|Chitra Singh mainly sings Ghazal music in Hindi.
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ıMusic is everything to me and if you take it away, nothing remains of me. It thaws me and then it warms me and finally it becomes my total self.ı These words echo the sentiments of Ghazal Queen, Chitra Singh.
Chitra Singh hails from a Bengali Shome family of Calcutta. Her mother, Krishna Roy, was a Classical vocalist. Chitra was the only child of her parents. She did her graduation in English Honours and also learnt Classical Music and Rabindra Sangeet in Calcutta. She had a diverse range of interests, ranging from painting to dance forms like Manipuri and Bharat Natyam.
Chitra shifted to Mumbai, to try her luck as a playback singer. She loved the hills and the expanse of the sea around her. The Metropolis appeared to be more culturally vibrant. She used to approach music directors, but with no success. Some times, she got a chance to sing in advertisements and also sang jingles.
During this difficult period, Chitra was also in the throes of a collapsing marriage. Jagjit Singh met her in 1965. She appeared to be the most beautiful woman that he had ever seen. Her trained voice was an extra benefit to him. Jagjit started accompanying Chitra on her rounds to music directors, as both of them were strugglers in Mumbai. In the mean time, Chitra obtained a divorce.
Chitra also reciprocated the love of the youngster from Punjab. When they had no work, the two spent hours and days, lost in the world of love and music. Both of them used to sing jingles for advertisements. Ghazals brought them together further. Jagjit reminisces about those days in his various interviews, ıChitra came from a very different world. She became my anchor, she made me choose my way of life, my life style, my path as a musician.ı
Struggle And Rise
They got married in 1967, after which they started giving Ghazal performances together, whenever they found a suitable sponsor and an audience. At this point, Chitra had a major hand in establishing her husbandıs credentials. Chitra was under going proper training from her husband, in Ghazals. The June 1995 issue of FilmFare quoted, ıClearly, Chitra had always been a perfect foil on stage and off it, she is the glittering edge, to his rough cut image.ı
Chitra cut her first EP (extended playing) disc in 1971, using the name Chitra Dutta. Soon the husband and wife team became immensely popular. Style
They use simple and attractive couplets, which have universal appeal. Their choice of poets was from a very wide ranging group, spanning the entire country and Pakistan. They frequently used the Ghazals of Sudarshan Fakir and Muzaffar Warsi of Pakistan. They became more popular with the epoch making TV serial, Mirza Ghalib, in which both of them gave music direction.
They were the earliest to experiment successfully with Western and Indian tunes, for Ghazals. The blend was superb and music lovers liked it beyond measure. The couple was a trendsetter and they applied both Western and Indian musical instruments for Ghazals, to pull younger crowds. They are also noted for being the first musician couple that recorded digitally in India.
Jagjit Singh has released about 45 cassettes, records and CDs on Ghazals, Bhajans and Punjabi folk songs, of which many of the compositions had Chitra accompanying him. Some of their notable albums are:
Chitra sang the Ghazals of famous poets, like Seemab Akbarabadi, Sudarshan Fakir, Rana Sahri, Hasrat Mohani, Firaq Gorakhpuri, Bashir Badr, Prem Warbartoni, Faragh Roohvi, Rustom Sehgal Wafa, Shaharyar and so on. The Ghazals, which she sang with zeal and fervour, are given below:
1. ıYeh To Nahin Ki Gham Nahinı
2. ıSocha Nahin Acha Buraı
3. ıKabhi To Khul Ke Barası
4. ıAankh Se Aankh Milaı
5. ıManzil Na De Charagh Na Deı
6. ıKhuda Hamko Aisi Khudai Na Deı
7. ıDekha Jo Aina To Mujhe Sochna Padaı
8. ıKya Khabar Thi Is Tarah Se Woh Juda Ho Jayegaı
9. ıAise Hijr Ke Mausamı
10. ıJab Bhi Tanhai Mein Ghabra Keı
Chitra stopped singing and retired completely from singing after the sudden death of their only son, Vivek Singh in a car accident, on July 28, 1990. Her fans await her comeback.