15 comments on “Four Early 1980s Songs from Jagjit Singh

  1. Some beautiful ghazals there, Richard… especially Tum itna jo muskura rahe ho, which is one of my favourites from the 80s.

    Somehow I always associate Chitra and Jagjit’s voices with the landscape of Ladakh. We’d gone on a road trip, back in 1984, spending an average of about 10 hours a day on the road. Gorgeous landscapes, deep blue skies, mountains bare of anything except wild rose bushes – and the Singhs’ voices singing ghazals on the only audio cassettes we’d brought along with us (the other we’d carried along was ghazals of Anoop Jalota). One of my favourites from the album was this one:

    RIP, Jagjit.

  2. There have been too many deaths this year of well known personalities.

    Jagjit Singh’s ghazals/songs were soft and pleasing though at times it seemed his voice was being drowned by the music.

    Agree Richard, his voice in the 80s was really good. His film songs were great too especially the two you have mentioned – yeh tera ghar, and – tum itna jo muskura rahi ho

    DO, I know what you mean. For me songs hold the greatest association with a place or time, and have the ability to carry me back to that place and time whenever I hear it anywhere.

  3. Hi Richard, he was really good and it was all based on hard work and proper training: he firmly believed that regardless of the type of singing you did, proper classical training and daily practice were fundamental.
    At one time as a kid we had the privilege of calling him “chachaji” (dad’s younger brother) since he was a distant cousin but best friends with another uncle. He was there at many a family gathering, being most famous for singing the Manna Dey song, Meri Bhains Ko Danda, in the style of Saigal (sister thinks he was an extra in that song as well). A great sense of humour and with ready one-liners in real life.
    When I was about 9 or so, there was a huge party hosted by my parents and he gave an informal concert of sorts in the garden (we kids were not allowed out, could only listen and peep!)
    Anyway, he went to Bombay to try his luck not only at singing but also acting. But he had no luck (voice was called unsuitable for playback singing!) and after a lot of struggle, finally made along with Chitra, through ghazals, at a time when no one made Money singing ghazals.
    His son died in a traffic accident: there was a road accident in Bombay and the cars were there in the middle just after a bend, and he came upon it just after, too late to stop. There was also more recent tragedy in the family.
    I can share one of my last personal memories: at a family birthday party when I was in my late teens, he and his wife were there, and he remembered each and everyone of the crowd of youngsters we were: and to me “Oh my god, this is you Bawa!!! You used to sing….” (yes uncle, I was apparently a pest when I was 3….)

  4. My favorite Jagjit-Chitra Album is the Unforgettables- which is unforgettable. Then they sang a collection of Shiv Kumar Batalvi’s poems – Birha da Sultan. I love the soundtrack of the TV serial Mirza Ghalib that starred Naseerudin Shah. From Arth I love this one:

    and this:

    This one from the movie Saath Saath:

    This one from Aitbaar:

    This would be my favorite Jagjit Singh list.

  5. Thank you all for the comments, suggestions, and clips, and sorry about the relatively delayed response.

    Bawa, you wrote some interesting stuff here… I didn’t know about your family connections to Jagjit and Chitra Singh. By the way, yes, I read about Chitra’s daughter’s suicide, which happened just a couple of years ago. Poor Chitra – the loss of her son was apparently so devastating to her, and now she has these more recent losses to cope with. I only wish she could have overcome that first tragedy enough to continue singing, because the singing by her that I have encountered is beautiful, and she obviously was such a great complement to Jagjit.

    Dustedoff, interesting story about the association between his singing and landscapes. And thanks for the clip – I have wanted to check out more of his renditions of Mirza Ghalib and, of course, his Ghazals in general.

    Pacifist, thanks for confirming for me that I made the best choices :) – though now I’m seeing even better ones…

    Such as some of Ava’s suggestions. Ava, I love “Koi Yeh Kaise Bataaye…” I’ve watched that clip a few times now. The singing and music are beautiful, quite mesmerizing, actually (now if only I could get an English translation or understand more of the lyrics)… By the way, the singing and vocals aren’t the only thing that’s mesmerizing there.

    I really have to check out more of Shabana Azmi’s work. I almost bought Arth on my Bollywood run yesterday, but too many films from the late ’40s and early ’50s were calling to me, and I keep sticking with that era, especially when I have to make decisions about spending what little money I have. :) Fortunately, there are some Shabana movies with subtitles online (as well as some very interesting interviews about her off-screen endeavors, which I might discuss in a future post).

