Mehdi Hassan: A Profile in Excellence

By Anis Ahmed Shakur


Lata Mangeshkar's highly laudatory remarks:" Mehdi Hasan kay galay mein bhagwan bolta hai", in the early seventies, had hardly surprised an average Pakistani, because they know the greatness of their most prominent play-back singer.

Mehdi Hasan's illustrious singing career began with this ghazal: "Meray khayal-0- khwab ki duniya liye huway":(Film: Shikaar: 1962, lyrics: Hafeez Jallundhar, composer: Asghar Ali Mohammed Husain, film director: Rafiq Anwar.

Mehdi's magnificent, magical, masterpieces have refused to age with the passage of time.
Let us look at some of them:

"Duniya kisi kay pyar mein": (film: "Jag utha insaan": 1966)
"Mujhay tum nazar say gira tau rahay ho" (film: "Doraha": 1967)
"Ik naye maur pay lay Aaye hain": (film: "Ehsaan": 1967)
"Ye kaghazi phool jaisay chehray": (film: "Dewar bhabi": 1967)
"Tark-e-ulfat ka sila": (film:"Dil mera dharkan teri": 1968)
"Ye wafaon ka diya Aap nay": (film: "Phir chand niklay ga": 1970)
"Khamosh hain nazaray" (film: "Bandagi": 1972)
"Ga meray diwanay dil" (film: "Daulat aur duniya": 1972)

It is almost impossible to single out the best song from the long list of Mehdi's super-hits. However, Radio Pakistan's renowned announcer, Azim Sarwar, had relegated "Elahi Aansoo bhari zindagi kisi ko na day" as the number one song of Mehdi Hasan, in the mid - eighties .

Moreover, in an interview to Radio Pakistan's compere, Taj Bakht, which was broadcast twice between 1985-87, Mehdi Hasan had dealt, at length, his continuous efforts to bring quality in the songs and ghazals.

From the melancholy strains of "Aye duniya kya tujh say kahein", "Tanha thee aur hamaysha say tanha hai zindagi", "Qissa-e-gham mein tera naam", "Dil diya dard liya", "Zindagi aik safar hai", to satires like "Laga hai misar ka bazaar deikho" (Tehzeeb)

Likewise, from the romantic scores like "Meray dil kay taar", "Teray bheegay badan ki khushbu say"(Sharafat), to moralistic numbers like "Sau baras ki zindigi mein aik pul" (Insaaf aur qanoon), Mehdi's superb art is evident everywhere.

A few evergreen songs of Mehdi are listed here:

"Khuda wanda ye kaisi Aag see": (film: "Lori", lyrics: Himayat Ali Shair")
"Mein hoon yahan, tu hai wahan": (film: "Gharnata")
"Raqs zanjeer pehan kar bhi kiya jata hai: (film: "Zarqa")
"Zindigi ja, chore day peecha mera": (film: "Jawab dau")
"Tum zid tau kar rahay ho": (film: "Daagh")
"Bohoth yaad Aayein gay wo din"(film: "Anila")
"Jab bhi chahein ik naye soorath bana" (film: "Saza")
"Duniya ko ab kya sumjhain" (film: "Baazi")
"Yoon zindigi ki raah mein"(film:"Aag")
"Shikwa na kar, gila na kar" (film:"Zameen")
"Nazaroan nay bhari Aahein" (film:"Naghma-e-Sehra")
"Kiun poochtay ho kiya tum say kahein"(film:"Bahisht")

Mehdi"s contribution towards ghazal singing is immense and it will never be forgotten by the ghazal-lovers.
Some of the memorable ghazals sung by him are:

"Charagh-e-toor jalao"
"Ranjish he sahi"
"Ghuncha-e-shauq laga hai"
"Deikh tau dil keh jaan say"

The national songs, sung by Mehdi, like "Allah kay waday pay mujahid ko yaqeen hai" and "Sohni dharti Allah rakhay" will always be remembered.

Mehdi's fame has reached around the globe in the past thirty eight years and his unparalleled voice will continue to capture the hearts and minds of his innumerable fans well into this century.