorded it in Pakistan in 2009, and Mangeshkar later heard the track and recorded her part in India in 2010, and the song was later mixed for a duet. The same duet was also sung by Hassan and Noor Jehan.

Following a severe illness in the late 1980s, Hassan cut back on his singing, eventually stepping down from playback singing altogether.[21] Later, due to the severity of his illness, he completely departed from music.


Hassan suffered from a serious chronic lung condition for a few years before his death.[26] He also received treatment for lung, urinary tract, and chest ailments at several hospitals in Pakistan for about 12 years prior to his death.[18][27] Towards the end of 2000, he suffered his first stroke while in Kerala, India.[28] In 2005, he was taken to India for ayurvedic treatment where he was welcomed by A.B. Vajpayee, Dilip Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar and many of his Indian fans. He suffered his second stroke soon after he returned from India which left him with speech impairments[29] and limited his physical mobility.[26] Hassan developed a severe chest infection and breathing difficulties in the days preceding his death.[18] He died of multiple organ failure[30] on 13 June 2012 at Aga Khan University Hospital in Karachi.[22]


Hassan is widely regarded as one of the greatest singers in the sub-continent[31][32] and is said to have revolutionized the way ghazals were sung.[33] In 1977, Indian playback singer Lata Mangeshkar was so moved by his dulcet vocals during a New Delhi concert that she reportedly said, "Aisa lagta hai ke unke gale mein bhagwan boltein hain" (it seems as though like God is singing through his voice).[19] On 18 July 2018, the day of his 91st birthday, Google featured Hassan on its homepage doodle.[34] Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani paid tribute to Hassan, calling him "an icon who mesmerized music lovers" for decades.[22] Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stated that Hassan "brought the sub-continental Sufi sensibilities to life through his songs,"[35][36] and that "the influence of his passion for Urdu poetry and initial grooming in Dhrupad tradition earned for him a special place in the world of music."[30]

Musicians in his group and his students[edit]

Some of the musicians who are associated with him :

  • Ustad Pir Bakhsh, Tabla player
  • Ustad Mohammed Hussain
  • Ustad Tari Khan, Tabla player

Some of his students are:

  • Pervaiz Mehdi
  • Talat Aziz
  • Rajkumar Rizvi
  • Ghulam Abbas
  • Salamat Ali
  • Afzal, Munni Subhani
  • Rehan Ahmed Khan
  • Shamshad Husain Chanda
  • Shahnaz Begum (Bangladesh)
  • Yasmin Mushtari (Bangladesh)
  • Irshad Ali Mehdi
  • Hariharan
  • Tari Khan
  • Amir Yaseen


Mehdi Hassan had 14 children.[37] As many as six of his sons are active in the field of music. They are:

  • Tariq Mehdi Hassan (Versatile Playback Singer)
  • Arif Mehdi Hassan (Classical Tabla Player & Promoter)
  • Asif Mehdi Hassan (Playback & Ghazal Singer)
  • Kamran Mehdi Hassan (Playback & Ghazal Singer)
  • Imran Mehdi Hassan (Classical Tabla Player & Versatile Singer)
  • Faizan Mehdi Hassan (Versatile Ghazal Singer).
  • Sajjad Mehdi Hassan (D.S.P Traffic police)
  • Shahzad Mehdi Hassan ( Ghazal Singer)
  • Waris Hassan Mehdi ( Pop Singer)[29]


Pride of Performance Award Recipient
CountryIslamic Republic of Pakistan
Presented byIslamic Republic of Pakistan
Website Edit this on Wikidata
Hilal-i-Imtiaz Award Recipient
CountryIslamic Republic of Pakistan
Presented byIslamic Republic of Pakistan
Website Edit this on Wikidata
Nishan-e-Imtiaz Award Recipient
CountryIslamic Republic of Pakistan
Presented byIslamic Republic of Pakistan
Website Edit this on Wikidata

Civilian honours[edit]

The following civilian honours have been conferred on him, in chronological order.[38]

The Government of India[edit]

The Government of Nepal[edit]

