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IANS Obituary: From not wanting to sing 'Chitthi' to mentoring John Abraham, a melodious life lived well




IANS Obituary: From not wanting to sing 'Chitthi' to mentoring John Abraham, a melodious life lived well

Renowned singer Pankaj Udhas, who passed away on Monday at the age of 72, had an illustrious career that spanned decades. Born in Jetpur, Rajkot in 1951, Udhas initially trained in tabla before transitioning to Hindustani classical music under the guidance of notable mentors. He went on to become one of the country’s foremost ghazal exponents, with his soulful melodies leaving a lasting impact on audiences worldwide.

Udhas’ musical journey began at the age of 11 when he impressed the audience with his rendition of ‘Ae mere watan ke logon’ during the Sino-Indian War in 1962. Despite initially training to play the tabla, Udhas found his true calling in music and went on to release over 50 albums, with ‘Aahat in 1980’ marking the beginning of his successful career in ghazals.

His breakthrough moment came in 1986 when he sang ‘Chitthi aayee hai’ for the film ‘Naam’, which became an anthem for the South Asian diaspora. Despite initial hesitance, Udhas’s rendition of the song propelled him to international fame, with BBC Radio naming it one of the top 100 songs of the millennium worldwide.


Throughout his career, Udhas continued to deliver chart-topping hits, including ‘Mahiya Teri Kasam’ and ‘Na Kajre Ki Dhar’, showcasing his versatility as a playback singer. Despite his success in films, Udhas remained dedicated to ghazals, releasing memorable albums like ‘Shagufta’ and mentoring young talent through television programs.

Udhas’ legacy as a singer and musician will be remembered for generations to come, with his timeless melodies resonating with audiences around the world. While his passing may leave a void in the music industry, his contributions will continue to inspire future generations of artists.


IANS, established in 1986, is India's largest independent news service, offering 24x7 news from India and South Asia, and a preferred source for diverse content across six business verticals.