Ghazal maestro Jagjit Singh is remembered for his melancholic, soulful voice and his exceptional talent in the music field. He was married to Chitra Singh, and together the musical lovebirds regaled many packed auditoriums at the peak of their respective careers. However, a personal setback in the form of couple’s teenaged son’s death brought their musical journey to a halt. While Chitra gave up singing altogether, Jagjit Singh returned to the field after a considerable gap. he passed away in 2011.
A few years ago, Chitra had spoken about how she met Jagjit and of their union to Filmfare. Recounting their first meeting in 1967, Chitra said, “I met him at a recording for a music director who wanted to compile a collection with various singers. My first memory of Jagjitji was him resting his hand on the door as I opened it.” Chitra added that at first, she was not keen to sing with Singh as she thought his voice was ‘too heavy.’
“I told the music director that his voice was too heavy and that I wouldn’t be able to sing the duet with him,” added Chitra.
The couple met at a time when Chitra had already been estranged from her then husband Debo Prasad Dutta. She had a daughter with Dutta called Monica, and was living separately at the time. When a besotted Jagjit Singh proposed marriage to Chitra, she declined and explained her situation. Jagjit Singh then took it upon himself to take up the proposal to her separated partner Dutta, hopeful for approval. According to an India Today report, Jagjit Singh had apparently asked for Chitra’s hand in marriage with a simple but unusual line — “I want to marry your wife.” The rest, as they say, is history.
Jagjit Singh and Chitra Singh shared a strong relationship, which was bound by love and mutual trust. Chitra revealed that like many partners, they too had nicknames for each other. But their names for each other were as unique as they come. Chitra stated, “He called me Mummy, I called him Papa. When Baboo (their late son Vivek) was alive, I’d say, ‘Jaao, Papa ko bulao’. That’s how I began calling him Papa.”
Known for singing ghazals like “Tumko Dekha Toh Ye Khayal Aaya,” “Hothon Se Choolo,” “Tum Itna Jo Muskura Rahe Ho,” “Jhuki Jhuki Si Nazar” among many others, the Ghazal sensation is primarily remembered for making that genre of music relatable and popular.
Jagjit Singh was awarded the Padma Bhushan for his contribution to arts in 2003. He passed away in 2011 after suffering a brain hemorrhage.