Jaidev Chatterjee, an accomplished singer in two distinct forms of music – Ghazal and Bhajan – has the unique distinction of being trained by maestros of these genres – Jagjit Singh and Anup Jalota. With his Ghazal performance, ‘Forget me not’, a tribute to Jagjit Singh on his 4th death anniversary scheduled to be held in the city on October 11, Jaidev Chatterjee speaks to NT BUZZ on the Ghazal trend, Jagjit Singh and his personal career among other things
RAMNATH N PAI RAIKAR | NT NETWORK
Yeh daulat bhi le lo
Yeh shoharat bhi le lo
Bhale chheen lo mujhse meri jawani
Magar mujhko lauta do bachpan ka sawan
Woh kagaz ki kashti, woh baarish ka pani
Q: Ghazals were a popular form of music in 1970s and 1980s. However, their popularity slowly declined over the last two-and-a-half decades, although popular Ghazal singers did perform at public concerts. Was it a conscious decision, on your part, to stick with Ghazals?
The popularity of Ghazals is intact, just as it was in the 1970s and 1980s. This genre of music always tended to a niche audience, and through this event – ‘Forget me not’ – which has been planned by Goa Talkies, you will witness the same. Although singers of the caliber of Jagjitji (Jagjit Singh) did raise the bar for Ghazals, the popularity of Ghazals among audiences has remained the same niche market as before. Certain decisions relate to passion, art and inspiration. This decision of mine stems from the inspiration I received from Jagjit Singh because of whom I’ve taken this form of art as my profession.
Q: You have been trained in Ghazal singing by Ghazal maestro, Jagjit Singh. Can you tell us how you met him and what was it like to learn the nuances of Ghazal singing from him?
I met him for the first time, way back in 1993, when I was in class ten. However, in the year 2000, he accepted me as a student. During his workshops he always pushed his disciples towards daily practice of alankars, aalap, and tans, as also provided guidance in the art of reciting poems.
Q: Just like your Guru, are you interested in composing music and playback singing for films?
I already have two Bhajan albums to my credit, for the Ramkrishna Math, and have also lent my voice to an upcoming movie, ‘Suraag – A Clue’.
Q: There was a really sad incident in the life of Jagjit Singh – the death of his son Vivek in an accident. Do you think that this particular incident changed his music and singing altogether?
The depth in a Ghazal is felt by the emotion, and the tragic loss of his son brought more pathos in his voice.
Q: Jagjit Singh had also taken to singing devotional songs. Do you also sing devotional songs, especially as you have been trained in this particular genre by Bhajan Samrat, Anup Jalota?
As I mentioned earlier, I have two Bhajan albums to my credit. One is in Bengali and the second is called, ‘Sai Ki Rehmat’. So far I’ve performed at 80 public bhajan concerts across India. During my early days, Anup Jalotaji was the pillar of inspiration.
Q: You have tried your hand at a Ghazal album in fusion style. Won’t the concept of fusion music damage the very essence of Ghazals?
Music as an art is universal. The concept of fusion style is just integrating two pieces of art, as an experiment in the way of introducing Ghazals to the audience of contemporary music, while introducing contemporary music to the audience of Ghazals. Jagjit Singh was, in fact, the first Ghazal singer to use guitar among other instruments like pakhaawaj and mridunga, in Ghazals. The album I’m working on next is called, ‘Ibaadat’ and is dedicated to my master and teacher, Jagjit Singh.
Q: You have given performances in India and outside. Have you any interesting memory to share in relation to stage shows?
Actually, during one of my performances in Agra, which was an outdoor concert, a person walked up to me and asked me, ‘Were you the one singing the Ghazal?’ I said, ‘Yes, but why would you ask me that?’ He said, ‘Actually I was on my way to work and suddenly I thought I heard Jagjit Singh singing, and that is why I asked if you were singing. You have a very similar voice.’ That is the fondest memory I have about my stage performance.
Q: The sensitivity and softness of Ghazals, which was once found in Hindi film music is completely lost today. In fact, there have been some beautiful Ghazals in Hindi films of yesteryears. What are your views on this aspect?
That’s a sad fact. In fact, since the loss of Jagjitji, movies in our country have stopped using Ghazals in their soundtracks. I believe that Ghazals should be brought back into cinema since there are countless ardent fans of Ghazals. It would, in fact, revive Ghazals, in manner of speaking. The fear of Ghazals becoming extinct amongst the next generation is upon us.
Q: Finally, what is the reason behind organizing the ‘Forget me not’ concert?
Ghazals are not dead, but are slowly being forgotten. For this reason, Goa Talkies approached me a few months back with the particular proposal. I was really excited and happy to see that there is still a lot of passion for this art. Amol Ajgaonkar and Tinky George themselves are huge Ghazal fans, especially that of late Jagjit Singhji, and that was clearly visible in this proposal. “Chitthi na koi sandes, Jaane woh kaun sa des, Jahan tum chale gaye…Is dil pe laga ke thes, Jaane woh kaun sa des, Jahan tum chale gaye”.
by: Navhind Times