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Straight from the heart

Combined effort:Mitali and Bhupinder Singh’s latest album will feature eight new ghazals.

Combined effort:Mitali and Bhupinder Singh’s latest album will feature eight new ghazals.

It’s early evening and Shivaji Park is buzzing with cricket matches and brisk walkers. At the Barista across the road, singer Bhupinder Singh orders cold coffee while wife Mitali settles for a cappuccino. They have just returned from a photo shoot with their guitar-playing son, Nihaal, and camaraderie fills the air.

Today, the ghazal duo will present their concert, ‘ Dil Ki Zubaan ’ at the Nehru Centre. Their latest album, with the same title, shall be released too.

Interestingly, the new collection will feature eight new ghazals, whereas the concert promos list some of the memorable hits they have sung over the years.

Always jovial, Bhupinder begins: “Ask me the easy questions and her the difficult questions.” Mitali responds: “He’s just trying to pass the buck. But yes, eight songs can’t complete a two-and-a-half hour concert. Moreover, we have been known for so many songs. While Bhupi ji had many film hits in the 1970s, we released many duet albums after we got married.”

The album has been composed by Amarjeet Bajwa. While this will be the formal release, the songs are already available digitally. Mitali says one of the songs ‘ Ek Ehasaan ’ uses the phrase Dil ki zubaan , and that’s what inspired the album’s title. Strangely, it reminds this writer of something which he realises much later.

At the show, the duo will render hits like ‘ Beeti Na Beetayi Raina ’ (from Parichay ), ‘ Do Deewane Shaher Mein ’ ( Gharonda ), ‘ Dil Dhoondta Hai ’ ( Mausam ), ‘ Naam Gum Jaayega ’ ( Kinara ) and ‘ Kisi Nazar Ko Tera ’ ( Aitbaar ). Says Bhupinder: “Those days, working with R.D. Burman, Madan Mohan, Jaidev, Naushad, Vanraj Bhatia and so many others had its own charm.”

Bhupinder got his film break in the song ‘ Hoke Majboor ’ in the 1964 film Haqeeqat , where he joined legends Mohammed Rafi, Manna Dey and Talat Mahmood. His distinct voice ensured that he got regular offers, but he also played guitar, oud or rabab . His hits with R.D. Burman included ‘ Dum maaro dum ’ ( Hare Rama Hare Krishna ), ‘ Chura liya ’ ( Yaadon Ki Baraat ), ‘ Chingari Koi Bhadke ’ ( Amar Prem ) and ‘ Mehbooba O Mehbooba ’ ( Sholay ), besides Madan Mohan’s ‘ Tum Jo Mil Gaye Ho ’ in Hanste Zakhm .

He recalls an interesting story about ‘ Beeti Na Beetayi Raina ’. He says: “Originally, R.D. Burman wanted Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar to sing it. When Kishore da heard it, he felt the song suited my vocal style better. So he suggested that to RD, who accepted. That was the relationship we musicians shared those days. There was no ego, and no feeling of one-upmanship.”

While Bhupinder kept getting film playback offers, he also released ghazal EPs, popular ones being ‘ Aankhon Ka Tha Kasoor ’ and ‘ Aahat Si Koi Aaye ’. For her part, Mitali made her debut with the 1984 solo album ‘ Saahil ’, and soon got recognition for working with master-composer Ilaaiyaraaja in the Tamil film Thalapathi . With Bhupinder, she released ghazal albums like Shama Jalaaye Rakhna , Aapke Naam , Aaadab Arz Hai and Tu Saath Chal .

How has the ghazal scene changed over the years? Bhupinder says: “The compositions and words are the same, but a lot more needs to be done to attract newer audiences. More corporate support and maybe a separate ghazal channel should help.” Mitali says: “A lot of people think Indian music is mainly Bollywood, but that’s not so. There are so many talented youngsters singing ghazals, and they should get more opportunities.”

Cold coffee and cappuccino done with, it’s time to bid farewell. As we step out at 6 pm, the cricket matches continue, and the walkers have increased in number. This writer keeps thinking of the term ‘ Dil Ki Zubaan ’. It takes a few hours to register, and he suddenly hums the lines ‘ Nazar ban gayee hai , dil ki zubaanNa tum hamein jaano …’ from that S.D. Burman classic in Baat Ek Raat Ki . It’s obviously a pure coincidence, but it’s a beautiful term that speaks from the heart.

Dil Ki Zubaanwill take place this evening at 7 pm at Nehru Centre, for details see: bookmyshow

The author is a freelance music writer

The duo will also render hits like ‘ Beeti Na Beetayi Raina

and ‘ Do Deewane

Shaher Mein

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Printable version | Aug 11, 2022 7:08:06 pm |