pankaj uddhas
Indian ghazal maestro Pankaj Udhas Image Credit: Gulf News archives

Indian singer Pankaj Udhas, known for his stirring ghazals and melodies including 'Chitthi Aaye Hai' and 'Jeeye To Jeeye' from the movie 'Saajan', died on February 26. He was 73 and reportedly battling a prolonged illness.

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His daughter Nayaab Udhas confirmed his death on her Instagram account. 

According to reports, the singer died around 11am at Mumbai's Breach Candy Hospital. 

Udhas, known for his prolific work in Hindi cinema, was known for his deep voice and songs that spoke of hearbreak and the beauty of love. 

He started his career with a release of a ghazal album entitled 'Aahat' in 1980 and subsequently recorded many hits like 'Mukarar' in 1981.

While he began his career as a ghazal singer, it was Bollywood that helped him court nation-wide fame in India. His movie songs also carried a ghazal-like meditative tone. His smooth, velvet tones were a big hit around the 1990s.

He took the Bollywood plunge with Mahesh Bhatt's movie 'Naam' in 1986. In that film, his breakthrough Hindi song "Chitthi Aayee Hai" (the letter has arrived) became an instant hit.

After that point, there was no looking back for Pankaj Udhas as he went on to do playback singing for many Hindi films. 

To his credit, his ghazal albums were his biggest draw. In 2006, Udhas was awarded Padma Shri, India's fourth highest civilian award.

The singer has also performed in the UAE several times to a full house. In a career spanning over four decades, his songs inevitably spoke to all those grappling with love in all its messy glory. 

His hits include 'Aur Aahista, Aur Is Tarah Kijiye Batein' and 'Jeeye To Jeeye Kaise'.

His last rites will reportedly be held on Tuesday.