Remembering Mehdi Hasan
Ghazal singer Sudhir Narain recently paid tribute to the late Mehdi Hasan with a concert. CS spoke to Narain about the concert, his influences and more
An evening of ghazals
The concert was organised by Western Railway Fine Arts Association. We paid a tribute to late Mehdi Hasanji. The concert was a full house. The title of the concert was ‘Abke hum bichde toh shayad’, which was one of his most popular ghazals. We opened the concert with ‘Ranjish hi sahi dil hi dukhane ke liye aa’ and then went on to sing a number of his popular ghazals and nazms. We ended the concert with poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s ghazal ‘Gulon mein rang bhare’.
I had the priviledge of meeting Mehdiji in Toronto and Delhi. The biggest lesson one can learn from his singing is his unique way of hitting the right notes. The basic idea was that whatever the poet has written, his thought should be given priority. You have to feel his thoughts and then express them. Mehdiji knew the importance of sur. Heartfelt notes are equal to God and in Mehdiji’s honest notes, one could find Godliness. That is what has influenced me the most about his singing.
Sing a song
I hold a number of commercial concerts, where the ghazals that are sung are the ones that are easily recognisable by the audience. I sing many of my own compositions as well. Here, you don’t really need to understand the intricacies of the Urdu language. At the adbi (literary) concerts, I sing ghazals of famous poets like Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Mirza Ghalib, Jigar Muradabadi and others. There are two different kinds of audiences I face and I like both the kinds.