Updated February 26th, 2024 at 17:13 IST

When Pankaj Udhas Said He Shares A Love-Hate Relationship With Bollywood

Pankaj Udhas, a renowned Ghazal singer, died due to prolonged illness. As we mourn his death, let us recall the time he talked about his journey in Bollywood.

PaPankaj Udhas nkaj Udhas | Image:Pankaj Udhas/Instagram
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Pankaj Udhas, a renowned Ghazal singer, died on Monday due to prolonged illness. The news of his death was confirmed by his daughter Nayab. He was 72. Pankaj Udhas was best known for his song Chitthi Ayee Hai and Aur Ahista Kijiye Baatein, among others. As we remember his legacy in the music industry, let us revisit the time Pankaj Udhas spoke about his love-hate relationship with Bollywood.

Pankaj Udhas had a love-hate relationship with Bollywood?

In an interview with Sunday Guardian, Pankaj Udhas was told that he was among the first in India to help mainstream the ghazal form with his continuing association with Bollywood. Pankaj was further asked how did he get his first big break in the Hindi film industry.

Pankaj Udhas file photo | Image: Instagram

 

Responding to the question, Pankaj Udhas said, "I shared a love-hate relationship with Bollywood. I sang the first song, which was recorded for a film, Kamna, way back in 1971. I got an opportunity to sing a song that was composed by Usha Khanna and written by Naqsh Lyallpur. The song became very popular and was appreciated by listeners. Obviously, that was the era of Kishore Kumar and Mohammad Rafi, all those great singers."

Pankaj Udhas further added, "So there was a lot of competition in Bollywood, where I was a newcomer. It was not easy for me to make my way into the industry as a playback. So I struggled from 1971 onwards, and by 1972-73, I realised that I was up against huge competition. By that time I had already been singing ghazals, so I decided to shift my focus entirely to ghazals. Till 1979, I really struggled to get noticed. Then my first album, Aahat, was released at the beginning of 1980. Subsequently, there were other albums, Mukarrar and Nayaab. I think my style of singing matured, and my popularity really began to rise."

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Pankaj Udhas file photo | Image: Instagram

 

Pankaj Udhas concluded, "In fact, there soon came a point where my work was not only being noticed but also appreciated. There was Rhythm House in Mumbai, where they’d display a top-10 music chart; my albums were on the top here, above all the film albums. Since I’d reached that level of popularity, I was called in to sing a song, “Mitwa re Mitwa”, for the film Jawab. This song became very popular. By that time the actor Rajendra Kumar was making a film, Naam. They were looking for a singer who was very popular across India. So he suggested my name. He decided to have me sing “Chitthi Aayee Hai”, and even picturised the song on me. After Naam, my Bollywood career began in earnest. I haven’t sung many Bollywood numbers, I was very selective, but yeah, whatever I sang became very popular. After that, my equation with the entire industry was very different. I must say one thing: the film industry has played a major role in popularising the ghazal."

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About Pankaj Udhas' death

Pankaj Udhas, who also made a mark as a playback singer in many Hindi films, including Saajan and Mohra, died around 11 am at the Breach Candy hospital, a family source said.

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"With a very heavy heart, we are saddened to inform you of the sad demise of Padmashri Pankaj Udhas on 26th February 2024 due to a prolonged illness," Nayab wrote in an Instagram post.

The last rites will be held on Tuesday.

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(With inputs from PTI)

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Published February 26th, 2024 at 17:13 IST