Lyricist Manoj Muntashir has unveiled a ghazal that he says was originally meant to be sung by the late ghazal maestro Jagjit Singh.
"Jagjitji wanted to record 'Mujhe kisi se pyar nahi', but he left us before these words could reach the recording studio. I can never forget the twinkle in his eyes when he heard these verses. His taste for good poetry is not hidden from anyone. I was a little nervous while reading out the ghazal to him. He maintained a stoic face initially, but soon he gave up and his eyes widened," Muntashir recalled, while speaking to IANS.
"Even before I could finish the narration, he extended his diary and asked me to pen it down. I wrote the whole ghazal, and then he said, 'write down your address also'. I asked, 'uncle you have my mobile number, why address?' He replied: 'Cheque kya mobile number pe bhejoonga?' (Will I send the cheque on your mobile?)" He answered my question with another question. I was overjoyed," he added.
The song, with music by Deepak Pandit and vocals by singer Papon, was unveiled on the occasion of Jagjit Singh's ninth death anniversary on Saturday.
"Deepak Pandit, India's leading musician and a very close associate of Jagjitji, is like a family member to me. We keep meeting and jamming. We would often recall the incident with Jagjitji till one day last year, Deepak said, 'Manoj bhai, let's record that ghazal and pay a tribute to Jagjitji'. How could I say no? He composed it and played it to me. I was in tears," recalled the lyricist.
"Then, we needed a singer who had enough soul and talent to qualify to sing a ghazal that was originally to be sung by Jagjit Singh. After loads of brainstorming, we ended up with Papon. We presented the ghazal to him and within moments he was on board. Now when the ghazal has been released and is getting wide acceptance, I feel had Jagjitji been alive today, he would have hugged Papon tight for his magical rendition," he added.
Muntashir calls "Mujhe kisi se pyar nahin" a very "young ghazal at its core".
"Ghazal and youth may seem poles apart but it's all about getting the emotions right. Once we are simple and unpretentious enough to invite youngsters into the beautiful, dim-lit universe of poetry, they show no reluctance and loads of respect for this kind of music," Muntashir said.
"This particular ghazal talks about the denial of being in love and the paradox that follows. We have kept the words, melody singing and sound very young and very contemporary," he added.