Legendary Singer Pankaj Udhas, Voice Behind "Chitthi Aayee Hai", Dies At 72

Pankaj Udhas Dies: Pankaj Udhas performed at concerts around the world and had many albums to his name.

Legendary Singer Pankaj Udhas, Voice Behind 'Chitthi Aayee Hai', Dies At 72

Legendary Singer Pankaj Udhas dies after a prolonged illness

Legendary singer Pankaj Udhas, who gave memorable hits like 'Chitthi aayi hai', died after a prolonged illness in Mumbai, his family confirmed today. He was 72.

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

Udhas, who made a mark as a playback singer in Hindi films, including "Naam", "Saajan" and "Mohra", died around 11 am at the Breach Candy hospital, news agency PTI said quoting a family source.

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

The singer, who also started a talent hunt TV show, 'Aadab Aarz Hai', performed at concerts around the world and had many albums to his name.

Soon after the news of his death broke, tributes poured in. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Pankaj 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. Condolences to his family and admirers. Om Shanti," he added.

Condoling the loss, Home Minister Amit Shah said Pankaj Udhas' songs touched the hearts of people of all ages and classes and he will live among us through his songs and ghazals.

The singer rose to fame with Mahesh Bhatt's 1986 film 'Naam' starring Nutan, Kumar Gaurav, Sanjay Dutt, Poonam Dhillon, Amrita Singh and Paresh Rawal. He also made appearances in films such as Yeh Dillagi, Saajan and Phir Teri Kahaani Yaad Aayee.

His song 'Chitthi Aayee Hai', which became a huge hit, was selected as one of the 100 songs of the millennium by BBC Radio.

Bollywood singer Sonu Nigam posted a picture of the veteran singer on his Instagram feed and wrote, "One of the most important part of my childhood, is lost today. Shri Pankaj Udhas ji, I will miss you forever. My heart cries knowing that you are no more. Thank you for being there. Om Shanti."

Musician Anup Jalota shared a number of pictures with the late singer on X and wrote, "Shocking.... Music legend & my Friend #PankajUdhas passes away. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his Family and loved ones during this difficult time."

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

He initially started by learning the instrument tabla but later studied Hindustani vocal classical music under Ghulam Qadir Khan Sahab. 

Udhas then went to Mumbai to learn from Navrang Nagpurkar, a vocalist from the Gwalior Gharana.

The singer's last rites will be held on Tuesday.