LAHORE – Mehnaz Begum, a playback singer of the 80s who knew worldwide acclaim for her classical, ghazal, thumri and drupad singing, passed away in Bahrain on Saturday. She was 55.
Born to renowned sub-continental singer Kajjan Begum and an important government official Abdullah Tasnim in Karachi in 1957, Mehnaz gave a number of cherished tracks as a playback singer. She sung over 2,500 songs for the radio‚ television and films which is the second largest after that of Malika-e-Taranum Madam Noor Jehan’s. Her widely acclaimed ghazals included “Ab Kay Tajdeed-e-Wafa Ka Nahi Imkaan” and “Mujhe Dil Se Na Bhulana”. She was so versatile that she even made her mark on khayal, dadra and drupad singing. Mehnaz also recited salam, noha and marsiya.
Introduced by Salim Gilani, Mehnaz made her debut on Radio Pakistan in 1973. The same year, Ameer Imam, a Karachi television producer, signed her for a musical programme ‘Naghmazaar’ bringing her to television audience. Her most popular songs are from ‘Aina’ and ‘Bandish’.
In 1981, Mehnaz toured the US and Canada, where she sang for large audiences in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Toronto. Three years later, she visited the United Kingdom and captivated a large audience with her magical voice.
President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira, MQM chief Altaf Hussain, Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad and many other government and political figures have expressed sorrow over the sad demise of the legendary singer.