The Government of Pakistan[edit]

Nigar Awards[edit]

  • 1964–Nigar Award for Best Male Playback Singer for Farangi
  • 1968–Nigar Award for Best Male Playback Singer for Saiqa
  • 1969–Nigar Award for Best Male Playback Singer for Zarqa
  • 1972–Nigar Award for Best Male Playback Singer for Meri Zindagi Hai Naghma
  • 1973–Nigar Award for Best Male Playback Singer for Naya Rasta
  • 1974–Nigar Award for Best Male Playback Singer for Sharafat
  • 1975–Nigar Award for Best Male Playback Singer for Zeenat
  • 1976–Nigar Award for Best Male Playback Singer for Shabana
  • 1977–Nigar Award for Best Male Playback Singer for Aaina
  • 1999–Nigar Award Special Millennium Award

He had 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 Jalandhar, India, in 1979, whereas the Gorkha Dakshina Bahu Award was given to him in Nepal in 1983. Recently, he travelled to Dubai to receive yet another award.


Some of his albums are:

  • Kehna Usey
  • Nazarana
  • Live at Royal Albert Hall
  • Andaz-e-Mastana
  • Classical Ghazals vol. 1, 2, 3
  • Dil Jo Rota Hai
  • Ghalib Ghazals
  • Ghazals For Ever Vol 1
  • Golden Collection Of Mehdi Hassan Vol 1, 2
  • Golden Greats
  • In Concert
  • Khuli Jo Aankh
  • Life Story
  • Live at Khambays
  • Live Concert in India
  • Mehdi Hassan
  • Mehdi Hassan Ghazals Vol. 1
  • Sada E Ishq
  • Sarhadein
  • Sur Ki Koi Seema Nahin
  • The Finest Ghazals
  • The Legend
  • Yaadgar Ghazalen Vol. 1
  • Tarz (with Shobha Gurtu)
  • Naqsh-e-Faryadi
  • Mehdi Hassan (EMI-Pakistan Released) VOLUME 1
  • Mehdi Hassan Sings Punjabi Film Hits (EMI-Pakistan Released)
  • Mehdi Hassan (EMI-Pakistan Released) VOLUME 2
  • Mehdi Hassan & Ghulsm Ali Eternal Jewels Live At Ras Barse On Zee TV


