Bollywood pays tribute to Jagjit Singh
Ghazal maestro Jagjit Singh died yesterday from a brain haemorrhage. Bollywood mourned the loss of the veteran ghazal singer.
As they came to pay their last respects at Lilavati Hospital, scores of the late singer's friends and admirers from the film industry shared their fond memories.
Click through the slideshow to read their tributes.
Image: Jagjit Singh
Roop Kumar Rathod, singer
He is the Badshah of singing and ghazals and he was as big a singer as he was a human being.
He gave us the gift of love and romance through his singing. I would like to remember him by the ghazal Tum Chale Jaoge Toh Sochenge, Humne Kya Khoya Humne Kya Paaya (lines from the song Tumko Dekha Toh Khayal Aya).
I last met him on his 70th birthday when an album of his was released and he had personally called me to be present. He sang three songs and then he announced my name and called me on stage to sing. It was not in the schedule but he wanted me to sing the song Maula Mere Maula from Anwar because it was his favourite song.
Once when he and Chitraji were going on a long drive they heard my song Khamosh Raat from Thakshak on the radio. They immediately called me and told me how much they loved the song and gave me their blessings.
He introduced santoor to ghazal for the first time, and he gave new directions to upcoming singers. He sang the theme song for my film Love Express and gave the film soul.
He had a great sense of humour and he loved horses and went to the race course often.
He will be immortal.
Image: Roop Kumar Rathod
Pandit Shivkumar Sharma, Santoor player
My association with him went back 50 years. With his demise it is the end of an era of ghazal singing. God had given him a great voice. When Hindi cinema was going through a bad period of violence in the late 1980s, it was Jagjit Singh who filled the void with his singing.
I shared a very personal relationship with him; he was a very good human being. He will be missed but his voice will remain alive.
Image: Pandit Shivkumar Sharma
Richa Sharma, singer
The news of his brain haemorrhage and hospitalisation was shocking; the news of his death I have still not absorbed.
I was very close to him since the last three to four years. I worked and spent time with him so as soon as I heard the news of his demise, all that came in a flash in front of my eyes.
He was a very simple man and loved simple food. He loved eating pakodas and would always ask me to make some when he came to my house.
With his demise there is no hand of an elderly person on my head.
Image: Richa Sharma
I recently released Jagjit Singh's bhajan album. He was a great singer and a great human. He took ghazal to the whole world and he was an example for others. We will always miss him a lot and we cannot handle his separation.
His body has gone away but his voice will always remain with us through his singing. I cannot forget his smile. He gave a message of unity and love through his singing. He took ghazal and the Urdu language to the masses. He composed and sang poetry by famous poets.
I am fortunate to have worked with him. He would come to my house to eat Punjabi food especially makai ki roti and sarson ka saag and he loved pure ghee from Punjab, which we always had in my house.
I would like to give him the title of Aftaab-E-Ghazal (Sun in the field of ghazal) or Ghazal Ke Suraj.
He never differentiated between new composers and old ones; he sang for everyone. He respected everyone. Even after getting so much recognition, his behaviour never changed.
My condolences to his family. It is a big loss to the industry, I pray for his soul. I am a big fan of his ghazals, we have worked together. He is a great personality, a great soul.
Javed Akhtar, lyricist
We became close in the 1980s, when we worked on two albums together. The day before he was hospitalised, Jagjit called me and said we will both work on another album in April.
Classical singing is very difficult and a different genre. To became famous here and sustain the fame for so long is difficult, but he did it.
Image: Javed Akhtar
Shabana Azmi, actress
It is a bad phase for the industry, we are losing one artist after another. Jagjit Singh's loss is not just the loss of the industry but of the world.
He sang three songs in my film Arth -- Jhuki Jhuki, Tum Itna Jo Muskura Rahe Ho and Koi Yeh Kaise Bataye.
He had truth and sweetness in his voice. He was a good and honest man, and he had an old world charm about him. Jagjit Singhji had a soul-stirring voice and he sang from his heart.
Image: Shabana Azmi
Subhash Ghai, director
Jagjit Singh and I shared the ups and downs of the industry together. His specialty was his spiritual power, and because of this power he could bear the loss of his son. He was an institution in ghazal singing. It was shocking to hear about his death, I am very sad.
He sang in three of my films Khalnayak, Black and White and Jogger's Park. His song in Khalnayak, O Maa Tujhe Salaam was the soul of the film.
As a friend, his death is a big personal loss.
Image: Subhash Ghai
Anubhav Sinha, director
I shot a few private album videos with Jagjit Singh. I shared a very friendly relationship with him. When I was making my directorial debut, Tum Bin in 2001, I asked him to sing a song in the film and he instantly obliged.
He was very fond of me. I remember this incident where he had finished dubbing a song called Koi Farriyad in my film Tum Bin and was coming out of the studio. He realised I was not happy with the dubbing. As we were walking out, he put his arm around my shoulders and said, 'I know you are not happy.' I said I was disappointed. He told me to concentrate on the shooting and he would take care of the song.
When I came back from the shoot and heard the song, I was stunned! The way he had turned the song around! I would say it's only because of him that the song is what it is today.
I have learnt some Urdu and have developed a taste for ghazals and poetry because of Jagjit Singh. As a teenager, I would listen to his ghazals. My favourite ghazal is Baat Niklegi To Phir Door Talak Jaayegi.
My all-time favourite is Woh Kagaaz Ki Kashti.
Image: Anubhav Sinha
Om Puri, actor
Ever since I heard the news, I've been listening to his voice. Such a beautiful voice and such unforgettable ghazals.
Jagjit and I had become close friends in recent years. We did an ad together. He was really bindaas in front of the camera. He wasn't self-conscious about facing the camera with me.
If I was told to sing with Jagjit, I'd have been knocked out of my senses. I was there for him, and he for me.
He had recently rung me up to do a commentary for an album for a Gurdwara. He said, 'Paise nahin milenge'. I happily agreed. Our friendship went beyond professionalism.
He was always cheerful and never allowed the pain inside to be revealed. But I know he was going through a lot of mental agony. That is why he suffered the brain haemorrhage. He lost his only son in 1990. Then he lost his daughter (stepdaughter, wife Chitra's progeny) recently.
After this tragedy, when I expressed my grief, Jagjit just signed and said, 'Jo vahe Guru ki marzi hai' (whatever God wills). He never allowed adversity to bog him down. Rather, he channelized his pain into his singing.
Jagjit and I were supposed to attend a function together in Patiala this week. Now we will start the function with one of his ghazals or bhajans. The advantage of being Jagjit Singh is that you don't really die. You live through your songs forever.
Image: Om Puri
Photographs: Samir Hussein/Getty Images Europe