Shahanshah-e-Ghazal, Mehdi Hassan should definitely be on the top of your list if you like listening to ghazals. His velvety voice expressed “virha bhav”, including ghazals of unrequited love so strongly that it could remind one of the lost companions. Hassan’s voice is known to bring out that searing pain that’s hard to ignore.
Renowned singer Lata Mangeshkar called his voice the 'Voice of God' and his soulful renditions of ghazals still remain unmatched. Mehdi Hassan's voice crossed borders and he received immense respect and love from both India and Pakistan. His music added new depth and layers to ghazals.
In 1957, the artist started his musical career as a thumri singer in Radio Pakistan. He received stardom after he sang ‘Gulon Main Rang Bhare’ for the film ‘Farangi’ in 1964. Shahanshah-e-Ghazal recorded more than 25,000 ghazals and songs for films.
The command that Mehdi Hassan had over light classical forms such as thumri and dadra was beyond dispute; his inimitable andaz of singing ghazals mesmerised connoisseurs and laypersons alike.
From ‘Rafta Rafta Woh Meri’ from the film ‘Zeenat’ to ‘Ranjish Hi Sahi’ from the film ‘Mohabbat’, Hassan delightfully interpreted film songs, giving them a new texture that appealed to listeners of ghazals. Here are 10 soulful extracts from the ghazals that were made immortal by the voice of Mehdi Hassan: