A Humble Tribute to the Legend : Jagjit Singh

“Ek Puraana Mausam Lauta, Yaad Bhari Purvayi Bhi
Aisa To Kam Hi Hota Hai, Wo Bhi Ho Tanhaayee Bhi”

The legendary Ghazal maestro (also composer), Jagjit Singh, 70 passed away earlier in the day (10th October, 2011) at Mumbai. He had suffered a brain haemorrhage sometime ago & was being treated for the same. He is survived by his wife Chitra Singh. Born in Sri Ganganagar, Rajasthan, Jagjit Singh had slowly but surely warmed his way into the hearts of his listeners spread all over the World and not just India. While a personal tragedy (the death of their son) had put a halt to the continuation of the Jagjit-Chitra duo from performing together, Jagjit Singh continued relentlessly to make his kind of music immortal.

It would even be childish to go on & on about the legend especially when most of the things associated with him are public knowledge. So the rest of the post is more personal and completely about how I’ve grown up with his music and what I feel as an individual about his work. His body of work is too distinguished to cover everything in detail and hence this is at best going to be an attempt to cover some of my favorite tracks of Jagjit Singh hereby in this post.

As a kid while I was in school I do remember having listened to the Jagjit-Chitra duo as their albums (The Unforgettables, Come Alive, A Sound Affair etc) were popular and quite a few people I knew owned the audio cassettes. But being a kid I did not really appreciate ghazals then. I was probably more interested in Bappi Lahiri’s disco compositions those days. But I do vividly remember appreciating the songs of Saath-Saath and Arth which were melodious and made even a Disco Deewana like me appreciate it then.

“Tum Ko Dekha To Ye Khayal Aaya
Zindagi Dhoop Tum Ghana Chaaya”

But as time flew past and as the 80’s gave way to the 90’s and as school slowly gave way to college, my taste in cinema and music started getting more refined and I started appreciating a wider variety in both these areas. That was the time when I actually started enjoying ghazals & would listen to a variety of artistes- Jagjit & Chitra, Pankaj Udhas, Ghulam Ali, Mehdi Hassan, Talat Aziz, Hariharan, Bhupinder etc. Thanks to my slowly developing interest in ghazals I also started appreciating the beauty of Urdu poetry. In fact so immersed was I with these songs that I even started re-discovering some older songs as well.

By then Jagjit Singh had become extremely popular and I realized this in the late 90’s when couple of albums came out within a short gap of each other, one a film and the other a non film album. The film was Sarfarosh and the non film album was Marasim. What excited me about Marasim was the super combination of Jagjit Singh and Gulzar and I couldn’t just wait to get my hands on the album. I was just out of college then and I had taken up a job for while (before going to B.School) and was at Madurai (I know it’s shocking but true :)) at that point of time. I happened to visit the best music store in town and was extremely delighted on seeing that they did have 1 audio cassette of the same (they didn’t have the CD and anyways CD’s were just about getting popular then). The sales girl was more than happy to sell it to me (must have thought their inventory is getting taken care of) but I’m sure she must have wondered who is this person crazy enough to listen to ghazals in Madurai of all places 🙂

But thankfully the album did not disappoint me & I was extremely pleased to listen to the songs regularly. It’s very difficult to pin point any particular favorite as I think all the compositions are gems by themselves.

“Haath Chooten Bhi Tho Rishte Nahin Choda Karte
Waqt Ki Shaak Se Lamhein Nahin Toda Karte”

Talking about Sarfarosh well I did expect it to be a good movie and I had already liked the ‘Jo Haal Dil Ka’ song on the 1st hearing itself. But it was after watching the movie (at Devi Paradise- Chennai and Sundaram which is now Big Cinemas- Madurai) that I realized that not only was the movie far better than what I expected but also that it’s the wonderful ghazal by Jagjit Singh which appealed to me the most among the songs.

“Hosh Walon Ko Khabar Kya Bekudi Kya Cheej Hai
Ishq Kijiye Phir Samajheye Zindagi Kya Cheez Hai”

Around the time when Indi-Pop ruled Jagjit Singh knew that even he could stay connected to the youth through a song like ‘Tera Chehra Kitna Suhana Lagta Hai’ from the album Together.

From that time onwards I think I would always make it a point to listen to all of Jagjit Singh’s numbers whether it was from a film or otherwise. During my days in B.School I remember distinctly having enjoyed watching Tum Bin. I still feel that both the music and the film as a whole are underrated and certainly deserve more attention that what they’ve received so far. I think Nikhil-Vinay’s work was exemplary as seen in the variety that they brought out in their compositions. The Koi Fariyaad song sung by Jagjit Singh with some wonderful lyrics written by Faaiz Anwar really captivated me. I personally consider it as one of my all time romantic songs and it’s probably one of those songs where the video also does justice to the vocals and the lyrics in a characteristic style by itself.

“Koi Fariyaad Tere Dil Me Dabi Ho Jaise
Tune Aankhon Se Koi Baat Kahi Ho Jaise”

When the smaller/multiplex kind of films started taking off one of the films to impress me was Joggers Park and here too Jagjit Saab left his mark with a lovely number

“Badi Nazuk Hai Yeh Manzil, Mohabat Ka Safar Hai
Dhadak Aahista Se Aye Dil, Mohabat Ka Safar Hai”

Trends continue to change but my respect for this legend called Jagjit Singh has only increased over time and I never lose an opportunity to listen to some of his numbers at any given opportunity.

Before I conclude this humble tribute here are a few more of my favorite Jagjit Singh numbers-

“Shaam Se Aankh Mein Namin Si Hai
Aaj Fir Aapki Kami Si Hai”

“Jhuki Jhuki Si Nazar Beqaraar Hai Ke Nahin
Daba Daba Sa Sahee Dil Mein Pyaar Hai Ke Nahin”

“Honthon Se Choo lo Tum Mera Geet Amar Kar Do
Ban Jao Meet Mere Meri Preet Amar Kar Do “

“ Jab Saamne Tum Aa Jaate Ho, Kya Jaaniye Kya Ho Jaata Hai”

” Ye daulat bhi le lo, Ye shoharat bhi le lo
bhale cheen lo mujhse meri javaani
magar mujhko lauta do bachpan kaa savan
Woh kagaz ki kashti, Woh baarish kaa paani ”


RIP Jagjit Singh, you’ve left behind a wonderful body of work which will ensure that we never forget you.

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7 thoughts on “A Humble Tribute to the Legend : Jagjit Singh

  1. Good one Sethu….Though i have not followed his non film albums a lot, but yes Koi Fariyaad is a class apart and thanks for reminding me about it….I was in constant loop to that particular song when Tum Bin released.

    • Hi Ajay,

      I have a huge collection of Jagjit and Chitra Singh albums. If I have not missed anything, then I belive I have almost every album of his songs. His songs were truly amazing. Chitra had an amazing voice, I never understood, why she didnt became very popular.

      • @Jayprakash- Chitra certainly had an amazing voice but she had quit singing a couple of decades ago after their son Vivek passed away. I am sure she would have gone on to become even more popular if she had continued singing.

      • JP: I think Sethu has answered why Chitra stopped singing. Its great to know that you have a collection of his songs and not missed any, the same applies to me for ARR…

    • @ Ajay- if you like Koi Fariyaad then I’m sure you’ll like some of his non-film songs as well.Koi Fariyaad is a class in itself- awesome!!!

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