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File picture of Nida Fazli and Jagjit Singh


Jagjit Singh watches Deepak Pandit, Suresh Wadkar and Sonu NIgam celebrate his birthday

IT was a day of joy, it was a day of sorrow, it was an evening of celebration, it was an evening of mourning, it was a late legend’s 75th birth anniversary, it was a great poet’s final journey.

Ghazal fans and 1980s film music lovers would remember February 8, 2016, as the day 77-year-old poet Nida Fazli passed away when many were celebrating the late Jagjit Singh’s 75th birthday. Ironically, many will tell you that Jagjit passed away on October 10, 2011, exactly two days before Fazli was to turn 73.

The news of Fazli’s death came in the afternoon, initially through the social media and then through confirmation from online newspaper sites. Till then, people were posting Jagjit songs on Facebook and WhatsApp. This blogger had even written a tribute in The Hindu, Mumbai, a link of which is pasted below. Later in the evening, a huge concert was scheduled to celebrate the ghazal legend’s birthday.

With this background in mind, it will be interesting to chart the day’s progress. In the first half, the Jagjit ghazal ‘Duniya Jisey Kehte Hain’ and his Sarfarosh song ‘Hoshwalon Ko Khabar Kya’ made it to many online interactions. Some even shared ‘Kiska Chehra Ab Main Dekhoon’, the Jagjit-Alka Yagnik number from Tarkieb. Strangely, there was hardly any mention of Fazli, who wrote them.

Many other Jagjit favourites were shared. From Kafeel Aazer’s ‘Baat Niklegi Toh Phir’ to Sudarshan Faakir’s ‘Yeh Kaagaz Ki Kashti’, from Ameer Minai’s ‘Sarakhti Jaaye Rukh Se Naqaab’ to Qateel Shifai’s ‘Sadma Toh Hai Mujhe Bhi’, from Indeevar’s ‘Honton Se Choo Lo Tum’ (Prem Geet) to Kaifi Azmi’s ‘Tumko Dekha Toh Yeh Khayal Aaya’ (Arth), everyone posted without naming the poets. Strangely, only Ghalib was named for ‘Hazaaron Khwahishen’ and ‘Aah Ko Chahiye’, perhaps by those wanted to show off their Urdu poetry knowledge.

Once the news of Fazli’s death came in, his songs took over. Besides ‘Duniya Jisey Kehte Hain’, ‘Hoshwalon’ and ‘Kiska Chehra’, other Jagjit songs included ‘Har Taraf Har Jagah’, ‘Abhi Khushi Hai Na Koi Dard’ and ‘Apna Gham Leke Kahin Aur’. Non-Jagjit favourites like ‘Kabhi Kisiko Muqammal Jahaan Nahin Milta’ (Ahista Ahista), ‘Tu Is Tarah’ (Aap Toh Aise Na The) and ‘Aa Bhi Ja’ (Sur) were part of the share-list. Tributes were flashed across Facebook, and many responded with a formal ‘RIP’.

Cut to around 6.45 pm, when a serpentine queue was seen outside the Shanmukhananda Hall waiting for the Jagjit birthday concert. Many people seemed excited about Zakir Hussain and Sonu Nigam, who were to perform that night. Similar chats were heard in the canteen a few minutes later, but there was hardly any buzz about Fazli.

The Jagjit event turned out to be a perfect celebration. Beginning with a fusion set featuring violinist Deepak Pandit, drummer Ranjit Barot and keyboardist Atul Raninga, it went on to have ghazals by Hariharan and Suresh Wadkar, and some Jagjit songs by Sonu Nigam. With some accompaniment from Wadkar and violinist Pandit, he sang ‘Koi Yeh Kaise Bataaye’ (Arth), ‘Tum Itna Jo Muskura Rahe Ho’ and ‘Honton Se Choolon Tum’, and with a pepped up Ranjit Barot drum section, ‘Sarakti Jaaye’.

Flautist Pt Hariprasad Chaurasia came next with Ustad Zakir Hussain, after which Kathak maestro Pt Birju Maharaj joined the tabla wizard on what was to be the evening’s highlight. At 78, the man danced so effortlessly. In the finale, Chaurasia, Birju Maharaj, Hariharan and Zakir came together on ‘Krishna Nee Begane Baaro’ and the Bhairavi composition ‘Na Maaro Bhar Pichkari’.

Chitra Singh later cut a cake with others joining in the Happy Birthday song. Up in Paradise, Jagjit probably was having a reunion with his old friend Nida Fazli, and telling him how happy he was with the celebrations down on earth.

The Hindu article on Jagjit Singh can be found on


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