Remembering Jagjit Singh, voice that simply mesmerize

Tributes to Jagjit Singh on his 11th death anniversary. The man who not only gave us beautiful ghazals one after one but also brought a freshness into ghazal singing. Ask any Ghazal lovers, and they would say his way of presenting a Ghazal was completely different from his predecessors including father of Ghazal as he is known, Mehedi Hasan Khan Sahib. They all were great singers, but Jagjit Singh snatched the popularity simply because he presented the songs in a modern way and not the cult classical format.

Popularly known as ‘Ghazal King’, Jagjit Singh had a drawing room voice that made him more popular among his listeners. Not just private albums, but he also did numerous stage shows in India and abroad.

Jagjit Singh was a diversified singer. He sang bhajans, regional songs apart from his cult ghazals. He made is debut wil Aarohi, a musical programme on Doordarshan in late 80s. He sang, ‘hum to hain pardes mein, des mein nikla hoga chand …’

Jagjit Singh was full of warmth. I had an opportunity to meet him once at the Taj Palace hotel in New Delhi. It was a few years before his death. We discussed many issues including his wife Chitra Singh’s revival of her singing career after decades. Chitra Singh, was also a wonderful singer but had left singing in her prime career after their son Vivek’s sudden demise in a road accident. Some of her duets with Jagjit Singh and solo songs became huge popular. During my long conversation with the Ghazal maestro, he said “Chitra would be soon making a comeback”. Unfortunately, that was not to happen, barely two to three years after this meeting, Jagjit Singh passed away. A few years later, Chitra also breathed her last.

During our conversation, I had asked him does he belive in the philosophy of ‘happiness’ in his songs – ‘tum itna jo muskura rahi ho…’ or ‘hoton se chulo tum, Mera geet amar kar do…’ Jagjit Singh, smiled and said, Chitra has been an inspiration behind his songs. The Bengalies must be aware that he had recorded a Bengali album during a Puja. I asked him was it also an inspiration from Chitra Singh who was originally a Bengali. The Ghazal maestro smiled. I have met many celebrities but few have left a mark because of their behaviour and warmth. Jagjit Singh is one of them.

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