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Sunday, November 26, 2023

Remembering the King: Google pays tribute to Mehdi Hassan

News Analysis |

Google is paying tribute to Pakistan’s legendary ghazal singer Mehdi Hassan with its popular doodle feature on his 91st birthday (July 18th). Google honors prominent personalities and occasions with special logos that it calls ‘doodles’. The Google logo on the home screen changes itself to the ‘doodle’ of the personality being celebrated for 24 hours.

In the past, the world’s most popular search engine has also paid tribute to Pakistan’s prominent artists and influential personalities, Nusrat Fateh Ali khan, Abdul Sattar Edhi, Noor Jehan, Nazia Hassan and various others. So-dubbed Shahenshah (King of Kings) Ghazal, Mehdi Hassan was born on July 18, 1927 in a village called “Luna” in Rajasthan, India.

The legendary Ghazal singer landed his first musical performance on Radio Pakistan in 1957, primarily as a thumri singer, which earned him recognition within the musical fraternity. he inherited the ancient Indian musical style Dhrupad. As a teenager he was recognized as a “Rising Talent” and invited to perform for the Maharajas of Jaipur and Baroda. The creation of Pakistan in 1947 made his family move to the new Muslim homeland.

Read more: Google honors Noorjehan on her 91st birthday with a doodle

Times were difficult and to make a living the young Mehdi had to struggle to take on jobs at a bicycle shop and later as a truck driver and a mechanic. In the new country Mehdi Hassan initially sang for the Radio Pakistan and after that success as a musician, singer and composer was meteoric. His voice featured in numerous Pakistani movies and ghazal enthusiasts, literary and musical elite on both sides of the Indo-Pak border and the world over accepted and hailed him as the Emperor of Ghazal.

The Indian Nightingale and iconic singer Lata Mangeshkar is said to have compared his singing to the “Voice of God”. Mehdi Hassan is world-wide considered the best ghazal singer of all time. He was honored with numerous awards including Nishan-e-Imtiaz, Tamgha-e-Imtiaz, Pride of Performance and Hilal-e-Imtiaz by the Government of Pakistan.

His first song was ‘Jis ne mere dil Ko dard diya’ film Susral in 1962 and popular ghazal ‘Insha ji ab kooch Karo is shar me dil Ko lagna Kia’ made him wildly popular and a global phenomenon. In October 2010, HMV released ‘Sarhadein’ in which probably the first and last duet song ‘Tera Milana’ featuring Mehdi Hassan and Lata Mangeshkar was released.

Read more: Google remembers legendary singer Nazia Hassan on her 53rd birthday

Ranjish hi Sahi; Patta Patta, Boota Boota; Dil-E-Nadan Tujhe Hua Kya Hai and Dil Ki Baat Labon Par Laakar are a few of his ever-green songs. Another one of his most popular songs is Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s prose, ‘Gullon Mein Rang Bhare.’

He remained a leading singer of film industry along with Ahmed Rushdi.  A host of other songs like ‘Ik Husn Ki Devi Se Mujhe Pyar Hua Tha’, and ‘Jab Koi Pyaar Se Bulaye Ga, Tum Ko Ek Shakhs Yaad Aye Ga’ are equally revered. He sang for over 300 films during his music career. Hassan passed away on June 13, 2012 after a protracted illness in a hospital in Karachi.