15 Top Pankaj Udhas Songs to Remember Him By

Pankaj Udhas has his name firmly ingrained in the annals of Indian music. Join us as we present 15 songs to remember him by.

15 Top Pankaj Udhas Songs to Remember Him By

"A singer like Pankaj will make a wondrous ghazal"

On May 17, 1951, an iconic musician was born in Jetpur, India, in the form of the renowned singer Pankaj Udhas.

He went on to become a connoisseur of ghazals and a firm staple in the classical music firmament.

Over his career spanning several decades, Pankaj has enthralled and entertained millions of listeners across the globe with his art.

Fans often become teary-eyed because of his enchanting renditions.

Join us as we embark on a musical odyssey of one of the most soulful Indian singers of all time.

Paying tribute to him, DESIblitz showcases the 15 best songs of Pankaj Udhas.

Aap Jinke Kareeb Hote Hain – Tarrannum Vol 1 (1984)

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Pankaj expertly combines quietude and romance with this song, which was from his famous album Tarrannum Vol 1.

There are fast beats on occasion and his famous smooth voice sprinkles the song with gentleness and calmness.

This carefully crafted juxtaposition is what makes ‘Aap Jinke Kareeb Hote Hain’ an essential number for fans.

A fan gushed about the longevity of the number, stating:

“I used to listen to this melodious ghazal of Pankaj Udhas Ji in 1989 when I was in Assam during my service in Indian Air Force.

“Really love my country and this melody of Pankaj Udhas Ji.”

“I was 20 years old at that very time.

“Now I am about 59 and when I listen to this, I feel as I am that 20-year-old boy.

“Thanks, Pankaj sir and lyricist.”

Chitthi Aayi Hai Naam (1986)

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This legendary chartbuster contributed massively to the boost of Pankaj’s career.

Naam is one of the most enduring classics of Bollywood. ‘Chitthi Aayi Hai’ is a sombre number that Pankaj sang beautifully.

The song presents Vicky Kapoor (Sanjay Dutt) and Rita (Amrita Singh) watching a singer perform onstage, as their eyes fill with tears.

‘Chitthi Aayi Hai’ was selected as one of the 100 songs of the millennium by BBC Radio Worldwide.

Mahesh Bhatt, the director of Naam, reveals that he is still commended about this song in the Middle East:

“This is the [song] people still want to talk about whenever I travel to the Middle East.

“Pankaj would shoot for us during the day and sing at concerts at night.

“He struck a chord with the Indian and Pakistani diaspora.”

Bhatt’s comment aptly describes the magic Pankaj spread with this melancholic song.

Chandni Jaisa Rang Hai – Ek Hi Maqsad (1988)

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This mellifluous song shows romance blossoming between Indu ‘Dimpy’ Verma (Divya Rana) and Raj (Raj Kiran).

Pankaj Udhas displays that he is not just a fantastic singer, but he is also a talented film composer.

A review of the song on MouthShut praises Pankaj’s rendition:

“Every time you hear this song you never feel bored.”

“A singer like Pankaj will make a wondrous ghazal.”

The soft undertones, the gentle voice, and the breezy picturisation all make ‘Chandni Jaisa Rang Hai’ a classic number.

This encapsulates the natural magnificence of this song.

Ek Ek Ho Jaaye – Gangaa Jamunaa Saraswati (1988)

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‘Ek Ek Ho Jaaye’ sees Pankaj come together with none other than Kishore Kumar.

Viewers can enjoy a jovial Ganga (Amitabh Bachchan) bond merrily with Shankar Qawwal (Mithun Chakraborty).

In the song, Kishore Da lends his voice to Amitabh, while Pankaj sings for Mithun.

This happy duet describes the friendship between the characters in glorious ways.

Pankaj described Kishore Da as “great” when discussing his competition in his early years of singing.

That respect is evident in every verse of ‘Ek Ek Ho Jaaye’.

Gaa Mere Sang – Gunahon Ka Faisla (1988)

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For this song, Pankaj joined hands with the veteran nightingale Lata Mangeshkar to create a picturesque rendition of love.

In ‘Gaa Mere Sang’, gorgeous greenery sees Sheru (Chunky Panday) and Shanno/Durga (Dimple Kapadia) dance together, singing of their affection.

Lata Ji’s sweet voice perfectly melds with the elegant tones of Pankaj.

Adorned by Bappi Lahiri’s masterful melody, the result is an unforgettable track. A fan remarks on YouTube:

“More songs like this should come.”

