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Remembering Jagjit Singh

Nanaji has always had a complaint against Jagjit Singhji. And he never misses out on bringing it up whenever music and musicians are discussed at home. It seems Jagjitji had once appeared as a judge on a music reality show. One of the participants, a rather nervous Bengali girl, stood with crossed hands when her turn came. It being Judge’s Choice round, Jagjitji asked the girl to sing some notes in Kazi Nazrul style – a legendary form of traditional Bengali music. All the time he said this, it seems, Jagjitji had a wry and disinterested expression. And this is where the shoe pinched. Nananji feels that Singh ji’s tone betrayed a very unpleasant apathy towards Bengali music. Something which, what with his wife being a Bengali and all that, didn’t go down very well.

The age-old complaint came forth as a memory when I read of Jagjitji’s demise. I can vividly recall the arguments between Nanaji and me – the you-interpret-too-much routines. I can also recall the multitude of times I have spent monsoon mornings in a Jagjit ghazal, playing and re-playing my favourite number from Sarfarosh. Complaints and grievances notwithstanding, Nanaji still gets goosepimples when I tune the player to wo kaagaz ki kashti, wo baarish ka paani.

As a child, I was very curious about lives and deaths in the glamour business. How could Amrish Puri be no more when he continued to sing and dance to I love India? For that matter, I have never taken Ashok da’s death well. He still seems to me the retired military officer who lives in his Lonavala house, guiding the sorts of Arun (Amol Palekar) from Choti si Baat. Ditto for Jagjit ji. I have – without fail – always missed out on a chance to watch him live in concert. Either the passes would disappear or time would. But every time I saw him on television, I would crave for that Sony Bravia TV set they have in showrooms. Though I have a rule forbidding a sad Jagjit ghazal at certain times, it is not rare that I have found myself slipping into a parallel world listening to the very song I had banned. The ban, of course, holds for the better half, who has a soft corner for especially heart-breaking music.

We will no longer have Jagjitji’s magic voice to serenade us when we are blue. But, I am sure, for all those whose lives his music has touched, a stray note from one of his ghazals will always find a way into the heart. And there it will forever stay.

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About Deboshree

~D.B. The one who loves to cook up abstract stories about all and sundry.

30 responses »

  1. I am big fan of his ghazals …he will be missed :(
    RIP Jagjit Singh

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  2. when he died, NDTV (I guess) ran the headline ‘The Emperor of Gazel is no more’ quite rightly.

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  3. Subho bijoya too Deboshree, not sure whether I can still say that :)

    I am a die hard fan of Jagjit ji..and his wife Chitra ji happens to be my masi..though I have never met him in person…but I can assure u he used to love Bengali songs very much.

    wo kagaz ki kashti barish ka pani …..and

    hazaron khwaish e aisi….are my all time fave.

    RIP

    Reply
    • Oh you sure can… it works till Kali Pujo. ;)
      I like Chitraji’s voice as well and Tum Bin happens to be one of my favourite tracks. I am sure Jagjitji liked Bengali music – anyhow, nothing you watch on television can really be taken at face value. :)

      Ah yes. Hazaron Khwaishen Aisi is a beautiful song… some amazing lyrics as well.

      Reply
  4. His voice was magical and internal and will remain with us for ever..yeh kagaz ki kashti yeh baarish ka paani was such a beauty
    RIP Jagjit Singh

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  5. The dismay of never having seen a live performance is so profound almost from everyone how loved his gazals. A legendary era is now over.

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  6. :( I am a big fan of his ghazals, Dedoshree. They always transport you a different world replete with peace and tranquility. He will continue to make his presence felt through the wonderful music which he created.
    May his soul rest in peace.

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    • Exactly Chhavi… all his ghazals have that quality which make you forget the world around you. Jagjitji will always live on in many fond memories associated with his music.

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  7. A very sincere ode. Thank you Jagjit ji, you shall be missed

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  8. His music will live on for a long time in the minds of his fans.. RIP Jagjitji..

    Sometimes, reality shows do do that! I can’t stand some of the judges in that, how different they become to the musical mentors they are supposed to be on the show and in life! Well said.

    Leo @ I Rhyme Without Reason

    Reply
    • Ah, Yes, it could all be some stupid TRP gimmick. They have that blaring music and camera closeups and people are made to believe that so and so is such a villain. TV shows I tell you.
      Thanks Leo. :)

      Reply
  9. RIP Jagjitji…

    his soulful melodies will be missed.

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  10. It has been a sad year in wguch we lost two great entertainers and one great innovator. Will always miss Shmmi Kapoor, Jagjeet Singh ji, and I’m sure Apple inc. will never be the same now that Mr. job is gone :-(

    Reply
    • Yes Jyoti. We have had several losses so far in this year. Shammi Kapoor – oh dear, his movies and their songs had the infectious music that can never be replicated.

      Reply
  11. RIP ghazal maestro Jagjit singhji.

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  12. May he rest in peace.
    I rememebr the show when his latest album Someone somewhere came , as a tribute to his son ..

    aadmi aadmi ko kya dega
    jo bhi dega khuda dega …

    such beautiful gazals , i have grown up on them , me and a couple of my friends were so into them , we could actually have a party whee only gazals were put on …

    He will be missed forever

    Reply
    • Totally Bikram. We have grown up listening to his ghazals and they are almost a part and parcel of life, For many around the world, ghazals are synonymous to Jagjit Singh. His death is a loss that is deeply grieved but like you said, he will be missed forever and this live on in memories…

      Reply
  13. RIP Gazal Samrat Jagjeet Sir,

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  14. very famous singer of our decade. lovely songs given by him

    Reply

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