‘Thodi Thodi Piya Karo’ Ghazal Icon Pankaj Udhas Died At 72

NEW DELHI : India’s Ghazal Icon Pankaj Udhas, best known for “Chitthi Ayee Hai” and “Aur Ahista Kijiye Baatein”, ‘Thodi Thodi Piya Karo’ died after a prolonged illness in Mumbai, his daughter Nayab said. he was 72. The news has come as a shock to many. Singer Sonu Nigam was among the first ones to react to his death.
Udhas, who also made a mark as a playback singer in many Hindi films, including “Naam”, “Saajan” and “Mohra”. The singer’s last rites will be held on Tuesday.
‘Chandani Raat Mein’, ‘Na Kajre Ki Dhaar’, ‘Aur Ahista Kijiye Baatein’, ‘Ek Taraf Uska Ghar’ and ‘Thodi Thodi Piya Karo’ are among his evergreen ghazals. The singer, who also started a talent hunt TV show, ‘Aadab Aarz Hai’, performed at concerts around the world and had many albums to his name.
Soon after the news of his death broke, tributes poured in. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Pankaj Udhas’ “ghazals spoke directly to the soul”.”We mourn the loss of Pankaj Udhas Ji, whose singing conveyed a range of emotions and whose Ghazals spoke directly to the soul. He was a beacon of Indian music, whose melodies transcended generations said PM. “His departure leaves a void in the music world that can never be filled.
The singer rose to fame with Mahesh Bhatt’s 1986 film ‘Naam’ starring Nutan, Kumar Gaurav, Sanjay Dutt, Poonam Dhillon, Amrita Singh and Paresh Rawal. He also made appearances in films such as Yeh Dillagi, Saajan and Phir Teri Kahaani Yaad Aayee.
His song ‘Chitthi Aayee Hai’, which became a huge hit, was selected as one of the 100 songs of the millennium by BBC Radio. Bollywood singer Sonu Nigam posted a picture of the veteran singer on his Instagram feed and wrote, “One of the most important part of my childhood, is lost today. I will miss you forever. Musician Anup Jalota shared a number of pictures with the late singer on X and wrote, “Shocking…. Music legend & my Friend #PankajUdhas passes away. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his Family and loved ones during this difficult time.”

Pankaj Udhas was born in Jetpur in Gujarat on May 17, 1951. He was the youngest of three brothers. He initially started by learning the instrument tabla but later studied Hindustani vocal classical music under Ghulam Qadir Khan Sahab. Udhas then went to Mumbai to learn from Navrang Nagpurkar, a vocalist from the Gwalior Gharana.
Pankaj Udhas, a name synonymous with soulful ghazals, has captivated audiences for over four decades. Born on May 17, 1951, in Jetpur, Gujarat, India, Udhas’ musical journey began at a young age, nurtured by a family steeped in music. His elder brother, Manhar Udhas, was already a successful playback singer in Bollywood, paving the way for Pankaj’s own foray into the world of music.
Udhas’ early career saw him singing for Hindi films and even dabbling in Indian pop. However, his true calling lay in the realm of ghazals, a form of Urdu poetry set to music. In 1980, he released his first ghazal album, “Aahat,” marking the beginning of a prolific career that would see him release over 60 solo albums and numerous collaborative projects.
Udhas’ melodious voice, coupled with his nuanced understanding of ghazal poetry, resonated deeply with listeners. He became a pioneer in bringing ghazals to the mainstream, making them accessible to a wider audience beyond connoisseurs of the genre. Songs like “Chitthi Aai Hai” from the film “Naam” (1986) and “Aa Gale Lag Ja” established him as a household name, solidifying his position as one of India’s leading ghazal singers.

Udhas’ dedication to his craft has been recognised with numerous prestigious awards, including the Filmfare Award for Best Male Playback Singer, the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for Ghazal Singing, and the Padma Shri, India’s fourth-highest civilian honor.Beyond his musical prowess, Udhas was known for his humble and down-to-earth personality. Pankaj Udhas’ voice is forever etched in the hearts of ghazal lovers everywhere.


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