Tell us something more about your new album Tera Bayaan Galib.
We have named the album Tera Bayaan Galib as it contains letters and ghazals by Mirza Galib (legendary Urdu poet). Jagjit saab (late singer Jagjit Singh) has sung the ghazals, while I have recited portions of the letters.
What made you come up with an album on Galib?
You have heard some of these ghazals in the tele-serial also (Mirza Galib produced by Gulzar in 1988). All of us were part of that project also. It had Jagjit, Naseeruddin Shah saab and Salim saab (Arif) and me. Aur hum sab ke saath Galib bhi the….zaheer hai. We always wanted to make an extension of the serial as Galib has said so much. This album contains not only ghazals by Galib, but also his nasr (prose). Galib had penned prose to give an extension to his ghazals. Salim saab had a format and concept on this which he used to do on stage as Galibnaama. So, as I said earlier, both Jagit and I wanted to extend this and complete the series. And we gave the reign in the hands of Salimsaab to give a face to the concept and as a director, let us know where to put our inputs.
Did you face any difficulty in completing the last project of Jagjit Singh?
I wanted to complete the work that he (Jagjit) left unfinished. We were all sitting prepared in our respective places and waiting to complete this project. I am very, very happy that SaReGaMa gave me this opportunity to come up with this album because the way people took responsibility of getting this album done, I didn’t know whom to call for extension. I am happy that at least there is one music company that is still dedicated to such quality work.
How did you complete the song part without Jagjit Singh?
All we had were some from our serials which SaReGaMa had preserved in their CDs, some which he used to hum, some which were not in his previous albums and some that were left half-done. We collected all that and placed them in-between the letters…just like you put chirags (earthen lamps)… Jagjit ki yaad mein … and pay a tribute to him on everyone’s behalf.
Do you think today’s generation will respond positively to your album?
I am hopeful and yet apprehensive whether this generation will actually want to know Galib or not. I get depressed when young people ask me who Galib is…today’s generation doesn’t even know him, let aside his works and what he said.
Indian cinema will complete its 100 years in 2013. Can you share how the songs in films got its face?
By the time we crossed 50 years of cinema, storytelling matured. The sheheri babu (man from city) concept almost disappeared. We got to know about foreign countries like England and our stories changed. When stories changed, it gave way a face to geet. Leaving behind ghazals and folks, urban stories demanded new lyrics and songs where there will a mukhra then music followed by two lines on antara and then a cross-line (we used to call it linking line in those days)..and finally the sthayi retured…this was the form we followed. Well-known shayars from Hindi and Urdu were also part of this process- Shakeel saab, Aarzoo Lakhnavi and several others. And it became a brand — this is how a song should look like.
Sreya Basu / Trans World Features (TWF)