Alwida Mehdi Hasan sahib…

My oldest memories of listening to Mehdi Hasan sahib date back to school days when we used to listen to his duet with Noorjehan jado teri dunia ton pyar tur jayega, das fer dunia te ki reh jayega on Radio Pakistan, Lahore. Almost every alternate day this song played on Radio Pakistan, Lahore or Islamabad.

I loved Noorjehan’s voice but didn’t know much about Mehdi Hasan. While growing up I became a big fan of Pakistani music and regularly used to listen to it on radio but didn’t know about all the singers.

Years gone by and here I was doing my Engineering in 2000. My roommate was a huge fan of Jagjit Singh and from there I also started listened to some ghazals of Jagjit Singh. I don’t remember how but I started listening to Ghulam Ali and became a huge fan of him. I have listened to Ghulam Ali much more than Jagjit Singh. So that was how I started listening to Ghazals. I had heard a lot about the greatness of Mehdi Hasan but had never listened to him properly.

I think it was 2005 (if i remember correctly) that I listened to ranjish hi sahi and I became an instant fan of his rendition.

Then for quite some time I didnt really listen to Mehdi Hasan sahib. It was until 2007 when I came across one CD titled Mehdi Hasan – 40 immortal Ghazals. Once again I loved Mehdi sahib’s rendition of  Saleem Kauser’s main khiyal hoon kisi aur ka. That continued for quite some time but again only one ghazal.

Then came a time in 2007 or 2008 when I was alone for almost 2 months. All of my roommates either moved abroad or to some other cities in India. I was already his fan but now being alone gave me a plenty of time to listen to him. That was when I became his huge huge admirer. His style and handling of ghazals was so different from everyone else and just amazing. It was a different world. The CD I mentioned above had live versions of main khiyal hoon kisi aur ka, abke hum bichde & go zara si baat par. 

For complete 2 months, daily evenings were enlightened by magic of these three ghazals. Then started the journey to other gems like ranjish hi sahi (once again), main hosh mein tha, shola tha jal bujha hoon, yeh dhuaan sa kahan se uth-ta hai amoungst others. This journey continues till date while exploring the different live versions of his ghazals. He was, remains and will remain the king of ghazal singing. His style, the way he rendered poetry and his command on ghazal singing are absolutely magical. Now that he is no more with us, an era has ended. This void will never be filled. There is no one and there will be no one who can sing like him. There was and will be only one Mehdi Hasan. His music will remain alive with us for ever. I think the best tribute to him would be to listen to and remember the beautiful music he created make the coming generations aware of his magic. It is a sad day. I have no words to explain the feeling of loss that all the music lovers must be going through. Perhaps Faraz sahib aptly put it: ab ke hum bichde to shayad kabhi khwabon mein milein

We will miss you Mehdi Hasan sahib…may your soul rest in peace.

 

RIP Jagjit Singh

“kaun sahab nu aakhe ke inj nahi inj kar”

(Literal translation is: Who can dare tell God that do it like this, not like that ?)

How truly someone has put it in just a few words.

A very very sad day for music and the music lovers. The “one man army”, the captain of Indian Ghazal singing Jagjit Singh is no more. And even sadder is the thing that there is no-one to carry forward his legacy. His untimely demise marks the end of an era in the Indian music. There is no one like him, of the same status, same repute. In our sub continent also, there are very few names; Mehdi Hasan already stopped singing due to his health. At this moment the singing in 2 countries was being headed by Ghulam Ali & Jagjit Singh and one of them just left us. I can’t describe in words what a tremendous loss it is. Only a month back, we saw him perform live with Ghulam Ali and I was not at all happy with his performance and complained a lot about it. Because I wanted him to sing the classics he created. I feel lucky to have seen him perform live thrice in my life. I can’t just accept that he is no more with us.

Whose live show we are gonna attend now ?

Who will sing ghazals like Jagjit Singh ?

Posting some of my most favourite ghazals sung by him. Let us remember our hero and pray for the peace of his soul. Rest in Peace Mr Jagjit Singh !

agar hum kahein aur woh muskara dein

suntay hain ke mil jati hai

sar jhukaoge to pathar bhi devta ho jayega

kabhi yun bhi to ho

Ghulam Ali & Jagjit Singh live in concert

Just got back after watching Ghulam Ali & Jagjit Singh live in concert at Talkatora Stadium, New Delhi. It probably was for the first time that both were coming together on a single stage. The concert started with Ghulam Ali and as usual he was amazing. He started with faasle aise bhi honge and then went on to sing dil mein ek lehar si uthi hai abhi, chupke chupke, legendary Ahmed Faraz’s phir kisi rahaguzar par shayad, hungama hain kyon barpa and so on. And believe me it was an amazing performance. If someone is there after Mehdi Hasan, he is Ghulam Ali. After one and half hour Ghulam Ali freed the stage for Jagjit Singh

and

now comes the sad part 🙁

Jagjit Singh was totally disappointing. It was nothing more than playing a CD. He sang some idiotic ghazals that were sung in some movies. He almost didn’t speak anything, no interaction with the audience; just kept on singing one ghazal after another. By the time he was going to finish, it became bit ok but just a “bit”.

