Legendary Ghazal singer Pankaj Udas passes away after prolonged illness

His first ghazal album Aahat was released in 1980. However, he shot to fame with the popular ghazal 'Chitthi Aayi Hai' from 'Naam' in 1986.

BySouth First Desk

Published Feb 26, 2024 | 5:18 PMUpdatedFeb 26, 2024 | 5:19 PM

Veteran ghazal singer Panjak Udhas no more

Renowned Ghazal and playback singer Pankaj Udhas breathed his last in Mumbai on Monday, 26 February, leaving behind a legacy that resonates through his timeless melodies.

The sad news was shared by his daughter Nayaab Udhas on Instagram. Nayaab revealed that the legendary artist succumbed to a prolonged illness at the age of 72.

Best known for “Chitthi Ayee Hai” and “Aur Ahista Kijiye Baatein“, Udhas also made a mark as a playback singer in many Hindi films.

He died at around 11 am at the Breach Candy Hospital in Mumbai, a family source said.

“With a very heavy heart, we are saddened to inform you of the sad demise of Padmashri Pankaj Udhas on 26th February 2024 due to a prolonged illness,” Nayaab wrote in an Instagram post.

The last rites will be held on Tuesday, 27 February.


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A post shared by Nayaab Udhas (@nayaabudhas)

Also Read: Legendary radio broadcaster Ameen Sayani passes away

Entry to the music world

Born on 17 May 1951 in Gujarat’s Jetpur, Pankaj Udhas was the youngest of three brothers. His early exposure to music came from watching his father play the Dilruba instrument, sparking a lifelong passion for the art.

The Udhas brothers were enrolled in the Sangeet Academy in Rajkot, setting the stage for Pankaj’s journey into the world of music.

Under the guidance of Ghulam Qadir Khan Sahab, Pankaj Udhas honed his skills in Hindustani vocal classical music. His musical education continued in Mumbai under the tutelage of singer Navrang Nagpur.

He gave his first stage performance at the age of 11 when he sang Latha Mangeshkar’s “Aye Mere Watan Ke Logo“, which she sang during the Indo-Sino war.

His first Ghazal album Aahat was released in 1980. However, he shot to fame with the popular Ghazal “Chitthi Aayi Hai” from Naam in 1986.

Despite an initial setback in films with the less successful Kammna, Pankaj Udhas persevered and carved out a niche for himself in the industry.

Some of his famous renditions include “Maahiya Teri Kasam” from Ghayal (1990), “Jeeye To Jeeye Kaise” from Saajan (1991), “Chhupana Bhi Nahi Aata” from Baazigar (1993), “Na Kajre Ki Dhar” from Mohra (1994), “Main Deewana Hoon Jisse” from Yeh Dillagi (1994), “Hothon Pe Tera Naam” from Mein Khiladi Tu Anari (1994), “London Mein India” from Yeh Hai Jalwa (2002), and “Raat Bhar Tanha Raha” from Dil Toh Deewana Hai (2016), to mention a few.

Pankaj Udhas’ contribution to the world of music was duly recognised when he was conferred with the prestigious Padma Shri in 2006.

His soulful renditions of ghazals and playback singing left an indelible mark on the hearts of music enthusiasts, establishing him as one of the most beloved and respected figures in the Indian music scene.

Condolences pour in

Singer Sonu Nigam expressing his condolences, said, “My heart cries knowing that you are no more. Thank you for being there.”


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A post shared by Sonu Nigam (@sonunigamofficial)

Actor Manoj Bajpayee too expressed his condolences

(With PTI inputs)