A Ghazal Singer

The ambience and the exuberance of the sama that Ghazal singer Pankaj Udhas creates is truly magnificent. Born today in 1951, he also sings for Bollywood movies.
Pankaj Udhas- Ghazal Singer; Source: YouTube

Pankaj Udhas- Ghazal Singer; Source: YouTube

A successful singer is one whose voice touches the heart. This is the story of a veteran Ghazal singer, Pankaj Udhas, who never gave up hope in his life and scaled heights that are very difficult for any other artist to achieve.

Pankaj was born on 17 May 1951 in Gujarat into a zamindar family. When Pankaj was young, his voice and perfect swar and rhythm showed that he was born to be a famous singer and nothing else.

He sang Aye Mere Watan Ke Logo in a stage show during the Indo-Sino war, for which he received a gift of 51 rupees from an audience member.

His eldest brother Manhar Udhas was a successful Hindi playback singer and his second eldest brother was a famous Ghazal singer too. After completing his schooling, Udhas moved to Mayanagari with his family. In Mumbai, he completed his further education at St. Xavier's College. He trained in Indian classical music from Sangeet Natak Sangeet and learned to play the tabla. Gradually, he worked on his voice with the help of Master Navrang and honed his skills for years in his bid to become one of the best.

It just so happened that once he heard from his elder brother's guru that "if someone wants to pursue Ghazal singing then he should listen to Mehdi Hasan, and Begum Akhtar".

Usha Khanna (a famous singer) gave him his first outing in the film Kamna. Even though the film flopped, Udhas' singing was highly praised. Pankaj learned Urdu and decided to go abroad to pursue his career. Slowly, despair began to engulf Pankaj. He spent ten months in Canada, where he saw the love for Hindustani music. Pankaj then returned to India to pursue his goal.

Aahat, the first Ghazal album of Pankaj was released in 1980.

From hereon, he began to climb the ladder of success. He ruled the world of music for years on end. The song Chithi Aayi Hai became so popular that he became a superstar overnight. Udhas Saheb, today, is considered one of the most successful singers of the subcontinent. No one can ever forget his Superhit song Na Kajrare Ki Dhar.

He presented a list of superhit tracks one after the other from the movie Saajan, Dillagi, Naam, and Phir Teri Kahani Yaad Aaya

Of course, Mohammed Rafi, Kishore Kumar, and Manna day dominated the singing industry when Pankaj started his journey but Pankaj succeeded in making his place among these people as well. Pankaj Udhas was honoured the Padma Shri by the Government of India in 2006 for his contribution to the Indian world of Ghazals. There was no one like him in Indian cinema before and there will be no one after.


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