    But back to Jagjit Singh… These selections that you’ve all supplied are so good, they make this post much more complete. So, since I’m kind of busy with a few things now, I am thinking, maybe you’ve helped to make this a fitting tribute and have let me “off the hook” for the time being. :)

    Though I certainly wouldn’t mind posting some more of Jagjit Singh…

    Yes Pacifist, we’ve lost quite a few this year. I am crossing my fingers about some of my absolute favorites who have stayed alive into old age. (Though most of my real absolute favorites, of course, died well before this year.) Fortunately, these people all live on for our eyes and ears, thanks to films and musical recordings, but it’s still very sad to hear when the living, breathing people themselves depart.

  6. Arth is definately worth a watch. Definately. I saw it on YouTube. It is surely one of Mahesh Bhatt’s best.

    I will attempt a translation of Koi kaise ye bataye for you.

  7. How can one explain her loneliness,
    the one who was hers belongs to another now.
    If this is life, why does life have to be this way?
    If this is how things work, why does it have to be so?

    If he reaches out, he can touch me,
    my heart will gladly beat next to his,
    when I feel so close to him, why is he so distant.

    He still lives in my wasted heart,
    He still knocks at the door of my empty house,
    When I have no hope why do I still feel hopeful?

    It is joyful at times, and sometimes sorrowful,
    but love is supposed to last forever
    If it is supposed to last forever, why does it change.

    Of course the singer (an excellent Raj Kiran) is singing exactly what is going through Shabana’s mind. She has just been jilted by her husband who pops up in the party with his mistress.

  8. Ava, thank you answering my request so quickly – and your translation reads so well! Now that I see the lyrics and how well they fit in with the situation, I like that song even more.

    Also, I am glad that, unlike me, you gave due credit to Raj Kiran. :)

  9. Raj Kiran was not able to make it big in film world because of some personal issues, I figure. But I love his appearances in movies nonetheless.

    I am sorry, the last song that I mentioned in my favorites list – kisi nazar ko tera – was sung by Bhupendra. oops!

  10. Richard, he was a sort of cousin of my Dad’s, and one of my Dad’s younger brother and he became the best of friends, and as we were a joint family, he became a sort of universal “chacha”: also he was so jovial and a bit of a prankster, and that always goes down well with kids. In the earlier years, when he was not so famous, the connection was kept close (my elder sister was being taken around by him when she went to Bombay with my Dad in the early 70s), but the more famous he became, the less we wanted to impeach on the tie, My uncle used to send almost half his salary every month (behind the family’s back) to Bombay in his early years of moving to Bombay…the struggle was very long, and he had such talent. The dinner party was also organized to introduce him to some rich and influential people that my parent oould gather.
    A few years ago, the family held another luncheon for him to spend the day with him but at that time I was here so did not get to meet him.

    I remember my sister and my Dad went to a semi-pro singer’s house in Delhi (who was good but had never made it as a pro). He was classical-based, and he sang a few ghazals, and then he started ranting about all these new fangled ghazal singers…And my Dad cut him off with a gentle “He is our boy, and he is very very hard-working.” I guess that sums him up, apart from saying he was a really gifted singer and composer.

  11. That is quite a story Bawa. A lot of purists did not like the ‘pop’ ghazal scene that became quite popular after Jagjit Singh’s success. Apart from Talat Aziz, I did not like most of the other ghazal singers. Anoop Jalota’s voice was more suited for singing bhajans, ghazals did not sound right in his voice. But as ghazals were trending at the time, several of these singers became very popular.

  12. I am glad that you think Jagjit and Chitra sounded good together. Some of my friends did not like Chitra Singh’s voice, but I never agreed with them. Here is a perfect duet:

  13. Thanks, Ava – another very nice one.

    I don’t understand why your friends didn’t like Chitra Singh’s voice – oh, well.

    I also can kind of sympathize with the negative response to the “pop Ghazals” that you mentioned after Bawa’s comment. (And, by the way, thank you to Bawa for more very interesting info an stories – sorry I didn’t get back to you about that sooner. :) ) Although you might say that I started learning about Ghazals through very contemporary pop renditions (or at least contemporary as of two decades ago), once I began hearing the Ghazals from older films and non-filmi recordings, I realized that I liked those a lot more. (I guess I went through a similar progression with quite a few styles of music and dance that I eventually found and fell for in very old films. :) )

    Oh, and regarding your previous comment, on Raj Kiran, he happened to be in one of the clips of Runa Laila songs that I posted after this post. I had your comments in mind when I spotted him in that clip – hope you had a chance to see it.

  14. Hi, I am a big fan of JS and CS, have been for years. I personally don’t agree that his best work was in the 80s…certainly his most romantic work was from that era. However you gotta listen to kahkashan, Sajda, Visions, Samvedna, maramsim, and more recently the religious bhajans he has pumped out. Prolific musician who believed he was born to sing! And great as a person also.

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