What Anup Jalota is to Bhajans, Jagjit Singh is to Ghazals. While he did sing classical, devotional and folk songs as well, he will always be remembered for his Ghazals and in fact Ghazal singing got a new life in India due to Jagjit Singh.
The journey started with Jagjit Ji’s birth on 8th February 2011 in a small Government quarter in Rajasthan as the 3rd of 11 children of Amar Singh and Bachan Kaur. Amar Singh who worked in PWD Department wanted him to be an engineer and a Government officer. However, he also recognised his musical talent and initiated him to music. Jagjit’s inspiration were Talat Mehmood, Lata Mangeshkar and Hemant Kumar. He was determined to have a career in music and after joining All India Radio in Jalandhar, he decided to shift to Mumbai.
In Mumbai, Jagjit met Chitra, who was married with a daughter, Monika. Her husband had a recording studio. Jagjit and Chitra fell in love and got married in 1969. They were blessed with a boy, Vivek in 1971. After a few years of struggle, they success in 1976 as their 1st LP, “The Unforgettables” was a huge hit. Film offers came his way as well with notable mentions being Prem Geet, Arth and Saath Saath.
Jagjit came to be known as The Ghazal King and Jagjit-Chitra were a hugely successful singing pair. However, tragedy struck in 1990 when their son died in a car accident. A little-known trivia is that future Indian cricketer Sairaj Bahatule was in the car too, and with a fractured right femur and severely injured elbow among other injuries went into a coma. However, he recovered and went on to be a domestic cricket giant and play for India as well. The shock of her son’s death out an end to Chitra’s career as a singer. She never sang again.
While Jagjit continued his singing career, it was evident that the tragedy had affected him tremendously. He kept on singing as a hugely successful and world-famous singer till he passed away in 2011. Some of his famous albums are The Latest, Someone Somewhere, Mirage and Silsilay.
My top 5 Jagjit songs are “Hontho se chhoo lo tum”, “Jhuki Jhuki Si Nazar”, “Tum Itna Jo Muskura Rahe Ho”, Tum Ko Dekha To Yeh Khayal Aaya”, and “Woh Kaghaz Ki Kasthi”. Are your top Jagjit songs the same as well?
Happy Birthday, Ghazal King. You are immortal.
Ritesh Misra is an IRS officer currently based in Mumbai. He blogs & tweets @riteshmisra.
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