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Is Jagjit Singh' rant justified?

Enkayaar, Bollywood Trade News Network
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Jagjit Singh in an interview to one of the newspapers in India expressed his unhappiness at the sorry state of affairs of the ghazal in India and brought Rahman into the loop by commenting that Rahman does not have a sense of ghazal. Was it an off-the cuff remark or was it a reflection of the aficionados about preferring ghazal to popular music.

Ghazals since their inception have been a prerequisite more of the connoisseurs and have survived and thrived only on the basis of patronage. The level of patronage may have differed from time to time, but it was never in competition with the popular music at all, more so after advent of popular cinema as a place of music. In the old times, the music directors were attuned to the nuances of ghazals, and the milieu was also such that it allowed scope for injection of ghazal into the oeuvre of a film composition.

But as the preferences changed, ghazals started losing patronage. For the present generation, which does not have much sense of Urdu as a language to expect, that they would appreciate the nuances of a ghazal is asking too much. It has also to do with the fact that the present generation likes to be anonymous in a crow, and the ghazal is a genre that has to be enjoyed more in the secluded confines of loneliness.

Such kind of ambiences are rarely created, it is the nature of life that dictates the choice of music. Was it not owing to this fact that ghazals also moved on to imbibe western instruments in the rendition to have connect with the audience.

As a matter of fact, it was Jagjit Singh who adopted guitar, violin etc., in a big way in his ghazals and created a sense of destruction by moving it away from harmonium and tabla. In association with Kuldeep Sood, he had come out with albums, which had purely western music base, and albums like Someone Somewhere, Insight etc., which created a new genre of ghazal fans. Disruption is a phenomenon, which is happening everywhere, and ghazal is no exception. Audience's tastes change. But to bring Rahman into the picture and also question the nature of lyrics may be too far-fetched. After all the master crafter of words, Gulzar, has also changed, and he is in line for an Oscars.

Besides, while Rahman may not have done much for ghazals, he has indeed served the cause of Indian music, by bringing in relief once again qawali and he has popularized it in a big way. May be, Jagjit Singh's rant would prod him to turn his spot light to ghazal as well, and it would indeed be a JAI HO moment.

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