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Jagjit Singh, born Jagmohan Singh, was a prominent Indian Ghazal singer, songwriter and musician. Known as the "Ghazal King", he gained acclaim together with his wife, another renowned Indian ghazal singer Chitra Singh in the 1970s and 1980s.
Born as Jagmohan Singh to father Amar Singh in a devout Sikh family, Jagjit Singhâ€™s life was surrounded by music due to Sikh devotional hymns from the local Gurudwaras that engulfed his area. Early in his life, he learned to imitate songs he heard on the radio. His father rechristened him as Jagjit on advice of a holy man and sent him to study music from Pandit Chhaganlal Sharma for two years. Jagjit further studied under Ustad Jamaal Khan for six more years. He attended Khalsa High School and graduated with arts from DAV College in Jalandhar, and finished with a post-graduation in history from Kurukshetra University, Haryana. During his college days, he composed and sang for All India Radio and gave stage performances. By then, he had decided he wanted to be a singer, even though his father had hoped he would become an engineer. In 1965, without telling his family he took the train to Mumbai and did some odd jobs before convincing HMV to cut a four track EP. He then shaved off his beard and hair and removed his turban. Initially he earned money by singing advertising jingles. One of his earliest tracks was Laagi Ram Bhajan Ni Lagani for the 1966 movie Bahuroopi. Another important decision he made was of marrying singer Chitra Dutta in 1969, after having met her in 1967. They soon had a son who they named Vivek. Soon Jagjit and Chitra Singh paired up as a duo but were unable to make inroads as Muslim artists mainly dominated the world of ghazals, while Bollywood music was of a different genre. In those days, the world of ghazals featured prominent names like Noor Jehan, Malika Pukhraj, Begum Akhtar, Kundan Lal Saigal, Talat Mahmood and Mehndi Hassan.
The Unforgettables Album
Their well-deserved fame finally came with the release of the album The Unforgettables in 1976, due to which they became overnight stars. World tours followed, and they made more albums, both together and individually. Foreign invites, recognition and wealth flowed in copiously to the duo soon. He managed to bring the world of ghazals to a wider audience in accordance with his wish to make ghazals more acceptable to modern tastes by simplifying them with poems and simple tunes and fusing them with western instrumentation to make them livelier. Some of duoâ€™s recordings include Shiv Kumar Batalvi - Birha da Sultan (1978), Live in Concert at Wembley (1979) and Come Alive (1979). One of their finest recordings is thought to be The Ecstasies (1984). His revival for ghazals began by choosing poetry that was relevant to the masses and composing them specifically to lay emphasis on the meaning of words and melody evoked by them. His style of composing and singing is known as Bolpradhan as it lays more emphasis on the words. This is observed in his song Hothon Se Chhu Lo Tu in the 1981 movie Prem Geet6 and Tum Itna Jo Muskura Rahe in the 1982 film Arth. By 1988, he provided the music for the much-acclaimed TV serial Mirza Ghalib which was followed on with music for another TV serial called Kahkashan in 1991. The year 1990 proved to be bad one for Jagjit - Chitra Singh as their son Vivek, died in a car accident and Chitra stopped singing after that. Jagjit too, was saddened after Vivek's death, often showing more of a philosophical side in a mellowed sober voice, singing mostly Hindu devotional songs (bhajans), solo. 7Later, he collaborated with Lata Mangeshkar for an album entitled Sajda meaning prostration in Urdu. His memorable songs after this were O Ma Tujhe Salaam from the 1993 movie Khalnayak and Tum Paas Aa Raahein Ho for Veer Zaara (2004) and Bhool Jaana from Shahrukh Bola Khoobsurat Hai Tu (2010). After returning from his UK tour in 2011, he was supposed to sing with Ghulam Ali, but on September 23, Jagjit Singh suffered a massive cerebral hemorrhage putting him into coma, which finally ended with his death on October 10, 2011.
Interesting points Of His Illustrious Musical Career
â€¢ The last album Jagjit and Chitra Singh sang together is entitled Somebody Somewhere â€¢ His album Beyond Time (1987) was the first digitally recorded CD in India â€¢ Vivek Singh Road on Breach Candy, Mumbai is dedicated to their son who died in a car accident in early 1990 â€¢ He is the only known musician to have composed and recorded two albums Nayi Disha (1999) and Samvedna (2002) written by erstwhile Prime Minister and poet Atal Behari Vajpayee â€¢ His biography, based on 40 hours of interviews with him is entitled Beyond Time, was released 2012, and is transcribed and edited by Ashrani Mathur â€¢ He made appearances in two films Boom Boom Hitz 2000 and Koi Baat Chale (2006) â€¢ Erstwhile Prime Minister Manmohan Singh released a commemorative stamp to honour Late Jagjit Singh in 2014 on his 73rd birth anniversary
Jagjit Singh was one of the most successful ghazal singer and composer in recent times, with a career spanning over five decades, 80 albums, much critical acclaim and commercial successes. According to some sources, his net worth was $20million.
â€¢ In 2012, State Government of Rajasthan posthumously awarded Jagjit Singh its highest civilian award, the Rajasthan Ratna. â€¢ In 2003, Singh was awarded the Padma Bhushan, India's third highest civilian award, by the government of India. â€¢ In 1998, Jagjit Singh was awarded Sahitya Academy Award, a literary honor in India. He was awarded for popularizing the work of Mirza Ghalib. â€¢ Sangeet Natak Academy Award. â€¢ Sahitya Kala Academy Award by Rajasthan government in 1998. â€¢ Ghalib Academy by Delhi Government in 2005. â€¢ Dayawati Modi Award in 1999. â€¢ Lata Mangeshkar Samman in 1998 by Madhya Pradesh government. â€¢ D. Litt. by Kurukshetra University, Haryana in 2003. â€¢ Teacher's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006.8th Teacher's Achievement Awards â€¢ Google India honoured Jagjit Singh with a doodle on his 72nd birthday on 8 February 2013.