It has been a year that ghazal lost her most ardent paramour – Jagjit Singh. But, his wife Chitra Singh is planning to ensure that his legacy stays alive. “It’s not my responsibility alone, to see that his music lives forever, the onus lies on his diehard fans as well, to take his work forward,” says she. With this, the tone and tenor of the interview is set by the lady, who’s honest enough to tell you right at the onset, ‘I’m brutally frank, that’s why I’m not very popular. But then, it’s OK because I’m not seeking popularity.’ Excerpts…
When Jagjitji passed away, people said ghazal in India also died along with him. One year down the line, do you agree with the statement?
I agree! That void is huge, though a lot of people are trying to fill it by copying him. But, where will they get that voice that Jagjit was blessed with? I am very humble about my music. But, when it comes to my husband’s music, I’m extremely arrogant because I am very proud of his talent! I see nobody within miles of that voice in India or the entire world!
Is there a prarthana sabha being organised on Jagjitji’s first death anniversary?
There will be no prarthana sabha, but there will be two concerts, which I have put together in his memory. The first one is on October 10 in Mumbai and the second one is in Delhi. For both the concerts, the entry is by invitation. Anup Jalota, Sonu Nigam and Shankar Mahadevan will be singing Jagjit’s songs, which have been selected by me. I’m also releasing an album of his nine unreleased songs, which were recorded by a dear friend at various live concerts. It took me months to restore them on CDs; it’s a labour of love.
Icons like MF Husain and Shammi Kapoor were forgotten on their first death anniversary. Have Jagjitji’s friends & fans kept in touch?
Till the time Husain was painting, people bought them and talked about him. Shammiji was a superstar of his time, but when he grew old, people forgot about him. But, Jagjit’s music can’t be forgotten! Whether people like it or not, it will always be around! Here, I must add that his legacy has been abused by some of his so-called fans! Many small-time singers have organised concerts in his memory and earned big-time moolah! People have used his name for commercial gains in India, USA and UK! That’s not all! When he was hospitalised, T-Series released a compilation of four CDs and named it Alvida! That was horrendous!
Speaking of legacy, will we see your grandsons taking the ghazal genre forward?
My daughter’s sons – Armaan ( 21) and Umer (16) – adore their naanu‘s music. But, they are more inclined towards western music. Who knows where they go from here. Right now, they are busy with their studies.
You and Jagjit Singh together were magical on stage. Now he’s gone, but will you ever take to stage again?
I quit singing 22 years back when my son passed away. The kind of singing shared by Jagjit and me didn’t have artifice, usmein taiyyari nahin hoti thi! It was all about passion and feelings, which came straight from the heart. I can’t find that heart in me anymore (saying this, she breaks down).