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Jagjit Singh: A ghazal singer who gave new interpretations to poets' work every time he came out with a new album

October 11, 2011 06:16:35 PM IST
Enkayaar, Glamsham Editorial
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One of the singular characteristics of the scores of ghazals that Jagjit Singh sang in his illustrious career was the choice of poets picked up by him to sing their nazms. Each of his successful albums in his career has also been an album which has a different name for a lyricist. It also is a fact worth mentioning that it was after he sang their nazms that the respective writers got a new lease of life in their writing career. From Shiv Kumar Batalvi to Gulzar, he having most illustrious association with Jagjit Singh, Jagjit Singh's ghazal singing career careened through various sociological formulations as well.

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view JAGJIT SINGH videos

His real success came with Kaifi Azmi whose nazms of ARTH still continue to evoke emotions wherever and whenever they are played. As Mahesh Bhatt in his obituary remarked, that the hall mark of the songs of ARTH was that it was for the first time that ghazal singing moved away from being sung over a harmonium to being caressed over the nodes of guitar. Incidentally, Jagjit Singh had himself given the music for ARTH, and started the genre of fusion in ghazals, which he took to the new heights with his subsequent film PREM GEET, whose song Hotho se chulo tum was again a ghazal that was sung over nodes of guitar. It was a heady concoction of conveying romance with inclusion of telltale instrument guitar from international music and fusing it with ghazal from India. No wonder, expressing romance through ghazals played over western instruments hence forth became a sine qui non.

After Kaifi Azmi, ARTH and PREM GEET Jagjit Singh returned to ghazal singing of non-filmy variety and chose Sudarshan Fakir as his poet and the kind of fan following that he generated by singing ghazals written by Sudarshan Fakir is a story which happens once in a life time. In this journey his wife Chitra Singh was a regular companion and it was the first husband wife duo that created history all over the world. Along with Sudarshan Fakir, Jagjit Singh also picked up the sad verses of Shiv Kumar Batalvi, famous poet of Punjab and gave his writing a new expression through rendition of his work by singing it in his own imitable manner.

CHECK OUT: Bollywood remembers ghazal maestro Jagjit Singh

When his wife stopped singing after death of their son Vivek, Jagjit Singh paired with Lata Mangeshkar and created a record of sorts by bringing out the struggle of the common man through ghazals of a whole genre of writers including Katil Shifai, Basheer Badr etc. As a matter of fact he had a quite long association with Basheer Badr, and it is not verbose if one were to say that it was Jagjit Singh who took the writings of Basheer Badr to all over the world. The simple lyrics of Basheer Badr where sung with such thahrao by Jagjit Singh that everybody would like to hum along, for instance- main roya pardes mein bheega maa ka pyar, badla na pane aap ko jo the wahi rahe...

It was a matter of time before he would collaborate with the thinking writers of Hindi cinema of the likes of Javed Akhtar and Gulzar. With Gulzar he came out with the album SILSILAY and with Gulzar he had a rather long lasting relationship. The journey started with reinterpreting Mirza Ghalib, with the serial MIRZA GHALIB and scaled new heights with MARASIM, where the recitation of Gulzar, with a heavy Hawaiian guitar in the background made the whole effort worth its weight in every single word in gold. With Gulzar Jagjit Singh started a unique experimentation of fusion Jugalbandi that was a sellout whenever and wherever it was performed. In fact such was the relationship between these two that the lines of Gulzar written for MARASIM, Haath Chutte Bhi to Rishte nahi toda karte, was the feeling about Jagjit Singh that Gulzar had echoed in his tribute to him.

With passing away of Jagjit Singh a physical faasla has been created between him and his presence, but the void would continue to be bridged forever through the monumental work that he has left behind, as he had sung: 'faasla to hai magar, koi faasla nahi, mujhse tum juda sahi dil se to juda nahi'.

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