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Unravelling the man with moonlight in his voice

Pankaj Udhas needs no introduction. His beautiful voice combined with good lyrics and melodious music is capable of making anyone fall in love with ghazals over and over again.

music Updated: Apr 29, 2003 13:22 IST

Pankaj Udhas needs no introduction. His beautiful voice combined with good lyrics and melodious music is capable of making anyone fall in love with ghazals over and over again. No doubt, his recent performance at Sri Ram Centre, presented by Samagam, was exhilarating. Says Udhas: "I've come to this programme because Samagam has invited me. It's an organisation whose members have an immense love for music. Not only that, some of them are also amateur singers."

The love for music, of course, runs in his family. "I started singing at the age of six. I belonged to a musical family and my father played the dilruba as a hobby. My brothers, Nirmal and Manhar, also had a musical bend of mind. I started taking tabla lessons when I was 10. My first real brush with fame was when I heard Lataji' soul-stirring Aye mere watan ke logon in front of 5,000 people, when I was barely 11. And the time I appeared on the ghazal scene, the masses had started to lose interest in this form of singing. My arrival not only brought ghazals back from dead but also made people think again about ghazals," he says.

Udhas carried his passion for music to St Xavier's College in Mumbai, from where he graduated with Botany and Chemistry. He made a mark at inter-collegiate music competitions, and took home a bushel of awards. Receiving his first prize trophy in the inter-collegiate singing competition from Shankar Jaikishen was an honour. "Even today, when I close my eyes I can visualise Jaikishenji handing me over the award," he says. He is optimistic about the younger generation of artists: "They are intelligent. In fact they know more than we do."

Ghazals apart, Udhas has also made his mark in the world of playback singing. Given his popularity, a lot of producers have also asked him to make special appearances in their films (like the immortal Chitthi aayi hai in Naam). "My next plan is to sing compositions of unknown poets," he says.

Udhas has done concerts in every part of the world, singing his movie hits along with the ghazals. And despite being so busy with concerts abroad, he hasn't stopped singing new songs and cutting new albums. Because he knows that his fans are waiting.

First Published: Apr 29, 2003 13:22 IST