Monday, 20 January 2014


Back in the days, Mehdi Hassan’s songs used to be played on Radio ad nauseum. They were mostly songs from films and despite their high class, appeared quite ordinary, since Radio Pakistan beat the shit out of them. I am off course talking about the 70s and the 80s. Mehdi Hassan was parodied as a guy who made faces while singing and liked to sing those horribly boring songs they called ghazals (what an excuse for bad singing, I would think).

I was an avid music lover, by the way; but being a teenager, was more enamoured by the Western / Indian Film music, which was the norm of the times. It was in 1991 while I was on the prep leaves for my 2nd Year Engineering Final Exams, when I had recently had an affliction of the heart, and was alone for a substantial part of the one month, locked away in my study, that I discovered Mehdi Hassan. The ghazal that led me thru that tormenting period, driven by caffeine and sleeplessness and marred by those vacillations of delirium, where I was sure I would flunk, was “Jull Bhi Chukkay Purvaanay – Ho Bhi Chukki Rusvaaee” by Shehzad Ahmed Shehzad. After the “chilla” I was a transformed.

Music was not the same again. I perceive every piece of (desi) music, as if it was a ghazal being sung by Mehdi Hassan. I haven’t still gotten out of that spell woven by that Master Magician of Ghazal. Times change, I was wooed over by Nusrat Fateh Ali’s Qawwalis. My partner in crime, a dear old friend, who has tread the path of Music with me, from the Lata-Rafi Indi Film music to Ghazals to Qawalli to more harder poisons like classical, could not understand why all of a sudden my entire approach towards Music changed altogether. Well this is full disclosure time buddy.

Having been influenced so emphatically by Mehdi Hassan Khan sahib, I don’t find words to express the deep sorrow and the sense of loss I feel. All I can say is that his every ghazal was his best !

Sub kahan, kuch laala-o-gul mein numaayaan ho gaee’n
Khaak mein kya sooratai’n hon’gi, kay pinhaa’n ho gaee’n……..

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