  • Alam-e-Khwaab ho ya
  • Aagay Barhe Na Qissa -E -Ishq -E- Butaan Se Hum
  • Aaj tak yaad hai woh Pyaar ka Manzar
  • Aaj Tu Ghair Sahi (Poet: Kemal Ahmad)
  • Aa Ke Sajda Nashin Kais Hua (Poet: Mir Taqi Mir)
  • Aankhon Se Mili Aankhen
  • Aap Ki Aankhon Ne
  • Aap ko bhul jayen ham
  • Aaye Kuch Abr (Poet: Faiz Ahmed Faiz)
  • Ab Ke Hum Bichde To Shaayad Kabhi Khwaabon Mein Milein (Poet: Ahmed Faraz)[40]
  • Ae Raushnion Ke Shahr Bata
  • Anjuman Anjuman Shanaasaayi
  • Apno Ne Gham Diye To Yaad Aa Gaya
  • Arze Niyaze Ishq Ke
  • Baat karni mujhe mushkil kabhi aisi tau na thii (poet: Bahadur Shah Zafar)
  • Beqarari si Beqarari hai
  • Bheegi Hui Aankhon Ka
  • Bhuuli bisri chand umeedein
  • Chalte ho to chaman ko chaliye (Poet: Mir Taqi Mir)
  • Chirag-e-toor Jalao bada Andhera hai (Poet: Saghar Siddiqui)
  • Dekh to dil keh jaan se uthta hai (Poet: Mir Taqi Mir)
  • Dekhna Unka Kankhiyo Sey
  • Dil-E-Nadan Tujhe Hua Kya Hai (Poet: Mirza Ghalib)
  • Dil-E-Veeran Hai Teri Yaad Hai Tanhai Hai
  • Dil Ki Baat Labon Par Laakar.
  • Dil mein ab yu tere Bhule huye ghum aate hai
  • Deewar Dar Pe
  • Dil Men Toofan Chupae Betha Hoon
  • Duniya Kisi Ke Pyaar Mein Jaanat Se Kam Nahin
  • Duniya Se Tujhko
  • Dayam Pada Hua Tere Dar Pe Nahi Hoon Main (Poet: Mirza Ghalib)
  • Ek Bar Chale Aao
  • Ek Bus Tu Hi Nahin Mujhse Khafa Ho Baitha (Poet: Farhat Shezhad)
  • Ek Jhalak Dikhla De
  • Ek Khilta Hua Gulab
  • Ek Sitam Aur Meri Jaan, Abhi Jaan Baqi Hai (Poet: Masroor Anwar)
  • Fikr hii thaharii to dil ko fikr-e-Khubaan kyon Na Ho (Poet: Josh Malihabadi)
  • faisla tumko bhool jane ka
  • Ga mere Deewaane Dil (Musician: Kamal Ahmed)
  • Garmi-e-Hasrat-e-Naakaam se jal Jaate Hain
  • Garche Sau Bar ghum-e-hijr se jaan
  • Gham ki Aandhi Chali (Raag: Lalit)
  • Ghazab Kiya Tere Waade Pe Aitbaar Kiya (Poet: Daagh Dehalvi)
  • Gair Banke na mile hum
  • Go zara si baat par Barso ke Yaaraane gaye
  • Gulon mein Rang Bhare Baad-e-Naubahar Chale (Lyrics: Faiz Ahmed Faiz)[40]
  • Gulshan gulshan shola e gul ki
  • Guncha-e-Shauq Laga hei Khilne
  • Hamari Sanson Men Aaj Tak
  • Har Dard Ko
  • Humein koi ghum nahi tha ghum-e-Aashiqi se Pehle
  • Hum hi mein thi na koi baat
  • Ik husn ki devi se Mujhe Pyaar hua tha
  • Ik khalish ko haasil-e-umr-e-ravaan rehne diya (Poet: Adeeb Saharanpuri)
  • Jab bhi aati hai teri yaad Kabhi Shaam ke baad
  • Jab Bhi Chahen Ek Nai Soorat
  • Jab Bhi Pee Kar
  • Jab Koi Piar Se Bulaae Ga, Tujh Ko Ik Shakhsh Yaad Aaey Ga (Poet: Khawaja Pervez)
  • Jab Tere Nain Muskurate Hain (Raag Sahara)
