Saturday, October 15, 2011

I would have been less off...

...had I not had Jagjit Singh in my life. I can’t remember when and where I started listening to his ghazals. But it would be when I was just about to enter my teens. And it started as always when it comes to me, with Hindi movies. I heard Raj Kiran sing “Tum itna jo muskara rahe ho” to Shabana. It’s Shabana’s tears I remember most from the scene and a hauntingly beautiful voice signing the most amazing lyrics.

Girls dream of prince charmings, knight in shining armours (or shining Ferrari) and the tall dark handsome men. My dream harboured a man who could sing soulful melodies like these to me. And it was start of a never ending love affair.
When most girls looked forward to that Chayageet episode where the latest Sanjay Dutt or Anil Kapoor song would be shown, I was the happiest when I could watch Raj Babbar sing ‘Hotton se choo lo tum’ to Anita Raj- the two actors I never liked, but could watch that song umpteen times.

I went on to discover his non-filmy ghazals. The unforgettable ‘kagaz ki kashti’, which I spent hours listening to each and every line so I could note it down in my book. This was the age before you could simply google lyrics. And I had to write it down as I wanted to memorize every line of the song. My favourite line still remains “Na duniya ka ghum tha, na rishton ke bandhan, badi khoobsurat thi woh zindagani”.



My favourite Jagjit-Chitra ghazal is ‘Us mod se shuru karein hum phir yeh zindagi’. The lyrics capture the tensions of a long term relationship that has lost its love. Note the words- ‘Ashkon ki chandni se thi, bhethar woh dhoop hi...us mod se shuru karein, hum phir yeh zindagi...har shay jahan haseen thi, hum tume they ajnabee’.
Saath-Saath figures in my blog as one of the Top 10 Love stories. It’s a poignantly beautiful story and Jagjit’s ghazals play a big part in that. Everyone would remember ‘Tum ko dekha toh yeh khayal aaya’- undoubtedly one his best work ever, but my favourite ghazal from that film was ‘Pyaar mujhse... jo kiya tumne.. toh kya paaogi’. Farookh Sheikh sings this ghazal in a college function where he trying to get Deepti Naval to forget him as she will have hard life if she stays with him.

Amitabh had sung a song in a similar vein to Rakhi in yet another college function- ‘Mein pal do pal ka shayar hoon’ (not a Jagjit ghazal). So after Kabhi Kabhi and Saath Saath, I longed for a poet in my life. In fact many years later when I read Vikram Seth’s ‘A Suitable Boy’ I cried when the lead character Lata did not marry Amit the poet. I was so upset with her and I had to remind myself that she was a fictional character, as, sadly, was he.



Jagjit Singh’s ghazals set the tone and pace of my life. I hate loud and fast music. I don’t enjoy instrumental music- its feels incomplete without the words. The soulful nature of my musical preferences as my romantic views in life, are all colored by the magic of his songs. The old-world charm, the misty-eyed look, the unrequited love, the whisper of sweet nothings and every other cliché in the book, all of these made a big mark on my impressionable young mind. And its years of practice since then, which I find very difficult to break now J
Jagjit Singh also opened the world of ghazals for me. In marketing terms, he built the category. I went on to enjoy Talat Aziz, Pankaj Udhaas- though why most his songs always had alcohol references, I never understood then. But as I grew older the meanings became clearer.

Jagjitji has so many beautiful ghazals but the one I can watch over and over again is “Hosh waalon ko khabar kya” from Sarfarosh. The love of my life Aamir with Jagjitji’s voice- wah! And the innocence of Aamir and Sonali is so well captured- something you don’t get to see much these days.

Few other works worth mentioning here are:

Badi nazook hai yeh manzil...from Jogger’s Park (side bar- I had a crush on Victor Banerjee from Kalyug days. And I thought he was adorable in this movie too)
Jaag ke kaati sari raina... a semi-classical rendition from the film Leela- a pretentious movie, but it had Dimple Kapadia and she is a treat to watch no matter how bad the film is

Kis ka chera ab mein dekhoon with the dashing Milind Soman
And Sham se aankh mein nami si hain... a ghazal with a music video- a popular trend in the 90s to make non-filmTop 10 Love Stories songs more commercial. Jimmy Shergil looks so sweet and Simone Singh so young. The words are by Gulzar- “Waqt rehta nahin kahin tik kar... is ki aadat bhi aadmi si hai”. Sigh... Gulzar saab is the only man above 50 who I would marry in a heartbeat if he ever asks me. Yes the poet hangover still reigns supreme.



Today I went back to my old CDs which were forgotten with the advent of iPod. And I found some old Jagjit Singh ones. Discovered a gem of an album called ‘Koi Baat Chale’ with the amazing combination of Jagjit and Gulzar.
Good bye Jagjitji. Rest in peace. Meet your son in heaven and even there spread the joy with your lovely voice.

What about me? I will be listening to your songs till the day I meet you in heaven...provided I reach there. If not, I will have rely on my iPod in hell, but you will never leave my side :)

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