Monday, December 19, 2005

Jagjit Singh - Sliding Away??

After a long time this Sunday, I attended a live concert of Jagjit Singh - Our own Gazhal Maestero. Four hours of soulful music with a huge audience. It was good as always, but I really did not feel my soul stirring in the same way as it did in the days when I grew up to become one huge fan of Jagjit. Could it be that he is sliding down the ladder which he climbed year after year, gazhal after gazhal and album after album. As I ponder - Some interesting questions arise.

No more innovating
His concerts are highly predictable now a days - not just the gazhals, even the jokes that he cracks, the break that he takes, his ideas of connecting to the audience - there is nothing new in his concerts for his committed fans. In fact, I noticed that his ardent followers (me included) know when his concert is going to finish (Thats when he picks up his Punjabi Songs - a signal that he is going to end that section in two songs flat). All this when a concert of his carries a five star price tag.

No more New Gazhals
There used to be a curiosity value about his concerts, a decade ago - that he would share new gazhals from his forthcoming albums. Now none seem to be on the cards - he has slowed down (or has been slowed down?) on creating new compositions. In fact Sazda was his last great innovation which was way back when Lata Mangeshkar was still singing with great zeal.

The Chitra Vaccum
Except for Sazda and to some extent marasim he did not deliver a truly outstanding album after the break-up of the duo. Chitra's sangat used to add the variety which made the two an unbeatable combination. None of his recent albums were a break away success because that variety was missing.

A Youth Icon??
It is heartening to see a huge young crowd (20-30years) in his concert. Surprising but true, His ageold albums & Gazhals still appeal to the young as much as they used to do a few decades ago to a generation which is now in their late thirties. It is almost like he is losing appeal in the older generation and with the same rate if not more he gets youth following.

This is another reason why his concerts are predictably a drag for his long time followers and fans. They are the same as we witnessed them years ago but a younger audience responds to the concert with same josh & exuberance as we used to do when we were that age. I have never seen or heard of farmaish (demand) from the audience of one of his deeper works like mirza Galib, A milestone or even sazda.

A Maestero
Jagjit undoubtedly is one of the best (if not the best). He experimented and made gazhal simple and popular. His voice even today is velvet. Will he bring his magic back once again - mushkil hai. But as his long time fan - I wish he does.