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Here is Ghazal Maestro Pankaj Udhas Birthday Special

Pankaj Udhas, who earned his identity as a Bollywood singer and Ghazal King, was born on May 17, 1951 in Jetpur, near Rajkot, Gujarat. Pankaj Udhas turns 67 today. He sang his first song of life on stage with his elder brother. During the Indo-China war, he sang ”Ae Mere Watan Ke Logon…”, which liked so much by people present there. One of them gave him 51 rupees after listening his song.

Many of his ghazals ‘Chupke Chupke Din Raat…’, ‘Kuch Na Kaho, Kuch Bhi Na Kaho…’, ‘Chithi Aayi Hai…’, Ghoonghat Ko Mat Khol…’ are still in people’s mind.

Veteran ghazal singer said he believes that such songs like Chitthi Aayi Hai, Dillagi, Na Kajre Ki Dhar cannot be made every day.

”You cannot sit down to make such songs, they just happen. I was there when the song was created. I know precisely what has gone behind its making. ‘Chithi Aayi Hai’ has got an evergreen status, it remains fresh even today. At one point, my father listened to Chithi Aayi Hai. I belong to the next generation- I, too, listen to it and enjoy it in the same way. The song released in August 1986, but even today when I meet children, the first song that they sing is this,” said Pankaj Udhas.

It’s been interesting, challenging and satisfying journey of Pankaj Udhas over the years. When he started out, the ghazal had just started gaining popularity. Even then, Bollywood music dominated the scene.

”By the time I started out, which was around 1978-79, Bollywood music was struggling to impress the masses. The audience was looking for an alternative. That’s when the ghazal started to rise. After the 80s, it became a craze. I am glad to have been around when the ghazal ruled the roost,” said ghazal maestro.

When he started singing, he was influenced by Begum Akhtar and Mehdi Hassan’s styles. But as he grew up, he realised that he shouldn’t keep singing like them. Then, he wanted to create his own space. That’s when he started creating a style of his own.

He wanted to reach out to the masses, as the ghazal was always limited to a very small audience. It was meant for people who could understand Urdu and Persian. Pankaj wanted to make it more accessible. So, he composed the ghazal, ‘Aap jinke kareeb hote hain’. Anyone who could speak Hindi could understand it.

”Bollywood music is not really happening anymore. Today, when we do ghazal concerts across the country, we see so many people turning up. So, they are definitely looking for an alternative to Bollywood music. The ghazal has not gone away. The form is still close to people’s hearts,” Udhas said.

Pankaj Udhas has a special place which can’t be replaced. His each and every song define the emotions and became very popular. The legendary ghazal singer is also honoured with the Padmashri Award in 2006.


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