Legendary singer Pankaj Udhas promises to perform on audience’s request on his visit to Hyderabad this month end
WHEN it comes to describing emotions through words, nothing works better than poetry. When melody meets emotion and beautiful lyrics, it turns into a ghazal. When it is rendered by a singing genious like Pankaj Udhas, it is a perfect match for any mehfil. The city is going to hear him sing later this month.
Like many other ghazal enthusiasts, this singer has always loved listening to Begum Akhtar and Mehdi Hasan. Known for bringing back the glory to ghazals at a time when the genre was losing its foothold over the masses, Udhas still spins magic when he sings it. Born on May 17, 1951 in Gujarat, this musical legend has left no stone unturned in his melodious journey.
Udhas had never had it easy. He recorded his first song in 1972 for a movie titled Kamna which never saw the light of the day. Despite learning Urdu the singer could not make it into the industry for the first four years. It was in 1980 when Pankaj launched his first ghazal album titled ‘Aahat’ that he could make a break through into the industry.
With ghazals happening smoothly, Udhas set foot into Bollywood with Laxmikant Pyarelal’s ‘Chitthi Aayee Hai’ for Mahesh Bhatt’s Naam in 1986. “People still love that song and I still get requests from audience for performing on Chitthi Aayee Hai,” Pankaj smiles.
The 65-year-old singer believes that ghazal still has a big fan base in India and across the globe. “I keep travelling for performances around the world and there have been venues where I have performed in front of 10,000 people which itself is a evidence that ghazals are here to stay,” he says.
A hardcore fan of The Beatles, Udhas feels that the West has a bit too much of influence on Bollywood music. “Ghazals are melodious and meaningful which is why people still enjoy mehfils. Unfortunately, Bollywood music does not have good lyrics or music and people are on a look out for some melody,” he says. Breaking the suspense about his new albums, he revealed saying, “I have just finished working on a new album and I plan to release it by the end of July.”
Speaking about his concert in Hyderabad, the singer says, “I usually sing new numbers and a few other tracks of my choice. This time, I will sing what the audience wants me to.” Udhas has always enjoyed performing in the city of Nizams. “Hyderabadis treat ghazals as their own and have personal interest in this genre. They always understand what I am singing and I enjoy singing for them,” he adds.
Udhas will be in the city for a performance on June 25 as a part of the Hyderabad Art Festival. He would be performing at the PBEL city grounds from 8 pm onwards. Entry free.
— Nishad Neelambaran