This signifies the resonance of ‘Gaa Mere Sang’.

Maahiya Teri Kasam ­– Ghayal (1990) 

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In the 1990 movie Ghayal, Lata Mangeshkar, Pankaj Udhas and Bappi Lahiri reunited to create a mesmeric song named ‘Maahiya Teri Kasam’.

The chartbuster shows Ajay Mehra (Sunny Deol) serenading a swooning Varsha Sahay (Meenakshi Seshadri).

‘Maahiya Teri Kasam’ undeniably showcases Pankaj’s voice to high standards, as he holds his own against Lata Ji.

Bollystalga’s review of the song appreciates the intensity of the number, stating:

“This song is one of those intense love songs – one that has that feeling of epic romance.

“I absolutely love it, and hope you will too!”

Ghayal became one of the biggest successes of 1990.

That would not have happened without the exoticism of ‘Maahiya Teri Kasam’.

Aur Bhala Main Kya – Thaanedaar (1990) 

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Continuing with the romantic duets Pankaj sang with Lata Mangeshkar, ‘Aur Bhala Main Kya’ from Thaanedaar is a highlight of their songs together.

The picturisation witnesses tenderness brimming between Avinash Chandar (Jeetendra) and Sudha Chandar (Jaya Prada).

Remembering Lata Ji, Pankaj speaks about a childhood incident where he sang her famous track, ‘Ae Mere Watan Ke Logon’:

“There was an event with 3,000-4,000 people.

“I had gone there to be in the audience. Due to the war, the environment was emotionally charged and I sang ‘Ae Mere Watan Ke Logon’.

“One person got so emotional that he gave me Rs. 51.”

“In my mind, I thought Lata Mangeshkar was my guru.”

This song undoubtedly underlines the bond between Pankaj and Lata Ji.

Jeeye Toh Jeeye Kaise – Saajan (1991)

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Pankaj Udhas makes a guest appearance in Saajan as he croons this song to a devastated Aman Verma (Sanjay Dutt).

In an album dominated by SP Balasubrahmaniam, Kumar Sanu and Alka Yagnik, this rousing number is a stand-out.

Film Companion describes ‘Jeeye Toh Jeeye Kaise’ as an ode to separation.

Given Pankaj’s penchant for melancholy, it could be argued that such a song could only be justified by his voice.

The website further expresses:

“The song turned out to be Udhas’ concert hit.”

A major factor for the stupendous success of Saajan is its everlasting music.

‘Jeeye Toh Jeeye Kaise’, rendered powerfully by Pankaj played a part in that.

Ek Pal Ek Din – Jigar (1992)

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‘Ek Pal Ek Din’ is a testament to the passionate love between Raj ‘Raju’ Verma (Ajay Devgn) and Suman (Karisma Kapoor).

This sedulous song joins the forces of Pankaj Udhas and Sadhana Sargam.

Pankaj captures just the right pitch for Anand-Milind’s composition and the picturisation also correlates well to the desperation lurking behind the passion.

The end high notes blend majestically with the onscreen embrace between the characters.

An article, written by Shahran Audit about Jigar on myReviewer speaks positively about the music:

“The soundtrack of this film was quite a big seller and made the once S-Series record label, owned by producer Salim, quite successful.”

The track listing is adorned especially by ‘Ek Pal Ek Din’ which bodes sadness and passion like no other song.

Ankh Mere Yaar Ki Dukhe – Ek Hi Raasta (1993)

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This despondent number, focusing on a devastated Karan Singh (Ajay Devgn), is filled with traces of heartbreak and sadness as the character navigates his emotional arc.

Pankaj Udhas’ high pitches and excellent control over the different notes strengthen the sentiments of the character.

Via this resplendent song, viewers can immediately relate to Karan’s anguish and sorrow.

Moral dilemmas, painful separation and tests of bravery are at the heart of Ek Hi Raasta. 

‘Ankh Mere Yaar Ki Dukhe’ paints a clear picture of the sacrifice needed to fulfil such difficult duties.

Dukh Sukh Tha Ek Sab Ka – Yaad (1993)

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‘Dukh Sukh Tha Ek Sab Ka’ suggests a mood of reflection and acceptance.

This emboldening song from Pankaj’s album Yaad abridges letting go of the past and forging new ideas to build a better future.

An ode to the song from Esoofi on WordPress underscores the poetic reflectiveness of the song:

“The words of this poetry truly reflects the time in a person’s life.”

“The past, present and the future.”

