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Mehdi Hassan

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Mehdi Hassan (Urdu: مہدی حسن) respectfully called Khan Sahib and titled as “Shahenshah-e-Ghazal” (English: King of Ghazals) is a well-known Pakistani Ghazal singer and a former playback singer for Pakistani films.

Mehdi Hassan was born in the village of Luna in Rajasthan, India in 1927 into a family of rich traditional musicians. He claims to be the 16th generation of hereditary musicians hailing from the Kalawant. Kala means “Art” and Want means “teacher” so he is from family of teacher who taught Kings and Royal families the art of music. Mehdi Hassan received his musical training and grooming under his father, Ustad Azeem Khan and his uncle Ustad Ismail Khan who were classical musicians, well-versed in Dhrupad and Khayal singing. They instructed him in classical music and voice rendition within the framework of classical forms of Thumri, Dhrupad, Khayal and Dadra, from the young age of eight. After the Partition of India, 20 year-old Mehdi Hassan and his family migrated to Pakistan and suffered severe financial hardships. To make ends meet, Mehdi Hassan began working in a bicycle shop and later became a car and diesel tractor mechanic. Despite the hardships, his passion for music didn’t wither and he kept up the routine of practice (Riyaaz) on a daily basis.

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