Legendary Indian Playback Singer Pankaj Udhas Passes Away At 72

He had been suffering from a prolonged illness and breathed his last at a hospital in Mumbai on Monday

Legendary Indian Playback Singer Pankaj Udhas Passes Away At 72

Legendary Indian playback singer 72-year-old Pankaj Udhas died in Mumbai after a prolonged illness, his family said on Monday.

"With a very heavy heart, we are saddened to inform you of the sad demise of Padma Shri Pankaj Udhas on February 26 due to a prolonged illness," read a statement from the Udhas family. 

He died at around 11am on Monday at the Breach Candy hospital, the Indian news service Press Trust of India (PTI) said while quoting a family source.

Udhas was born in Jetpur in Gujarat on May 17, 1951. He was the youngest of three brothers.

He was known for memorable hits such as 'Chitthi aayi hai' — which was featured on the top 100 songs of the millennium by BBC Radio.

The singer, who initially learnt the tabla but later studied Hindustani vocal classical music under Ghulam Qadir Khan, made his mark as a playback singer for Bollywood films starting with the 1986 film "Naam", followed by "Saajan" and "Mohra" as he adopted the traditional 'ghazal' style of singing.

He also appeared on the silver screen, making appearances in films such as Yeh Dillagi, Saajan and Phir Teri Kahaani Yaad Aayee.

'Chandani Raat Mein', 'Na Kajre Ki Dhaar', 'Aur Ahista Kijiye Baatein', 'Ek Taraf Uska Ghar', 'Jiyen to jiyen kaise bin aapke' and 'Thodi Thodi Piya Karo' are among his evergreen ghazals.


Udhas used to encourage young singers and launched a talent hunt show on Indian television called 'Aadab Aarz Hai'. His singing career took him across the world as he performed concerts internationally. 

Tributes pour in

Soon after news of his death broke, tributes started pouring in. 

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a post, said Udhas' "ghazals spoke directly to the soul".  

"We mourn the loss of Pankaj Udhas Ji, whose singing conveyed a range of emotions and whose Ghazals spoke directly to the soul. He was a beacon of Indian music whose melodies transcended generations. I recall my various interactions with him over the years," said the prime minister. 

"His departure leaves a void in the music world that can never be filled."