Mumbai, Jun 13 (PTI): Two years ago, the “Voice of God” -- as Lata Mangeshkar called ghazal maestro Mehdi Hassan -- had expressed his desire to visit India, the country of his birth, but he passed away On Wednesday without realising the wish.
Hassan, who had been suffering from a prolonged illness, was planning to visit India for treatment and wished to meet Lata Mangeshkar, Dilip Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan, his son Asif had said in 2010. That was also the year when a duet, 'Tera milna..' between Lata and Hassan was released. It was Hassan and Lata's first and last duet together.
“Mehdi Saab always wanted to sing with me. In fact, he sent me 2-3 recorded songs years back but he had to quit singing due to his prolonged illness. 'Tera milna' is one of them.
“I recorded my version here in Mumbai and Mehdi Saab's version was recorded in Pakistan. We have made a duet compiling the two versions,” Lata had said.
India-born Ghazal legend Mehdi Hassan, the melodious voice behind evergreen hits like 'Patta patta, boota boota' and 'Kab ke Bichhare', died following multiple organ failure at the age of 84.
Hassan, who had millions of fans in India and Pakistan, had been admitted to the Agha Khan Hospital in the southern port city of Karachi some days ago. He had been in a serious condition and was on ventilator.
“My father passed away at 12:22 PM after a long battle against different ailments,” his son Arif Hassan said.
Hundreds of fans gathered at the hospital on learning of his death. Hassan was born into a family of traditional musicians at Luna village in India's Rajasthan state in 1927. His family migrated to Pakistan at the time of Partition in 1947.
Hassan cut back on his performances in the late 1980s due to illness.
Prime Minister Gilani expressed grief and sorrow at the death of Hussan. In a message, he said Hassan was “an icon who mesmerised music lovers not only in Pakistan but also in the subcontinent for many decades.”
Hassan, who last performed in India in 2000, wanted to visit the country again, a dream, which remained, unfulfilled.
Arif had even received the visa in April for Hassan's treatment in an Indian hospital but they could not travel as singer's condition deteriorated.
Considered one of the most successful ghazal singers of Pakistan, Hassan was trained in classical music by his father Ustad Azeem Khan and his uncle Ustad Ismail Khan who were both well respected classical musicians.
He started to perform at a young age and his first concert was on Dhrupad and Kheyal with his elder brother.
Hassan was bestowed with the title of Shahenshah-e-Ghazal (The King of Ghazal singing) by his fans for infusing a new breath of life in the art form.
The legend also played an important role of the cultural ambassador between India and Pakistan and visited his birth country several times.
Hassan started primarily as a thumri singer and earned recognition within the musical fraternity in Pakistan at the time when Ustad Barkat Ali Khan, Begum Akhtar and Mukhtar Begum were considered the stalwarts of ghazal singing.
There was a time in Pakistan's film industry when a film was considered incomplete without Hassan's voice.
In 2010, “Sarhadein” was released which has the first and last duet song “Tera Milna” by Mehdi Hassan and Lata Mangeshkar, who once called Hassan the “voice of God”.
Hassan recorded it in Pakistan in 2009, and Lata later heard the track and recorded her part in India in 2010 and it was later mixed together for a duet.