Pankaj Udhas: Pioneer in popularizing Ghazal – Part II

In our last issue we read about Pankaj Udhas’s early life and his failure in Bollywood. Now read how he attaints stardom

Irritated by the film fraternity’s step motherly treatment to new comers Pankaj Udhas went to Canada to seek mental solace. However what was planned as a tour to de-stress himself turned out a fortune in disguise. Recalling his visit to Canada, Pankaj Udhas said, “When I reached Canada I was surprised to find amazing attraction among the people in Canada and US for Indian music. Hence I decided to conduct few shows and to my utter surprise all the show proved super hit. This built my confidence and I returned to India and began experimenting on my first album Aahat (1980) and as expected the album was a hit. It opened floodgates for ghazals albums. Till date I have recorded over 50 Albums.” 

Listen to Pankaj Udhas Songs on

Though Pankaj Udhas is being credited for popularizing ghazal among the common man and the youngster, he is also condemned by the so called puritans for allegedly lowering the bar of ghazals. However Pankaj Udhas counters the allegation. He says, “It is true I have never stuck to traditional classical form of singing ghazal because I found it too complex for the common man to grasp hence I took liberties to make it popular the way music director Naushad used classical music in Bollywood. However I feel contented that I took ghazal to global level and survived the genre that was fading into oblivion in the 80’s.”

Pankaj Udhas contribution is Bollywood is also commendable. He has sung some the most popular ghazal like Na kajre ki dhaar…MOHRA; Jiye to Jiye Kese Bin Aap Ke.. SAAJAN; Aaj Phir Tumpe Pyar Aaya Hai ...DAYAWAN and of course Chitthi Ayi Hai….that become a national anthem. 

Listen to Pankaj Udhas Songs on

Pankaj Udhas completed 25 years in ghazal singing in 2006 for which the government of India saluted him by conferring on him the government of India’s prestigious civilian award Padma Shri. 

Pankaj Udhas, who has served his entire life in making ghazal popular and reach in the nook and corner of the world is today a dejected man looking at the music company’s attitude towards ghazals. He regrets, “I am saddened by the way music companies are ignoring ghazal singers and evading ghazal albums. They feel it is a risky business.”

Pankaj Udhas feels it is high time to discover young budding ghazal singing or else the future of ghazal in India will in dark. Hence to give wings to the conception three ghazal maestro Pankaj Udhas, Talat Aziz, Anup Jalota initiated a new music club called Music Mania in November 2013 with the mission of hunting young promising talents in ghazal singing and give them a platform to reach out to the world.

Raaga.Com wishes best of luck to Pankaj Udhas and grand success to Music Mania to succeed and revive Ghazal, the cultural heritage of India.