Rating : 9/10
Review by Ankur Sardana
His voice had a unique dilasa dene wali quality. It was like a half-healed wound, which you want to scratch because it itches, but hurts when you do so. It was a mix of pleasure and pain . Gulzar.
His music is about life, its lessons and the melody of the simplicity of these lessons. His voice is as familiar as that of a close family member.
Limited by my understanding of Urdu (I wish we had Hindustani as our national language instead of Hindi, do watch the Constitution Series by Shyam Benegal on Rajya Sabha TV, Making of the Constitution) I could only enjoy the lyrics of Ghalib (album/video) to a fraction. But that fraction has been providing the necessary company to me through the ‘pleasure and pain’ all my life.
I do not know if there are any other songs sung or enacted, like the ones below :
‘harek baat par‘
‘hazaron khwahishein aisi‘
Seldom is a biography so well done. But then Sathya Saran is no ordinary writer. She gifted us a masterpiece in ’10 years with Gurudutt’ and I am sure her S.D. Burman biography would be as good (on my reading list).
This story is as much about Jagjit as Chitra. The opposites and equals.
- Not just a rosy obituary : Chitra is blunt at times and so is Sathya. They go as far as to not malign him but to ‘reprimand’ him, off course with love. There is the same mix of pleasure and pain in the narrative as his life.
- An inspirational figure : Pure talent also needs to be moulded, packaged, sold and the process never ends. An artist cannot sit on top of his work and say I’m now done. Jagjit Singh’s relentless story comes across as real and inspirational, and that’s because it has been written and paced so well.
- The relationship : Between Jagjit and Chitra is a winner. In fact Chitra Singh and the relationship is a bigger takeaway from the book that Jagjit Singh. Chitra’s interviews are mixed masterly in the narrative. Their jodi was a market, talent and life winner.
- Trivia : The narrative is laced with anecdotes from people close to him, which makes a warm read. Mostly, everyone is politically correct. Listen to one of the jokes from Jagjit Singh (The book mentions his habit of joking between ghazals). Stories about Mirza Ghalib, his recordings, film music, his horses etc etc. are laced with healthy trivia dose.
- Pictures : It’s a delight to see personal and professional pictures been published so lavishly. That too at no cost of the text.
- Discovering young Jagjit : Devoid of the cockiness and irritation which was present in the interviews, stage shows towards the end, the younger Jagjit is refreshing and passionate. It was a pleasant surprise to come across the Panjabi tappe, for which I searched after reading the book. Look at his singing style, the hunger, the effort and the craziness.
And this one below is such a gem !
Have a look at this interview , especially when he talks about Pakistan and Politics
Predictable structure : Since it’s Sathya Saran, one could expect maybe a newer form of story telling, say a non-linear way.
Overall, a must read for all Jagjit Singh fans. Which means all of us who can enjoy the mixture of pain, pleasure, melody and a drink.
Thanks Sathya Saran for the wonderful book. Buy the book here : Amazon
A book which has been quoted a lot in the book (the interviews of Jagjit Singh)
Review on moifightclub.