Mahesh Bhatt shares Pankaj Udhas’ initial reluctance to sing ‘Chitthi Aayi Hai’ in Naam; says, “We assured him that we wanted him to play himself”

Renowned ghazal singer Pankaj Udhas, whose soulful rendition of ‘Chitthi Aayi Hai’ from the 1986 Hindi film Naam captivated audiences worldwide, passed away yesterday at the age of 72 after battling a prolonged illness. Directed by Mahesh Bhatt, Naam was a significant milestone in both Udhas’s career and the Indian music industry.

Mahesh Bhatt, the director of Naam, expressed his profound admiration for Pankaj Udhas’s contribution to the film and the timeless appeal of ‘Chitthi Aayi Hai.’ In an interview with PTI, Bhatt reminisced about Udhas’s initial reluctance to lend his voice to the song, considering his background of performing live for audiences.

Bhatt recalled assuring Udhas that his performance in the film should reflect his natural presence on stage during his concerts. The director said, “Udhas was a singer, and he sang to the live audience, so he was a little reluctant in a way about whether he would be able to pull it off, so we assured him that we wanted him to play himself, we didn’t want him to become somebody else. I just told him (think that) you are in one of your shows in Singapore or London and you are singing a song on the stage, the only thing is we will shoot and film it.”

Bhatt further added, “I remember I and Saroj Khan ji — she was the choreographer — we would shoot long takes because unlike film actors who are used to shooting in fragments, he (Udhas) was a person who would come into his own only when he would get large chunks to perform.”

For the unversed, veteran classical singer Pankaj Udhas has passed away at age 72. After a prolonged illness, the singer breathed his last on February 26. Known as one of the finest ghazal singers in India, Pankaj Udhas was born on May 17, 1951, in Gujarat. He was widely acclaimed for his ghazals and his soulful renditions. Udhas rose to prominence in the 1980s and 1990s and became one of the most popular ghazal singers in India. His rich, melodious voice and emotive performances have earned him a large and devoted fan base both in India and abroad.

Also Read: Pankaj Udhas tribute: How the Ghazal maestro almost refused to feature in Naam

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