King of Melody

India Today - - MAIL - by Qu­tubud­din

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

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