Pankaj Udhas and Anup Jalota sing in Malayalam in Jitesh Sundaram's album of ghazals - ‘Ennumee Swaram.'

Jitesh Sundaram has pulled off a musical coupe. He has brought two of India's leading ghazal singers – Pankaj Udhas and Anup Jalota – to sing in Malayalam.

The two maestros have sung in ‘Ennumee Swaram,' an album of ghazals composed by Jitesh. The album, which marks the Thalassery-born singer's debut as a composer, will be released in Kozhikode on January 5. “Although I have tuned ghazals and bhajans before, this is my first recording as a composer. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have Udhas and Jalota sing in the first ever album tuned by me,” says Jitesh.

Favourite singers

He adds: “They are among my favourite singers and they didn't accept any payment to sing in my album. Jalota has been my guru, without whose blessing I would not have become a ghazal singer. He was instrumental in giving me opportunities in Mumbai, where I am settled now.

“This is the first time that Udhas is singing in a South Indian language; yes, he did find the pronunciation of certain Malayalam words tough but he has tried hard. I would not claim that his or Jalota's diction is perfect, but I am sure Malayali music lovers would certainly enjoy listening to these great voices in my album.”

The rest of the songs in the album are sung by Jitesh himself. All the songs have been penned by Rafeeq Ahmed. “I got exactly what I wanted from Rafeeq. Contrary to what most people believe, a ghazal is not just a song sung at a low pace. A ghazal needs to meet certain requirements; for instance, a couplet has to stand on its own and its meaning and rhyme have to be used in a precise way. When I decided to come out with an album of ghazals in Malayalam, I wanted to do it in the true style of a ghazal,” says Jitesh, who sung and acted in Kamal's ‘Megha Malhar.'

He adds that he has got the best of musicians to work for ‘Ennumee Swaram.

He says he has tried to bring varied tones to his compositions. “I have created different moods and used different ragas such as Yaman, Bhairavi, Piloo, Desh, Kafi and Darbari,” he explains. Jitesh is planning to release the album in Hindi as well. “I will get all the songs written in Hindi and I might use even more singers for that album. I would like to work with someone like Chandan Das, a ghazal singer who hasn't got his due,” says Jitesh who also dreams of having Jagjit Singh sing a Malayalam ghazal one day.