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When Jagjit Singh Made History With Lata Mangeshkar

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Like so many myths and misrepresentations  regarding the  Goddess Of All Melodious Things, which were  floating around  while she was  still here with us, the misinformation  regarding the milestone historic  album  titled Sajda  that she recorded with  Jagjit Singh needs to be  extinguished  with immediate effect.

I am talking  about the myth that  Jagjit Saab’s  better-half Chitra Singh  wouldn’t  “allow” him to  sing with  the great Lata Mangeshkar although he  was  pining  to do so.

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 This is complete  bunk. And  all those who have heard the captivating  content in Sajda  which to  this day endures as a consummate  masterpiece  of Ghazal  composition, and one of the finest albums in Lataji’s repertoire, is testimony to Chitra Singh’s  support in making the dream  project  come true.

 For years and  years Jagjit Saab  harboured the dream  of  doing an album with his Latabai. The  cynics said it wasn’t happening because his wife opposed  the  idea . This was  far from the  truth.Chitra in fact knew Lataji  from long before  Jagjit.  Chitra was  a chorus singer in some of Lataji’s songs in the  1960, and  big fan   of  the Nightingale. After Chitra  coupled with Jagjit the duo became  a rage on stage.

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“Pataa nahin  waqt kaise nikal gaya. Chitra and  I  became  so  successful we had no idea  time for  the album that I  wanted to  do with Latabai. Also,Latabai was busy with  numerous recordings day in and day out. We both needed  a phase of freedom and respite to  do Sajda,” Jagjit Saab told me.

 Sajda  finally  happened  in 1991 after  years  of dreaming and delay. The credit must  go to Sanjeev  Kohli, son  of  the illustrious composer Madan Mohan and at that time  a top  executive at  HMV/Saregama,  who  pushed for  the  album  to happen.

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How  much poorer the music world would have been without Sajda! The ground-breaking Ghazals,  7 solos by Lataji and  her 4 duets  with Jagjit Singh, plus   2  solos  by Jagjit are  architectural marvels. These are  compositions of eternal resplendence, each one  a selfcontained Taj Mahal of  a creation.

Lataji’s solos  Dard  se  mera  daaman  bhar de (poetry: Qatil Shifai) ,Meri tasveer mein rang aur kissika toh nahin(Muzaffar Warsi) and Dhuan  banake  fiza mein uda diya  mujhko(Nazeer Baqri) rank among her  finest Ghazals,  right next to Madan Mohan’s  compositions in  Adalat and Jahan Ara , and Hridaynath Mangeshkar’s Ghalib.

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 Then  there are  her duets with  Jagjit Singh, the only songs  they sang together: Har teraf  har jegah besghumar aadmi, Gham  ka khazana   tera  bhi hai mera  bhi  and Mili  hawaon mein udne ki woh sazaa yaaron…. 40 years after  composition, every song  in  Sajda sounds as fresh  and  accessible as  it was  composed yesterday.

Lataji  had spoken to me about  the  album Sajda  and Jagjit Singh:  “The first time I heard about Jagjit Singh, I was recording with Madan Mohan who told me, ‘Ek Jagjit naam ka ladka aaya hai bahut achcha gaata hai.’ When I heard his voice I was bowled over, but somehow Jagjitji’s voice was not considered suitable for film heroes at that time.As time passed his voice became a household name and he sang for many film heroes.But it was the song Sarakti jaye hai rukh se naqaab ahista ahista which I just couldn’t get out of my head. Jagjitji was highly influenced by Mehdi Hassan and gradually he moulded his voice in his style.He also met his future wife Chitra Singh and they became a very saleable Ghazal-singing couple. So many other couples subsequently tried to emulate the Jagjit-Chitra style, but in vain.”

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 Lataji revealed  that  initially Sajda, recorded in 1991, was supposed to have only her solos. “It was  supposed  to be  only  me singing to Jagjitji’s compositions. But I told him he had to sing as well. This was my chance to sing with a voice I had liked for years. Sajda was an idea put forward by Madan Bhaiyya’s son Sanjeev Kohli who worked at that time with HMV. They asked me if I would like to do an album with Jagjitji. I was game. Jagjitji got very emotional when I sang his composition Dard se mera daaman bhar de. He was going through a personal tragedy and the song touched his heart.”

The  personal tragedy that Lataji alluded  to was the death  of Vivek, Jagjit and Chitra’s only son who died  at age  19  in  1990. It left the couple shattered.Chitra never sang again. Another  renowned  singer Chithra from the South  also  lost her only child in a  freak drowning accident. She  too never sang again.

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Karan Johar Moves Alia Song From Switzerland To Kashmir

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Rocky Aur Rani  Ki Prem Kahaani

The  romantic duet in  Karan Johar’s Rocky Aur Rani  Ki Prem Kahaani  which was to be  shot in Switzerland and which was  delayed  due to the film’s leading lady Alia Bhatt’s motherhood, is now being relocated to  Kashmir.

Purely out of  the  love for  new mom Alia.

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Says a source in the know, “Karan loves Alia  like his own daughter. He would do anything for her. He postponed  the  release of Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani as the love duet could not be shot before Alia’s maternity leave. Karan had decided to shoot the song in Switzerland  after Alia’s maternity love. But now he has relocated the song to Kashmir  as Alia doesn’t want to leave her  baby girl behind for  long stretches.”

