Expiry of Jagjit Singh is a great blow for the world of ghazals and bollywood films.
Ghazal King Jagjit Singh died in Lilavati Hospital on Monday, 10th October, 2011, at the age of 70 years. He suffered brain haemorrhage. He had been awarded Padmabhushan previously. He was born on 8th February, 1941. His only son Vivek died in a car accident at the age of 18 years in 1990.Condolences came right from Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Lata Mangeshkar. Lataji said his death was huge loss to the industry. Pankaj Udhas, Asha Bhosle, Usha Utthup, Shobha Mudgal all had condoned his untimely death and tried to give strength to his wife Chitra Singh who had sung numerous brilliant ghazals with Jagjit Singh. Jagjit Singh’s ghazals right from “kabhi kabhi yun hamne” to “dard-e-dil ko kami na ho jaye”, to “muh ki baten sune har koi”, “baat nikle to phir”, had always touched the hearts of numerous listeners all across the world. In addition to being a great ghazal singer having baritone voice he was a great human being, who had done charities and many a times sang without remuneration for charitable organizations.
Ghazal King Jagjit Singh’s voice was utilized exhaustively in bollywood films. There was a time, during the 50s and 60s, when ghazal featured in every alternative film including Chaudavi Ka Chand, Mirza Ghalib, Jahanara, Mere Mehboob, Taj Mahal, Barsaat Ki Raat, etc. The songs of Rafi, Talat Mehmood, Suraiya, and others and the compositions of musical maestros like Naushad, Shankar Jaikishan, Roshan, Madanmohan, OP Nayyar, kept the flavor of ghazals intact during the golden age.
But from the 70s, music lost its overall efficacy in bollywood films with the advent of action films. Orn in 1941, Jagjit Singh stormed the world of ghazals during the 80s, during a time, when the legendary composers like Jaikishan, Roshan, Madanmohan, Ghulam Mohammad, all expired. Kuldeep Singh composed landmark songs for him in the film Arth. Jagjit Singh’s ghazals “tum itna jo muskura rahi ho”, “koi yeh kaise bataye”, “jhuki jhuki si nazar” bewildered the audience with romantic appeal. Raj Kiran gave lips in the legendary songs.
Jagjit Singh kept his mark in the art film Saath Saath. All the songs were composed by himself. The songs “tumko dekha to yeh khayal aya”, “yeh tera ghar yeh mera ghar”, “hum zindagi ke rah me majboor ho gaye”, sung by Jagjit and Chitra Singh, contained sweetness and depth of voice. The lyrics were excellent. The performance of Farooq Sheikh and Deepti Naval were remembered by the audience even after 30 years of the release of the film.
The other hit film song of Jagjit Singh included “hoton se chulon tum” in the film Prem Geet. But if the success of Jagjit Singh is compared with the private albums, Ecstasies, A Sound Affairs, Passion, etc., made with Chitra Singh, the success looks insignificant. After the death of his son Vivek at the age of 21, Chitra Singh stopped singing. The last album of Jagjit Singh and Chitra Singh included Someone Somewhere.
Although he had sung landmark songs in films like Dushman, Sarfarosh, Tarqeib, but it was not proportional to his immense ghazal talent. No other ghazal singer in India had galvanized the world of ghazals to the extent Jagjit Singh. The composers could have experimented more with the legend of legends.
One article is too small to highlight the achievement of giant singer like Jagjit Singh. He will always live in the hearts of thoughtful listeners for ever and ever.