King of Melody
Even when Indo- Pakistan relations were at their worst, the voice of Mehdi Hasan— the great Pakistani ghazal singer— came clearly over. Through two wars and more than a decade of strained relations, the Mehdi Hasan following in India has steadily grown. It was common knowledge some years ago that smuggled recordings of his songs were sold at exorbitant prices in cities in India, just as it was widely known that Indian films were secretly screened in Karachi and Lahore cinemas for more than Rs 50 a seat. The 44- year- old Mehdi Hasan, better known as the “Shahenshah- e- Ghazal”, has been something more than a myth in India for years, although there are few Indians who have seen him perform in real life. In fact, there can be little doubt that his voice and the stylisation he has brought to rendering a ghazal has done more for the Pakistani image in India than the influence of political propaganda and prePartition personalities put together. The singer, who is the father of 13 children from his two wives, was born in 1933 in Jaipur district of Rajasthan. Few know that before he made his debut as a singing star in 1952 in films, he was a tractor mechanic. In fact, he still proudly shows off his diploma from the tractor manufacturing company of Ferguson. Mehdi now travels the world over to music concerts and strongly believes in the healing power of classical music that has been known to cure serious physical afflictions.
MEHDI HASAN— THE VOICE COMES OVER, BUTTHE HEART LONGS FOR MUCH MORE