And as Karan Johar argued, snow is  snow. How does it matter whether it is  Switzerland or Kashmir?

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This  song would be Karan Johar’s tribute to  his  idol Yash Chopra. Alia would be dressed in chiffon sarees while  Ranveer, for  a change, would be seen in  formals.

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Bobby Deol’s Switchover To Villainous Roles

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Bobby Deol

After  Prakash Jha’s webseries Ashram where Bobby  played a sleazy  godman, and Love Hostel  where  he was a ruthless assassin,   he is playing the villain to Ranbir Kapoor in  Sandeep Vanga’s  Animal.

Bobby says it is not conscious career decision to play negative characters  but a conscious  decision to play interesting characters. “ I don’t look at  characters as positive or negative.When I watch  films there is always  one character  that stays  with you. I want to play that  character.”

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Prakash Jha’s Ashram proved a gamechanger for Bobby.  He admits finding  challenging roles is tough.  “I am trying. I  am doing Sandeep Vanga’s Animal with Ranbir  Kapoor , Parineeti Chopra. Then I am doing the family film Apne  2 which I am  very excited  about.”

 In an  earlier  interview with  this writer Bobby spoke  about his   long absence  from screen  before Prakash Jha’s Ashram.  “My fans   would ask why I wasn’t being seen on the screen.And I couldn’t tell them it was  because  I wasn’t getting good roles. But my fans  stood by me. They gave me  the strength  to  keep looking for the right roles. Thankfully I found the roles I liked. My new  films have given  me  some new fans. I am  thankful  I am still here. Yeah , I am in a good space right now.”

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Pathaan Collects 55 crore nett in India On Day 1

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Pathaan

YRF’s Pathaan has apparently wiped out all previous records as it collected 55 crore nett in India and recorded the biggest ever Day 1 for a Hindi film. The total collections of Pathaan on Day One is 57 crore nett (Hindi – 55 crore and dubbed versions 2 crore).

It is the widest Hindi release of  all  time in India and also the highest grossing 1st Day for a   Hindi film.It is  also the  highest grosser  on the  first first for a  non-holiday release. Pathhan is  also the highest  opener for Shah Rukh Khan.

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Akshaye Widhani, CEO of Yash Raj Films, says, “It is a historic day for Indian cinema and we are humbled to see the love and appreciation that is flowing for Pathaan globally. For Pathaan to shatter records in this fashion on a non holiday, just proves that the theatrical business is here to stay, provided we make films that entice people to come to the cinemas to witness a never seen before experience that entertains them thoroughly.“

He adds, “We, at YRF, are thrilled with the start that the film has got across India and we are hopeful that Pathaan brings joy to cine-goers globally in the days to come! Pathaan is the fourth film of our YRF Spy Universe and we are thrilled that we have been able to elevate the cinematic experience of audiences with each film from this franchise. We humbly share this moment with all the stake-holders of the film who have given their blood, sweat and tears to give people a movie-going experience like never before.”

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“Professionally, What  A Year It Has Been For Me,” Raveena Tandon On Her Padma Shri

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Raveena Tandon

Raveena Tandon  feels  she is in a dream. “I woke  up  today to the  news that  I have been awarded the Padma Shri by  my Government. I felt all my years  of hard work  has  finally come to  fruition.I can’t wait to get  back to Mumbai.”

Raveena  is  in Bhopal attending a  wedding.  “I woke  up  on Thursday morning to the good news. My husband(film distributor Anil Thadani) who is in Mumbai had no clue about it. I had to inform him that his wife is now Padma Sri Raveena,” she laughs heartily.

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She then grows  melancholic. “The past one year has been a whirlwind  for me. Professionally, it couldn’t get any better. My webseries Aranyak on Netflix  and  then the bigscreen  blockbuster KGF 2 where I played one of the protagonists , became huge  successes.Sadly,it  was  also the year that  I lost my father(well-known producer-director Ravi Tandon). It was  the severest blow of my life.I am still processing the loss. The Padma Shri would have made  my Dad so proud.”

Remind her  she is  still young and already a Padma winner and Raveena expresses  her  happiness. “I guess I am lucky to have received the honour at the  midpoint of my life and career. I am also very happy that M M  Keeravani Sir has  also received the Padma Shri.His Naatu naatu has  the  world dancing to his tune. But even  before Naatu naatu he has done such exemplary work.”

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Getting nostalgic Raveena  says, “I started working when I was 17.I have done every kind of  cinema, balancing out a Chote Miyan  Bade Miya  with  a Shool, a Rakshak with a  Ghulam-e-Mustafa,  a Bulundi and a Khauff with a Daman and an Aks. It’s  always been  my endeavour to be be seen in escapism and  real cinema. Some people think dancing around trees  and  doing the masala  stuff is easy.  It is  not!  In fact  being real on screen is far easier.”

Raveena feels the  good days  are  back in the entertainment  industry. “I saw Pathaan and  I whistled  and clapped the loudest. It is  an out-and-out mass entertainer and bound to revive the  sagging fortunes  of  our industry.  While the Padma Shri is a personal triumph,  the success of Pathaan  is  a happy occasion for the entire industry.So yeah, I am on top of  the world,”

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Raveena’s fans  would like to know her khubsoorati  ka raaz.

She  laughs, “It’s nothing more than sleeping and eating right. I  try to eat  correctly. I have only  organic  food. More  importantly,I am happy and secure in life. If you are content within it is  bound show on your face.”

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