Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Jagjit Singh-Winner all the way

True to his name Jagjit (winner of the world), Jagjit Singh captured the world by his inimitable voice. When he entered into Ghazal Gayaki (singing), Ghazal was a serious business and that too for a limited few. Jagjit Singh entered and shook this world upside down.

Jagjit singh is one of my two top favorite Ghazal singers, the other being Ghulam Ali. No doubt, there are other capable and worthy singers and I like them too but these two are my favorites. Jagjit had that deep, gloomy voice that instantly stirred your soul whereas Ghulam Ali is a master of variations few others can claim.

Personally I was not into Gazals when young. I didn’t know and didn’t like anything beyond film songs. During sixties and early seventies my favorite composers were Madan Mohan and O.P. Nayyar who along with lyricists like Raja Mehdi Ali Khan and others created magic, at least for me. Come late seventies and the first Ghazal of Jagjit I heard was “baat nikalegi to fir door talak jayegi” and there was turmoil inside me. I heard this number again and again and instantly was into Ghazals. Then came his “pyar jo tumne kiya mujse to kya paogi”, “tumko dekha to ye khayal aaya”, “ye daulat bhi lelo ye shohrat bhi lelo,” just to name a few. He captured the Ghazal world like a storm.

I distinctly remember when “ye daulat bhi lelo” came, I was posted in the North and enjoying the life there. This number instantly transported me back to my childhood in Calcutta. True to the emotions in the song, I remembered my childhood days in Bhowanipore where water logging was frequent and we did make paper boats and let them loose in water. Indeed broken toys were our wealth to be guarded with care. Along with depth and gloom there was something in his voice that moved me and I longed to visit Calcutta and particularly Bhowanipore where I was born and brought up and to meet those childhood friends with whom I played and quarreled. I did just that at the first available opportunity. I saw my old school, my old house (now occupied by others), the streets and by lanes where I played, with new eyesight. Alas almost all friends were scattered.

Jagjit Singh not only sung, he sculptured, crafted the songs during those sixties and seventies. Within a very short span I was deep into Ghazals and forgot all about film songs. That was Jagjit Singh for you.

There are, as I mentioned earlier, other great singers. But you can find similar voices or near identical voices of these singers. I doubt if we can find one anywhere near Jagjit’s for quite a time.

Jagjit Singh was the one and only one.