  • Jab Us Zulf Ki Baat Chali
  • Jahan Jake Chain
  • Jo Chahte ho woh Kehte ho (Raag Nat Bhairav)
  • Jo thakey thakey se they hausley
  • Kahan Gai Woh Wafa
  • Khuli Jo Aankh Woh Tha (Poet: Farhat Shezhad)
  • Kiya Hei Pyaar Jisse Humne Zindagi ki Tarah
  • Kya Bhala Mujhko Parakhne Ka Nateeja Nikla
  • Ku ba ku phail gai
  • Kyoon Humse Khafa Ho Gaye Ae Jaan-E-Tamanna
  • Main Hosh Mein Tha
  • Main Khayal hoon kisi aur ka (Poet: Saleem Kausar)
  • Main Nazar se pee raha hoon
  • Mohabat Karne Waale (Raag Khamaj)
  • Mohabat Zindagi Hai Aur Tum Meri Mohabat Ho
  • Mujhe Tum Nazar Se Gira To Rahe Ho
  • Naavak andaz jidhar diida-e-jaana honge (Poet: Momin Khan Momin)
  • Nishan Bhi Koi Na Chhora keh
  • Patta Patta Boota Boota haal Hamaara Jaane hai (Poet: Mir Taqi Mir)[40]
  • Phuul hi phuul khil utthe
  • Pyaar Bhare Do Sharmile Nain (Music: Robin Ghosh)
  • Qissa-E-Gham Mein Tera Naam
  • Rafta Rafta woh meri Hasti ka Saamaan ho gaye[40]
  • Ranjish Hi Sahi Dil Hi Dukhaane Ke Liye Aa (Poet: Ahmed Faraz) (Raag Yaman)[40]
  • Rim Jhim Ki Barsaat Hai Aur Jaage Huye Jazbaat Hain
  • Roshan Jamal-e-yaar se hai
  • Shaheron Mulkon Main jo Ye Mir (Poet: Mir Taqi Mir)
  • Saamne Aa Ke Tujhko Pukara Nahin (poet: Khawaja Pervez)
  • Sahar Ho Rahi Hai
  • Shikwa Na Kar Gila Na Kar Ye Duniya Hai Pyaare
  • Shola tha jal Bujha hoo (Poet: Ahmed Faraz) (Raag Kirwani)
  • Tanha thi aur Hamesha se Tanha hai Zindagi
  • Tark-e-Ulfat ka sila
  • Tere Bheege Badan ki Khushboo se
  • Tere mere Pyaar ka aisa Naata hai
  • Teri Khushi mein agar gham mein bhi Khushi na huyi (Raag Madhuwanti)
  • Toote huye Khwaabo ke liye
  • Thahar Thori der to
  • Tune Yeh Phuul Jo Zulfon Me Saja Rakha Hai (Poet: Qateel Shifai)
  • Tu meri Zindagi hai
  • Usne jab meri Taraf
  • Uzr aane mein bhi hai aur Bulaate bhi nahi (Poet: Daagh Dehalvi)
  • Woh Dilnawaz hai Lekin Nazar Shanaas nahi
  • Woh Zara si Baar par
  • Yaad Teri ny Zamane ko Bhulla Rakha Hy
  • Yaaro kisi Qaatil se Kabhi Pyaar na Maango
  • Yun na mil mujhse khafa ho jaise (Raags Bilawal and Bhairavi)
  • Ye Dhuaan kaha se Uthta hai
  • Ye Kaghzi Phool Jaise Chahre
  • Ye Mojeza bhi Mohabbat Kabhi Dikhaaye Mujhe (Raag MadhuKauns)
  • Ye Tera Naazuk Badan Hai Ya Koi Mehka Gulaab
  • Yoon Zindagi Ki Raah Mein Takra Gaya Koi
  • Zindagi Mein To Sabhi Pyaar Kiya Karte Hain[40]
  • Zulf Ko Teri Ghataon Ka Payam Aaya Hai
  • Mehadi Hassan also sang Persian/dari ghazals in Kabul Afghanistan in 1970s.
  • Ulti ho gyi sab tadbeereN kuchh na dawa ne kaam kia (Poet: Mir)

