Strangely enough, not even a single book is available on Mehdi Hasan, one of our greatest musical icons. To fill in this void, a noted writer on cultural subjects, Asif Noorani joined hands with Liberty Books, a reputed name in book trade, to pay tributes to the singer who holds an enviable position in all forms of music, be it ghazal, folk or film. Eminent writers, singers, composers and actors in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh have contributed to the volume, which carries articles on his invaluable contribution to music, comments and even anecdotes relating to the one and only Mehdi Hasan. There are also lists of his immortal numbers and that of the prestigious awards that he has won in three decades.
The third partner in the project, EMI Pakistan gave Noorani the freedom to delve deep into their rich musical archives collected over six decades. The selected numbers, highly representative of the singer’s contribution to ghazals, on the one hand, and folk, classical and film music on the other, were digitised and now feature on two CDs accompanying the book. The widely appreciated package is priced at Rs 695.
A word about the CDs. The first CD carries an entirely unabridged recording of six ghazals which Mehdi sahib rendered at an EMI concert way back in Lahore in 1976. Those were excellent recordings and have further been modernised by EMI Pakistan who digitised them. The second CD apart from some of his memorable film numbers, present some rare numbers such as a Bulleh Shah kafi, the Urdu translation of Heer, a Rajasthani folk song (he is from Rajasthan) and a jugalbandi with the exponents of classical music, Nazakat Ali and Salamat Ali. The entire package is a collector’s item.
Titled Mehdi Hasan, The Man and His Music, it’s an invaluable gift that you can give to your friends, business associates and clients. To say that they will treasure it is to state the obvious.
The editor-compiler Asif Noorani has reduced his royalty and Liberty Books their profitability. EMI is also charging a meagre royalty. The idea is to make the book affordable and also to project the man who is a musical genius and who is sadly in a poor state of health. He is being taken care of financially by his fans, including the ones in the medical field but we may have to do something for his musicians.
A book of this nature with the same high standard of printing, designing and writing with two CDs would have cost at least Rs 1,500 had it been imported.
Please join us in projecting the achievements of the one and only Mehdi Hasan.