Then Jagjit Singh called Ghulam Ali on stage again and they started with a jugalbandi on Ghulam Ali’s lag gaye nain avede. One guy from Jagjit Singh’s orcehstra and then another one from Ghulam Ali’s orchestra also joined. That was totally awesome. Then they went on to sing a classical composition (I can’t recall the lyrics) and it was amazing too ! And that was the end of the show.

Ghulam Ali totally stole the show and Jagjit Singh was totally, absolutely disappointing and I don’t think I will ever go to watch Jagjit Singh again. It was totally a lifeless singing.  And by the way why doesn’t he use a mic with harmonium ? So that harmonium’s sound is not heard ? #FAIL

Show stop ! ‘ers and spoil ! ‘ers

Most of the Indians go to see live concerts because:

  • They are the people with approach and can manage to get free VIP passes and all.
  • They are from rich section of the society and can manage to buy tickets (if any).
  • Attending live concerts is a feel good thing and a bit of fun.

The real fans of artists are generally sitting in last rows, or even worse; standing. The folks sitting in VVIP and VIP sections are the the output of above 3 points. Anyways yesterday night there was a live concert of Ghulam Ali and me and 2 of my friends were ready to enjoy and had high hopes. So we got the tickets well in advance to avoid any “not available” etc etc situation. The time printed on the ticket was of 7 PM and 2 other singers were supposed to perform before Ghulam Ali. So we reached the venue around 6:15 to find that they had just started to setup the stage and other stuff. Nothing much strange as India runs like that only. Finally after 8 PM they started entering people and we got good seats. Weather was being tricky and a rainfall was a sure thing to happen. Finally things started moving a bit and it started drizzling as well. They introduced some local signer on stage and he left after singing 1 song. Then came the two expected ones; a man and a lady and till then it was no more drizzling; it was raining. Things continued but people were waiting for Ghulam Ali only.

Then after 9:30 Ghulam Ali came (rain had stopped by then) and was seated in the first row with some chief guests and that guy and the lady were still singing.  Now  those guys were not supposed to waste any time but he still continued. Many people had even left till this moment. Ghulam Ali took the control of stage around 9:45. It has been just half an hour or little more that  police came to get it closed due to 10:30 PM limit. Somehow somebody talked to them and the matter was sorted out but probably for some time only. After sometime a policeman came in front of the stage, raised his hands and asked them to stop ! Man just imagine, an artist of the stature of Ghulam Ali singing on stage and a policeman, in this way, telling him to stop; what a crying shame !!! What the heck the organizers were doing at that time ? Anyways Ghulam Ali did acknowledge him and said “shayad woh keh rahe hain k hum yeh band kar dein…bas 2 min mein kar dete hain….” Ghulam Ali said the final words and started to leave.

Then the stage was taken over by the host. He got pretty emotional and said that some xyz of Delhi is sitting here (some counselor or something was sitting there in guests). The night clubs can run up to 4 AM. There is not an issue with that but a ghazal mehfil cant continue after 10:30 PM. Then some action was taken and permission was given for another half an hour or so. Then Ghulam Ali started again but the taste has been lost till then. So things were just not that good.

And about the ambiance and other things there i just don’t understand what the heck is the need for people to bring their 0-14 yrs kids along. And then eating chips, sipping soft drinks…ghazal mehfils are for that ? On stage on guy is going up, another coming down etc etc. One sick idiot was standing in front of the stage and shooting with his video camera, Ghulam Ali requested him twice to stop but everything fell on deaf ears. Then two security guards came and literally pushed him away. Still he was not ready to move. Enough of  crap…

Lets talk about the whatever little Ghulam Ali saab sang…well he started with Ghalib’s har ek baat pe kehte ho with an opening sher from ishq mujhko nahi vahashat hi sahi……then came Faraz saab’s hui hai shaam to aankhon mein bas gaya hai fir tu followed by dil mein ik lehar si uthi hai abhi; amazingly done. Every time the word leher being presented with different sur taal and style. Pure magic ! After that pehli wari aj uhna akhian ne takkia. And then in hurry few others like awargi and hum tere shahar mein aaye hain.

At the end it was a magical show spoiled by few idiots ! We came back so sad and disappointed. An oppurtunity to watch such a great artist lost 🙁

And for the friends who would like to know what what according to me a ghazal mehfil should be like, please watch these videos. This is what magic a ghazal mehfil can create.