Ghazal maestro Pankaj Udhas laid to rest with full honors; Bollywood and cricket fraternity pay homage

Ghazal maestro Pankaj Udhas laid to rest

Mumbai: The city of dreams bid a tearful adieu to one of its most beloved sons, the legendary ghazal singer Pankaj Udhas, who passed away on Monday night after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 72.

The veteran singer, who had touched millions of hearts with his soulful voice and poignant lyrics, was cremated on Tuesday evening at the Hindi cremation ground in Worli, following all the religious and cultural rites. His family, friends, and fans accompanied his flower-laden mortal remains to the funeral pyre, as a special band played some of his evergreen songs.

Earlier in the day, his body was kept at his residence in Juhu for the last darshan, where a host of celebrities from the film and music industry, as well as the sports world, came to pay their last respects and offer their condolences to the bereaved family. Among them were music composer-singer Shankar Mahadevan, tabla maestro Zakir Hussain, former Indian cricket team captain Sunil Gavaskar, lyricist Taufiq Qureshi, singer Anoop Jalota, actor Anupam Kher, filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, and many others.

Pankaj Udhas’s daughter Reva, who was inconsolable, thanked everyone for their love and support. She said, “My father was a great human being, a loving father, and a generous soul. He lived for music and his fans. He fought bravely till the end, but cancer took him away from us. We will always miss him and cherish his memories.”

Anoop Jalota, who was a close friend of Pankaj Udhas, revealed to the media that the singer was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer six months ago and had undergone treatment in Mumbai and London. He said, “He was a very kind and compassionate person, who helped many cancer patients through his charitable foundation. He never let his illness affect his passion for music. He recorded his last album ‘Aashiyana’ just a few weeks ago and dedicated it to his fans. He was an inspiration to all of us.”

Pankaj Udhas, who was born in Gujarat and moved to Mumbai in his early twenties, started his career as a playback singer in 1976 with the film ‘Kamna’. He rose to fame with his ghazal album ‘Aahat’ in 1980 and went on to record more than 50 albums in his illustrious career. He was best known for his iconic ghazal ‘Chithi Aayi Hai’ from the film ‘Naam’, which became a national anthem for the Indian diaspora. He also sang for many other films, such as ‘Saajan’, ‘Phir Teri Kahani Yaad Aayi’, ‘Yeh Dillagi’, and ‘Dil To Pagal Hai’. He was honored with the Padma Shri in 2006 for his contribution to Indian music.

His demise has left a huge void in the world of ghazals and a deep sense of grief among his admirers. He is survived by his wife Farida, daughter Reva, and son Nayaab.