03 December, 2020

Encased In Mellifluence

A homage to Jagjit Singh rather than an objective appraisal

Encased In Mellifluence
outlookindia.com
2016-02-26T21:31:04+05:30

When Jagjit Singh landed in Bombay in 1965 he was hoping to sing for films, to join the ranks of Moh­ammed Rafi, whom he adored, and other playback singers.  He had no intention of becoming a ghazal singer that he eventually became, the king of concert halls across the globe. Like thousands of other Bollywood hopefuls before and after him, he went knocking on doors. Music dire­ctor Madan Mohan and others encouraged him. He was invited to perform at parties in the presence of Raj Kapoor, Raj Khosla and other film-makers, but no offers came his way.

The problem was that the young man from Jalandhar had arrived on the scene a little too late. Soft, tender mel­odies, the forte of singers like Talat Mahmood, were going out of fashion. Led by O.P. Nayyar, music directors brought a successful new beat to film songs, jazzy and westernised. But Jagjit did not give up. He slept in cheap, thirty rupees-a-month rooms. He sang in music clubs, where his repertoire of bawdy Punjabi songs he had picked up in college, found an appreciative audience. He sang at weddings and...

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