By Promod Puri
In his 40 years of entertaining and alluring singing career, late Jagjit Singh’s soft and “silky” voice created a vast following not only in India but among thousands of his fans settled all over the world as well.
Jagjit Singh, who died in October 2011, created a niche for his thick-pitched but soothing voice to enjoy simple vocal music along with blending orchestra of few instruments.
His self-composed music and singing style, which usually had a light classical touch in it, can aptly be described as a geet performance though the selection of most of the songs were Urdu compositions in gazal pattern.
Was Jagjit Singh a gazal singer?
His fans believe so, and call him “king of gazal”. In all humbleness, for which he was known too, Jagjit Singh disclaimed this title as he created a style of his own with his sweet and melodious voice which may not fit in the old school of gazal presentation.
There is quite a distinction between the singing style of Jagjit Singh and the gazal gayaki mastered by Mehndi Hassan, Ghulam Ali, Begum Akhtar, Mallika Pukhraj (of evergreen number, abhi to main javan hoon), to some extent Talat Mehmood and Asha Bhonsle (in aankhon ki masti ke..)
Credit is bestowed upon Jagjit Singh that with his new approach he brought gazal to the masses. He did not create an elite audience like other known gazal singers.
Gazal rendering is a simplified version of classical Indian music along with thumri and dadra. Jagjit Singh altered it into different musical track. He explored and expanded the principality of gazal.
In the words of Mallika-e Ghazal Begum Akhtar, “Ghazal shahee dhang se gayee jaye to uska nasha sar chad ke bolta hai” (if a ghazal is sung in a proper way it can be very intoxicating”). Jagjit Singh certainly uplifts the mood by introducing his own distinctive sweetness in gazal gayaki.
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