Ghazal king Jagjit Singh dies in Mumbai hospital

Ghazal king Jagjit Singh dies in Mumbai hospital
Renowned ghazal singer Jagjit Singh died this morning at the Lilavati Hospital in Mumbai after he suffered a brain hemorrhage. Mr Singh was 70.

Mr Singh's funeral will take place tomorrow at the Chandanwadi crematorium in Mumbai. He was admitted to hospital on September 23, hours before he was scheduled to perform at a concert in the city.

Doctors kept him in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) till he died. Reports say he had been on life support for the last few days.

Mr Singh is survived by his wife, Chitra.

Jagjit Singh was born on February 8, 1941 in Sriganganagar, Rajasthan, to Amar Singh Dhiman, a government employee, and Bachan Kaur. He had four sisters and two brothers and was called Jeet by his family.

He was raised as a Sikh by religion. His birth name was Jagmohan but his Sikh father rechristened him as Jagjit following the advice of his guru.

It was Mr Singh's father, who first recognised his son's talent. He sent young Jagjit to learn the nuances of music under a blind teacher, Pandit Chhaganlal Sharma.

He later trained under Ustad Jamal Khan of the Sainia Gharana for six-years and gained knowledge in Khayal, Thumri and Dhrupad forms.

His debut album in 1976-The Unforgettable -did not make a hollow claim. Mr Singh made his mark with hits like Yeh zindagi kisi aur ki, Mere naam ka koi aur hai, Patta-patta boota-boota haal hamaara jaane hai, Hontho se chhoo lo tum, Tum ko dekha, Hazaar baar ruke ham and hazaar baar chale, at a time when ghazals were rendered by powerhouses like Mehdi Hasan, Noor Jehan, Beghum Akhtar and Talat Mehmood.

One of the most successful and loved artistes of his time, he has left behind a huge body of work in a career spanning five decades, including 80 albums.

Among his most memorable numbers were Tum itna jo muskara rahe ho, Apni marzi se kahan apne safar ke hum hain and Pehle har cheez thi apni magar ab lagta hai apne hi ghar mein kisi doosre ghar ke hum hain.

Critics often suggested he sacrificed technique for melody. It didn't matter to the thousands of fans that enabled the album to set sales records.

Writer Khuswant Singh commented, "He sings better than Mehdi Hassan and looks better than Dilip Kumar."

Mr Singh married Chitra Datta in 1970. She belonged to a musical family in Kolkata and had been married when she was very young to a man who ran a sound recording studio.

Chitra was a popular jingle singer and her marriage had unravelled by the time she met Mr Singh.

They first worked on jingles for ad films together. Then came Unforgettable.

Through films like Saath Saath and director Mahesh Bhatt's debut, Arth, their popularity climaxed. The Singhs travelled the world for sold-out concerts. Perhaps their best work together was in the teleseries made by Gulzar on Mira Ghalib.

In 1990, their only child, Vivek, died in a road accident. Chitra gave up singing. Mr Singh cut back drastically on his albums and concerts, opting instead to lend his support to campaigns for children''s causes.

Man Jite Jagjit, containing Sikh devotional Gurbani, was the first album he recorded after his son's demise.

The Padma Bhushan awardee is also the only composer and singer to have composed and recorded songs written by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in two albums, Nayi Disha (1999) and Samvedna (2002).

Mr Singh was planning team up with Gulzar again after the success of Mirza Ghalib for an album based on the letters and poems of the 18th century poet.
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