New Delhi: With his hands on the harmonium and lips half open in mid-song, a seated Jagjit Singh looks at you with his calm eyes from the Google doodle on his 72nd birth anniversary.
The Google logo appears partially hidden behind the ghazal maestro who passed away on October 11, 2011. He had suffered a brain hemorrhage.
Born on February 8, 1941, 'the ghazal king' was a singer, composer, activist and entrepreneur. He has sung in several languages including Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi and Nepali. Jagjit Singh entered the music circuit at a time which was primarily dominated by Pakistani ghazal singers, and Indian singers were considered relatively lesser authentic than their Pakistani counterparts.
Unlike other ghazal singers, Singh did not hesitate in lending his voice for films. His silky voice ruled during early 80's in films like Prem Geet, Saath Saath and Arth. However, his major work is spread over more than 60 filmy and non filmy albums.
Jagjit Singh was also known for modern approach and infusion of technology in the traditional art of ghazal singing. Singh was the first Indian music director to use the technique of multi-track recording for his album 'Beyond Time'
Recipient of Padma Bhushan award, Jagjit Singh was the man behind making the ghazal genre available and understandable to all. Prior to Singh, ghazal singing was considered as an elite art, which was difficult for the common mass to understand due to high class Urdu and Persian.
Jagjit Singh broke this myth by coming up with songs such as 'Kaagaz ki kashti', 'Chaak jigar ke', 'Kal chadhanvi ki raat thi', and 'Shaam se aankh me name si hai'. He mixed the words of legends like Ghalib, Qateel Shifai, Firaq Gorakhpuri, Nida Fazli and Sudarshan Faakir with melodious indigenous tunes and achieved a state where nothing came in between him and his listeners.
Later when television started showcasing music videos, he was among one of the prominent members of the music fraternity to avail the facility. He again came up with brilliant albums such as 'Face to Face', 'Marasim', 'Aaeena', and 'Dil Kahin Hosh Kahin'.
Jagjit Singh had also given his voice for ex-prime minister Atal Bihari Bajpayee poems in the albums 'Nayi Disha' and 'Samvedna'.
Jagjit Singh is survived by his wife Chitra Singh, with whom he had produced several record breaking albums. Their only son Vivek Singh had died in a road accident in 1990.