On 23 September 2011, world changed forever for the fans of "Badshah-e-Ghazal" Jagjit Singh. The Maestro suffered a cerebral hemorrhage which would claim his life two weeks later. Desperate prays poured in from all over the world while he was in coma. No one was willing to let go of Jagjit Singh just yet. He still had years of music in him, and his voice was becoming more soulful with each passing year. And the man was much more than a musician, he had a rare connect with his team and his fans. His ability to gauge and transform the mood of his audience was legendary. His concerts were almost always completely booked with hopefuls still lining up outside the venues waiting to grab any unclaimed tickets. He was more than a celebrity. He was a "Yug Purush".
And today, almost 5 years after, people are still holding on. "I never use past tense when talking about Jagjit Uncle," says Deepak Pandit, the legendary violinist who started performing with Jagjit Singh at the age of 16. "Siri Fort Auditorium is like a temple to us," says Abhinav Upadhyay, the great tabla player. "We have had innumerable concerts here with him." Yesterday, on 18th March 2016, they were back in Siri Fort once again doing what they love the most - playing their instruments to the voice of none other than Jagjit Singh.
The concert "Ek Ehsaas" was an effort to let the voice of Jagjit Singh capture the world again. Apart from playing the violin, Deepak Pandit was conducting the orchestra. Anubhav Upadhyay and Heera Pandit were on the tabla. IIFA award winner Atul Raninga was on the keyboard. And Devendra Rajbhatt was playing the flute. Each musician, along with having spent considerable time with Jagjit Singh, has achieved great heights in their respective fields. None of them were charging any fee for the concert and all proceeds from the sale of the tickets were going to a charity.
"Baat niklegi to phir door talak jayegi...". The entire hall broke into an applause as soon as Jagjit Singh's voice flooded the auditorium. And after that it was an emotional ride. Members of the audience wiped their tears at the heartfelt rendering of "Hothon se chuu lo tum..." Their love for him was palpable when a young man shouted "We miss you..." at the last note of "Chitthi na koi sandesh...". Elderly ladies being helped down the stairs by their teenage grandsons. Young college girls tapping their fingers to the beats of the tabla. Solo listeners laying back on their seats with their eyes closed, lost to everything else but the Voice and the music. The troupe ended their gig with some Punjabi numbers and a promise that they will turn this concert into a tradition and will be back soon.
The concert however was not only about music. The musicians outdid themselves and one particular symphony right in the middle of the concert stood out. The musicians also shared their experiences with Jagjit Singh. His charming demeanor and general bigheartedness. How he would hold all their belongings - Jackets, wallets, mobile phones - as they themselves went for rides at Disney Land. How when asked if he was Jagjit Singh, he would answer, "No, I am his brother." In Las Vegas, how instead of telling his team off for spending all his money on roulette, he would trick them into going back to their rooms so that he could play the game peacefully. All adorable antics, the very reason why people still miss him.
All in all, a great concert. The best way to spend any evening. And apparently the organizers had to go through hell because of some last minute legal issues. They even had to change the entire content to avoid copyright issues. Instead of high quality recordings, they had to make do with clips available free of cost. And despite all this, they managed to do a stellar job. If you are a fan of Jagjit Singh and if you want this concert to go on, our appeal is to share high-quality clips of Jagjit Singh that you may have recorded with the organizers of Ek Ehsaas so that they can use them for these concerts.
Apart from making us cry, laugh, and introspect, the concert also did something else. By bringing his voice back, they made us realize that his spontaneity and wit are lost to us forever. You may bring back his recordings, but nothing can ever replace the Maestro. In a way, the concert put a stamp on his demise. The Maestro is no more and we are lucky to have shared the world with him. We must cherish those times and keep them alive in our memories forever. And if possible, share them with others because they are priceless.