When Jagjit sang a poem, He added new Meaning to it’

By Chaya Unnikrishnan | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
Jagjit and Chitra Singh

For the first time in 22 years, reclusive singer Chitra Singh has decided to come out of her self-imposed exile. Wife of ghazal king Jagjit Singh, Chitra had shunned public appearances and given up singing after the tragic death of their son Vivek. Though Jagjit couldn’t persuade his wife to come out of her shell when he was alive, it’s the idea of releasing an album of his songs that’s finally convinced her to break her silence.

Chitra along with a music company is bringing out analbum The Master and his Magic, a tribute to Jagjit on his first death anniversary in October. The USP of the album is that the ghazals have been sung by Jagjit way back in the ’80s and ’90s, and have been culled from his ‘live’ music concerts. Says Chitra, “A friend from Ahmedabad contacted me, saying that he had some songs, which Jagjit had sung at concerts. When I heard them, I realised they were wonderful songs that should reach his fans. However, I had to clean them up and restore them as much as possible and give it a final shape.”

The album contains eight tracks that include Dekha jo aaeena, Ro lete to accha hota, Aahon mein asar and Woh firaaq kahan, the last one being Chitra’s favourite ghazal.

The album also has Chitra talking about how her life changed after she met Jagjit. Ask her to throw light on it and she shies away saying life has various dimensions and it depends on which part “means life to you. My entire life was with Jagjit,” she says succinctly.

However, she opens up when asked to describe him as a person. “People who have experienced his company will tell you he was generous to a fault. I can’t think of a single person who met him and has not benefitted from his generousity. He was the kind of person, who even if he had one roti would share it with everyone. This nature was so obvious that many exploited it. But he loved it, giving away his last penny,” recalls Chitra adding that his public and private persona were the same. “He wore no mask,” she says proudly.

Talking about the ghazal scenario post the mellifluous singer, Chitra bluntly says that with Jagjit’s demise, even ghazal is dead. “There was no one before or after Jagjit, who realised how important the lyrics and the verse are for ghazal. You need awareness and command over the language to understand it, even superficially, forget the deeper layers,” says Chitra citing Gulzar’s observation that when Jagjit sang a poem he added new meaning to it.

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