Legendary Singer Pankaj Udhas passes away aged 72

The legendary singer Pankaj Udhas has sadly passed away aged 72. He died of an unknown illness and was loved worldwide.

Legendary Singer Pankaj Udhas passes away aged 72 - f

"He was a beacon of Indian music."

The iconic veteran singer Pankaj Udhas tragically passed away at the age of 72.

Udhas died of an undisclosed illness. His songs were loved worldwide.

A statement on Instagram from the Udhas family read:

“With a very heavy heart, we are saddened to inform you of the sad demise of Padma Shri Pankaj Udhas on 26 February due to a prolonged illness.”

Udhas was famous for his classical music and was one of the most prolific Indian ghazal singers.

Among his Bollywood melodies, ‘Chitthi Aayi Hai‘ from Naam (1986) garnered masses of popularity.

The mellifluous number was selected as one of the 100 songs of the millennium by BBC Radio Worldwide.

Many took to X to pay tribute to Pankaj Udhas.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote:

“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.

“I recall my various interactions with him over the years.

“His departure leaves a void in the music world that can never be filled.

“Condolences to his family and admirers. Om Shanti.”

Renowned singer Anup Jalota also expressed his condolences and said:

Shocking. Music legend and my friend #PankajUdhas passes away.

“We extend our heartfelt condolences to his Family and loved ones during this difficult time.”

Film star Riteish Deshmukh said: “Huge loss to the music world.

“#PankajUdhas Ji’s music touched millions of hearts across the planet.

“His legacy will live on forever. Deepest condolences to his family and loved ones.”

Naam director Mahesh Bhatt previously reflected on Udhas’ commitment to ‘Chitthi Aayi Hai’, which contributed massively to the film’s success.

The director recollected: “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.”

Udhas first gave playback for the film Kaamna (1971). In his career, he sang several songs with the legend Kishore Kumar.

However, he also sang a variety of non-film chartbusters too.

In an interview, Udhas divulged his thoughts about the future of the ghazal genre.

He stated: “I personally feel that ghazals have been around for nearly 400 years and listeners have always patronised ghazal singing.

“I can say it with a lot of confidence, even today when a music lover gets tired of listening to Bollywood music, which has been the most dominant music in our country for a long time, the first thing one looks for is a ghazal CD and he would say, ‘Okay, I would put in the CD, dim the lights and just get into the zone where it is relaxing and peaceful’.

“So ghazals will never go away. They may have taken a backseat in comparison to Bollywood, but I would say that ghazal still remains a very popular genre worldwide.

“I say this out of my own experience of doing live concerts across the world, there is still a very huge audience for ghazal.”

Pankaj Udhas is survived by his wife Farida Udhas, his daughters Nayaab and Reva Udhas and his brothers Nirmal and Manhar Udhas.

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."

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