Pankaj Udhas is one of the well-known Ghazal artists on India. Born on 17th May, 1951. Belonging to a singing family Pankaj was born in Jetpur in Gujarat. Today Pankaj udhas age 71 years.
Many famous singers happen to be a part of musical family. One might even call them lucky enough to be born in that family and also been raised around musical environment in their life.
Pankaj Udhas was no less lucky to be born in a musical family. His father Keshubhai Udhas was a farmer and his mother was Jituben Udhas.
Pankaj’s is the youngest of the three brothers, they are also referred as “Udhas Brothers” His eldest brother Manhar Udhas achieved some success as a Hindi playback singer in Bollywood movies. His second elder brother Nirmal Udhas is also a well-known Ghazal Singer and was the first of the three brothers to start singing in the family.
Udhas brothers are very well known ghazal artists, their contribution to the music industry is very inspiring. Their contribution to the industry hails from singing more than 300 songs.
Pankaj Udhas wife Farida Udhas and has two daughters Reva Udhas and Nayaab Udhas.
Growing up in a musical family Pankaj Udhas was quite fascinated by his brothers, they would usually do stage performances and get recognized by the audiences. Pankaj Udhas found his interest growing up slowly towards music. And was introduced to ghazals and stage singing by his elder brother Manhar Udhas. He gave his maiden stage performance at the time of crisis during the Indian-Sino war. He sang the song “Aye Mere Watan Ke Logo“.
During his performance he was mere 11 years old and there were a crowd of 5000 people gathered during an event of Navratri (Gujarati Festival) and this particular song was written by Kavi Pradeep , and he had sang this songs during the sentimental time when there was a war situation, so basically this song was written and sung in order to dedicate and pay respect to our soldiers who has lost their lives during this war, as audience was very much emotional due to the situation PankajUdhas got chance to sing that song and he did it and somebody from the audience gave him Rs. 51 (5000-10000) according to today’s inflation.
Here’s a video of Pankaj Udhasji recollecting the memory of his first ever song he had sang in front of the audience on the stage.
Pankaj Udhas got his motivation to take singing as a career. He had studied in Sir BPTI Bhavanagar. His family moved to Mumbai and Pankaj attended St. Xavier’s College in Mumbai.
Four years later he joined the Sangeet Natya Academy in Rajkot and learned the nuances of playing the tabla. After that, he pursued a Bachelor of Science degree at Wilson College and St Xavier’s college, Mumbai and started training in Indian classical vocal music under the tutelage of Master Navrang.
Pankaj Udhas first song was in the film “Kamna” a solo composed by Usha Khanna and written by Naqsh Lyallpuri, the film was a flop but his rendition was very much appreciated.
As time flew he started developing interest in Tabla (a musical intrument) he started training in Ghazals.
He wanted to be a full time Ghazal player. He learned Urdu and spent a lot of time in the US and Canada and did various Ghazal concerts.
His confidence was sky high when he returned. Upon his return, his debut Ghazal album called Aahat released in the year 1980.
After which, he has released over 50 ghazal albums and all of them are well received. It is difficult though to pinpoint one but his album Mehak was arguably the biggest hit album of his career.
This album’s songs Chupke Chupke Sakhiyo Se Wo, Mekhane Se Sharab Se, Mere Khat Ka, Na Kajre Ki Dhar, Jiye to Jiye.
As a Ghazal singer, he himself appeared in films such as Saajan, Phir Teri Kahani Yaad Aayi and Yeh Dillagi.
His success was on the peak, till 2011 he was successful enough to release more than 50 albums and 100s of compilation songs.
Pankaj Udhas got his fame from the movie ‘’Naam’’ in the 1986 film in which his song “Chitthi Aayee Hai” became an instant hit.
In 1994, Udhas sang the notable song, Na Kajre Ki Dhar, from the film Mohra. His album Shagufta launched by Music India in December 1987 was the first to be released on compact disc in India.
Mentor to John Abraham
Bollywood handsome hunk John Abraham has revealed that when he was new to the industry and while started his career as a model, like any other do it as well in the same way. That when he was introduces new to the industry it was Pankaj Udhas who saw talent in him and appointed him as a model in one of his video.
Pankaj Udhas Live at Albert Hall (1984)
Woh Ladki Yaad Aati Hai
Vaibhav Saxena – Maango Ram Ke, Japp Mann Mera, Sau Din Safal Ganeya, Pucho Sant Mero, Dhan Dhan Hamare, Das Tere Ki Banti(Shabad), Tu Sabni Thai, Tujh Bin Awar.
Mohan Sharama – Mata Ki Bhetein (Palchhin, Maiyya Pukaare Re, Aarti, Chandi Jaisa Rang)
Awards and Honours
Padmashri by Government of India for his contribution to the art of Ghazal singing 2006.
Awarded the prestigious “Kalakar” award at Kolkata for “Hasrat” as “Best Ghazal album of 2005”.
Special Felicitation at the Wembley Conference Center, London for Completing 20 Years of Performance at the Prestigious Venue 2004
MTV Immies Award for the successful album ‘In Search of Meer’ 2003
Special Achievement Award at the Bollywood Music Award, New York for Popularizing Ghazals across the Globe 2003
Dadabhai Naoroji Millennium Award conferred by the Dadabhai Naoroji International Society for Contribution to Ghazal and the Music Industry 2003
Award for Excellence in Music Field presented by Sahyog Foundation at Mumbai 2002
Honored by the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce 2002
Vocational Recognition Award for Outstanding Performance as a Ghazal singer presented by Rotary Club of Mumbai Downtown 2001
Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, USA Award for extraordinary services to Indian music, especially promotion of ghazals in India and abroad. Presented at the Festival of Ghazals held in New York 1999
Indian Arts Awards Gala presented by the Mayor of the City of Jersey City 1998
Outstanding Artistic Achievement Award presented by the American Academy of Artists at Atlantic City 1998
Indira Gandhi Priyadarshani Award for Outstanding Services, Achievement and Contribution to Music 1996
Honorary Citizenship of Lubbock Texas, USA 1994
Radio Lotus Award for Outstanding Achievement and for the many songs featuring on the official hit parade of the radio. Presented by Radio Lotus, South Africa at the University of Durban 1994
Giants International Award for extraordinary efforts to achieve the highest standards in the field of music thereby motivating the entire community to pursue excellence 1993
Outstanding Young Persons’ Award (1989–90) for positive leadership and distinguish services rendered to the nation. Presented by the Indian Junior Chambers 1990
K L Saigal Award for being the Best Ghazal Singer of the Year. 1985