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Mehdi Hassan obituary". the Guardian. 13 June 2012. Retrieved 13 June 2022.
  4. ^ a b c "Death anniversary of Shahenshah-e-Ghazal Mehdi Hassan being observed today". Retrieved 13 June 2022.
  5. ^ Ken Hunt (16 June 2012). "Mehdi Hassan: Musician hailed as the maestro of the 'ghazal'". INDEPENDENT (UK newspaper). Retrieved 4 August 2020.
  6. ^ New Delhi – Volume 2, Part 2. Ananda Bazar Patrika. 1979. p. 35.
  7. ^ Russell, Ralph (1992). The pursuit of Urdu literature: a select history. Zed Books. p. 242.
  8. ^ "Mehdi Hassan - New Songs, Playlists & Latest News - BBC Music". BBC. Retrieved 14 July 2020.
  9. ^ (13 June 2012). "End of an era as Mehdi Hassan passes away". DAWN.COM. Retrieved 14 July 2020.
  10. ^ Khawaja, Mishal Abbas (18 July 2019). "'Shehanshah-e-Ghazal' - Mehdi Hassan's 92nd Birthday". Retrieved 14 July 2020.
  11. ^ "Mehdi Hasan: A tribute to the Shahenshah-e-Ghazal". The Express Tribune. 8 November 2010. Retrieved 14 July 2020.
  12. ^ "Ghazal King Mehdi Hassan remembered". The News International. 19 June 2018. Retrieved 14 July 2020.
  13. ^ a b c d Mehdi Hassan profile on Encyclopedia Britannica Retrieved 31 March 2018
  14. ^ Who was Mehdi Hassan NDTV website, Retrieved 31 March 2018
  15. ^ Rafay Mahmood (13 June 2012). "Mehdi Hassan: A sun amongst the stars". The Express Tribune (newspaper). Retrieved 31 March 2018.
  16. ^ News Desk (13 June 2019), "King of Ghazal: Mehdi Hassan remembered on 7th anniversary", Global Village Space. Retrieved 11 November 2019.
  17. ^
  18. ^ a b c Khan, Omer Farooq (13 June 2012). "Ghazal singer Mehdi Hassan passes away - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 13 June 2022.
  19. ^ a b c d e f Devesh Sharma (10 August 2012). "Mehdi Hassan: The Master of Melodies". Retrieved 31 March 2018.
  20. ^ Pandya, Haresh (14 June 2012). "Mehdi Hassan, Who Sang Urdu Lyric Verse, Dies at 84". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 13 June 2022.
  21. ^ a b "Mehdi Hassan passes away in Karachi - Times of India". The Times of India. 13 June 2012. Retrieved 14 June 2022.
  22. ^ a b c "Pakistani singer Mehdi Hassan dies". Retrieved 14 June 2022.
  23. ^ "A tribute to Ghazal maestro Mehdi Hassan". Hindustan Times. 13 June 2012. Retrieved 14 June 2022.
  24. ^ a b c d e King of Ghazal Mehdi Hassan remembered The News International (newspaper), Published 13 June 2016, Retrieved 31 March 2018
  25. ^ "Why ghazals owe their life to Mehdi Hassan". Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  26. ^ a b "Mehdi Hassan to be discharged, family unable to pay bills". The Economic Times. 22 March 2009. Retrieved 13 June 2022.
  27. ^ "Ghazal king Mehdi Hassan dies in Karachi". Retrieved 13 June 2022.
  28. ^ Noorani, Asif (13 June 2012). "Who killed Mehdi Hassan?". DAWN.COM. Retrieved 13 June 2022.
  29. ^ a b Asif Noorani (13 June 2012). "Mehdi Hassan: 1927 – 2012 – the passing of a legend". Dawn (newspaper). Retrieved 31 March 2018.
  30. ^ a b "Mehdi Hassan brought Sufi sensibilities to life: PM". DNA India. Retrieved 14 June 2022.
  31. ^ "Remembering Mehdi Hassan - the Pakistani maestro who captured hearts on both sides of the border". DNA India. Retrieved 14 June 2022.
  32. ^ "Mehdi Hasan: A State of Perpetual Melody". Daily Times. 18 July 2018. Retrieved 14 June 2022.
  33. ^ "Mehdi Hassan's death anniversary goes unnoticed". The Express Tribune. 13 June 2016. Retrieved 14 June 2022.
  34. ^ Mehdi Hassan's 91st Birthday Google Homepage Doodle, Published 18 July 2018, Retrieved 11 February 2019
  35. ^ "Mehdi Hassan changed ghazal singing to become its undisputed shahenshah". The Indian Express. 14 June 2012. Retrieved 14 June 2022.
  36. ^ Raina, Pamposh (13 June 2012). "Singer Mehdi Hassan Dies At 84". Retrieved 14 June 2022.
  37. ^ "Mehdi Hassan". Retrieved 31 March 2018.
  38. ^ "Mehdi Hassan- A legend passes away". Dawn (newspaper). 14 August 2012. Retrieved 31 March 2018.
  39. ^ Mehdi Hassan's Nishan-e-Imtiaz Award info on Dawn (newspaper) Retrieved 31 March 2018
  40. ^ a b c d e f Mehdi Hassan: Achievements as a playback singer The Express Tribune (newspaper), Published 14 June 2012, Retrieved 11 February 2019

External links[edit]