jagjit-singh

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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 Singh’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 “Unforgettable” 1976 changed the face of Ghazal and non-film music forever. Its quality and charm won over a new audience who wanted to get away from the deteriorating filmy music but didn’t know where to go. “Baat Niklegi”, “Aahista Aahista”, “Dard Badhkar”, “Bohot Pehle Se” brought him attention from the whole nation and put him in a different orbit. They had now arrived! This album was followed by a Punjabi album “Birha Da Sultan” followed by “Milestone” setting new records in sales and acceptance.

It his here that “India Today” included Jagjit & Chitra Singh in their list of “50 People who changed our Lives” and Khuswant Singh said about Jagjit Singh-“He sings better than Mehdi Hassan and looks better than Dilip Kumar”. It is you his audience who can put a stamp of approval or otherwise on these.

One very important facet of Jagjit Singh’s life is his passions for Horses & Racing. He owns stabled race horses which are looked after by his team of trainers and syces. His relaxation comes from Horses and being around them. He has derby wins to his credit, a feat that gives him immense pleasure and satisfaction.

A colossus in the world of Music, the duo in real life are simple, humorous, unassuming persons touching the hearts of both, the connoisseur of Music as well as the common man.