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.
Recalling the ‘nostalgia’ that Nazia Hassan and Zoheb Hassan had created in the early ’80s with their album “Disco Deewane”.
Nazia brought in a new concept of Hindi pop and took the entire world by storm. As a musician, Nazia did not have a very long career. Just five albums, but within this short span of her musical life Nazia had created a special place for her in the hearts of millions across the globe.
Nazia Hassan, the lady who not only created a history in the world of Hindi Pop Music way back in the early ’80s but was probably the first to introduce a new concept of ‘Hindi Pop Music’ with her ‘nostalgic’ album Disco Deewane’. This followed numerous pop icons who made their mark in Hindi pop music world but none were able to gain so much adulation, and love.
Nazia Hassan is no more, but her music still mesmerizes us. The story began with ‘Disco Diwanee’, the pop album of Nazia-Zoheb Hassan (the brother-sister duo which had by then created a name in music in London with Nazia Hassan-Zoheb Hasan Fan Club). The man who brought them on the platform is Biddu, the music composer who to needs no introduction. Some of the songs from the album like ‘Disco Deewane’, ‘Aaona Pyar Kerin’, ‘Lekin Mera Dil’ ‘Tere Kadmon Ko’, Mujhey Chahe Na Chahe’, ‘Komal Komal’ took the music world by storm, the album had registered a record sale all over the world.
The album ‘Disco Deewane’ in those days was released as Long-Playing Records or LP and audio cassettes. The LP used to come with two major attractions – The lyrics printed in both Hindi and English. The biggest attraction was perhaps the centerfold (poster) of Nazia Hassan. By this time Nazia had become the ‘Diva’ of pop music and numerous people had fallen in love with her. Yet, so naive, and humble.
Nazia got the name, ‘Queen of Pop’ music in Asia, quite true as she was a beautiful and attractive young lady with a mesmerizing voice. Born into a Muhajir family in Karachi, Pakistan, and brought up in Karachi and London. She was the daughter of Basir Hassan, a businessman, and Muniza Basir, an active social worker.
Nazia took to music since her school days, when she began singing during the late 1970s and even appeared on several television shows on Pakistan Television (PTV) as a child artist. Her professional career started at the age of fifteen when she provided the lead vocals for the song ‘Aap Jaise Koi Mere Jindagi Mein Aaye”, for beautiful and vivacious Zeenat Aman in Feroz Khan’s Bollywood flick ‘Qurbani’ (1980). The peppy number took entire India by storm and became so popular that the Nazia-Zoheb duo was offered to sing in another Bollywood flick ‘Star’ featuring Kumar Gaurav and Poonam Dhillon. Again the songs of Star broke all records.
In a heart-to-heart conversation with one and only Tabassum who used to host the popular television interview show in the ’80s, called “Phool Khile Hain Gulshan Gulshan”, Nazia had shared her love for music and plans to work in music but only after completion of her studies. Both brother and sister had expressed their gratitude to Indian listeners for the love and admiration.
Nazia Hassan received her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Economics at Richmond American University in London. In 1991, she became an intern in the Women’s International Leadership program at the United Nations. Later, she went on to work for United Nations Security Council. She held a London University Law (LLB) degree.
Nazia-Zoheb’s third album, “Young Tarang” was released in 1984. It was the first album in Pakistan to feature music videos, which were made in London by David Rose and Kathy Rose. The album became one of the most popular in Asia. “Ankhien Milane Wale”. Some of the other lovely numbers – It was much later they came out with their album “Young Tarang” which again had some lovely numbers in the mesmerizing voices of Nazia and Zoheb like -“Aag”, “Dum Dum Dede”, “Kya Howa”, “Dosti”, “Sunn”, not to forget the beautiful number “Ankhien Milane Wale”. It was during this time popular Doordarshan news-reader Shiela Chaman had flown down to London to interview the duo and we got the opportunity to see them composing, performing live in London. Also, the private person Nazia, who take the television crew through her room and music”.
Their fourth album “Hotline” was released in 1987. Some of the popular numbers from the album – “Telephone”, “Hum Aurr Tum”, “Aan Haan”, “Teri Yaad”, “Ajnabi”, “Hamaisha”, not forget ‘Dosti”.
In 1991, Nazia and Zoheb Hassan recorded their fifth album, ‘Camera Camera’ which unlike all her previous albums could not create that ‘boom’ in the markets. With this album, Nazia and Zoheb announced that it would be their last album. The album was released in 1992. Nazia left her singing career to focus on her personal life. Biddu composed a song, “Made in India” and had approached Nazia to sing the number but she refused to fear that might offend Pakistan. “Made In India” was sung by Alisha Chinai and turned out to be a massive hit which made Chiani the pop diva who had conquered the hears of music lovers with the songs in the Bollywood flick “Tarzan” starring Hemant Birje and Kimi Katkar. Chinai’s “Babydoll” album too became a ‘big hit.
Nazia Hassan tied the nuptial-knot on March 30, 1995, with businessman Mirza Ishtiaq Baig in an Islamic wedding ceremony held in Karachi. This took place after she was diagnosed with cancer. She gave birth to a son Arez Hassan born on April 7, 1997. Their marriage ended in a divorce. In an interview, Zoheb Hassan related that Nazia’s personal life was filled with turmoil and she fought personal battles incessantly.
Nazia Hassan fought a long battle with cancer during the last years of her life and died of lung cancer in London on 13 August 2000 at the age of 35. She had been admitted to North London Hospice in London. The sad news came, just ten days after their divorce, the “Queen of Pop”, Nazia Hassan bid adieu to this world.
Her Namaz-e-janaza took place at Golders Green Crematorium and she was buried at Hendon Cemetery (Muslim Section) in London per Islamic rites.
Nazia Hassan will continue to live through her music in the hearts of million of music lovers…
Let’s take a glance at the list of the albums:
1980 Disco Deewane 1982 Boom Boom 1984 Young Tarang 1987 Hotline 1992 Camera
(From my blog on pallabghoshblog posted on April 3, 2016 on her birth anniversary)
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