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Revisiting the maestro: The Best Of Jagjit Singh

Last updated on: October 10, 2011 12:17 IST

Revisiting the maestro: The Best Of Jagjit Singh

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'A painter paints pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence.' Famous words of a famous conductor, Leopold Stokowski. And how true they hold for ghazal maestro Jagjit Singh. For more than four decades, the legendary singer had regaled millions by painting many a masterpieces with his distinctly deep, velvety and soulful voice. Born to a Sikh family in Ganganagar, Rajasthan, Singh grew up training in various classical forms like thumri, khayal and dhrupad. Realising his calling was in the music industry, a twenty-something Singh arrived in Mumbai with high hopes and aspirations.

During this period of struggle, when he was singing jingles for a living, Singh met his future wife and singer Chitra. The duo went on to find unprecedented popularity as a husband-wife team, revolutionizing the ghazal scene with their successful collaborations on film and non-film albums. A personal tragedy, the death of their teenage son Vivek in a road accident, put an end to Chitra's musical fervor but proved therapeutic for her significant other. Singh continued, finding solace in his art, even though the new songs reflected his grief-stricken, grim state of mind.

The sentiment made him both real and relatable. Be it in recorded form or live, his stirring yet serene performances never fail to echo a sense of profundity and poignancy. Through his dreamy rendition of ghazals and nazms by famous poets ranging from Mirza Ghalib to Nida Fazli, coupled with his winsome personality, Singh created a wider audience for a genre earlier limited to a refined coterie. His eloquence isn't limited to singing alone.

Singh didn't mince words in voicing his displeasure over piracy and increasing dependency on technology to create sound, the 70-year-old lamented the lack of human touch in contemporary music. Considering his tremendous body of work, the sudden news of his illness -- Singh suffered from brain hemorrhage on September 23 and was hospitalized in Mumbai's Lilavati Hospital -- had greatly distressed his numerous fans and well-wishers. The maestro breathed his last this morning.

Here's lookign back at the legendary singer's best-loved numbers:

Sarakti jaaye hai rukh se, Life Story

Against Urdu poet Amir Meenai's flirtatious verse, Jagjit Singh offers a free-flowing live performance. Notice how he interacts with his audience, often volunteering to explain the finer nuances whilst improvising with impromptu twists on the spot. Interestingly, Laxmikant-Pyarelal adapted Sarakti jaye for the 1982 Muslim social, Deedar-E-Yaar starring Jeetendra, Rishi Kapoor, Tina Munim, in Kishore Kumar's voice.


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Yeh daulat bhi le lo, Jazbah

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'...Magar mujhko lautado bachpan ka sawaan.Woh kaagaz ki kasti, woh baarish ka paani.'

Singh yearns for the carefree days of childhood in this evergreen ghazal. Other concert favourites include Apne hothon par, Baat niklegi to and Main nashe mein hoon.


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Hothon se choo lo tum, Prem Geet

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Jagjit Singh's breakthrough in Hindi film music came with Raj Babbar starrer, Prem Geet in 1981. His heartrending composition, Hothon se choo lo tum remains the best-remembered feature of the kerchief caper.

Nominated for Best Playback Singer (Male) at Filmfare, the singer lost to Amit Kumar's Teri yaad aa rahi hai (Love Story).


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Koi ye kaise bataye, Arth

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Other than standing out as one of the best films of director Mahesh Bhatt's career, Arth further established Jagjit Singh's proficiency as a composer and singer.

It's hard to imagine anyone else conveying the extreme pathos of Kaifi Azmi's verse in Koi yeh kaise, Tum itna jo muskura or Jhuki jhuki si nazar.


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Tumko dekha, Saath Saath

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Javed Akhtar's enchanting imagery, Kuldip Singh's mellifluous tune, Jagjit Singh's expressive recital. There's much to enjoy in this timeless melody from Saath Saath, a marital drama starring Farookh Shaikh and Deepti Naval.


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Hazaron khwaishen aisi, Mirza Ghalib

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Quite easily the tour de force of Jagjit( and Chitra) Singh's career, the extensively produced soundtrack of Gulzar's acclaimed TV biopic on celebrated poet, Mirza Ghalib features many a gems.

Hazaron khwaishen aisi tops the list.


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Chitthi na koi sandes, Dushman

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Trust Jagjit Singh to convey the anguish of losing a close one with touching simplicity in Chitthi na koi sandes jaane woh kaunsa des jahan tum chale gaye.


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Koi fariyaad, Tum Bin

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Although he was selective and hadn't sung in too many Hindi films, almost all his Bollywood ghazals rank among the top in the genre.

And that includes his silky smooth delivery Koi fariyaad from Anubhav Sinha's directorial debut, Tum Bin.


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Hoshwalon ko khabar kya, Sarfarosh

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While his despondent chants have been a constant companion of the heartbroken, Jagjit Singh provides an equally uplifting company as an advocate of romance.

His breezy ghazal, Hoshwalon ko khabar in the mostly gritty Sarfarosh is case in point. The track also finds a spot in his non-film album, Marasim, in addition to other hits like Shaam se aankh mein name (penned by Gulzar) and Haath choote bhi to rishte nahi choota karte (Pinjar).


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Ghar se nikle the, Aaeena

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Tugging the heartstrings comes naturally to JS. He communicates the angst of a dejected soul in the emotional cries of Ghar se nikle the.

An assortment take on the various facets of relationships, Aaeena features another stunning melody, Tera chehra hai aaene jaisa. One cannot say the same about the tacky videos.


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Pyaar ka pehla khat, Parwaaz

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The maestro fondly implores the listener to understand the predicament of young lovers and first love letters through the affectionate notes of Pyaar ka pehla khat.


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Bolo Ram, Mann Mein Ram Basale

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Not just limited to musing over the delicacy of romance and philosophy, Jagjit Singh's expertise in devotional ditties is just as inspirational and trance-inducing.


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Badi nazuk, Jogger's Park

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The Ghazal whiz acquaints us with the intricacies of new romance in Jogger's Park Badi nazuk hai yeh manzil.

A Subhash Ghai production, Jogger's Park revolves around a growing attraction between a retired judge and free-spirited model.


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