Certain lyrics of the song ascertain the importance of peace and happiness:

“May peace shower upon you, may you be happy, may life be beautiful!”

Yaad had six outstanding songs decorating its contents.

However, ‘Dukh Sukh Tha Ek Sab Ka’ inspires, motivates and restores energy to listeners.

Aadmi Khilona Hai – Title Song: Male (1993)

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J Om Prakash’s film Aadmi Khilona Hai was a massive hit in 1993.

The film is backboned by great music from the blue-chip duo Nadeem-Shravan.

One of the anthems is the male version of the title song, belted out masterfully by Pankaj Udhas.

The song is played in the background as Ganga Verma (Reena Roy) sobs inconsolably.

A fan called this number “heart-touching” and “very meaningful.”

Reena Roy’s expressions are sublime and gut-wrenching.

However, if Reena’s performance is the ocean of this song, then Pankaj’s voice is the salt that makes the ripples flow.

A female version of the song sung by Alka Yagnik also exists in the film. Unquestionably though, Pankaj’s rendition is the pinnacle.

Na Kajre Ki Dhaar – Mohra (1994)

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When it comes to sensually captivating music, few Bollywood films glisten as elegantly as Mohra.

Every song of the film was a strike of gold.

As a result, it was one of the highest-selling albums of 1994.

‘Na Kajre Ki Dhaar’ – a sizzling duet of Pankaj and Sadhana Sargam, is sung with finesse.

The song is filmed on Vishal Agnihotri (Suniel Shetty) and Priya Agnihotri (Poonam Jhawer).

This song was initially created in the 70s by composer duo Kalyanji-Anandji, to be rendered by Mukesh.

However, it was never used and was subsequently added to Mohra. 

In a live performance of this song, audiences cheer with enthusiasm as Pankaj claps away at his harmonium.

‘Na Kajre Ki Dhaar’ is a headliner of Pankaj’s discography in the 90s.

Main Deewana Hoon – Yeh Dillagi (1994)

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Within Indian cinema, unrequited love and heartache are themes that have been sensitively explored many times.

Yeh Dillagi follows the pain of Vikram ‘Vicky’ Saigal (Saif Ali Khan) who is shocked at the closeness between Vijayendra ‘Vijay’ Saigal (Akshay Kumar) and Sapna (Kajol).

This heartbreak is emphasised when Vicky listens to ‘Main Deewana Hoon’ in a hotel, sung onscreen by Pankaj Udhas himself.

The song is a ghazal that is identifiable and soul-stirring.

In an interview, Pankaj spoke about his fondness for ghazals. He said:

“I have grown up listening to ghazals on the radio and that made me choose my career as a ghazal singer.

“I believe ghazals are the best combination of poetry and melody.”

This belief rings true with every beat of ‘Main Deewana Hoon’.

Whether giving playback or performing onscreen, Pankaj could create a grand mosaic of sadness and sobriety.

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This ghazal can be found on Pankaj’s 2015 album Chaahat Des Se Aane Waale.

‘Aasmaan Kaali Kaali Ghata’ sheds light on loneliness and silent hints directed towards vagabonds.

There is evidence to suggest that Pankaj was perhaps feeling creative loneliness in his forte for ghazals.

There is no doubt that Pankaj was a mastermind of the ghazal art form, but the singer once voiced his concern about the future of the genre:

“We don’t have the mind to think in Hindi. They think in terms of Hollywood.

“This is certainly a setback for ghazals.

“Cinema is still a powerful medium and it has always supported ghazals.”

“That avenue is more or less closed.”

If cinema is perhaps not supporting ghazals as much as it previously had been, Pankaj should be commended for releasing his unique melodies away from the glamour of Bollywood.

‘Aasmaan Kaali Kaali Ghata’ is a tribute to his independence and proactivity that makes him a revered performer.

Within the fascinating realm of Indian music, melody and ghazals have been brought to life by several talented names.

Among those names, however, Pankaj Udhas arguably remains supreme.

With so many moving renditions, both onscreen and away from the camera, he has created an enduring and awe-inspiring legacy.

Listeners and Indian classical music aficionados unsurprisingly adore and admire his songs.

For his staggering body of work and undying passion for music, Pankaj Udhas will always be remembered and celebrated.



Manav is a creative writing graduate and a die-hard optimist. His passions include reading, writing and helping others. His motto is: “Never hang on to your sorrows. Always be positive."

Image courtesy of Filmfare.

Videos courtesy of YouTube.






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