Pankaj Udhas, Renowned Ghazal Singer, Passes Away Battling Cancer; PM Modi Expresses Condolences

Ghazal maestro Pankaj Udhas passed away today at the age of 72. His daughter Nayaab has shared the news of his demise on social media. Udhas had been unwell for several days. According to media reports, he breathed his last on Monday, February 26th, at 11 a.m. at the Breach Candy Hospital in Mumbai. Currently, his mortal remains are kept at the hospital. His brothers will take his body home when it arrives. The final rites will be performed on Tuesday, February 27th. Pankaj Udhas was fighting cancer for some time, as reported by his brother Jaimin Sharma to Divya Bhaskar. Pankaj Udhas was known for his famous ghazal ‘Chitthi Aayi Hai’.

PM Narendra Modi Expresses Grief over Pankaj Udhas’s Demise

He wrote, “We express grief over the demise of Pankaj Udhas Ji. His singing touched many hearts and his ghazals directly spoke to the soul. He was a pillar of Indian music, whose melodies resonate through generations. Sharing pictures of his meeting with Pankaj Udhas on June 3rd in a post.”

Tribute to Pankaj Udhas for Making Ghazals Popular in India

Nida Fazli’s wife Malati Joshi mentioned in an interview with Divya Bhaskar, “Pankaj Ji worked with Nida Ji several times. He was a very good person by nature. He was friendly by nature. He also sang Nida Sahab’s ghazals. They had professional relations and they were very good. He was a hopeful artist. Because of him, ghazals became so popular in India. He sang ghazals in his unique style and became famous among the audience. No one has matched his level in this industry yet. We have lost a legendary artist.

Birth in a Landlord Family

Pankaj Udhas was born on May 17, 1951, in Jetpur, Gujarat. He was the youngest of three brothers. His family resided near Charkhadi village in Rajkot. His grandfather was a landlord and also the diwan of Bhavnagar state. While his father, Keshubhai Udhas, was a government employee, his mother, Jituben Udhas, had a keen interest in music. This passion for music led Pankaj Udhas and his brothers towards a musical inclination from a young age.

Earned 51 Rupees for Singing

Pankaj Udhas never thought he would make a career in singing. During those days, the war between India and China was ongoing. Amidst this, the song “Ae Mere Watan Ke Logon” was released by Lata Mangeshkar. Pankaj was deeply moved by this song. He composed this song without any help, just by its tune and melody. Once, his school principal heard him sing and later, he was made the head of the school prayer team. Once, he organized a program of his mother’s devotional songs in his colony. After the prayers and devotional songs, a cultural program was held there. On that day, Pankaj’s school teacher requested him to sing in the cultural program.

Pankaj sang the song “Ae Mere Watan Ke Logon.” His song brought tears to everyone’s eyes. The audience applauded Pankaj, and a person among the audience stood up and clapped. He was given a reward of 51 rupees.

Practiced Music at the Music Academy

After this incident, his parents felt that Pankaj could also do better work in the field of music like his brothers. Later, his parents got him admitted to Rajkot’s Music Academy. Pankaj’s both brothers, Manhar and Nirmal Udhas, are known in the field of music.

Became Unhappy Due to Unavailability of Work

After completing the course, Pankaj used to perform in many big stage shows. He also demanded a place for himself in Bollywood like his brothers. For this, he had to struggle for a long time, around 4 years. During this time, he did not get any major work. He gave his voice in the film “Kaamna,” but this film flopped, due to which he did not gain much popularity. Disappointed with not getting work, he decided to go abroad.

Pankaj Udhas’ Performance at His Father’s Hospital

In 1981, Pankaj Udhas gave a performance at his father’s hospital. Earlier that year, he had performed in a program called ‘Khazana.’ Prior to this program, Pankaj Udhas had already released two albums, ‘Aahat’ and ‘Mukarrar.’ During the Khazana program, several renowned ghazal artists performed. In an interview, Pankaj Udhas mentioned that during this program, his father was battling cancer in the last stage and was admitted to a hospital in Mumbai. Before his performance, Pankaj visited the hospital, where his father blessed him. During this time, he had just bought a new Fiat car and went to the program with his wife Farida (they were not married at that time) to give a performance.

Popularizing through Film Songs

Pankaj Udhas gained popularity through the songs of his films. His singing talent earned him considerable fame abroad. During this time, actor and producer Rajendra Kumar heard his songs and was greatly impressed. Rajendra Kumar wanted Pankaj to sing and compose music for films. Pankaj, however, declined, leading to a meeting where he finally sang the ghazal ‘Chitthi Aayi Hai,’ which later became one of his best ghazals, produced by music director Khayyam.

Emotional Impact of ‘Chitthi Aayi Hai’ on Raj Kapoor

The ghazal ‘Chitthi Aayi Hai’ had a profound impact on Raj Kapoor. One evening, after a dinner at Pankaj Udhas’s house, he heard the ghazal in Pankaj’s voice and was moved to tears. Raj Kapoor predicted that the ghazal would bring immense popularity to Pankaj and declared that no one else could sing it as well as him.

Incident at Gunpoint due to Song Selection

As Pankaj Udhas gradually immersed himself in the world of ghazals, he learned Urdu to enhance his singing skills. Once, during a performance, a spectator approached him and requested a specific ghazal. Pankaj did not like the choice and refused to sing it. This led to an altercation where the person pulled out a gun and asked him to sing the requested ghazal. Frightened, Pankaj reluctantly sang the ghazal.

Marriage and Interfaith Acceptance

Pankaj Udhas married Farida on February 11, 1982, in a common friend’s wedding. They met first as college friends, then developed a romantic relationship. Initially, Farida was an air hostess, and both families were against their relationship. However, Pankaj won over Farida’s father, who was a retired police officer. Despite being from different faiths, Pankaj and Farida successfully convinced their families, and Pankaj’s family embraced the marriage without any objections. They have two daughters, Nayaab and Reva.

Shankar Mahadevan-Sonu Nigam Expresses Grief

The demise of Pankaj Udhas has left celebrities mourning. Singer and composer Shankar Mahadevan is deeply saddened. According to him, Pankaj’s departure is a significant loss for the music world, one that can never be compensated. Sonu Nigam has also penned an emotional post on Pankaj Udhas’s demise.

Rasesh Nageshwar

Hi there! I'm Rasesh Nageshwar, and I'm passionate to write about entertainment, movies, web series, and sports. As a writer, I love sharing my insights and opinions on the latest trends, news, and events in these exciting fields.